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Week 13 Viewer's Guide: Rivalry Week

Get the skinny on the final week of college football's regular season.

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday Night

Favorite Underdog Venue Time (ET) Network Line
Texas Longhorns Texas Tech Red Raiders DK Royal Stadium (UT) 7:30 FS1 -1.5
South Florida Bulls Central Florida Knights Bright House Networks Stadium (UCF) 7:30 ESPN N/A

If you'd prefer a college game to the NFL on Thanksgiving night, there's a couple options for you. The better of the two games is Texas facing Texas Tech in Austin. Charlie Strong has been facing some heat from fans after a second straight disappointing season, while Kliff Kingsbury has had a nice season in Lubbuck. Elsewhere, UCF will try to complete an unwinfeated season with a loss to South Florida. Willie Taggart has guided the Bulls to their best season in years, and with all the openings at bigger jobs, this will probably be the last regular season game he coaches for USF.


Favorite Underdog Venue Time (ET) Network Line
Pittsburgh Panthers Miami Hurricanes Heinz Field (Pitt) Noon ESPN2 -6
Navy Midshipmen Houston Cougars TDECU Stadium (UH) Noon ABC -1
Iowa Hawkeyes Nebraska Cornhuskers Memorial Stadium (UN) 3:30 ABC -1.5
Baylor Bears TCU Horned Frogs Amon. G Carter Stadium (TCU) 7:30 ESPN -1.5

There's a great Friday slate of games for you to enjoy while munching on leftover turkey. The action starts right at noon with Pitt hosting Miami. Irish fans will hope the Panthers pick up another win to reach 9-3 on the season. Qadree Ollison has had a fantastic season at RB, and considering Miami's recent softness on defense, he could have a huge day. If Pitt pulls of the win, they should give the Irish playoff resume a decent boost and finish the regular season in the top 25. The main event of the noon games is Navy's trip to Houston. A Navy win would clinch an undefeated conference record and the AAC-West (yes, Navy is in the west divison, don't ask why). The winner will face Temple in the conference title game, and Irish fans have to hope for a big win by the Middies. Undefeated Iowa travels to Lincoln for a potential trap game against the Huskers. The Hawkeyes have already clinched the B1G West, and despite Nebraska's poor record, the Huskers have shown some signs of life recently. The Huskers can reach bowl eligibility with a win, and doing so against Iowa would help out playoff contenders everywhere. On Friday night, what was supposed to be the biggest Big 12 game of the year has been relegated to also-ran status. Both Baylor and TCU are probably eliminated from Playoff contention, and with Trevone Boykin possibly out with injury, there's much less on the line than expected a month ago. That said, this could still be a classic Big 12 point-splosion, and all the TDs will give you all the excuses you need to ignore your in-laws.

Noon Shift

Favorite Underdog Venue Time (ET) Network Line
Michigan Wolverines Ohio State Buckeyes Michigan Stadium Noon ABC -1.5
Clemson Tigers South Carolina Gamecocks Williams-Brice Stadium (SC) Noon ESPN -17
Georgia Bulldogs Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Bobby Dodd Stadium (GT) Noon ESPN2 -5

The Game highlights the Saturday noon slate. Michigan is a slight favorite at home as the Buckeyes come in as the program in turmoil after their loss to Michigan State last week. Players were questioning the coaching staff's play calling, and Ezekiel Elliot and Cardale Jones hinted that they were finished in Columbus after this season. Both teams are still technically alive in the Big Ten East race, but will need Sparty to lose to Penn State later in the day. Clemson's rivalry game against South Carolina is also during the noon window, and considering SC lost to The Citadel during last week's SEC-SoCon challenge, the Tigers probably won't have much trouble with the Gamecocks. Lastly, two preseason top-15 teams face off with a combined .500 record. Georgia is coming off an OT win against Georgia Southern who might be a better triple option team than GT. Mark Richt's status has been upgraded to "very on the hot seat" after a disappointing middle of the season. A loss to Georgia Tech could spell the end of his time in Athens.

Afternoon Shift

Favorite Underdog Venue Time (ET) Network Line
Southern Cal Trojans UCLA Bruins LA Memorial Coliseum 3:30 ABC/ESPN2 -3.5
North Carolina Tar Heels NC State Wolfpack Carter-Findley Stadium (NCSU) 3:30 ABC/ESPN2 -6.5
Michigan State Spartans Penn State Nittany Lions Spartan Stadium 3:30 ESPN N/A
Alabama Crimson Tide Auburn Tigers Jordan-Hare Stadium (Aub) 3:30 CBS -13.5

Southern Cal v. UCLA will decide the PAC 12's South division. The Bruins have owned the Trojans in recent years, but this game may be SC's best shot at a win. Bruins freshman Josh Rosen should take conference and national Freshman of the Year honors, but as Irish fans know, Cody Kessler is still a great QB for Southern Cal. Expect lots of points, and nice viewing for the neutral viewer as both teams will be wearing their colored uniforms. North Carolina can finish off their undefeated ACC season with a win over NC State. Marquise Williams should be able to light up the Wolfpack secondary. NC State has shown the ability to score in bunches against Clemson and Florida State, so it will be up to the Heel defense to get enough stops. Michigan State has a potential trap game against Penn State to win to the Big Ten East. Connor Cook is still questionable, and they won't have the element of surprise by debuting two rarely seen QBs like they did last week against Ohio State. Penn State's offensive line still hasn't been able to protect Christian Hackenberg, but if Cook is unable to go, it wouldn't be too hard to imagine PSU finding a way to win an ugly one in East Lansing. Lastly, the Iron Bowl takes place at Jordan-Hare for the first time since the kick-six. The Tigers have been mostly terrible all season long, and will probably just be a speedbump on Bama's road back to the playoffs. That said, Gus Malzahn probably has a few tricks up his sleeve, so don't be surprised if this is closer than expected in the first half.


Favorite Underdog Venue Time (ET) Network Line
Stanford Cardinal Notre Dame Fighting Irish Stanford Stadium 7:30 FOX -3.5
Florida State Seminoles Florida Gators Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (UF) 7:30 ESPN -2
Temple Owls Connecticut Huskies Lincoln Financial Field (TU) 7:00 ESPNU -12
Oklahoma Sooners Oklahoma State Cowboys Boone-Pickens Stadium (OSU) 8:00 ABC -7

There's many other viewing options Saturday night outside of the Irish trip to  Stanford. The Florida-Florida State game in Gainesville pits Florida's terrible offense against Jaylen Ramsey and a solid FSU defense. Everett Golson and Sean Maguire have both struggled recently for FSU, so don't be surprised to see Jimbo use both in this one. Florida is still technically alive in the playoff race, but a loss here would knock them out for good ahead of the SEC Championship. This should be a low scoring struggle, but could easily come down to the final possession. Ranked Irish opponent Temple faces old friend Bob Diaco's UConn Huskies. The Owls can clinch the AAC-East with a win and secure a spot in the conference title game against Houston or Navy. While it's always nice to see former Irish coaches succeed at their new head coaching gigs, Irish fans will be hoping for a Bobby D loss Saturday night. Sorry for being an energy vampire, coach D. To round out the night, Bedlam takes center stage on ABC as both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State finish their seasons. Oklahoma State's playoff chances probably went up in smoke after their loss to Baylor while many see Oklahoma as ND's biggest threat for a playoff spot. Irish fans will be pulling hard for the Pokes, and Sooner QB Baker Mayfield is banged up after a concussion last week. Depending how the dominoes fall this weekend, the Irish could be assured of a playoff spot if all goes right Saturday night.