MotSaG Bowl Guide 5: Assignment Miami Beach

Well, this is it. These last few days of bowl action bring us not only the National Championship, but also some other pretty intriguing match ups that don’t mean anything as well as two games trying to leech some of that NFL playoff audience.

Thursday
8:30p

Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Alabama. While the Crimson Tide hasn’t beaten the Sooners in over 50 years, Nick Saban has beaten Bob Stoops, in the Sugar Bowl. That game was for a national title, though, and Saban is far better in title games than he is in other BCS bowls. Then again, Stoops has been notoriously bad in BCS bowls of nearly every variety, with at least one loss in the Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and BCS National Championship games. (ESPN)

Friday
8:00p

Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Missouri. As former conference-mates in the old Big Twelve, these two have played each other more often than probably any other pair of bowl opponents this year. The Tigers lead the overall series 28-23, but the Cowboys have won four of the last five. Obligatory Program Cover Art. (Fox)

8:30p

Orange Bowl: Ohio State vs. Clemson. The only other time these two played was 35 years ago. You know what happened. Since then, each team has had five head coaches. Ohio State has gone 14-16 in bowls. Clemson has gone 12-14. Ohio State is 18-16-1 against arch-rivals Michigan and has won 14 conference titles. Clemson is 21-13-1 against arch-rivals South Carolina and has won 7 conference titles. This year, both teams feature high-powered offenses and suspect defenses. That said, both teams rank in the top 21 in scoring defense in the country. This is going to be interesting. (ESPN)

Saturday
1:00p

BBVA Compass Bowl: Houston vs. Vanderbilt. This is last year that BBVA Compass will sponsor the Birmingham Bowl, so I thought I’d look them up and see who they are, since it’s not exactly obvious unless they make compasses. They don’t. (ESPN)

Sunday
9:00p

Go Daddy Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Ball State. Look: I’m tired, you’re tired. Neither one of us is watching this game. Let’s just move on with our lives. (ESPN)

Monday
8:30p

BCS National Championship: Florida State vs. Auburn. It’s the final game of the BCS Era, and I couldn’t be happier to see it go. As much as I hate to cheer for the Seminoles, it would be a fitting end for the convoluted championship system if FSU could beat an SEC team, simultaneously ending that conference’s (and the state of Alabama’s) streak of titles and avenging their own loss to the SEC’s Tennessee in the first BCS title game. (ESPN)

MotSaG Bowl Guide, Episode IV: A New Hope

Happy New Year! It’s time once again for the Big Ten/SEC football challenge. Since the mid-90s, both Capital One Bowl and the Outback Bowl have matched up the two conferences, and the Gator Bowl joined in the fun with their 2011 game. The overall record is SEC 25, Big Ten 17. Last year, the SEC went 2-1 in these games, with a combined score of 98-93. All three of the Big Ten representatives this year won their most recent appearance in their bowl.

So far this bowl season, the Big Ten is 0-2 (0-4 if you count incoming B1GGIES Rutgers and Maryland) so the conference could use some good fortune today.

Wednesday
Noon

Gator Bowl: Nebraska vs. Georgia. Interestingly, this is a rematch of last year’s Capital One Bowl, which Georgia won by 14 points. In each of the past five seasons, Nebraska has lost exactly 4 games. Since they’ve already lost 4 this year, they are scientifically required to win this game. Congrats, Huskers! (ESPN2)

Heart of Dallas Bowl: North Texas vs. UNLV. In three attempts, North Texas has been unable to beat UNLV. However, they’ve never played in a bowl and their last game was in the year 2000. (ESPNU)

1:00p

Capital One Bowl: Wisconsin vs. South Carolina. Wisconsin’s three losses are by a combined 16 points to teams who have lost an average of 3 games each. South Carolina’s two losses are by a combined 13 points to teams who have lost an average of 5.5 games each. Wisconsin also has the clear advantage on paper, and is a slight favorite in the game. South Carolina is ranked #9. Wisconsin is ranked #19. There is no SEC bias though. (ABC)

