The college football season began back in September with what was promoted as the greatest opening weekend of games ever. It may seem like that was just yesterday, but suddenly we've arrived at the final full weekend of the regular season. There are still conference title games and a handful of other matchups next week, but many teams' seasons will end by Sunday.
As usual, despite the enormous opening weekend, college football still saves the best for last: Rivalry Week. Some division titles have already been decided, but there is a lot on the line this weekend, with games all day Friday and Saturday to help sort out the championship picture, on top of the numerous rivalry games that might not matter nationally this year but also have a lot at stake locally.
As always, Thanksgiving weekend is college football at its best. Here is what you should be watching.
All times are Eastern, and within each time slot games are previewed in order of importance and watchability.
* * *
No. 5 Washington at No. 23 Washington State
3:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1
The Apple Cup for the ages is here. Washington-Washington State is a great rivalry, but it's not exactly known for having high stakes outside the borders of the Evergreen State. Neither team has won a conference title since 2002. Neither team has finished a season ranked in the AP top 20 since 2003. They haven't met as ranked teams since 2001 and have only done so five times ever. This game, however? Both teams are ranked. Both teams are still in the Pac-12 title race. And Washington, after years of struggles, is right in the thick of the playoff race. The winner of this game claims the Pac-12 North crown and will get a shot at either Colorado or USC for the conference title. In Washington's case, that would mean a chance to play for a spot in the playoff. In Washington State's case, that would be mean a chance to play in the Rose Bowl.
The stakes are, therefore, as high as ever. The Apple Cup has been close many times in recent years, although last year was surprisingly one of the most lopsided ever: Washington beat No. 20 Washington State 45-10 in a game the Huskies needed to win just to get to bowl eligibility. Of course, the Cougars played that game without star quarterback Luke Falk, who will be healthy this time in a matchup against Jake Browning, making this one of the season's best quarterback battles.
One area of recent concern for Washington is linebacker, where Joe Mathis and Azeem Victor have both suffered season-ending injuries. However, the Huskies are still the more well-rounded team: They have one of the nation's best defensive backfields, they run well with Myles Gaskin and while Browning doesn't throw nearly as often as Falk, he averages 2.2 more yards per attempt. Even with the injuries, Washington's defense gives it the edge.
Pick: Washington 35, Washington State 28
Toledo at No. 21 Western Michigan
5 p.m., ESPN2
The streak is finally over. Northern Illinois has won the MAC West six years in a row, but this year either the Rockets or Broncos will represent the division in the MAC title game -- which Toledo hasn't done since 2004 and Western Michigan hasn't done since 2000. It is a big hurdle for the undefeated Broncos, who are 11-0 but have still not gotten a whole lot of respect from the selection committee because of a weak schedule, despite Big Ten road wins over Northwestern and Illinois. Toledo lost by two to BYU and five to MAC East champion Ohio, but it is 9-2 with seven wins by double digits.
This is an intriguing, fun matchup between two terrific offenses. Western Michigan WR Corey Davis and Toledo RB Kareem Hunt are stars, and Toledo's Logan Woodside and Western Michigan's Zach Terrell rank second and third in the nation in passer rating, respectively. The Broncos have been consistently excellent this year, as nobody as stayed within single digits since the one-point win at Northwestern in Week 1. But Toledo's offense makes this the most formidable opponent Western Michigan has seen in MAC play, so the Rockets are a legitimate threat to pull off the upset.
Pick: Toledo 34, Western Michigan 33
No. 16 Nebraska at Iowa
3:30 p.m. ABC
A year ago, Iowa won the Big Ten's new Black Friday rivalry 28-20 to cap an improbable 12-0 regular season that sent the Hawkeyes to the Big Ten title game. This year, Nebraska is trying to maintain hope of getting to Indianapolis. It will require a win in Iowa City, and it will also require Wisconsin losing to Minnesota. The first part is more likely, although hardly assured. Iowa has shown life the past two weeks after getting blown out by Penn State, stunning Michigan 14-13, then routing Illinois 28-0. But the Hawkeyes have scored 14 points or less in five of eight Big Ten games, so there's still plenty of deserved skepticism about their offense. Nebraska, meanwhile, is hoping to get QB Tommy Armstrong back from a hamstring injury. His health could swing the game, but Iowa might be able to pull out another low-scoring, physical game at home.
