COLLEGE FOOTBALL: What To Watch In Week 13

It was just a year ago when our college football was watered down with shortened schedules and limited to no fans in the stands. It was as depressing a sight as my eyes have ever seen. And now, we’ve almost made it through the entirety of the 2021 college football regular season. Stands have been packed since week zero, giving us all that feeling that comes with college football that we so missed the year before. 

And yet, there is still much to be decided. 

Cincinnati has finally cracked the College Football Playoff top-four — the first time a non-Power 5 school has been ranked in the top four — and Ohio State has jumped Alabama to secure the number two spot in the rankings. And yet, anything can happen come rivalry week. 

Let’s take a look at the Saturday slate of games in week 13 of the college football season. 

No. 5 Michigan vs No. 2 Ohio State – 12:00 p.m. ET, FOX

There’s a reason why the matchup is simply called “The Game.” For 115 years, the two powerhouses have met, often to decide the winner of the BIG Ten. On Saturday in Ann Arbor, the Buckeyes and Wolverines will play for the right to represent the BIG Ten East and will be in the drivers seat for a spot in the CFP. 

Ohio State enters the matchup absolutely rolling. Winners of nine straight, and coming off of a beatdown of Michigan State, the Buckeyes are favored by 7 ½ points. Quarterback CJ Stroud leads the nation in passing yards per game (346.8), touchdowns (36), and completion percentage (71%). He’s currently the favorite to win the Heisman trophy, aided by a phenomenal trio of wide receivers in Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. 

“We work it year-round,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said when asked about the rivalry. “Every day we work it. We work it in the offseason. We work it on Fridays in the weight room. We have our sessions in the preseason and spring. We have meetings about it.

Michigan comes into the game winners of three straight since their loss to Michigan State. They’ve lost eight straight in the rivalry, and head coach Jim Harbaugh has never beaten Ohio State as head man of Michigan football. Michigan is also an abysmal 2-13 against top-10 opponents under Harbaugh.

Harbaugh knows his turnaround will not be complete until he beats Ohio State. Nothing else matters at Michigan, so prepare for a fabulous football game to start off your Saturday. 

Auburn vs No. 3 Alabama – 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

The Iron Bowl doesn’t have its usual hype this year, as Auburn is without its starting quarterback in Bo Nix and has lost three straight. But this is arguably the greatest rivalry in college football, so you never know how things will end up. 

Alabama has already won the SEC West and is headed to Atlanta to take on Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, but they can’t afford to stumble. No two-loss team has ever made the CFP, and a loss to Auburn would certainly put Alabama’s hope of being repeat champions on life support.

The Crimson Tide have been anything but dominant as of late — struggling to put away a sub-par LSU team and needing a record setting performance from quarterback Bryce Young to beat Arkansas — but they keep winning. 

Head coach Nick Saban laid into fans earlier in the week, blasting them for being spoiled by winning. 

“You can say it’s not fair to our players that they get everybody’s best game, but they do,” Saban said. “They have to be able to compete through that and play over that. I don’t know. When I came here, everybody was happy to win a game. Now we’re not happy to win a game anymore. We’re not happy to win a game at all.”

It will be the first game in the rivalry for Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin, who will be trying to avoid a fourth straight loss. 

“I told the players I’m excited to coach in this game,” Harsin said. “This is one of the reasons why I wanted to be at Auburn. Go back before I was ever a part of this program, the Iron Bowl has been a game that everybody’s watched.”

“Everybody knows Auburn and Alabama are playing.”

No. 7 Oklahoma State vs No. 10 Oklahoma – 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Bedlam baby. For only the third time in the history of the rivalry, the two in-state rivals meet while both ranked in the top-10. 

Oklahoma State and OU are the Big 12’s best bet for representing the conference in the CFP. While the Cowboys have already secured a spot in the Big 12 championship game, a loss will knock them out of playoff contention, as will a loss for the Sooners. 

The OSU defense will be tasked with

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