Rivalry Weekend: The Games With The Biggest Playoff Implications
College football's regular season is coming to a close. For many teams, this weekend means they face their biggest rival to close out the season.
Most of these matchups mean very little in the context of the College Football Playoff, but there are a select few that do. Here are the big games to watch for this weekend.
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State - Saturday, November 28, 8:00 PM on ABC
The Bedlam Series. Both of these teams sit at 10-1. For Oklahoma, a win here would give the Sooners a Big 12 title. It would also almost guarantee Oklahoma keeps their place in the College Football Playoff, as they currently rank third. With a win, the only thing that could keep the Sooners out of the playoff is their lack of a conference championship game.
For Oklahoma State, a win could possibly mean a Big 12 title. But, that can only happen if Baylor loses to either TCU or Texas. Though the Cowboys are only a one-loss team, they are weakened by the fact that they didn't play an out-of-conference game against a Power 5 opponent.
Notre Dame at Stanford - Saturday, November 28, 7:30 PM on FOX
Notre Dame (10-1) has been knocked out of a Top 4 ranking. For two weeks, they held onto the fourth spot. This week, they were knocked down to sixth behind a resurgent Michigan State and an unbeaten Iowa. For the Fighting Irish, the game against Stanford (9-2, 8-1 Pac-12) this Saturday is their last chance to impress the playoff committee, as they don't have a conference championship to play in.
For Stanford, their chances of making it to the playoff look slim. They have two losses. But, beating Notre Dame would be impressive, and the Cardinals would have a chance to further improve their resume with a victory in the Pac-12 championship game.
Penn State at Michigan State - Saturday, November 28, 3:30 PM on ESPN
Last week, Michigan State got a big win over No. 3 Ohio State in Columbus. The victory earned the Spartans a spot at fifth in the playoff rankings. With a win over Penn State, Michigan State would secure the Big Ten East Division, pitting them against Iowa in the conference championship game.
If Michigan State were to win out, if would be hard for the committee to keep them from reaching the playoff.
Ohio State at Michigan - Saturday, November 28, 12:00 PM on ABC
This game is already big, but even bigger this year because both of these teams have had strong seasons and match up well. But, this game only has playoff relevance if Michigan State loses to Penn State. Otherwise, these teams will have no chance of making it to the Big Ten Championship Game.
Iowa at Nebraska - Friday, November 27, 3:30 PM on ABC
The playoff committee finally gave Iowa a spot in the Top 4. It took Ohio State losing, but the Hawkeyes are just now getting some respect. Iowa has clinched the Big Ten West, but they face a final test on the road against a struggling Nebraska team.
Iowa makes it to the Big Ten Championship regardless of the outcome this Friday, but it would be hard for the committee to include Iowa if they were to lose late to a weak opponent. If the Hawkeyes expect a guaranteed spot in the playoff, they must win out.