Pick: Iowa 19, Nebraska 17
TCU at Texas
3:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1
Last week's horrifying loss to Kansas almost certainly means that this will be Charlie Strong's final game as head coach at Texas, even if the university has yet to officially make the move. The Longhorns are just 5-6 after becoming the first FBS team to lose to Kansas in over two years, and they need to beat the Horned Frogs to avoid back-to-back seasons without a bowl for the first time since 1992-93. Of course, TCU has problems of its own: The Frogs have been one of the nation's most disappointing teams, stumbling to a 5-5 record after a blowout loss to Oklahoma State last week. Since a 52-46 loss to Oklahoma, they've scored more than 24 points only once in five games -- and that was a 62-22 win over Baylor, making this an erratic, somewhat unpredictable team. It's hard to know how Texas will respond to a tumultuous week, but the team will probably come ready to play for Strong, with a big game for RB D'Onta Foreman possible after Oklahoma State burned the Frogs on the ground last week.
Pick: Texas 37, TCU 34
No. 20 Houston at Memphis
The spotlight is back on Houston, which may be playing its final game under coach Tom Herman, giving the intense interest he's expected to attract from high-profile jobs like Texas. The Cougars have wins over Oklahoma and Louisville, but October losses to Navy and SMU derailed their season. They are healthier now, though, and we saw last week how capable their defense is of being dominant behind DT Ed Oliver and LB Steven Taylor. Memphis has had a solid season under new coach Mike Norvell, but it lost by double digits to both Navy and Tulsa, and Houston's defense is likely too much of an advantage for the Tigers to overcome.
Pick: Houston 34, Memphis 28
No. 19 Boise State at Air Force
3:30 p.m., CBSSN
At first glance, the Broncos appear to be in good position for yet another major bowl bid, as they're the highest ranked Group of Five team, above potential conference champions Western Michigan and Navy. However, they still need help to win the Mountain West and be eligible for that spot in the Cotton Bowl. The head-to-head loss to Wyoming continues to sting, as does Wyoming's dramatic win over San Diego State last week. To even win the Mountain Division, Boise State needs to win a tough road game at Air Force and get a Wyoming loss to New Mexico. Air Force is a solid team that's won a pair of close games the past two weeks and has upended the Broncos two years in a row, but don't bet on Bryan Harsin and Boise State losing a third straight game in this series.
Pick: Boise State 38, Air Force 27
Baylor vs. Texas Tech (at Arlington, Texas)
6 p.m., ESPN
Recent scores in this series have gone about as expected: The winning team has scored at least 45 points in 10 of the past 15 meetings. The series has always been defined by winning streaks, as Texas Tech won every game from 1996-2010, while Baylor has turned the tables on the Red Raiders and won each of the past five, scoring over 60 points three times. This year, it's reasonable to expect lots of points again, but beyond that it's impossible to know which teams will show up. Baylor is playing with a freshman QB, Zach Smith, and has collapsed with four straight losses in which its defense has fallen apart. Texas Tech has been a mess on defense all year, and last week the bottom fell out for the team as a whole in a 66-10 loss to Iowa State. Baylor will soon be hiring a new coach; Texas Tech is 4-7 and won't be playing in the postseason. There's not a lot of motivation heading into this one, but it could still end up being an entertaining game.
Pick: Texas Tech 40, Baylor 38
N.C. State at North Carolina
There's no guarantee that either team will have the same coach next year. N.C. State's Dave Doeren is just 8-23 in ACC play in four seasons and could be on the hot seat if the Wolfpack lose and miss a bowl game. They've lost five of their past six games. Meanwhile, North Carolina's Larry Fedora has been floated as a potential candidate for other jobs. This is a big game for both beyond the rivalry: N.C. State needs to get to the postseason. UNC needs to win and hope for an unlikely Virginia Tech loss to Virginia to get to the ACC title game for the second year in a row. Give the edge to UNC with the better quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, on his home field.
