And just like that, it’s Thanksgiving week. And just like that, it’s the last week of the regular season for each conference with a championship game.
That means it’s rivalry week. It’s the one week where 358 days worth of pent up anger and loather forms into something tangible and real. This week is everything we love about college football at its highest point. And GameDay will be at the focal point of this mutually agreed upon hatred and disdain: the Iron Bowl.
Last #MACtion Hero Shift
Well, the last #MACtion night of the regular season gives us a pretty disappointing curtain call for our favorite midweek football programming. Akron can win the MAC East with a win over Kent State, who is destined to finish last in the division and second to last in the division. 2-9 Bowling Green plays a heartbreakingly 4-7 Eastern Michigan and 4-7 Miami of Ohio plays the worst team in the conference, 2-9 Ball State, who does not have a conference win to their credit.
For for the first time since late October, on Wednesday night there will be no football on. I’m not sure what I’m going to do or how I’m going to function.
Deviled Egg Bowl Shift
Only one slice of college football on Thanksgiving night to pair with your pecan pie, and guess what buddy it’s the Egg Bowl. Under normal circumstances, Ole Miss would have the inexplicable edge over the favored Mississippi State of playing for bowl eligibility, but that’s already been ruled out of the question for our overdressed distant cousins in the great frozen northeast. Mississippi State should take care of business pretty easily, and for that reason alone the Rebearsharks will win in overtime.
Welcome to Rivalry Week.
Welcome To The (Hot Topic) Black (Friday) Parade Shift
Friday’s condensed full slate of games kicks off 30 minutes early when MAC West leading Toledo takes on Western Michigan over on das U.
Thirty minutes later, the shift starts properly when Navy pays a visit to dear old htine before gearing up for the Army-Navy game, Miami draws Pitt after making it hairy against Virginia, deservingly hapless Baylor gets murderkilled by TCU. Second place in the MAC West is decided when Northern Illinois plays Central Michigan. Pretty meh shift to be honest, but the fun is just beginning.
Sunshine Showdown Of Ultimate Destiny Shift
Not only is USF-UCF for a bid to the American Athletic Conference Championship, but the combined record of those two teams is 19-1. Considering how the Knights were winless in 2015, that’s an impressive program turnaround. Pair that with the sustained level that South Florida has been coasting at, and all of a sudden this game has meaning. Real, actual meaning.
And it’s a good thing it does, because it is the lone saving grace in this shift. Okay, so Arkansas and Missouri has potential to be a heater due to the unpredictable nature of Missouri, but that’s not really the same. Nice Mike is still at the helm of Nebraska for now, but we’ll see how long that lasts after Iowa ends their season. I’m sure there will be more than one Husker fan who watches USF-UCF either above or with the Nebraska game on. For reasons.
We round out the shift with New Mexico and San Diego State.
It Still Hurts Shift
Very light and pretty empty evening slate. Texas Tech needs a win over Texas to reach bowl eligibility. Since the Red Raiders’ famous Crabtree Pulls Free win over Texas in 2008, Texas Tech has only bested the Longhorns once: in 2015 when the Red Raiders won a 48-45 shootout. They have as many wins as Kansas does against Texas in the same time period.
Virginia Tech looks for win number 13 over in-state rivals Virginia, and Western Kentucky plays FIU on beIN Sports. You know, the channel where the USA lost to Trinidad and Tobago to fail to qualify for the World Cup on. So yeah, if you watched that legally, congrats! You can watch WKU-FIU!
Kiss From A Rosen Shift
UCLA fired Jim Mora this week, which sucks for me because the “will Jim Mora be able to save his job??” angle was about the only thing I had to sell this game on outside of the fact that it is for bowl eligibility, but both schools probably have good enough APR scores to get in with only five wins.
The GaXe Shift
Saturday opens up with three name-brand rivalries, two of which may have major implications for the playoff race.
First off the shelf is Ohio State-Michigan. Ohio State is likely out of the playoff, but Michigan can make it officially official since the Buckeyes could play themselves in by virtue of beating Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship. There’s no telling what Ohio State will show up in the game, though I imagine that it will be the Eater Of Worlds that we saw against Michigan State and Penn State and not the frail junior varsity team than Iowa beat up on.
Meanwhile in a better climate, Georgia Tech hosts Georgia. At this point the triple option is unsurprising to Georgia and I’m not sure if the Yellow Jackets can stop the Bulldogs on the ground, and even if they do I’m less sold on their secondary. But I still can’t shake that itch that says this is one is a live wire and the Bees have the facilities to spring an upset and claim two straight for the first time since 1999-2000.
In a slightly better climate, Florida State meets Florida in a game that is admittedly better looking than it was a month ago. A Seminole win can send Florida State bowling with the help of APR, a loss will end FSU’s streak of 35 straight bowl games. It hasn’t been a great season in Gainesville, but ending the Noles bowl streak would bring some sense of accomplishment to the Gator faithful.
Indiana and Purdue meet in a winner-goes-bowling match, but the loser also probably goes bowling with the help of, you guessed it, APR. ECU-Memphis rounds out the shift.
AHRN BAHWL Shift
Auburn and Alabama meet to decide who represents the West against Georgia next weekend. A lot of people are convinced Auburn can and should beat Alabama, but I’m not one of those people. But there is enough there for the game to warrant all the hype that surrounds it, and it should be the game you build your setup around.
The longest running FBS rivalry takes the field for the 127th time when Minnesota and Wisconsin play for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. The winner of this year’s game will break the series deadlock, which is currently set at 59-59-8. Wisconsin has the Big Ten West locked up, PJ Fleck needs a win to row his boat to bowl eligibility outright.
West Virginia submits their upset bid of Oklahoma and Tennessee or Vanderbilt will pick up their first and only conference win of the year, those are just warmups for the Bayou Classic, which is to decide what Louisiana HBCU wins the SWAC West.
Remember the dream of an Apple Cup that not only determined a PAC-12 North winner, but also a playoff participant? It seems like it was last night but that dream died a little over a month ago. Now Stanford has it locked up and this game is only to determine who reached 10 wins first (if at all) and petty bragging rights over standings.
Still better than 2008, I guess.
LSU goes for seven straight over A&M, and should probably get it. Key words there are “should” and “probably”.
Clemson needs to beat Miami in the ACC Championship to push themselves into the playoffs, but a loss to South Carolina can end that with a quickness. Haha yeah I know that’s funny, but South Carolina has lowkey been pretty decent for the better part of the year, especially on defense. I’d keep a keen eye focused on this game.
Notre Dame-Stanford is probably going to be the best quality game of the day, even if that means it probably won’t have much other entertainment quality to it.
Oregon and Willie Taggart get back on the right side of the Civil War against dead in the water Oregon State, or at least they should.
9:30 ‘til Infinity Shift
We get one last PAC-12 After Dark of the year, Colorado at Utah on FOX Sports 1 in yet another bowl eligibility game between 5-6 teams. Utah State play Air Force to close out the regular season for conferences with championship games.
Hawaii does play at home, but that’s at 8 p.m. against BYU on CBS Sports Network.