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Week 13 Football: What to Watch

A look at games that might pique your interest

North Carolina v North Carolina State Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

It’s Rivalry Week, it’s Thanksgiving Week, it’s one of the best weeks of football every year. But let’s get the two important things out of the way first:

  1. Go Wolfpack! Beat the hell out of that team from Chapel Hill.
  2. Go Boston College!

Alright then. To the rest of the games!

There are no Wednesday games this week - which is kinda odd to me - but there are a pair of Tuesday night games (yeah, I know, I’m late on this post to include those). You already know without me having to say it, but those games are MAC games. Not a lot on the line in those games other than Ball State trying to fight for bowl eligibility.

Thursday we get three NFL games to help the turkey go down smoother, as well as an afternoon Mountain West game between Fresno State and San Jose State. SJSU needs to win to reach bowl eligibility. Fresno State needs to win and hope for a San Diego State loss to reach the MWC Championship Game.

Thursday night we have the Egg Bowl between Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Nothing other than bragging rights on the line there, and sadly, I doubt we’ll see another player pretend to be a peeing dog in this one.

Now Friday has a ton of games and a ton of really good ones. But, again, first and foremost: GO WOLFPACK!

Kicking off noon on Friday, Boise State is in a three-way tie with Utah State and Air Force for the lead in their division. The Broncos need to win to keep alive their hope of making the MWC Championship Game. SDSU meanwhile needs to win (assuming Fresno State wins their game on Thursday) to secure their trip to the championship game. This could end up being a game that’s repeated next week.

The rest of the noon Friday games have some level of interest, but not really anything riding on them.

In the midday Friday games, Cincinnati needs to win to maintain their Top 4 ranking in the College Football Playoff rankings. They’ve already wrapped up a berth in the AAC Championship Game. TCU will be fighting for bowl eligibility under interim coach Jerry Kill in their game against Iowa State.


Saturday, we’re all Boston College fans! Immensely more so with an NC State win the night before.

Ohio State-Michigan carries some significant weight with not only the winner capturing the Big Ten East Division title, but the loser likely eliminated from making the CFP this year.

If you have a friend who is a Georgia Tech fan, give them a hug. Tell them to look at the flowers. They should stay away from a TV and any sharp objects on Saturday.

Baylor still has a shot at the Big XII Championship Game with a win and an Oklahoma loss.

The winner of Florida State-Florida will go to a bowl game. The loser will get extra time with friends and family for the holidays this year.

Miami-Duke. Yawn. The only interesting thing there is the potential dominoes that might fall after the game. SMU head coach Sonny Dykes looks poised to take the TCU job, and SMU’s apparent choice to replace him is Miami OC Rhett Lashlee, the former OC at SMU under Dykes before he went to Miami. If Dykes goes to TCU and Lashless to SMU, will Miami fire Manny Diaz? Heck, does Duke fire David Cutcliffe?

Alabama’s going to smoke Auburn, who will be playing the game with their back-up QB, but an Auburn win would all but end Bama’s CFP hopes this year.

Oregon needs to beat Oregon State to wrap up a PAC 12 title game appearance, while Oregon State needs a win to force their way into a three-way tie atop the division - although that assumes a Washington State win over Washington on Friday night. If the Huskies beat the Cougars Friday and the Beavers beat the Ducks Saturday, then the Beavers will go to the PAC 12 Championship Game.

Penn State vs Michigan State will feature the two of the soon-to-be highest paid coaches in college football. MSU extended Mel Tucker this week at 10 years, $95 million (although he still hasn’t signed the contract), while just today Penn State signed James Franklin to a 10 year, $85 million extension. I should have been a football coach...

Western Kentucky vs Marshall is a CUSA East Division championship game.

Virginia Tech needs a win over Virginia to reach bowl eligibility. Virginia needs to win to match on the field what their alums are to VT folks off the field: a giant turd.

Wisconsin needs to beat Minnesota to win the Big Ten West - and the right to face off with the winner of OSU-Michigan. The Gophers need a win (and an Iowa loss to Nebraska on Friday) to force a three-way tie (or a four-way tie if Purdue beats Indiana, as they well should).

LSU needs to beat Texas A&M to become bowl eligible. That’s just weird to say.

Syracuse needs to beat Pitt to become bowl eligible. That is not weird to say.