Pick: North Carolina 31, N.C. State 27
Arkansas at Missouri
3:30 p.m., CBS
The new cross-division border rivals began playing for the Battle Line trophy last year, a 28-3 Arkansas win. The Razorbacks have traded off wins and losses throughout SEC play, mostly blowing teams out or getting blown out. There's a good chance they'll finally notch back-to-back SEC wins, given the current state of Missouri. In addition to firing defensive line coach Jackie Shipp on Wednesday, the Tigers have been a mess on the field, with a 1-6 record in conference play. They racked up 420 rushing yards against Tennessee last week but still lost 63-37, as their defense has regressed to offset modest gains on offense. Arkansas' run defense has proven to be extremely vulnerable, but the Razorbacks have clearly been the better team.
Pick: Arkansas 45, Missouri 31
Arizona State at Arizona
9:30 p.m., ESPN
Two years ago, Arizona clinched the Pac-12 South in a Territorial Cup matchup of top-15 teams that finished the season with 10 wins each. Things have gone quite downhill since then. Arizona State has turned a 5-1 start into a 5-6 record, ranking 105th in yards per play on offense and 123rd on defense. Things have been even worse in Tucson: Arizona is 2-9 overall and 0-8 in the Pac-12, getting blown out every week since improbably taking Washington to overtime. Neither situation is good, but Arizona State looks like slightly less of a disaster.
Pick: Arizona State 28, Arizona 21
* * *
Saturday Early Afternoon
No. 3 Michigan at No. 2 Ohio State
At long last, The Game may finally be back to being a relatively even rivalry. It's been anything but that since the turn of the century. Michigan has not won in Columbus since 2000. Ohio State has won 13 of 15. Michigan's only win since 2003 came in 2011, the one year of mediocrity for the Buckeyes after the sudden ouster of Jim Tressel that spring. Even last year, when Ohio State often didn't seem to play up to its potential and Michigan experienced a resurgence, the Buckeyes trounced the Wolverines 42-13 in Ann Arbor. Now, they get set for the most important showdown between the two since No. 1 Ohio State beat No. 2 Michigan in 2006.
Because of Penn State's win over Ohio State and Iowa's win over Michigan, it's not quite the winner-take-all Big Ten East showdown everyone assumed it would be -- Ohio State needs a win and a Penn State loss to claim the division title; Michigan just needs to win -- but each team needs to win to stay alive in the playoff race. Ohio State's resume looks strong enough to potentially get a bid without a Big Ten title, while Michigan either loses and is out or wins and goes to Indy, with a playoff spot on the line then.
While Ohio State did win back-to-back games against Nebraska and Maryland 62-3, both teams are coming off sluggish wins: Ohio State beat Michigan State 17-16 because it intercepted a two-point conversion attempt late in the game, while Michigan, after losing to Iowa, trailed Indiana 7-3 at halftime before winning 20-10 behind the running of De'Veon Smith. Michigan QB Wilton Speight is questionable to play with a shoulder injury, but it's reasonable to believe that both teams will have trouble moving the ball regardless, against two of the nation's best defenses. Wide receiver play has been a concern for Ohio State, but especially given Speight's status, the Buckeyes seem to have one distinct advantage because they have J.T. Barrett at quarterback, playing on his home field.
Pick: Ohio State 20, Michigan 17
Kentucky at No. 11 Louisville
Louisville lost 36-10 at Houston last week. Lamar Jackson was sacked 10 times, causing him to rush for only 33 yards on 25 carries while completing 20 of 43 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown. It was enough to knock Louisville out of the playoff race; it was not enough to prevent Jackson from continuing to be the overwhelming favorite in the Heisman Trophy race. Perhaps there's still room for someone like Jalen Hurts or Jabrill Peppers to close the gap with massive performances in Rivalry Week and Championship Week, but Jackson built such a large lead, and nobody else has separated himself from the pack to pose a serious threat. If Louisville struggles again, perhaps the door could be open. But it's more likely that Jackson does what he's done most of the season, against a beatable Kentucky defense, and makes a Heisman win close to guaranteed. It would be deserved.
Pick: Louisville 45, Kentucky 20
Virginia at Virginia Tech
It's a new era for the Commonwealth Cup, with both Virginia (Bronco Mendenhall) and Virginia Tech (Justin Fuente) breaking in new coaches. It should still, however, feature more of the same: dominance by the Hokies. Virginia Tech has won 12 straight and 16 of 17 against the Cavaliers, and while the past four have been decided by a total of 20 points, there's little reason to believe that the Hokies won't extend their streak. Yes, they've been upset by Syracuse and Georgia Tech, but they're in first place in the ACC Coastal, needing a win to clinch the division. Virginia is 2-9 and has lost six in a row, with a defense especially vulnerable against the pass, so look for a big game from Virginia Tech QB Jerod Evans.
