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Importance of thin Rivalry Week Schedule hinges on Ohio State-Michigan

If OSU can pull off the victory, lots of other games become more and more important for Buckeye fans.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Auburn John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to an expanded slate of college football games on Friday night, the Saturday lineup for Rivalry Week isn’t as stacked as you would normally think. However, that doesn’t really matter, because for all of us, the only game of consequence kicks off at 12 noon ET on the FOX Television Network. That contest, of course, sees the No. 10 Ohio State Buckeyes face off against the vile and villainous No. 4 Michigan Wolverines.

The significance of any other games on the day depends on what the Buckeyes do versus their rivals. A win brings joy and good tidings to all Scarlet and Gray hearts and minds, adding extra import to Georgia Tech-UGA, Illinois-Northwestern, the Iron Bowl, LSU-Texas A&M, and ND-USC. A loss brings an afternoon and evening of soul searching and perhaps heavy drinking.

So, let’s take a look at what games could be important for Buckeye fans to check out later today.

Early Window

Nothing. Ohio State is playing M*ch*g*n, and there is nothing even remotely compelling enough to devote an iota of attention to during this window other than The Game. Even if you have multiple screens, they should all be tuned to FOX in order for you to more fully appreciate the experience of the rivalry.

If you must, during halftime you can flip over to the SEC Network to see if Georgia Tech can pull the upset of No. 5 Georgia, thus eliminating one more obstacle on the Buckeyes’ path to the College Football Playoff. Just make sure that you click back to FOX in time for the second half kick.

Afternoon Window

Let’s be honest, you are likely not going to be in any emotional state to fully appreciate football during this window — at least not during the first half. If the Buckeyes pull the upset and beat Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines for the seventh straight year, you will likely be way too excited to sit down and watch more football, especially since there really any interesting games that will be particularly close in this slot anyway.

Of course, if OSU loses for the first time at home in this rivalry since John Cooper was the coach, we’ll all be dealing with much different emotions. But, should the euphoria or anger subside enough to focus on football, there are a few games worth checking out in the afternoon.

Illinois Fighting Illini at No. 19 Northwestern Wildcats
3:30 p.m. ET | BTN

This one obviously becomes even more important if the Buckeyes beat TTUN. In that case, Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcats will be OSU’s opponent in next week’s Big Ten Championship Game. Of course, if OSU losses, you can always take comfort in seeing Lovie Smith’s Santa-like beard.

Auburn Tigers at No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide
3:30 p.m. ET | CBS

Like The Game, the Iron Bowl brings a whole host of emotions, and anything can happen. Alabama is a 24.5 point favorite, so expecting the Tigers to knock the top-rated team from the ranks of the unbeatens is more than a bit foolish. But, if things are “closer than the experts expect” as it turns to the fourth quarter, it could be worth flipping over to CBS to see if Tua Tagovailoa can earn that Heisman that he’s going to get next month.

Evening Window

No. 7 LSU Tigers at No. 22 Texas A&M Aggies
7:30 p.m. ET | SEC Network

If you hadn’t heard, the CFP Selection Committee really likes LSU. They like Joe Burrow and his new team so much that they have them ranked seventh, even though they have suffered losses to both No. 11 Florida (27-19) and No. 1 Alabama (29-0). Most college football experts seem to assume that the Bayou Bengals can’t get much higher than their current position, since they won’t have the benefit of playing in the SEC Championship Game.

But, this is still one to check out, not only because of Buckeye fans’ continued affection for Burrow, but also because of where the Tigers sit in the CFP pecking order. OSU would almost certainly jump LSU with a win today — or at the latest after a potential win in the B1G Championship — so seeing what the Tigers look like against a top-25 opponent should help us gauge how the Buckeyes stack up in the committee’s eyes.

No. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at USC Trojans
8 p.m. ET | ABC

I wouldn’t put too much stock in the Men of Troy pulling off this upset as they have been just shy of full-on dumpster fire this season, and will likely be looking for a new coach as early as tomorrow. But, a loss by the Irish would start to open up a number of unexpected paths that the Buckeyes could sneak into the CFP.

Check Saturday’s full slate of games here:

Week 13 Saturday Schedule

Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
#4 Michigan at #10 Ohio State 12:00 PM FOX
Georgia Tech at #5 Georgia 12:00 PM SEC Network
#11 Florida at Florida State 12:00 PM ABC
#20 Syracuse at Boston College 12:00 PM ESPN
Marshall at Florida Intl 12:00 PM None Facebook
Western Kentucky at Louisiana Tech 12:00 PM CBSSN
Baylor at Texas Tech 12:00 PM FS1
Purdue at Indiana 12:00 PM ESPN2
Navy at Tulane 12:00 PM ESPNU
NC State at North Carolina 12:20 PM ACC Network
Wake Forest at Duke 12:30 PM ACC Network
Old Dominion at Rice 1:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
New Mexico State at Liberty 2:00 PM ESPN3
Georgia Southern at Georgia State 2:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Wyoming at New Mexico 2:30 PM AT&T SportsNet
Troy at Appalachian State 2:30 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Southern Mississippi at UTEP 3:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Louisiana at UL Monroe 3:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
UAB at Middle Tennessee 3:00 PM ESPN3
Stanford at UCLA 3:00 PM Pac-12 Networks
Auburn at #1 Alabama 3:30 PM CBS
Maryland at #12 Penn State 3:30 PM ABC
Illinois at #19 Northwestern 3:30 PM BTN
#24 Pittsburgh at Miami 3:30 PM ESPN
Arizona State at Arizona 3:30 PM FS1
Minnesota at Wisconsin 3:30 PM ESPN2
SMU at Tulsa 3:30 PM CBSSN
Temple at UConn 3:30 PM ESPNU
Arkansas State at Texas State 4:00 PM ESPN3
Rutgers at Michigan State 4:00 PM FOX
Tennessee at Vanderbilt 4:00 PM SEC Network
Charlotte at Florida Atlantic 6:00 PM Stadium
South Carolina at #2 Clemson 7:00 PM ESPN
#15 Kentucky at Louisville 7:00 PM ESPN2
Kansas State at #25 Iowa State 7:00 PM FS1
San Jose State at Fresno State 7:00 PM ESPNU
Colorado at California 7:00 PM Pac-12 Networks
North Texas at UTSA 7:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
#7 LSU at #22 Texas A&M 7:30 PM SEC Network
#3 Notre Dame at USC 8:00 PM ABC
Oklahoma State at TCU 8:00 PM FOX
Nevada at UNLV 9:30 PM CBSSN
BYU at #17 Utah 10:00 PM FS1
#21 Utah State at #23 Boise State 10:15 PM ESPN
Hawai'i at San Diego State 10:30 PM ESPNU