or
[[err]]
or
[[err]]
[[err]]

You are abbout to reset your password. Please fill in your email address and an email with further instructions will be sent to you.

CFB RIVALRY WEEK: WHAT'S AT STAKE

Auburn

Rivalry Week is a bittersweet time in college football: It's the last full weekend of games of the regular season, but it's also one of the best weekends of the season, with bonus football on Black Friday and a long list of high-profile games with high stakes attached.

From the playoff race to conference championships to bowl eligibility to rivalry bragging rights and trophies, something important is on the line in most Week 13 games. Here's everything to know about what's at stake this weekend.

Playoff race

If you'd like to cast a wide net with two weeks left, an argument can be made for perhaps 10 teams that have a chance to still make the playoff: Alabama, Clemson, Miami, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Auburn, Georgia, Ohio State, USC and TCU. Those 10 teams all have a 9 percent chance or better of making the playoff, according to FiveThirtyEight's playoff predictor (although USC, which doesn't play this week, in particular is a massive reach, given its blowout loss to 9-2 Notre Dame, which possibly still has a tiny bit of long shot hopes, too)

Alabama (11-0). The Crimson Tide play at Auburn on Saturday with the SEC West on the line. A loss at Jordan-Hare Stadium would cost Alabama a chance to win the SEC championship, but it wouldn't necessarily take it out of the playoff picture. It's undefeated right now, and an 11-1 Alabama, with a loss to a top-10 team, would still have an attractive playoff resume. It would take some help, probably in the form of a loss by one of the other current top five teams (Clemson, Miami, Oklahoma, Wisconsin) beyond the ACC title game.

Clemson (10-1). The selection committee has been forgiving of Clemson's loss to Syracuse in which QB Kelly Bryant was injured. If Clemson wins at South Carolina on Saturday and beats Miami in the ACC title game, it's a playoff lock. If it loses to South Carolina, a win over Miami would put it squarely on the bubble, in need of help.

Miami (10-0). The Hurricanes visit Pittsburgh, which has the same 4-7 record as the 2007 Pitt team that stunned No. 2 West Virginia, knocking the Mountaineers out of the BCS title hunt. A Miami loss is unlikely, of course, but it could possibly survive a loss, if it beats Clemson in the ACC championship game. The only way to leave no doubt is to win both.

Oklahoma (10-1). The Sooners won't start Heisman favorite Baker Mayfield after the Kansas controversy, but he's likely to play vs. West Virginia, which is missing starting QB Will Grier. Although Oklahoma already has locked up a spot in the Big 12 title game, its No. 4 ranking, entering Tuesday, means that a loss to the Mountaineers would be difficult to recover from.

Wisconsin (11-0). The Badgers are undefeated but were No. 5 in the top 25 last week. They probably can't afford a loss on Saturday to Minnesota, which is 5-6 and was just shut out by Northwestern. Given its weak schedule, the only way for Wisconsin to safely make the field is to go 13-0 with a Big Ten title, although it would still be in the mix if it lost to Minnesota and beat Ohio State.

Auburn (9-2). The top-two loss team, Auburn wins the SEC West if it upsets Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Its only possible playoff path is to beat Alabama, then beat Georgia in the SEC championship, so its playoff hopes are directly on the line in Rivalry Week.

Georgia (10-1). The Bulldogs lost to Auburn, but they're still guaranteed a spot in the SEC title game. A loss to Georgia Tech this week wouldn't completely eliminate them, but Georgia needs to beat the Yellow Jackets and beat either Alabama or Auburn in Atlanta to leave no doubt. It's hard to imagine a team losing two games in November and making the field.

Ohio State (9-2). After the Buckeyes were shut out in the playoff after not winning the Big Ten, there would be plenty of groaning if they become the first two-loss team to crash the playoff, especially given that they got blown out by both Oklahoma and Iowa. The path exists, though. It requires beating Michigan on Saturday, then beating Wisconsin in Indianapolis, with a little help plus some forgiveness for those ugly losses. They'll at least be in the conversation if they win out.

