With Rivalry Week on the horizon next week, college football’s undefeated teams may be looking ahead.
No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 TCU had to endure some tight calls Saturday.
Ohio State fended off a furious late rally from Maryland to win 43-30, Michigan beat Illinois 19-17 with a field goal with 9 seconds to go, and TCU beat Baylor 29-28 with their own field goal in last second through.
Even No. 1 Georgia had an unconvincing 16-6 win over Kentucky. In the end, everyone managed to enter a high-stakes regular-season finals weekend.
But tonight the spotlight moves to the Pac-12.
USC is the only team from the conference remaining in the college football playoff race, and its challenging final leg begins Saturday night with a trip across town to UCLA.
There’s also another excellent matchup in Eugene as Oregon host Utah, with significant Pac-12 title implications at stake.
We also keep No. 5 Tennessee engaged in a battle near South Carolina.
(Note: All times ET, odds from BetMGM)
Time: 7:30 p.m. | Television: SECN | Line: Ole Miss -2.5 | Total: 64
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin came so close to defeating his former Alabama boss Nick Saban, but the Rebels fell 30-24 in heartbreaking fashion. Now the 8-2 Rebels are eliminated from the SEC West contest and must make a trip to face Arkansas. A night game in Fayetteville is never easy, and Ole Miss will likely try to lean heavily on his running game, as he has done all year. Arkansas, meanwhile, is only 5-5 a year and needs to pull through the upset and clinch bowl eligibility.
Time: 8 p.m. | TV: Fox | Line: USC-2.5 | Total: 75.5
It’s a big weekend in the Pac-12 as USC is the conference’s last remaining contender for the playoffs. USC’s offense, led by quarterback Caleb Williams, is playing at a high level. Not his defense. Things have developed similarly for UCLA. The Bruins, still struggling to reach the Pac-12 title game, have an excellent running game led by QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson and RB Zach Charbonnet. These two need to have big nights for UCLA to overcome the excitement, especially given how the defense has struggled in recent weeks.
Time: 10:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN | Line: Utah -1.5 | Total: 61.5
Like the USC-UCLA game, this Pac-12 title race matchup is huge. Both Utah and Oregon are 6-1 in conference play, a half game behind 7-1 USC and a game ahead of UCLA and Washington, both 5-2.
QB injuries are heavily considered in this case. While Utah QB Cam Rising appears to be back after missing a game a few weeks ago, Oregon’s Bo Nix is much more of a question mark. He appeared to have injured his foot or ankle late in the heartbreaking loss to Washington. The coaching staff hasn’t commented on Nix’s status, but the fact that Oregon went from a 3-point favorite to a 1.5-point underdog on Wednesday night says a lot. If Nix fails to leave, Ty Thompson will win in this crucial matchup.