Outback Bowl: Iowa vs. LSU. The Hawkeyes beat the Tigers 30-25 in the 2005 Capital One Bowl. Obligatory Program Cover Art (with fish). (ESPN)

5:00p

Rose Bowl: Michigan State vs. Stanford. In the past seven years, the Rose Bowl has featured either Wisconsin or USC six times. The Big Ten lost all six of those games. But in the one game that featured neither of those teams, the Big Ten won! You can’t argue with that! Sparty YES! (ESPN)

8:30p

Fiesta Bowl: Baylor vs. UCF. In keeping with this year’s tradition of finishing the night with a stinker of a game, here’s this thing. It’s almost physically impossible for this game to be intriguing. Even if it is competitive, it’s still not that interesting. This drawing of a bear fighting a knight is pretty cool though. (ESPN)

MotSaG Bowl Guide 3-D

Well, we’ve finally made it to the end of the year! We’re almost to the bowls that people actually care about, but first we’ve got to wade through a couple days of games that all sound the same, featuring match-ups we wouldn’t watch if the end of the college football season weren’t so frighteningly imminent.

Monday
11:45a

Armed Forces Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. Navy. The Armed Forces Bowl is different from the Military Bowl, I guess. I mean, it at least has an actual service academy playing in it, even though that’s not a requirement. I’m so confused. (ESPN)

3:15p

Music City Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Mississippi. Keep an eye on whoever takes home MVP honors in this game. They’ll most likely end up playing for a terrible NFL team, like former winners Jason Campbell, Zac Stacy, C.J. Spiller, and William Green. (ESPN)

6:45p

Alamo Bowl: Oregon vs. Texas. The first time these two played was early December, 1941. The Longhorns thrashed the Ducks 71-7. Texas kicked Oregon around a few more times in the mid-twentieth century, before dropping the 2000 Holiday Bowl to the boys from Eugene. Can the ducks keep their mediocre mid-tier magic alive this year? Obligatory Program Cover Art. (ESPN)

10:15p

Holiday Bowl: Arizona State vs. Texas Tech. Head coaches Todd Graham and Kliff Kingsbury have faced off before. As an offensive assistant at Houston, Kingsbury had a hand in the 70-30 beatdown of Graham’s 2008 Tulsa team. They split the next two meetings (both razor-close) before their coaching paths diverged. Tonight, they meet again. Will Graham finally avenge that humiliating defeat or will he be out-handsomed once more? (ESPN)

Tuesday
12:30p

Independence Bowl: Arizona vs. Boston College. When the Wildcats and Eagles face off, you know it’s Arizona and Boston College getting together. Or Kentucky and Eastern Michigan. Or Northwestern and Southern Mississippi. Or Kansas State and Eastern Washington. Or Bethune-Cookman and Georgia Southern. Or Villanova and Morehead State. (ESPN)

2:00p

Sun Bowl: UCLA vs. Virginia Tech. A Bruin is a bear. A Hokie is a made up word, but apparently they’ve decided it’s some kind of turkey. So here you go: Turkey Bear. (CBS)

4:00p

Liberty Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Rice. No, the Liberty Bowl is not the Independence Bowl. Nor is it the Freedom Bowl, which existed for a little while in the ’90s, before folding into the Holiday Bowl. Nor is it the Emancipation Bowl, the Autonomy Bowl or the Sovereignty Bowl. Seriously, how many bowls are there? (ESPN)

8:00p

Peach Bowl: Duke vs. Texas A&M. It’s the last hurrah for Johnny Football, who is probably going to put up about a zillion yards on the Blue Devils’ 71st-ranked pass defense in what is essentially his Pro Day. (ESPN)

MotSaG Bowl Guide, Part II: For a Few Dollars More

You might notice a common thread in our second batch of post-season offerings: they’re all on ESPN. In fact, all but 2 of the 36 total bowl games are on an ABC/ESPN network and the Worldwide Leader in Conflicts of Interest owns eight bowls outright, with another two on the way next year. It means whatever you think you means.