TCU (9-2). The Horned Frogs need to beat Baylor this week, and then they would need to win a rematch with Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game. While all that happens, they would need to hope for a whole lot of help that's highly unlikely.


Conference championship races

Nine of the 10 conferences (all but the Sun Belt) will stage a championship game next week. Of the 18 available spots, six are still open: the SEC West, Pac-12 North, AAC West, both MAC divisions and the second spot in the Big 12.

ACC. Clemson (Atlantic) and Miami (Coastal) have already clinched trips to Charlotte. For Miami, it will be its first in the game's 13th season.

Big 12. The first Big 12 title game since 2010 is guaranteed to feature a rematch with 10 teams and no divisions in the conference. Oklahoma (7-1) is a lock for a trip to Arlington. If TCU (6-2) beats Baylor, it will face the Sooners. If TCU loses, Iowa State (5-3) has a chance with several breaks. Oklahoma-TCU is a pretty safe bet.

Big Ten. Ohio State (East) and Wisconsin (West) already clinched spots in the conference title game in Indianapolis.

Pac-12. USC, which is off this week, will represent the South in Santa Clara. Stanford will represent the North if Washington beats Washington State on Saturday night. Washington State will represent the North if its beats Washington.

SEC. Georgia won the East for the first time since 2012 and will try to win the conference for the first time since 2005. Its opponent will be the winner of the Alabama-Auburn Iron Bowl on Saturday.

American. West champion Memphis will face the winner of Friday's UCF-South Florida game. Memphis needs a win over East Carolina and a South Florida win over UCF to likely host the AAC title game at the Liberty Bowl. If UCF wins, it will be in Orlando.

Conference USA. Florida Atlantic (East) and North Texas (West) have already clinched spots in the conference title game, which will be played on FAU's home field in Boca Raton. Lane Kiffin's Owls crushed the Mean Green 69-31 in October.

MAC. The MAC is the only conference with both championship game spots still open. Akron will win the East with a win over Kent State on Tuesday. If the Zips lose, Ohio advances with a win over Buffalo on Friday. In the West, Toledo is in with a win over Western Michigan on Friday. Northern Illinois needs a win at Central Michigan and a Rockets loss.

Mountain West. The two division winners will play twice in a row: Boise State (Mountain) visits Fresno State (West) to end the regular season on Saturday. Next week, they'll meet again, likely in Boise.

Sun Belt. The Sun Belt won't begin playing a conference championship game until 2018, and thus there are still two weeks of regular-season games left. There's currently a four-way tie for first at 5-1 between Troy, Arkansas State, Georgia State and Appalachian State. UL Lafayette is one game back at 4-2. The one matchup of the four first-place teams is Troy at Arkansas State on Dec. 2.


Bowl eligibility

There are 39 bowl games this season, meaning that there are 78 spots available for teams that win six games or more. Last year, a few sub-.500 teams were needed to fill out the 40 bowls, with the NCAA's APR metric used to send North Texas and Mississippi State. So far this season, there are 70 teams that have already reached bowl eligibility. The next two weeks -- there are few non-championship games on Dec. 2 that could have an impact -- are capable of filling out the remaining spots with no APR help. Twenty-one teams still have a chance to reach bowl eligibility, although some play each other.

ACC

Eligible (8): Miami, Clemson, Virginia Tech, N.C. State, Wake Forest, Louisville, Boston College, Virginia
On the bubble (3): Georgia Tech, Duke, Florida State
Clinched losing record (3): Syracuse, Pittsburgh, North Carolina

Florida State has the nation's longest bowl streak, having not missed the postseason since 1981. It rescheduled the canceled UL Monroe game for Dec. 2 and must beat Florida and the Warhawks the next two weeks to extend the streak. With bowl bids on the line Saturday, Georgia Tech hosts Georgia and Duke visits Wake Forest. Virginia already clinched bowl eligibility for the first time since 2011.

