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For Whom the Buzzer Tolls
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For Whom the Buzzer Tolls

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Previewing college football’s Rivalry Week

• I’ll be in Lincoln to (hopefully) watch Nebraska beat Iowa, but the final week of the regular season provides several intriguing matchups

Congratulations! If you’re reading this, that means you survived not only the food coma but also the horrors of the Bears-Lions Thanksgiving Day game. (Note: As I sit down to write this on Wednesday morning, it’s unclear whether the QB matchup will be Andy Dalton vs. Jared Goff or Dalton vs. Tim Boyle. Either way – yikes.)

With our bellies full of turkey, it’s time to turn our attention to the final week of the college football regular season. I’ll be on hand at Memorial Stadium, decked out in scarlet and cream for Nebraska-Iowa, where the Huskers could really use a win to salvage some momentum heading into a crucial offseason for head coach Scott Frost and company. However, there are some other interesting matchups on tap to close the regular season.

Cincinnati is now officially in line for a playoff berth, sitting at No. 4 in the latest committee rankings, but 7-4 East Carolina has won four straight and could give the Bearcats a game in Greenville, North Carolina. Can Cincinnati close out the undefeated season and become the first Group of 5 team in the CFP field? Stay tuned.

Other potentially interesting Black Friday matchups include 7-4 Boise State at No. 21 San Diego State, 6-5 Missouri at No. 25 Arkansas and 6-5 North Carolina at No. 20 North Carolina State. I’m also intrigued by the Apple Cup because those two teams hate each other, but Washington State is 6-5 and Washington is 4-7.

The highlight of the Saturday slate is “The Game,” where both Ohio State and Michigan are ranked inside the top 5. Can Jim Harbaugh finally get over the Buckeye-sized hump in front of what’s sure to be a raucous home crowd in Ann Arbor, or will it be more of the same old OSU dominance? Elsewhere, Florida’s already made the decision to move on from Dan Mullen, but the rivalry clash is still meaningful for both teams as a 6-6 season and bowl eligibility is on the line. Who would have thought the Seminoles would have a chance to make a bowl after they started 0-4 with a loss to Jacksonville State?

The Iron Bowl is interesting because it’s Alabama and Auburn, but I don’t think the outcome of this game matters much since the Crimson Tide can still secure a CFP berth by beating Georgia in Atlanta next week to win the SEC. Oregon-Oregon State also carries intrigue in terms of the Pac 12 North race. The Ducks clinch with a win, while Oregon State can win the division with a win and Washington State loss on Friday (if both the Cougars and Beavers win, Washington State will win the division, according to the Deseret News in Salt Lake City).

Finally, it might not matter much in terms of the playoff race, but my eyes will be glued to the television screen for Saturday night’s Bedlam game in Stillwater. Both teams are 10-1, and it might be the last time Oklahoma and Oklahoma State face each other with the Sooners’ pending move to the SEC. Boone Pickens Stadium should be absolutely electric.

To stay updated on YNT-area sports coverage, follow Christian on Twitter @YNT_Christian or YNT Sports on Instagram @yntsports.

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