Thursday
6:00p

Little Caesars Bowl: Bowling Green vs. Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh notched a pair of wins over the Falcons in 1999/2000, while Bowling Green won the most recent matchup in 2008. Obligatory Program Cover Art. (ESPN)

9:30p

Poinsettia Bowl: Northern Illinois vs. Utah State. These two teams played in 1995, with Utah State winning 42-7. Ingesting a poinsettia could cause vomiting and diarr–oh wait, I think this part was for the Little Caesars Bowl. (ESPN)

Friday
2:30

Military Bowl: Marshall vs. Maryland. MARSHALL! MARYLAND! MILITARY! That’s my pitch for the ad campaign for this game, starring Terry Crews as a turtle and Zach Galifianakis as the buffalo or whatever it’s a herd of that’s thundering. They would both be dressed in fatigues. Give me money. (ESPN)

6:00p

Texas Bowl: Minnesota vs. Syracuse. Nothing says “Texas” like Minnesota and Syracuse. The Gophers hold the 3-1 all-time edge over the Orange, and this is an orange tie with gophers on it. (ESPN)

9:30p

Fight Hunger Bowl: BYU vs. Washington. Washington is 65-34 all-time vs. teams named “Cougars,” while BYU is 4-4 against teams named “Huskies,” all eight of those games being against Washington. What does it all mean? NO MORE HUNGER! (ESPN)

Saturday
Noon

Pinstripe Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Rutgers. These two teams have played four times, and Rutgers only scored in one of those games. When I searched for “Irish Knight,” I got this. Someone get Nolan on the phone! (ESPN)

3:20p

Belk Bowl: Cincinnati vs. North Carolina. The Bearcats haven’t had much luck against the Tarheels, losing by 21 and 35 in their previous two meetings (1979 & 1991). There are no Belk stores in Ohio, but if you like unnecessary z’s, you can buy a pair of these online. They were literally the only product that came up when I searched for “Ohio.” (ESPN)

6:45p

Russell Athletic Bowl: Louisville vs. Miami. Back in mid-October, you could have made an argument for these two teams to play for the national title. Oh well, lots of teams don’t get to play for the title. Enjoy your lousy bowl, jerks. (ESPN)

10:15p

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Kansas State vs. Michigan. While it’s unclear whether or not Brady Hoke realizes that his team has not been invited to play in an enormous bowl of actual buffalo wings, we do know that he has expertly executed his five-year plan so far by landing the Wolverines in three consecutive food-related bowls. (ESPN)

MotSaG Bowl Guide, Part I

Bowl Season starts this Saturday, and I know you’re all psyched to pretend you might watch Louisiana-Lafayette play Tulane. But be honest, if I told you they’ve played twice already this year, you wouldn’t know for sure if that’s true or not.

Saturday
2:00p

New Mexico Bowl: Colorado State vs. Washington State. The Rams take on the Cougars for the first time ever. I don’t know if this is the cover of the game program, but it should be. Combined, these two teams give up nearly 900 yards per game. Bowls! (ESPN)

3:30p

Las Vegas Bowl: Fresno State vs. USC. Believe it or not, this game will serve as the rubber match for a series that includes a 1992 Bulldog win in the Freedom Bowl and a 2005 Trojan win. Here is a picture of a Trojan Bulldog (or, if the file name is to be believed, a Spartan Bulldog). Why? (ABC)

5:30p

Idaho Potato Bowl: Buffalo vs. San Diego State. The Bulls and the Aztecs have never played each other, but they did both play Ohio State this year. Watch our first two opponents battle it out for a trophy that I hope is shaped like this. Yum! (ESPN)