Kinda already hit on the Oklahoma-OK State game, but the winner keeps alive their outside shot at the CFP. If Oklahoma wins, they’ll create a title bout rematch with OK State the following week. If OK State wins, they’ll play Baylor for the Big XII title.

Nothing up for grabs in the Clemson-South Carolina or Kentucky-Louisville games. Notre Dame is trying to keep alive their CFP hopes in their game against Stanford.

USC - no, the real USC, not the ones a little to our south - needs a win to keep alive their bowl eligibility hopes (they have a rescheduled game with Cal on Dec. 4th). Speaking of Cal, they, too, need a win to keep their bowl eligibility hopes alive.

Another weird thing to say, that USC is needing to win their last two games just to get to a bowl game. Then again, I guess this is why USC, LSU, and Florida are all currently searching for new head coaches.

Enjoy the football, y’all! And Go State! And Go BC! And GTHC!

Rankings for SP+ Ratings and Sagarin Ratings listed, respectively, ahead of each team’s name.


104/121 Buffalo @ 102/97 Ball State - 7:00pm - ESPN+

86/91 Western Michigan @ 100/88 Northern Illinois - 7:00pm - ESPNU


[NFL] Bears @ Lions - 8:20pm - FOX

48/52 Fresno State @ 81/106 San Jose State - 3:30pm - FS1

[NFL] Raiders @ Cowboys - 4:30pm - CBS

13/13 Ole Miss @ 27/25 Mississippi State - 7:30pm - ESPN

[NFL] Bills @ Saints - 8:20pm - NBC


32/21 Boise State @ 45/51 San Diego State - 12:00pm - CBS

37/30 Kansas State @ 43/41 Texas - 12:00pm - FOX

95/98 Eastern Michigan @ 84/79 Central Michigan - 12:00pm - ESPNU

18/19 Iowa @ 33/45 Nebraska - 1:30pm - BTN

96/126 UTEP @ 53/77 UAB - 2:00pm - ESPN+

7/8 Cincinnati @ 78/75 East Carolina - 3:30pm - ABC

67/73 Missouri @ 36/29 Arkansas - 3:30pm - CBS

112/130 South Florida @ 59/59 Central Florida - 3:30pm - ESPN

101/90 Colorado @ 21/10 Utah - 4:00pm - FOX

73/63 TCU @ 20/17 Iowa State - 4:30pm - FS1

30/49 North Carolina @ 15/18 NC State - 7:00pm - ESPN

69/58 Washington @ 61/47 Washington State - 8:00pm - FS1


2/2 Ohio State @ 4/4 Michigan - 12:00pm - FOX

39/22 Wake Forest @ 66/65 Boston College - 12:00pm - ESPN2

1/1 Georgia @ 85/96 Georgia Tech - 12:00pm - ABC

60/72 Texas Tech @ 17/15 Baylor - 12:00pm - FS1

44/60 Florida State @ 22/40 Florida - 12:00pm - ESPN

63/67 Army @ 52/62 Liberty - 12:00pm - ESPN+

28/43 Miami @ 108/131 Duke - 12:30pm - ESPN3

109/133 Louisiana Tech @ 127/154 Rice - 1:00pm - ESPN+

3/3 Alabama @ 29/23 Auburn - 3:30pm - CBS

47/38 Oregon State @ 19/16 Oregon - 3:30pm - ESPN

12/11 Penn State @ 34/26 Michigan State - 3:30pm - ABC

41/66 Western Kentucky @ 40/70 Marshall - 3:30pm - CBSSN

57/74 Virginia Tech @ 46/53 Virginia - 3:45pm - ACCN

6/9 Wisconsin @ 23/32 Minnesota - 4:00pm - FOX

5/12 Texas A&M @ 58/36 LSU - 7:00pm - ESPN

10/7 Oklahoma @ 16/6 Oklahoma State - 7:30pm - ABC

11/20 Pittsburgh @ 79/80 Syracuse - 7:30pm - ACCN

8/14 Clemson @ 71/64 South Carolina - 7:30pm - SECN

35/33 Kentucky @ 31/39 Louisville - 7:30pm - ESPN2

9/5 Notre Dame @ 98/87 Stanford - 8:00pm - FOX

42/27 BYU @ 72/61 USC - 10:30pm - ESPN

62/57 California @ 51/28 UCLA - 10:30pm - FS1