Pick: Virginia Tech 35, Virginia 21
Georgia Tech at Georgia
Noon, SEC Network
Mark Richt was fired in part for big losses in big games, but he at least mostly took care of business in the Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate rivalry against the Yellow Jackets. Georgia has won 13 of the past 15 meetings, although the past three meetings have been decided by seven points or less, including two OT games and a Georgia Tech win in 2014. Both teams are 7-4 and unranked entering this year's game in Athens, and a win for Georgia, which also recently beat rival Auburn, would go a long way toward lessening the feeling of disappointment in Kirby Smart's debut season as Richt's replacement.
Pick: Georgia 24, Georgia Tech 20
Kansas at Kansas State
Noon, Fox Sports 1
At long last, Kansas has taken an important step under coach David Beaty, winning a game against an FBS opponent. The Jayhawks upset Texas, ending a drought that dated back to Nov. 8, 2014. Their only win in that span was against Rhode Island. Now they hope to end another streak: Kansas State has won the in-state rivalry seven times in a row, the past six by an average of 37 points. Last week was a landmark celebration for the Jayhawks, but they're almost certainly going to have to wait until next year for a chance for another long-awaited celebration.
Pick: Kansas State 45, Kansas 17
Purdue at Indiana
Indiana has been to bowl games only twice since 1993. When it has done so, the routine is the same: win the Old Oaken Bucket. The Hoosiers haven't finished better than 7-6 since that Independence Bowl season, but after squeaking into the Pinstripe Bowl last year with a 54-36 win over Purdue, they're hoping to do the same with the postseason this year. They're 5-6 with wins over FIU, Ball State, Wake Forest, Maryland and Rutgers behind an improved defense, and while Purdue has shown signs of life recently early in games, it's still getting blown out every week. The Hoosiers should get ready to pack their bags for the holidays again.
Pick: Indiana 36, Purdue 23
* * *
Saturday Late Afternoon
No. 13 Auburn at No. 1 Alabama
3:30 p.m., CBS
A few weeks ago, it appeared as if the Iron Bowl would be played for the SEC West title. Instead, Auburn failed to get a second-half first down at Georgia and lost, resulting in the Crimson Tide clinching the division. Their spot in Atlanta is assured, and they seem like a lock to get into the playoff field. They should be, because it's hard to imagine them losing to either Auburn this week or Florida next week.
Auburn's offense has experienced a revival at times this season, and while RB Kamryn Pettway is expected to play, the Tigers have significant questions at quarterback, where Sean White has been banged up. Even a full-strength Auburn would have a ton of trouble moving the ball on this Alabama team, has allowed 11.4 points and 68.9 rushing yards per game. This appears to be another all-time great Alabama defense, one that has allowed a total of 27 points in its past four SEC games.
Offensively, quarterback Jalen Hurts isn't immune from freshman mistakes, but the defense takes pressure off him, and he's been fantastic when he does take care of the ball. Alabama is up to 12th in yards per play on offense (it finished 49th last year with Heisman winner Derrick Henry), and when paired with that defense, there's been no reason in the past month and a half to believe that this is not the best team in college football again. There have been glimmers of hope for Auburn this year, but not enough sustained success to believe that the Tigers can win in Tuscaloosa.
Pick: Alabama 31, Auburn 17
Michigan State at No. 7 Penn State
3:30 p.m. ESPN
No, Saturday is not just about the world's best, most ridiculous and enormous trophy. The Land Grant Trophy is on the line, but there's much more at stake. Surprisingly, it's Penn State with a lot on the line. Last year, Michigan State cruised to a home win over the Nittany Lions to clinch a spot in the Big Ten title game, where it won a second conference title in two years to earn a playoff bid. This year, the roles are reversed, and Michigan State is stuck trying to play spoiler on the road. The Spartans have put up a fight against Ohio State and Michigan, but they're 3-8 with their only win in the past nine games coming against Rutgers.