9:00p

New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Tulane. At least the Ragin’ Cajuns and Green Wave know how to come up with original team names. No tigers or wildcats here. But that also means no weird mashup pic from Google Image Search. I did, however, find that Cajun Wave is a defunct barbecue restaurant in Stowell, Texas, just down the street from Winnie Church of Christ, which probably doesn’t have anything to do with these folks, but I’m pretending it does. (ESPN)

Monday
2:00p

St. Petersburg Bowl: East Carolina vs. Ohio. The Pirates already have two victories over the Bobcats from the late ’90s when the school was transitioning from independence to Conference USA. If you’re going to the game, print out this handy map of Metro routes and don’t get Volkovskaya confused with Moskovskaya. (ESPN)

Tuesday
8:00p

Hawaii Bowl: Boise State vs. Oregon State. The Broncos lead this series 3-2, but all of those games happened in September in that weird northwestern part of the United States. This is in Hawaii, in what would be December if they had that in Hawaii. (ESPN)

The Spread: Prediction Clearinghouse

As you know, I like to predict things–often with little to no substantiation. I get away with this baseless speculation because I do it for free. If I were some professional working for, say, ESPN, I would be held accountable for my prog–what? No one holds them to any sort of standard either? Huh.

But I’m not one to sweep my failures under the rug, so let’s take a look at some things I predicted this year, and how they turned out (so far):

B1G Newbies:

Back in February, I took a shot at guessing how the two new conference head coaches would fare in their opening season. I thought Wisconsin would take a small step back under Gary Andersen and go 6-6. Instead, they went 9-3 and one of those was the Arizona State loss where what should have been a last-second Badger field goal attempt disintegrated into mass confusion thanks to probably the worst performance by officials ever. That was one of the losses I picked, though, so there’s that. I also correctly picked the Ohio State and Penn State losses.

On the other side of that coin is Purdue’s Darrell Hazell, who I thought would go 4-8. Instead, the Boilermakers won a single game, against Indiana State. Obviously, I had them winning that game too, but also thought they’d handle Northern Illinois, Regular Illinois and Indiana–games they lost by a combined 55 points.

Fraud Teams:

Faring much better was my annual Fraud list of teams that were undefeated after five weeks only to lose at least five games the rest of the season. Missouri and Houston managed to get themselves off the list by the Week 11 update, and of the six remaining teams, four have already lost their fifth game and Washington needs to beat BYU next Friday to avoid going full Fraud this year. The only team that won’t hit five losses is UCLA, who was almost left off the update. All in all, a pretty successful year for the Fraud List.

The Spread: The More Things Change

On January 7, Florida State will take on Auburn for the final BCS National Championship. The Seminoles played an SEC team (Tennessee) in the first-ever BCS title game too. Like this year’s FSU team, the ’98 Volunteers were the only remaining undefeated major conference team. Like this year’s Ohio State team, the ’98 Buckeyes missed out on a shot at the title because they lost to Michigan State. Ohio State was the preseason #1 team in the 1998 AP poll, but ended up playing in the Sugar Bowl against a team from the Big 12, just like this year’s preseason #1 AP team Alabama will.

At the time, the BCS was an exciting prospect. After years of split national titles decided entirely by polls, we were finally going to get a True National Champion, decided on the field of play, as it should be. Of course, the convoluted and amorphous gel of human polls, computer rankings and bonus points left us unsatisfied. Sure, it turned in a gem of a season finale from time to time, but more often than not, when that last piece of confetti was vacuumed off the field turf, we were left with more questions than answers.

During the BCS era, we’ve seen the sport undergo even more radical changes–from the functional (instant replay) to the philosophical (read-option) to the structural (realignment). Three of the eleven conferences that made up Division IA football (now the FBS) in 1998 no longer exist. The WAC had 16 teams back then. It has 0 now. There was no Mountain West. There was a Sun Belt, but they didn’t play football then. There was a Big East, but they don’t play football now.

In 1998, there were 22 bowl games. Now there are 35. Next year: 39.

