Before there’s rivalry week, comes a set up week. For teams like Alabama, Oregon and Mississippi State, it’s just another easy weekend before the more tricky part up ahead. Florida State find themselves in a slightly more difficult situation, one that could end their undefeated season and their chances of making the college football playoff.
Alabama are playing Western Carolina, an FCS team. Oregon are at home against a 2-8 Colorado team. Mississippi State are at home to a 3-7 Vanderbilt team. Only Florida State, the number three team, have possibly a challenge on their hands, playing against a 6-4 Boston College team. A Boston College team that has bean USC at home and also lost by just four points to Clemson and are actually undefeated on the road. Tricky? The way FSU have been playing this season, everything is tricky.
Are we going to see a change? Not likely, but the only real difficulty could come in Tallahassee, and a one loss Florida State team is going to fall down a very long way down the committee rankings.
How about those doing the chasing? TCU aren’t playing, which means a convincing win from Baylor over Oklahoma State could give them an edge finally over a team they’ve actually beaten this season. Ohio State playing at home against Indiana have only something to lose in such a game, but it’s hard to believe that the Hoosiers, who did stun Missouri earlier this season, have another unlikely upset up their sleeve waiting to happen.
Ole Miss playing at Arkansas sounds like an interesting upset waiting to happen, especially after the way the Razorbacks handled LSU last weekend. But a win here or there won’t really change anything in the SEC West. If Ole Miss are going to keep their chances of somehow winning the division alive, because the committee loves them, they need a win on the road, and it’s not coming easy.
The Pac-12 South has a busy weekend: USC and UCLA clash swords with claws while Utah, a team that can’t win big but is tough as nails to beat, especially at home, are hosting Arizona. The big winners out of this one might be the Sun Devils, hosting a 3-7 Washington State playing without their starting quarterback. All five teams can still win the division. Utah can’t lose because they have three losses already.
Missouri have a tricky game on the road against Tennessee. Butch Jones would love a signature win and scalp for his program to show. Missouri, still leading the SEC East, can’t afford to lose, because Georgia aren’t playing any more conference games, having an FCS game followed by playing Georgia Tech.
And the Big Ten West? More head to head to head to head. One loss Wisconsin are coming to play at Iowa, who have two losses and need the win badly. Minnesota, still in the picture, are playing on the road against Nebraska. An Iowa win will really make things interesting for rivalry week.