Michigan State has been one of the season's biggest disappointments. Penn State has been one of the biggest surprises. Forgotten after a 2-2 September, Penn State has won seven in a row to somehow insert itself into the playoff conversation. The Nittany Lions have achieved substantial growth on both sides of the ball, and the win over Ohio State has opened up the possibility of an improbable Big Ten East title in a season that was supposed to be dominated by the Buckeyes and Wolverines. All Penn State needs is an Ohio State win at home over Michigan, and then it has to beat Michigan State. If that happens, the Lions will head to Indianapolis and possibly play for a playoff bid.
It would be foolish to dismiss Michigan State's chances. Penn State's offensive line has significant injury issues, and the Spartans' past three losses have come by a total of 12 points. With that said, star MSU defensive linemen Malik McDowell is questionable to play with an injury, and the Spartans are a banged-up, potentially demoralized team needing to go on the road to Happy Valley after a crushing loss to Ohio State on a missed two-point conversion. Beyond the pressure of possibly playing for a division title, circumstances and performance both favor Penn State.
Pick: Penn State 34, Michigan State 23
Minnesota at No. 6 Wisconsin
3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
Minnesota has had a solid first full season under coach Tracy Claeys, with an 8-3 record featuring losses to Penn State, Iowa and Nebraska by a total of 17 points. But … the Golden Gophers also have only one win against a team with a winning record, and that was 6-5 Colorado State by a touchdown. They benefited from drawing Maryland and Rutgers (who they barely beat) from the Big Ten East, and to their credit, they have beaten the teams they're supposed to beat. Unfortunately, Wisconsin is not a team they're supposed to beat.
Wisconsin has held onto Paul Bunyan's Axe for 12 straight years, winning each of the past six games by at least 10 points. The Badgers have exceeded expectations this year at 9-2 while ranked No. 6, and if they win on Saturday, they lock up the Big Ten West and could have a playoff bid on the line in next week's Big Ten title game. Both teams are much stronger on defense than offense, but the Badgers are superior to the Gophers in both areas.
Pick: Wisconsin 23, Minnesota 13
Notre Dame at No. 12 USC
3:30 p.m., ABC
When September was finished, Notre Dame and USC stood in equally precarious and disappointing situations, both owning 1-3 records. Since then, their seasons couldn't have gone more differently. Notre Dame has failed to pull out of its rut, repeatedly losing close games to stand at 4-7, facing its first losing season since 2007. Meanwhile, USC hasn't lost since October began, bouncing back behind new QB Sam Darnold to win seven in a row -- including victories over top-10 Colorado and Washington teams. The Trojans' lost September precludes them from being taken seriously as a playoff contender, but they're nonetheless playing as well as anybody in the country not named Alabama. In other words: This is not a good opportunity for Notre Dame to find some last-minute answers.
Pick: USC 37, Notre Dame 24
Mississippi State at Ole Miss
3:30 p.m., SEC Network
Two years ago, Mississippi State and Ole Miss both spent a portion of the season as playoff contenders. Now, Ole Miss is just hoping to get bowl eligible, while Mississippi State is attempting to spoil it. Since beating Texas A&M, the Bulldogs have allowed 109 points to Alabama and Arkansas the past two weeks, dropping them to 106th in scoring defense. However, they have run the ball effectively behind QB Nick Fitzgerald, and Ole Miss -- who just lost by 21 to Vanderbilt -- has been vulnerable against the run all year. With both defenses in rough shape, the game, which decides last place in the SEC West, could come down to the play of talented Ole Miss freshman QB Shea Patterson, who was expected to redshirt but is now playing in his first Egg Bowl because of the injury to Chad Kelly.
Pick: Ole Miss 41, Mississippi State 34
No. 18 West Virginia at Iowa State
3:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1
West Virginia is a top-20 team with an 8-2 record. Iowa State is 3-8. And yet … they're coming off a week in which West Virginia had a 331-yard rusher but lost by 28 and Iowa State won a Big 12 game against one of the nation's highest-scoring teams 66-10. The Mountaineers made too many errors in their loss to Oklahoma, which eliminated them from the Big 12 title race, while the Cyclones unexpectedly torched Texas Tech. So … how do these teams respond to that? This is undoubtedly a huge trap spot for West Virginia, going on the road after an emotional loss, but Iowa State's offense also isn't going to repeat what it did last week, or come anywhere close.
