High stakes, rivalries are everywhere this weekend
The Associated Press
Wait! Do not throw out the records.
Yes, it is rivalry week in college football and the old saying goes that anything can happen when rivals get together, but let’s not go overboard.
Alabama has won seven of nine against Auburn because the Crimson Tide has been the clearly better going into seven of those games. The Tigers two wins came in a game it was favored and in another game when the teams were close. That’s the case Saturday, when No. 1 Alabama will be favored by about four against No. 6 Auburn.
Ohio State has dominated Michigan in recent years, winning five straight and 12 of 13 while being the favorite in just about every game. The ninth-ranked Buckeyes go to the Big House as an 111/2-point favorite against a Michigan team that has not beaten a team with a winning record this season. There is history of notable Michigan upsets — in 1995 and ’96 unbeaten Ohio State teams lost to Michigan — but lately the Buckeyes have been better and that’s been the difference.
Things to know about Week 13 of the college football season.
No. 1 Alabama at No. 6 Auburn
Many good choices, but picking the Iron Bowl is still obvious. The winner goes to the Southeastern Conference championship game to face No. 7 Georgia for a spot in the College Football Playoff. The loser? If it’s Auburn, the Tigers are definitely done in the playoff race. If it’s Alabama, the Tide might have hope — but it’s not great.
Defense is likely to rule the day on the Plains Saturday. The Crimson Tide leads the nation in yards per play allowed at 3.90 and the Tigers are fourth at 4.36. They will challenge a couple of sophomore quarterbacks. Jalen Hurts has thrown just one interception for the Tide and has also run for 686 yards and eight scores. Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham is not really running threat but he has completed 67 percent of his passes with 16 touchdown passes and four picks.
Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield won’t start, but will play against West Virginia. Maybe that opens the door for another player to close the gap on the Heisman Trophy front-runner. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner has had another brilliant season, statistically even better than last year, but he has not gotten much Heisman love as the Cardinals have stumbled to 7-4. Louisville’s regular-season finale against Kentucky is way down the list of the Saturday’s most important games, but maybe Jackson can draw some attention. It’ll be on the SEC Network.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
8 — Tennessee is trying to avoid its first eight-loss season in school history when it faces Vanderbilt. Also, both schools are trying to avoid finishing 0-8 in the SEC. The Volunteers have not finished winless in conference since 1933.
19– Combined number of runs of 50 yards or more for Stanford’s Bryce Love (11) and Notre Dame’s Josh Adams (eight). They are first and second in the country in that category. The eighth-ranked Irish are at No. 20 Stanford on Saturday night.
127 — Number of times No. 5 Wisconsin has played Minnesota, the most played series in FBS. The Badgers have won 13 straight, dating back to 2004.
1959 — The last time Florida and Florida State played when both teams had losing records. The Gators host the Seminoles, each dragging in 4-6 records.
UNDER THE RADAR
There are 70 teams already bowl eligible, having won six games, and eight more spots to fill. Four games this weekend are bowl play-in games, with each team sitting at 5-6:
— California at UCLA
— Colorado at Utah
— Indiana at Purdue
— Middle Tennessee at Old Dominion.
Ten other five-win teams play this weekend:
— Buffalo vs. Ohio
— Duke at Wake Forest
— Georgia Tech vs. Georgia
— Louisiana vs. Georgia Southern
— Louisiana Tech vs. UTSA
— Minnesota vs. Wisconsin
— Temple at Temple
— Texas Tech at Texas
— Tulane at SMU
— UNLV at Nevada
Also, Florida State, New Mexico State and Louisiana-Monroe are 4-6 with two games left. Florida State and Louisiana-Monroe play each other next week.
HOT SEAT WATCH
Coaches likely coaching their last games with current teams:
— Bret Bielema, Arkansas against Missouri.
— Mike Riley, Nebraska against Iowa.
— Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M against LSU.
— David Bailiff, Rice against North Texas.