The final week of college football’s regular season is at hand. That usually means your favorite team is playing a school you really, really want to beat. Yes, they call it Rivalry Week for a reason, and as such there will be a ton of games that will interest somebody over the next few days.
From a national perspective, however, some teams don’t have much to play for other than bragging rights, possession of a traveling trophy, or bowl eligibility. That figures to be enough reason to tune in if your team is involved in Week 13.
But for purposes of compiling this list of what we think will be the best games to watch for casual fans, we’ll operate under the assumption that high stakes will mean high effort and high intensity. In short, the game’s importance will in some cases take precedent over local passion when it comes to ranking viewing options.
Our top eight choices in order for your holiday weekend enjoyment, headed by a pair of top-10 clashes with playoff implications.
No. 3 Ohio State at No. 6 Michigan
Jim Harbaugh is 0-5 against Ohio State as Michigan coach.
Saturday, noon ET, Fox
Why watch: The weekend’s headliner just happens to be one of the sport’s most intense rivalries, although it has tilted decidedly toward the Buckeyes of late (just don’t remind Jim Harbaugh). The winner claims the Big Ten East and earns a date with, most likely, Wisconsin for the conference title (more on that below). A win there will all but guarantee a playoff berth. The Wolverines have been winning by comfortable margins and, with the exception of that visit to East Lansing, have been able to close out leads. Getting the lead, however, figures to be a different challenge against the Buckeyes. QB C.J. Stroud’s dazzling array of receiving weapons have been all but unstoppable in their last two outings, so Michigan RBs…