By Ryan Mayer, CBS Local Sports
After you’ve eaten your weight in turkey and stuffing, and after you’ve fought your way through the crowds to get that extra 10% off your Christmas shopping on Black Friday, you’ll need a break. Friday and Saturday are days to sit back, relax, recover/nurse those injuries from going a bit too hard in the Thanksgiving day football game and watch some college football. Week 13 of the college football slate delivers a heaping helping of good games to watch.
Friday 12 pm ET (ABC) – #16 Navy at #19 Houston
The Midshipmen can do something they’ve never before accomplished in the program’s illustrious history: win a division championship. If they beat Houston on Saturday, Navy will do just that and clinch a spot in the American Athletic Conference title game. I wrote a lot about coach Ken Niumatalolo last week, and here I have to focus on a guy who should be getting more mention in the Heisman race: QB Keenan Reynolds. Reynolds has rushed for over 1,000 yards and 18 TD’s in the Midshipmen’s triple-option attack and continues to just rack up the records.
On the other side, Houston is smarting after a loss to UConn last weekend. The Cougars’ QB’s are banged up as Greg Ward Jr. missed the UConn game and his back-up Kyle Potsma came up limping late in the game against the Huskies. The Cougars need a win to be in position to play for the conference title.
Saturday 12 pm ET (ABC) – #3 Ohio State at #12 Michigan
Believe it or not, the Wolverines still have a chance to win the Big Ten East and play for the conference title in Indianapolis. They would need to beat their hated rival Buckeyes and then hope for some help from Penn State later Saturday night as they play Michigan State. Jim Harbaugh’s team is built to play shut down physical defense, and run the ball down your throat on offense. That said, QB Jake Rudock is the main reason for Michigan’s improvement this season. The transfer from Iowa has been very good the last three weeks – throwing for 10 TD’s and just 2 INT’s in three wins during a stretch when the Wolverines have averaged 41 points.
For the Buckeyes, their conference title hopes rely on Michigan State losing and them winning this game, though there’s plenty of dissension in the locker room. Can Urban Meyer get his team refocused and back on track? We shall see.
Saturday 3:30 pm ET (CBS) – #2 Alabama at Auburn
I know, I know. “Ryan, Auburn has been terrible this year. Why do I have to watch this game?” Well, dear reader, I’m glad you asked. The answer is simple: anything can happen in rivalry games. Need proof? Ask the Sooners about their beat down at the hands of a terrible Texas team earlier this year. Or talk to the Buckeyes about how they lost to a Spartans team using their two back-up QB’s. Or, just go back a couple years in this game.
Will this game be a blowout? Possibly. But, if there’s even a 0.02% chance of that type of thing happening? I’m watching.
Saturday 7:30 PM ET (FOX) – #4 Notre Dame at #11 Stanford
This game still has some College Football Playoff implications. Stanford’s loss two weeks ago to Oregon puts a slight damper on it due to the Cardinal being more than likely out of the running for the Final Four. But, the Irish are still very much in the mix. Notre Dame will be dealing with two more key injuries, though, as RB CJ Prosise went down with a high ankle sprain, and CB KeiVarae Russell is out for the season following a right tibia fracture. Will the injuries finally take their toll?
Saturday 8 pm ET (ABC) – #7 Oklahoma at #6 Oklahoma State
Bedlam. Rivalry weekend ends with two of the Big 12’s best teams going at it in Stillwater. The Big 12 is another conference that is hoping for some help in order to get a spot in the playoff. These two teams are actually the two “best” defensive units in the conference which could make for more of a defensive struggle than we’re used to seeing from the Big 12. Though the Cowboys did just give up 700 yards to Baylor’s 2nd and 3rd string QB’s. So, maybe just be ready for a shootout anyway?
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.