Few weeks in college football are better than rivalry week, and the 2015 version is one of the better rivalry weeks in college football history. With matchups that include several ranked teams facing one another, the consequences of a rivalry loss could be devastating for hopes of a berth in the College Football Playoff. And with the Thanksgiving holiday, this weekend gives us a couple more days of college football to enjoy.
#7 Baylor (9-1, 6-1) at #19 TCU (9-2, 6-2)
This game has lost a bit of its luster because the first-ranked Baylor offense will now turn to their third-string quarterback to lead the charge against TCU. Starter Seth Russell has a season-ending neck injury and backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham has a season-ending ankle injury. Sophomore quarterback Chris Johnson will get his first career start for the Bears, and will likely be facing TCU QB Trevone Boykin. The Horned Frogs have three marquee seniors that are giving it one last shot at a spot in a big bowl game, and a win over the Bears would be huge in helping accomplish that goal.
TCU 38 Baylor 28
#8 Ohio State (10-1, 6-1) at #10 Michigan (9-2, 6-1)
The Battle at the Bighouse features a coaching matchup of Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh, and Ohio State is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Michigan State. It was a loss that had Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliot questioning the play calling of Meyer and publicly stating that they will not be coming back for another year. The winner of this rivalry heads to the Big Ten Championship game — if the Spartans lose against Penn State. This game will offer a game full of emotion, on both sides, and it’s anybody’s game to win.
Ohio State 44 Michigan 43
#18 Ole Miss (8-3, 5-2) at #21 Mississippi State (8-3, 4-3)
The Land Shark versus the Cowbell, and a game with two in-state rivals that didn’t live up to the high expectations of being an SEC team. All that matters now is a rivalry victory and bragging rights for the next year, with the loser most likely playing in a somewhat meaningless bowl game. If the Rebels pull off the victory, there is still hope that they could face Florida in the SEC Championship game with an Alabama loss to their rival Auburn.
Ole Miss 31 Mississippi St. 24
#13 Florida State (9-2, 6-2) at #12 Florida (10-1, 7-1)
Another rivalry game with epic implications, especially with the ugly losses that the Gators have had in their last three games. If the Gators want to stay in the CFP hunt, they need to come out and shred the Seminoles. A huge win in this game would give Florida momentum as they head into the SEC Championship game, but a loss would ensure the Gators’ being eliminated altogether. This win means just as much to Florida State, but they have no real chance at making it to the College Football Playoff, unless the committee pulls a move like they did last season with Ohio State. Florida State won’t have the benefit of playing in the ACC Championship game though, but a win is very important for both of these higher ranked teams.
Florida 17 Florida State 15
#6 Notre Dame (10-1) at #9 Stanford (9-2, 8-1)
This might be the game of the week and both teams have what it takes to get into the CFP. Both Stanford and Notre Dame can run the ball and throw when they need to, but the difference will be who can stop the run on the defensive side of the ball. Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey has 1,546 rushing yards and seven touchdowns but the leader in rushing touchdowns for the Cardinal is Remound Wright with 12. C.J. Prosise leads the Fighting Irish rushing attack and has tallied 1,029 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.
Stanford 38 Notre Dame 31
#3 Oklahoma (10-1, 7-1) at #11 Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1)
This rivalry is known by one word — Bedlam — and Oklahomans are on one side or the other; there is no in between when these teams are involved. Having a rooting interest is important and all you have to do is ask someone from Oklahoma to truly understand what this game means to the state. The Cowboys are coming off of a disappointing loss to Baylor and the Sooners off a win against TCU. If Oklahoma State wins the game, they need Baylor to lose against TCU or Texas in their last two games to clinch the Big 12. If Oklahoma wins, they would clinch the Big 12 and would likely be headed to a College Football Playoff spot, but we have seen weirder things happen this time of year.
Oklahoma 49 Oklahoma State 35
Other Games Worthy of Watching
Apple Cup – #20 Washington State at Washington (Friday @ 12:30 p.m. PST on FOX)
Civil War – Oregon State at #17 Oregon (Friday @ 1:oo p.m. PST on FS1)