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Week 13 Football: What to Watch

A look at games that might pique your interest

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 26 North Carolina at NC State Photo by William Howard/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Thanksgiving!

Go to hell, Carolina!

Hey, we have a great week of college football lined up, so let’s get to it...

Tuesday night kicks us off with a battle for the MAC East title. If Ohio wins, it’ll win the division and play in the conference title game. If Bowling Green wins, then it wi - wait a minute... Here comes the MACtion ridiculousness.

The thing that’s throwing this all for a loop is that the Akron at Buffalo game scheduled for last week was “indefinitely postponed” due to the epic snowstorm that swept through the Buffalo area. With the MAC Championship Game set to be played next weekend, that won’t really allow for that game to be made up unless Buffalo gets eliminated this weekend.

As detailed on the SB Nation MAC page (amazingly titled Hustle Belt), thanks to a wild “uneven number of games” tiebreaker, if both Buffalo and Bowling Green win this weekend, you could have a 5-2 Buffalo team winning the MAC East over a pair of 6-2 teams. MACtion!

Also Tuesday night is Ball State vs Miami (the one in Ohio). I only mention this because Ball State RB Carson Steele is well worth your time to watch.

There’s no football on Wednesday (why?!), but Thanksgiving night gives us the Egg Bowl between Mike Leach’s Mississippi State squad and Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss. I doubt we’ll get another dog peeing penalty costing a team the game (and the coach their job), but if my money’s on anyone doing it, it’s Lane Kiffin himself.

Friday is the best day of games, and that’s not just because NC State is playing.

Go to hell, Carolina!

Tulane and Cincinnati start things off with a battle for 1st place in the AAC. The two teams could face off again next week in the conference championship game; however, that would require UCF losing to lowly USF this week. The Knights handed both the Green Wave and Bearcats their only conference losses this year and sit just one game back of each in the standings. They’ll be primed to take the spot of the loser. Wild ass Houston is also still alive somehow, but they need Tulane to win and win big to drop Cincinnati like a rock in the rankings.

I don’t get why the advanced rating systems love Texas so much, but they do. The Longhorns are still alive in the chase for the Big XII title game spot opposite TCU. They need to beat Baylor and have Kansas beat Kansas State on Saturday.

Go to hell, Carolina!

Florida and Florida State play, with the Seminoles playing for their 9th win of the season and to keep alive hopes of securing their first 10-win season since 2016.

The big national game that everyone’s looking forward to this week kicks off at noon on Saturday with Michigan playing at Ohio State. There’s potential CFP chaos to be had given that the schedules for each team have been... well, I wouldn’t call it them a UNC schedule level of weak, but certainly soft. Personally, I’m going for Michigan.

If South Carolina plays this week like it did last week, then Clemson’s in some serious trouble. If South Carolina plays this week like it did every other week of this season, then Clemson is completely fine and will win fairly easily.

Say a prayer for Georgia Tech. That game’s gonna be ugly.

Coastal Carolina and James Madison play for the Sun Belt East Division title; however, because of the stupid rule that makes teams moving up from FCS to FBS ineligible for conference titles, bowl games, and playoff appearances, the Chanticleers will represent the East win or lose next week while the Dukes season (which, goodness, they could end up 8-3 while playing a full Sun Belt schedule and 10 games against FBS teams) will end either way.

Western Kentucky is playing for a potential spot in the CUSA title game, although they’ll need a win on Saturday and a North Texas loss to Rice to make it happen. FAU, under former FSU head coach Willie Taggart, is playing for a potential 2nd place tie, although they would lose the title game appearance tiebreaker to North Texas.

Kentucky and Louisville face off in the Bourbon Bowl Governor’s Cup. Scott Satterfield has to feel nice not coaching for his job this week, considering the Cardinals have won five of their last six games heading into this weekend. Mark Stoops, meanwhile, has to feel good having signed a contract extension this week that will up his base salary to $8.6M per year. Kentucky enters the game having won just two of their previous seven games. College sports, amirite?!

If Auburn beats Alabama in Tuscaloosa to move to 3-1 under interim coach and former Tiger player Cadillac Williams, will the pressure the Auburn boosters administration to offer the full-time job to Williams? You know, that’s assuming the Lane Kiffin-to-Auburn rumors are false.

Oregon vs Oregon State is one of five ranked-vs-ranked matchups this weekend (NC State vs UNC, Tulane vs Cincinnati, Michigan vs Ohio State, and Notre Dame vs USC are the others), and the Ducks need a win to secure their spot in the PAC 12 title game next weekend. Lose, and they’ll need a little help. For the Beavers, a win keeps alive their quest for their first 10-win season since 2006. It would also secure the program’s first 9-win season since 2012.

Wake Forest plays Duke in a matchup of 7-win teams. 1990’s you would have never believed that would be a possibility.

