The college football campaign just flies by every year, and we have now arrived at the Thanksgiving weekend, the final one of the regular season. This is the weekend where you can throw the record books out the window … it’s rivalry time. There is a slew of in-state and classic match-ups that will impact everything in the college football universe.
1. Alabama – The Crimson Tide were tied at the half against The Citadel, but pulled away and will now try and avenge their Iron Bowl defeat from a year ago, as they host Auburn in T-town. This season marks an eighth straight with at least 11 regular season wins.
2. Clemson – The Tigers took care of Duke 35-6. Clemson has turned the series with South Carolina, which was the final step for the Tigers making that jump into the elite. It figures to be tough at Death Valley, but Clemson has the superior material.
3. Notre Dame – The Fighting Irish registered their most impressive win of the year against Syracuse in Yankee Stadium. Now comes the regular season finale in the grand-national rivalry, as the Fighting Irish ventures west to play the Men of Troy at the Coliseum.
4. Michigan – The Wolverines bested Indiana 31-20, and now comes the biggest battle with Ohio State since 2006 when both were undefeated. Even though the game is in Columbus, Jim Harbaugh’s team has been the one trending upwards.
5. Georgia – It was just what the doctor ordered, as the Bulldogs got a stress-free 66-27 victory over UMass to make it 10-1. Now a hot Tech squad comes to town in search of a third straight win in Sanford Stadium. The Dogs are in the mix for everything.
6. Washington State – The Cougars roared past Arizona 69-28 with 55 first half points. Now comes one of the biggest games in school history, as WSU must slay the dragon of Washington in the Apple Cup to keep its dream season going.
7. Oklahoma – The Sooners had the offense cooking again against Kansas, and now at 10-1, the focus can turn to a huge battle with West Virginia. It very well could be the Mountaineers in back to back weeks with the Big XII Championship Game on deck.
8. Central Florida – With College Gameday in town, and the Golden Knights campaigning for a spot in the playoff, they delivered against Cincinnati. Now comes the War on I-4, as Central Florida clashes with South Florida.
9.LSU – The Bayou Bengals topped Rice to make it 9-2 on the season and now have a big one with Texas A&M. A win for LSU likely puts Coach O’s Fightin’ Tigers in one of the New Year’s Six Bowls. LSU hasn’t lost to the Aggies since they came into the SEC.
10. Ohio State – It was a narrow escape in College Park, as the Buckeyes got a last minute touchdown to tie it, got a stop to hang on then won in overtime 52-51. Michigan is hungry, but the Buckeyes have dominated this series in the 21st century.
11. West Virginia – The Mountaineers lost a 45-41 heartbreaker to Oklahoma State to fall to 9-2 and out of the playoff picture. Now West Virginia gets Oklahoma in Morgantown, which could be the first of two straight against the Sooners.
12. Kentucky – The Wildcats jumped on Middle Tennessee and held on for the win to make it 8-3 on the year. Kentucky has a crack at a really good bowl and a 9-3 mark. You know Big Blue would love to put a whipping on Louisville Saturday.
13. Florida – The Gators steamrolled Idaho 63-10 for a second straight win. The comeback against South Carolina really gave Florida some much needed momentum. Now comes the Gators most important game of the year against the Seminoles, who they haven’t beaten since 2012.
14. Texas – The Longhorns put up an impressive victory over Iowa State to improve to 8-3 on the season. Texas should handle Kansas in the finale and get to 9-3. Tom Herman had an interesting week dodging Twitter bombs.
15. Penn State – The Nittany Lions didn’t exactly blow everyone away with a 20-7 win over Rutgers. Penn State is 8-3 and hosts Maryland Saturday. The Terps have to be absolutely heartbroken after falling in OT to Ohio State.
16. Washington – The Huskies took care of Oregon State to improve to 8-3 on the season. This has not been a championship year for Washington, but Chris Petersen always has a sound team. Now comes a huge Apple Cup in Pullman.
17. Utah – The Running Utes are bound for the PAC-12 Championship Game, which is something that few fans likely foresaw when they came into the league. The win at Colorado clinched it, now comes the Holy War with BYU in Salt Lake City.
18. Syracuse – The Fighting Irish beat the Orange badly at Yankee Stadium, dropping Syracuse to 8-3 on the season. It’s a big game against Boston College Saturday with some serious bowl implications. This has been an impressive season for the boys from Western New York.
19. Mississippi State – The Maroon Bulldogs had one of their most lopsided wins in an SEC game ever, blasting Arkansas 52-6. That is just what the doctor ordered for one of the most intense rivalries in the game, as MSU goes to Ole Miss for the Egg Bowl.
20. Tech – The Yellow Jackets are the second hottest team in the ACC behind only Clemson. Tech pulled out a thrilling 30-27 overtime win over Virginia and has now won six of its last seven. The Yellow Jackets will try and break Georgia’s hearts and title dreams in Athens Saturday.
21. Utah State – It was a narrow escape for the Aggies, who came back in the final minute and edged Mike Bobo’s Colorado State Rams 29-24. Utah State is now 10-1 on the year and set for a huge showdown at Boise State with big-time bowl implications.
22. Boise State – The Broncos rolled past New Mexico 45-14 to make it 9-2 on the season. The Broncos and LSU are the only two programs in the country to win at least eight games every season in the 2000s. It’s a huge showdown on the blue turf with Utah State Saturday night.
23. Cincinnati – The Bearcats have had an outstanding season, and are one of the big surprises in college football, but they got outclassed at Central Florida. Cincinnati can make it 10-2 with East Carolina coming to town.
24. Northwestern – The Wildcats beat Minnesota 24-14 and are headed to the Big Ten Championship Game. Northwestern closes it out with in-state foe Illinois in Evanston. This team lost to Akron in September. Kudos on an excellent recovery for Pat Fitzgerald’s team.
25. Texas A&M – The Aggies held off UAB 41-20 to improve to 7-4 on the year, and that’s an impressive win. The Blazers came in at 9-2. Now comes the chance to beat LSU for the first time since coming into the SEC.