A microcosm of the shifting world of college football comes in the form of the Big 12. At the end of 1998, they had five ranked teams: Kansas State, Texas A&M, Texas, Nebraska and Missouri. Three of those teams are no longer in the conference. Neither is Colorado. Baylor was the worst team in the conference in 1998, winning just two games by a combined 10 points. This year, they won the Big 12 with just a single loss and posted a national best 53.3 points per game.

Next year, the College Football Playoff begins and with it a whole new host of arguments and controversies and spats over regional bias and schedule strength. Those things will probably never go away–not until football gets its own version of March Madness. When that day comes, someone will ponder over the four- and eight-team eras. They’ll marvel at how undefeated teams used to regularly get shut out of the national title picture, often before any games had even been played. They’ll remind us that Conference USA used to play at the same level as the Pac-16 (which only had twelve teams back then). They’ll say: Baylor used to be good. Really good.

They’ll say: Michigan State knocked us out of the title game in 2013 too.

MotSaG TV Guide: Championship Week

It’s finally time to settle up all the conference scores and find out what the last installment of the BCS will look like. Some conferences don’t have championship games, of course, so here is your guide to every game that will have an impact.

Sun Belt Championship

Saturday, 8:00p: Louisiana-Lafayette @ South Alabama. The Cajuns just need to win here for sole ownership of the title. Even if they don’t, they still have the head-to-head win over second place Arkansas State, which I guess could come into play for a bowl or something. Here’s a treat for anyone still reading this. (GamePlan/espn3)

Conference USA Championship

Saturday, Noon: Marshall @ Rice. Marshall lost in three overtimes to Virginia Tech back when Virginia Tech was still maybe good. Rice beat Kansas, which I guess isn’t really that impressive. (ESPN2)

Mountain West Championship

Saturday, 10:00p: Utah State @ Fresno State. Utah State kind of rode an easy conference schedule to a division title that should probably be Boise State’s. If this is a good game, I’ll be stunned. Still, it will make a nice nightcap if nothing has happened to make you not want to watch more football. (CBS)

AAC Championship

Thursday, 7:30p: Louisville @ Cincinnati. The winner has a shot at a split title with UCF, who only holds a head-to-head win over Louisville. That means there could be a mess if Cincy wins and UCF loses. (ESPN)

Saturday, Noon: UCF @ SMU. UCF just needs to win and they get the BCS bid. If they lose, they’ll still get it over Louisville, but if the Cardinals lose to Cincy, the bid would probably go to the higher-ranked team. Cincy is sitting just outside the top 25 right now while UCF is at #15, so it’s hard to say who would come out on top in this scenario. (ESPN)

MAC Championship

Friday, 8:00p: Bowling Green vs. Northern Illinois. That other undefeated team has one more hurdle before busting the BCS for the second straight season. Bowling Green got shredded by Indiana, but has been on a hot streak lately, giving up just 17 points in 4 games in November. (ESPN2)

Big 12 Championship

Saturday, Noon: Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State. The Sooners can’t capture the league title for themselves, but a win here opens the door for the Texas/Baylor winner. If Oklahoma State wins, they hold head-to-head wins over both the Longhorns and the Bears. (ABC)

Saturday, 3:30p: Texas @ Baylor. There’s nothing to add here; the winner will take the BCS bid if Oklahoma can beat Oklahoma State. (Fox)

Pac-12 Championship

Saturday, 7:45p: Stanford @ Arizona State. There’s nothing on the line here besides the Rose Bowl bid, which of course is huge. That game is likely to be against Michigan State, whether they win the Big Ten or not. (ESPN)

SEC Championship

Saturday, 4:00p: Auburn vs. Missouri. I’m taking the Tigers in this oneHAHAHAHA HAHAHA HAHAHA HAHA HA HA. Ahem. Anyway, maybe it’s just the schadenfreude talking, but I’m more impressed with Missouri this year than I am with Auburn. I’m wondering if the “Kick Six” attention and national title arguments might distract Auburn this week and cause one of those post-upset stumbles we see so much.