Iowa State has lost seven of their last eight games, but TCU seems to make every single game exciting, so expect that to be a low-scoring slugfest (offense is apparently illegal in the entire state of Iowa).

Will Texas A&M really pony up the absurd cash to buy Jimbo Fisher out of the remainder of his fully guaranteed contract? The Aggies win over UMass last week broke a six-game losing streak, and they still only scored 20 points against the Minutemen. The only school to score fewer against UMass this year was Stony Brook, an FCS team that is 2-9 and ranked #228 in the Sagarin ratings.

You know, had Notre Dame not screwed around and lost those games to Marshall and Stanford earlier this year, the Irish would be sitting at 10-1 under first-year coach Marcus Freeman with a win this week against 10-1 USC likely vaulting them into the CFP. A win by USC this week and again next week in the PAC 12 title game will put the Trojans in the CFP under their first-year head coach Lincoln Riley.

Speaking of Lincoln Riley, the school he left needs to beat Texas Tech and then win their bowl game if Brent Venables wants to avoid posting the first Oklahoma season since 1999 of less than 8 wins. The Sooners have already secured their first losing conference record since 1998, thanks in large part to being 0-3 in one-possession games.

Remember back in early October when Kansas was 5-0, ranked, and hosting ESPN’s College Gameday? Yeah, the Jayhawks are 6-5 now. They play Kansas State, who needs a win (or a Texas loss on Friday) to secure a Big XII title game appearance against TCU.

Miami needs a win over Pitt to make a bowl game in the first season under Mario Cristobal. Manny Diaz got fired for going 7-5 last year (and 15-8 over his last two years in Coral Gables). Maybe it really is a clean-house situation for a program that has one 10-win season since 2003, but this has been a rough start.

Unless my PAC 12 title game selection tiebreaker understanding is incorrect (possible), if Oregon loses to Oregon State earlier in the day, then a Washington win over Washington State on Saturday night would put the Huskies in their conference title game.

By the way, if Washington State wins that game and both Cal and Arizona lose their games this week, the PAC 12 would have no teams between 4-8 and 8-4.

And speaking of, Stanford needs to beat BYU to finish 4-8 and save David Shaw’s job for another year. Shaw is just 14-27 over the last four seasons, a paltry record for a program that won 8+ games every year from 2009-2018, including winning 10+ games in six of those seasons.

Go Wolfpack!

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


116/127 Bowling Green @ 85/76 Ohio - 7:00pm - ESPNU

112/117 Ball State @ 107/114 Miami (OH) - 7:00pm - ESPN+


22/23 Mississippi State @ 15/22 Ole Miss - 7:00pm - ESPN


27/38 Tulane @ 20/39 Cincinnati - 12:00pm - ABC

25/20 Baylor @ 8/7 Texas - 12:00pm - ESPN

103/109 Utah State @ 52/40 Boise State - 12:00pm - CBS

47/46 NC State @ 34/43 North Carolina - 3:30pm - ABC

39/30 Florida @ 24/16 Florida State - 7:30pm - ABC

93/101 Wyoming @ 64/61 Fresno State - 10:00pm - FS1


98/92 Virginia @ 100/97 Virginia Tech - TBD - TBD

3/4 Michigan @ 2/2 Ohio State - 12:00pm - FOX

33/45 South Carolina @ 10/11 Clemson - 12:00pm - ABC

106/94 Georgia Tech @ 1/1 Georgia - 12:00pm - ESPN

59/79 Coastal Carolina @ 56/68 James Madison - 12:00pm - ESPNU

63/74 Western Kentucky @ 90/103 Florida Atlantic - 12:00pm - CBSSN

67/66 East Carolina @ 110/126 Temple - 1:00pm - ESPN+

31/24 Louisville @ 36/37 Kentucky - 3:00pm - SECN

54/41 Auburn @ 4/3 Alabama - 3:30pm - CBS

9/9 Oregon @ 26/18 Oregon State - 3:30pm - ABC

17/29 Minnesota @ 43/34 Wisconsin - 3:30pm - ESPN

37/36 Wake Forest @ 57/49 Duke - 3:30pm - ESPN2 or ACCN

50/32 Iowa State @ 7/13 TCU - 4:00pm - FOX

13/10 LSU @ 51/48 Texas A&M - 7:00pm - ESPN

38/15 Notre Dame @ 14/14 USC - 7:30pm - ABC

65/58 Syracuse @ 114/112 Boston College - 7:30pm - ESPN3

16/17 Oklahoma @ 49/31 Texas Tech - 7:30pm - FS1

60/51 Kansas @ 11/12 Kansas State - 8:00pm - FOX

45/42 Pittsburgh @ 72/75 Miami - 8:00pm - ACCN

53/56 Air Force @ 76/82 San Diego State - 9:00pm - CBSSN

21/19 Washington @ 35/27 Washington State - 10:30pm - ESPN

81/60 BYU @ 91/83 Stanford - 11:00pm - FS1