College Sports

Remote patrol: Big weekend for college football

Navy players celebrate following their win over Tulsa in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 in Tulsa, Okla. The Midshipmen meet 10-1 Houston on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015.
Navy players celebrate following their win over Tulsa in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 in Tulsa, Okla. The Midshipmen meet 10-1 Houston on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. The Associated Press

Sure, the NFL had a Thanksgiving Day tripleheader. But if competition was nutrition, you would have felt a bit cheated.

College football is winding down its regular season. Starting Friday, there are a number of games that, at least on paper, promise to be more compelling – and with more at stake – than the uh, three turkeys from Thursday.

Friday

No. 16 Navy (9-1, 7-0 American Athletic Conference)

at No. 21 Houston (10-1, 6-1)

Time/TV: 9 a.m., Ch. 10

The skinny: The winner of this game will host the winner of the AAC East division for the conference championship. The Midshipmen come in on a five-game winning streak and have outscored their past three opponents 144-55. The Cougars look to rebound from their road loss to Connecticut last week.

No. 3 Iowa (11-0, 7-0 Big Ten)

at Nebraska (5-6, 3-4)

Time/TV: 12:30 p.m., Ch. 10

The skinny: If the Hawkeyes can withstand an upset by the Cornhuskers, they can complete their first undefeated regular season since 1922, and more importantly, stay in the hunt for a College Football Playoff berth.

No. 7 Baylor (9-1, 6-1 Big 12)

at No. 15 TCU (9-2, 6-2)

Time/TV: 4:30 p.m., ESPN

The skinny: The Bears will try to sustain their momentum from last week’s 45-35 win over Oklahoma State. The Horned Frogs are coming off a near upset of Oklahoma in Norman. Baylor and TCU are the only private schools in the Big 12. Think this game doesn’t matter?

Saturday

No. 8 Ohio State (10-1, 6-1 Big Ten)

at No. 12 Michigan (9-2, 6-1)

Time/TV: 9 a.m., Ch. 10

The skinny: Never mind the conference championship implications. The Buckeyes have won three in a row and 10 of 11 in this storied rivalry. This is basically the game for which Jim Harbaugh was hired to coach Michigan. The Wolverines want a win. Period.

Penn State (7-4, 4-3 Big Ten)

at No. 6 Michigan State (10-1, 6-1)

Time/TV: 12:30 p.m., ESPN

The skinny: A win gives the Spartans a spot in the conference championship game, and they may have to do so without starting quarterback Connor Cook. Are they worried? The Spartans knocked off Ohio State last week with Cook sidelined. Penn State nearly knocked off Michigan last week.

No. 2 Alabama (10-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference)

at Auburn (6-5, 2-5)

Time/TV: 12:30 p.m., Ch. 13

The skinny: It’s the Iron Bowl, and the last time the Crimson Tide was in Jordan-Hare Stadium, it was kick-sixed out of a third consecutive national championship. Think the Alabama players have been reminded of that game once or twice this week?

No. 22 UCLA (8-3, 5-3 Pacific-12 Conference)

at USC (7-4, 5-3)

Time/TV: 12:30 p.m., Ch. 10

The skinny: The winner will meet Stanford next week in the Pac-12 championship game. USC, unranked heading into its crosstown rivalry game for only the second time since 2000, has yet to play in a conference football final.

No. 19 Mississippi (8-3, 5-2 SEC)

at No. 23 Mississippi State (8-3, 4-3)

Time/TV: 4:15 p.m., ESPN2

The skinny: Egg Bowl bragging rights and a possible SEC final playoff spot are at stake. This is the first time in this game’s history that both teams have been nationally ranked in back-to-back seasons.

No. 4 Notre Dame (10-1, No. 6 College Football Playoff)

at No. 13 Stanford (9-2, No. 9 CFP)

Time/TV: 4:30 p.m., Ch. 40

The skinny: The loser of this game will have no chance to qualify for a CFP berth. So yes, the stakes are high. Stanford has scored at least 30 points in 10 consecutive games. Notre Dame has allowed that much just twice this season.

No. 14 Florida State (9-2)

at No. 10 Florida (10-1)

Time/TV: 4:30 p.m., ESPN

The skinny: Florida’s shot at a CFP berth is long, but it begins with a win in this game. The Seminoles are 4-1 against Florida, including 2-0 in Gainesville, under coach Jimbo Fisher.

No. 5 Oklahoma (10-1, 7-1 Big 12)

at Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1)

Time/TV: 5 p.m., Ch. 10

The skinny: The Sooners seem a safe bet to reach the College Football Playoffs. The Cowboys, smarting from last week’s home loss to Baylor, can still win their second conference title in five years. State pride is at stake in a big way.

Compiled by Jeff Caraska

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