This game has national title implications if Florida State or Ohio State loses. (CBS)

ACC Championship

Saturday, 8:00p: Duke vs. Florida State. Has anyone ever heard a sweeter phrase than “Beat Duke at football and you’re in the national title game?” Probably not. I’m not even sure if overlooking the Blue Devils would make a difference. I mean no offense, it’s just that these two teams seem light years apart. (ABC)

Big Ten Championship

Saturday, 8:00p: Ohio State vs. Michigan State. Easily the most important game of the week. If Michigan State wins, about a hundred teams (including the entire SEC) will be clamoring for that national title spot. (Fox)

The Spread, Week 15: Auburnt

As expected, we are now down to just two undefeated major conference teams. All that hand-wringing over how we would deal with the glut of perfect seasons seems silly now. Assuming both Florida State and Ohio State take care of business (which is a big assumption, at this point), the national title game matchup is an obvious choice, right?

Of course not.

Those in SEC country are having a hard time dealing with the fact that they very likely will not have at least one representative in the national game for the first time in eight seasons. Auburn AD Jay Jacobs is going full Kubler-Ross on this one, already covering denial (“A one-loss SEC [champ] can’t get left out. It’s impossible.”) and anger, calling the potential snub a “disservice to the nation.” Baby steps, Jay, baby steps.

Auburn has a devastating 14-point loss to 9-3 LSU on their resume though, and that’s going to be enough to keep them out if they don’t get help. That help would almost have to come from Michigan State, since the only other possibility is Duke beating Florida State, which isn’t even a sentence I should have to type about football. I mean, it would be awesome, but let’s not get crazy.

And should the Spartans be victorious Saturday night (which is entirely possible), then shouldn’t they finally enter the conversation? Mark Dantonio thinks so, and I agree. They have a dominant defense that has held half of their opponents under seven points. No one has scored more than 28 on them, and the two times that happened, the Spartans put up 40+ of their own.

By contrast, Auburn held only Western Carolina to less than seven points and gave up 28+ four times. Six of their eleven wins are by fewer than 10 points, and again, their loss was by 14. Michigan State won every game by at least 10, and only lost by 4, to a Notre Dame team that is only one game worse–record-wise–than LSU.

It’s actually Missouri (Auburn’s SEC championship opponent who just might make all this discussion irrelevant) that has a good argument to be favored over Michigan State. Missouri’s loss is a three-point double-overtime drop to 10-2 South Carolina and occurred without their starting QB in the lineup. Missouri has been far more dominant than Auburn, winning only once by fewer than 10 points. I would still give the nod to Michigan State if that were the choice, but it would be a little tougher.

But why stop there? It’s not like Alabama has reason to believe that winning their own division should be a pre-requisite to a national title berth, so even they have come up with a way to get back in the picture. You might think that a rematch of the most thrilling upset of the season would make a great national title game. It wouldn’t. We just did this. Have you forgotten?

As much as the common sports fan thinks he doesn’t want to see Ohio State in the national championship game, it is our duty to spare them from these other, far less desirable scenarios. We must beat Michigan State on Saturday. Not doing so would be a disservice to the nation.

MotSaG TV Guide: Rivalry Week

It’s rivalry week! We’re forgoing predictions this week, because–as you know–rivalry week is when we throw out all the record books! Which is a pretty wasteful tradition, since we then have to buy all new record books next week.

