Welcome to Rivalry Week, everyone!
We’ve reached the final weekend of the regular season and there’s so much at stake. Teams compete for bowl eligibility, matchups in conference championship games loom, and the top teams in the country compete to make the college football playoffs. What’s more, some of the sport’s most heated rivalries are also on the agenda this weekend.
The first major rivalry game of the day was a massive game that saw No. 3 Michigan outrunning No. 2 Ohio State 45-23 in a battle of two 11-0 teams. The Wolverines used a bevy of big attacking plays to claim victory and secure the Big Ten East title. Michigan is one win away from making the College Football Playoffs for the second straight year.
Meanwhile, No. 8 Clemson saw his playoff chances go up in smoke with a stunning 31-30 home loss to South Carolina. It ended Clemson’s 40-game home winning streak.
In another surprising development, No. 9 Oregon lost a 21-point lead in a 38-34 loss to Oregon State. The Ducks could have secured a berth in the Pac-12 title game with a win, but now they need help getting in.
Here’s what we’re looking at today.
(Note: All times ET, odds from BetMGM)
Time: 7:30 p.m. | TV: ABC | Line: USC-5.5 | Total: 64.5
USC is the Pac-12’s last hope of making the college football playoffs. The Trojans can get there by beating Notre Dame and then winning the Pac-12 title game. USC QB and Heisman hopeful Caleb Williams may need to be his usual excellent self for Trojans to get past a budding Notre Dame team. Notre Dame has won five straight games to climb 8-3 to No. 15 in the CFP rankings. Stylistically, Notre Dame is a huge contrast on offense when compared to USC. The Irish want to control the line of scrimmage and rely on the running game. It will be a fascinating duel.
Time: 10:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN | Line: UW-2 | Total: 60.5
Washington will already know if they can play for the Pac-12 title by the time this game kicks off. But even with the Conference crown off the table, the Huskies will be playing hard in their greatest rivalry game. Last year, WSU emphatically accepted a seven-game loss in the rivalry with a 40-13 win in Seattle that saw Cougar fans storm the field at Husky Stadium. Washington State is on a three-game winning streak, but Washington’s powerful passing offense led by QB Michael Penix represents a step up in the competition.