Top Five College Football Matchups: Week 13

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Rivalry week is finally here and will bring us some great games as soon as Thursday on Thanksgiving. Here are your top five college football matchups of week 13.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Florida (6-5) at No. 16 FSU (8-3): This game holds a special place in my heart and can’t be kept off this list. This primetime Friday night game will be very intense as these two teams have very little respect for each other. Mike Norvell and the Seminoles will have an opportunity to cap off a fantastic comeback season after being in the gutter for far too long. Meanwhile, Billy Napier and the Gators will have a chance to erase that embarrassing loss to Vanderbilt from memory and can carry some huge momentum on the recruiting trail with a win.
  • No. 19 Tulane (9-2) at No. 24 Cincinnati (9-2): This is the biggest AAC game of the year between two of the top dogs in the conference. Both teams will likely need to win to appear in the conference championship game since UCF is right behind them at 8-3 and holds the tiebreaker over each team.
  • Auburn (5-6) at No. 7 Alabama: Another game with too much history to leave off the list. The Iron Bowl won’t carry as much weight as it did in years past, but this should be another physical game where everyone leaves it all out on the field.

5. Mississippi State (8-4) at No. 20 Ole Miss (8-3)

When: Thursday, 7:00 p.m ET

Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, MS

Spread: Ole Miss (-2)

Who doesn’t love football on Thanksgiving? Aside from the usual NFL action, there is the Egg Bowl between two in-state SEC rivals. This rivalry is pretty underrated and gets very heated every year. Ole Miss has won the last two matchups and holds the all-time series lead, 65-45-6.

4. No. 9 Oregon (9-2) at No. 21 Oregon State (8-3)

When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET

Where: Reser Stadium, OR

Spread: Oregon (-3)

Oregon’s final roadblock en route to a Pac-12 championship will be their in-state rivals Oregon State. Although their playoff chances were shot due to losses against Washington and USC, the Ducks can still compete for a New Year’s Six bowl game and finish with its first 10-win season since 2006. Oregon is 12-2 in this rivalry going back to 2008, but the Beavers have been fantastic at home this year and should make it a competitive game.

3. South Carolina (7-4) at No. 8 Clemson (10-1)

When: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET

Where: Memorial Stadium, SC

Spread: Clemson (-14.5)

Unlike Oregon, Clemson’s playoff hopes are still alive, and they’ll have to take down their in-state rivals to get one step closer. South Carolina came out of nowhere and destroyed Tennessee’s season last week, with QB Spencer Rattler throwing a whopping six touchdowns. They’ll have a chance to play spoiler again against a much worse offense than Tennessee. Clemson has not been dominant against good competition, so I’m surprised to see the spread over two touchdowns. I think the Gamecocks have a real chance to win here with their offense clicking on all cylinders.  

2. No. 15 Notre Dame (8-3) at No. 6 USC (10-1)

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET

Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, CA

Spread: USC (-5.5)

It’s good to see this classic rivalry game be important again. The resurgence of USC has been great for the sport, and this game could decide its fate in the college football playoff. With both teams featuring first-year head coaches, it’s impressive that we’ve arrived here with both teams in the top 15. USC arguably has the best offense in the country, scoring over 40 points in each of the last five games. Tasked with slowing them down will be a stout Notre Dame defense that ranks 17th in yards allowed. This will likely be the best defense the Trojans have faced all year so it will be an interesting test for them before the Pac-12 Championship game.

1. No. 3 Michigan (11-0) at No. 2 Ohio State (11-0)

When: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET

Where: Ohio Stadium, OH

Spread: Ohio State (-7.5)

What’s a better way to start off your Saturday afternoon than The Game? This instant classic will be the 13th top-five matchup between these rivals and is the third time both teams come into the game 11-0. While this matchup doesn’t necessarily decide which team makes the playoff, its magnitude can’t be understated. The winner of this game will be in the Big 10 championship and likely guarantees itself a playoff spot even if they lose that conference championship game. The loser of this game falls to 11-1 which could still be enough to sneak into the playoff over a two-loss team, but missing out on the championship game will certainly hurt its chances.

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