Big 12

Eligible (7): Oklahoma, TCU, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Iowa State, Texas, Kansas State
On the bubble (1): Texas Tech
Clinched losing record (2): Baylor, Kansas

Iowa State will go bowling for the first time since 2012. Texas Tech needs to beat Texas on Friday to avoid missing the potseason in back-to-back years for the first time since 1991-92.

Big Ten

Eligible (7): Wisconsin, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan, Northwestern, Iowa
On the bubble (3): Indiana, Purdue, Minnesota
Clinched losing record (4): Rutgers, Maryland, Nebraska, Illinois

Bowl eligibility will be on the line in the Indiana-Purdue rivalry showdown. Minnesota will have to beat undefeated Wisconsin for the first time since 2003 to go bowling in P.J. Fleck's debut.

Pac-12

Eligible (7): USC, Washington, Washington State, Stanford, Arizona, Oregon, Arizona State
On the bubble (4): California, UCLA, Colorado, Utah
Clinched losing record (1): Oregon State

Friday night's Cal-UCLA game and Saturday night's Colorado-Utah game are both play-ins for bowl season, so the Pac-12 will produce nine eligible teams.

SEC

Eligible (9): Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, LSU, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Missouri
On the bubble (0): None
Clinched losing record (5): Ole Miss, Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Arkansas

Ole Miss is the SEC's only five-win team entering Rivalry Week, but it is already banned from the postseason, so no bowl bids are at stake. Missouri recovered from a 1-5 start to win five in a row to clinch eligibility.

American

Eligible (6): UCF, Memphis, South Florida, Houston, Navy, SMU
On the bubble (2): Temple, Tulane
Clinched losing record (4): East Carolina, Connecticut, Cincinnati, Tulsa

Temple (at Tulsa) and Tulane (at SMU) will both have to win on the road to get to six wins. Tulane is seeking only its third bowl trip since going 12-0 in 1998.

Conference USA

Eligible (8): Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Marshall, UAB, Southern Miss, Florida International, UTSA, Western Kentucky
On the bubble (3): Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion
Clinched losing record (3): Charlotte, Rice, UTEP

Old Dominion and Middle Tennessee meet with six wins on the line in Murfreesboro. Louisiana Tech must beat UTSA. If there aren't enough bowl spots for the open teams, there's a good chance Conference USA teams would be left out, with at least nine teams guaranteed to be eligible.

MAC

Eligible (6): Toledo, Northern Illinois, Ohio, Central Michigan, Akron, Western Michigan
On the bubble (1): Buffalo
Clinched losing record (5): Miami (OH), Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green, Kent State, Ball State

Buffalo hosts MAC East heavyweight Ohio on Friday, needing a win as it searches for its third bowl trip ever.

Mountain West

Eligible (6): Boise State, San Diego State, Fresno State, Wyoming, Colorado State, Utah State
On the bubble (1): UNLV
Clinched losing record (5): Air Force, New Mexico, Hawaii, Nevada, San Jose State

UNLV has played in a bowl only once (2013) in the past 16 seasons. It will be playing for both the Fremont Cannon and bowl eligibility when it visits rival Nevada.

Sun Belt

Eligible (4): Troy, Arkansas State, Georgia State, Appalachian State
On the bubble (3): UL Lafayette, New Mexico State, UL Monroe
Clinched losing record (5): South Alabama, Idaho, Georgia Southern, Texas State, Coastal Carolina

New Mexico State is 4-6 with remaining homes games against Idaho and South Alabama. It is trying to go to a bowl for the first time since 1960. UL Monroe is also 4-6 with two games left, but it would have to beat both Sun Belt heavyweight Arkansas State and Florida State. UL Lafayette would become bowl-eligible with a win over Georgia Southern this week or Appalachian State next week.

Independents

Eligible (2): Notre Dame, Army
On the bubble (0): None
Clinched losing record (2): Massachusetts, BYU

Army already accepted an invitation to the Armed Forces Bowl, which means it will play in the postseason in back-to-back years for the first time since 1984-85.


Matt Brown
SportsonEarth.com

More from The Sports Page of Tomorrow - DailySpread.com