ATLANTA – With the college football season down to its last couple weekends, there are still a handful of “must-see” games left before the conference championships. Interestingly, none of them is happening in the best conference in the country.
Alabama’s spot in the College Football Playoff is secure with games left against Auburn and Florida. The same can be said about Clemson in the ACC. Most other conferences are very much up for grabs.
Here are the top five remaining regular season games that will help shape the College Football Playoff:
5. #4 Notre Dame (9-1) vs. #7 Stanford (8-2) – November 28
This would have been a much more attractive game before Stanford’s slip-up last weekend against Oregon. Still, the Irish have everything to play for and Stanford is the only test left on the schedule. Playing in Palo Alto against a physical Cardinal team, this could be the game that keeps Brian Kelly from another shot at the national championship.
4. #13 Michigan State (9-1) vs. #3 Ohio State (10-0) – November 21
We have yet to see what the Buckeyes can really be in 2015. Urban Meyer’s squad has played down to the level of competition in just about every game and have yet to play a truly quality opponent. If they don’t get it together this weekend against the Spartans, Buckeye fans can forget plans for a national title repeat.
3. #15 TCU (9-1) vs. #12 Oklahoma (9-1) – November 21
The Sooners are impressive, and if they win out – and get a lot of help from upsets in the conference championship games – they could find themselves sneaking into the College Football Playoff. TCU, though, poses a formidable challenge. Trevone Boykin is expected to play despite an ankle injury. He and his teammates got a huge wake-up call against lowly Kansas last weekend. They should come into Norman focused and ready to hand Bob Stoops another big game loss.
2. #6 Baylor (8-1) vs. #8 Oklahoma State (10-0) – November 21
Oklahoma State almost blew it last weekend against a lackluster Iowa State. Baylor is surviving with a back-up quarterback. Still, the winner of this game has a real shot at playing for a national championship.
ASIDE: The Big 12 has no conference championship game, but these next two weekends could make up for it. These four teams swap partners on Thanksgiving weekend, pitting Baylor against TCU and Oklahoma against Oklahoma State. Win this two weekend tournament and there will be a one-loss – or undefeated – team with a solid case for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
1. #3 Ohio State (10-0) vs. #14 Michigan (8-2) – November 28
Let’s be honest: Michigan State has a better shot than the Wolverines at beating the Buckeyes. But this list is about “must-see” games. The first installment of Jim Harbaugh vs. Urban Meyer? That’s appointment viewing at its finest.