Thursday

7:30pm

The Egg Bowl: Ole Miss @ Mississippi State. In 1907, the two teams played a muddy and scoreless first half. Ole Miss coach Frank Mason gave his team coffee at halftime to try to warm them up. Oh, and the coffee had whiskey in it because 1907. The second half didn’t go so well for Ole Miss, and they lost 15-0. Mason lost his job after telling a reporter he hoped he never saw the team again. (ESPN)

Texas Tech @ Texas. This game doesn’t have a cool name or a rich history, but the winner does take home gold and silver spurs, a tradition that has been around since 1996. Also around since 1996: The Backstreet Boys. (FS1)

Friday

Noon

Iowa @ Nebraska. As a fan blog for a Big Ten member school, we are obligated under Big Ten Digital Media Guideline 192.02.13.05(c) to remind you that the University of Iowa Hawkeyes and the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers are rivals in the sport of Men’s Football. Please consume this game accordingly. (ABC)

3:00pm

The Shula Bowl: Florida International @ Florida Atlantic. Yes, that is the actual nickname for this game, a reference to each school’s tangential ties to ex-Dolphins coach Don Shula, whose name also appears on the trophy awarded to the winner. Shula. (FS1)

3:30pm

The Apple Cup: Washington State @ Washington. This series is so old that the first game was a 5-5 tie witnessed by 1500 people, and the original Governor’s Trophy awarded to the winner went missing for 50 years. In 2008, the teams had one win between them heading into the game, which then prolonged the agony into double overtime. (Fox)

7:00pm

The Civil War: Oregon State at Oregon. After a 1937 victory, Beaver fans understandably partied well into the night. Upon waking up the next morning, they were still in a celebratory mood, so they proceeded to caravan to Eugene, where things got really out of hand: water balloons, tomatoes, attempted drowning, public humiliation–you know, COLLEGE. Read all about these lunatics here. (FS1)

Saturday

Noon

Florida State @ Florida. What better way to crush a rival than to ruin their national championship run the week after losing to Georgia Southern? You scoff, but maybe that was the Gators’ plan all along.

Maybe?

Of note: Florida State has lost to an unranked team each of the past 12 seasons. This is their last chance to do so this year. (ESPN)

The Game: Ohio State, away. There was a time not so long ago when everyone was talking about the possibility of an instant rematch in the Big Ten Championship Game. Now, even with an unlikely win here, Michigan can finish no better than fourth in the Legends division. (ABC)

2:30pm

The Bayou Classic: Grambling @ Southern. The only regularly-televised FCS game, this is the most even rivalry here, currently sitting at 30-30 overall (20-19 in Grambling’s favor since adopting the Bayou Classic name). (NBC)

3:30 pm

The Iron Bowl: Alabama @ Auburn. It’s probably the biggest edition of the long-running rivalry ever, and definitely the most important game of the weekend. Despite being a double-digit underdog, Auburn has a decent shot of dethroning Alabama. With the Buckeyes and Seminoles wrapping up as this game kicks off, all eyes will be on the Tigers and the Tide. (CBS)

Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate: Georgia @ Georgia Tech. Tech’s fight song features the line “To Hell with Georgia,” so you know this is a legit rivalry. The Yellow Jackets have only beaten the Bulldogs once in the past twelve years, but UGA is a battered, struggling team this year. (ABC)

7:00pm

The Palmetto Bowl: Clemson @ South Carolina. Much like our own beloved rivalry with that school up north, this one has its roots outside of sports. It’s much too complex to cover here, but suffice it to say: Do. Not. Agitate. Farmers. (ESPN2)

8:00pm

UCLA @ USC. You drive further to work than these two teams travel when they play each other. Separated by only 12 miles, the Bruins and Trojans are not really separated at all, the only major college football rivals who share a city. Imagine if you were surrounded by Wal-Mart Wolverines everywhere you went, every day. These two fan bases deserve our respect for the very fact that any of them are still alive. (ABC)

9:30pm

The Duel in the Desert: Arizona @ Arizona State. The Territorial Cup is the oldest trophy in college football, and the gridiron battle for it led to Arizona State becoming an official university (their 47-0 thrashing of Arizona helped persuade voters) and inspired the creation of the Fiesta Bowl (after Arizona coach Darrell Mudra essentially forced the Sun Bowl to select his team regardless of whether they beat Arizona that year, which they did not). Starting in 2009, the Territorial Cup became an all-sport trophy, which is an awesome idea that every major rivalry should steal. (Pac-12 Network)