Today starts an amazing time in our lives: Rivalry Week. We have the Apple Cup today, Baylor/TCU tonight, Civil War, Bedlam, and many, many more. Many of these games will determine how the Bowl Season and College Football Playoff plays out. These games will be key in determining Conference Championship and Playoff implications.
#15 Navy @ Houston
This game is currently on right now, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that if Navy plays well enough, they will be in contention for a New Years’ Six Bowl. Houston has the opportunity to play spoiler against their new conference-mate after stumbling hard from a hot start.
#20 Washington State @ Washington
There aren’t any playoff or conference implications here, just the first Apple Cup in nearly a decade where it’s supposed to be a good game.
#3 Iowa @ Nebraska
Nebraska is having a mediocre season, but has the opportunity to upset their rival’s biggest season perhaps ever. Iowa hasn’t been overly challenged all year so I don’t see why Nebraska couldn’t pull one off.
#7 Baylor @ #19 TCU
TCU disappointingly lost to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State late in the year, effectively destroying their hopes at the playoff this year. Baylor also lost to Oklahoma but managed to beat undefeated Oklahoma State. Now this nouveau rivalry is going to kick off with slightly less buzz than last time. TCU surely would love to pay Baylor back for ruining their playoff run last year.
#8 Ohio State @ #10 Michigan
This will be the biggest meeting of these two programs in over a decade. This matchup includes two exceptional teams with waning hopes for the playoff along with two all-star coaches. Both teams have proven that they can compete in big time games, this is one that cannot be missed.
#22 UCLA @ USC
I’m sure the Pac-12 is loving that the Pac-12 South is going to be determined by one game. The winner of UCLA/USC will move on the Pac-12 Championship to play another in-state rival: Stanford.
#18 Ole Miss @ #21 Mississippi State & #2 Alabama @ Auburn
These two games will determine who comes out of the SEC West to play Florida in the SEC Championship. If Alabama wins, they advance, but if Auburn manages to beat them and Ole Miss can beat Mississippi State, then Ole Miss will move on to the Championship game.
#13 Florida State v. #12 Florida
This is another rivalry where it has been a long time since the matchup was this highly touted. Either team could land in a New Year’s Six Bowl with a win in this game. Florida could (maybe) make a push for the playoff if they were to win. I’m sure both teams will come in with fire in their chests.
#6 Notre Dame @ #9 Stanford
Stanford has locked up the Pac-12 North bid and wants to make a statement to get into the playoff discussion. Notre Dame was left out of the Top Four because they have been playing half-heartedly against very average opponents. A decisive win for either team might be enough to place them in the playoff hunt.
#4 Oklahoma @ #11 Oklahoma State
The Beldam Game wraps up Rivalry Week with a nice bow. Oklahoma wins the Big-XII and all but ensures their spot in the playoff with a win. Oklahoma State needs to win and see Baylor lose in order to wrap up the Conference Championship. Oklahoma State likely cannot make the playoffs, but they can throw a wrench in Oklahoma’s bid which can be just as sweet.