Pick: West Virginia 33, Iowa State 24
Oregon at Oregon State
4 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Good news, Ducks and Beavers fans: This season has been horrendous, but Saturday can't possibly be the worst game in the rivalry, because nothing could ever surpass what happened in 1983's 11-turnover scoreless tie.
And, hey, there is at least some positivity here after Oregon scored a late touchdown to upset a ranked Utah team last week and Oregon State blew out Arizona. That's about it for the positivity, though, as Oregon is 4-7 with one of the nation's worst defenses and Oregon State is 3-8 with a lackluster offense. Not surprisingly, Oregon has dominated lately, winning eight straight in the rivalry, but the Ducks' downfall has left the door open for the Beavers to potentially get some revenge. If they do, it could be the end of Mark Helfrich's tenure as head coach in Eugene. It might be the end regardless of the result.
Pick: Oregon State 38, Oregon 37
Duke at Miami
3:30 p.m., ESPN2
There's no real reason to feature this game except to reminisce about what happened when the Blue Devils and Hurricanes met last year: Miami won on a miracle, multi-lateral play with multiple officiating errors that the ACC admitted should not have counted. It was one of the most amazing and confusing moments in football history.
This year's game will not top that.
Pick: Miami 34, Duke 20
* * *
Saturday Prime Time
No. 22 Utah at No. 9 Colorado
7:30 p.m., Fox
Once regular rivals, Utah and Colorado did not play each other between 1963-2010, despite their relative proximity. Now, however, it is a natural rivalry once again: They're the two newest additions to the Pac-12, both in the South Division. Utah has won four of five since the series resumed, but suddenly the stakes have been raised. After five straight last-place finishes upon joining the conference, Colorado holds first place in the South all to itself at 7-1 in league play. Despite not playing in the postseason since 2007, Colorado is No. 9 in the playoff rankings, with Rose Bowl hopes and even slim but still plausible playoff hopes. It's been a remarkable turnaround for coach Mike MacIntyre, who's done it despite not signing high-profile talent on the recruiting trail.
This week, Colorado needs to beat the Utes to clinch the Pac-12 South. Utah knocked itself out of the race with a loss to Oregon last week, so either the Buffaloes will win and advance, or USC will win the division. Colorado has been excellent on defense all year, making this a difficult matchup for the Utes, even though RB Joe Williams has been on an incredible hot streak since returning from his retirement with at least 149 yards in five straight games. Utah is physical and capable of dominating the line of scrimmage on defense, but it has been in the middle of the Pac-12 statistically. Against the odds, Colorado has looked like a complete team, one capable of finishing the job and going from worst to first in its division.
Pick: Colorado 29, Utah 24
South Carolina at No. 4 Clemson
7:30 p.m., ESPN
The tone of a heated rivalry will shift without the presence of Steve Spurrier in Columbia anymore, and now the Will Muschamp vs. Dabo Swinney era begins. For Muschamp, this has been a modestly successful season, because the Gamecocks have overcome severe deficiencies on offense to take advantage of a weak SEC East and get to bowl eligibility. The one thing that would make it even better would be ruining Clemson's season. The Tigers, with a loss already to Pitt, might not be able to afford a second loss, even though they'll still play for the ACC title next week. But … it's probably not going to happen. Clemson's defensive front is too much for South Carolina's offense to handle, and while the Gamecocks are solidly defensively, Deshaun Watson and the Tigers should wear them down and roll.
Pick: Clemson 38, South Carolina 17
No. 15 Florida at No. 14 Florida State
8 p.m., ABC
As rumors about the possibility of Jimbo Fisher leaving for the LSU job continue to circulate, he'll try to win for the sixth time in seven games against the rival Gators. Regardless of what happens, Florida gets an extra game and Florida State doesn't for the second year in a row, as the Gators are heading to the SEC title game, while the Seminoles came up short in the ACC again. But it's still hard not to see Florida State as the better team again, especially given the Gators' recent injuries, with QB Like Del Rio, S Marcus Maye and LBs Jarrad Davis and Alex Anzalone among the injured players. The Gators still won at LSU anyway, but doing it two weeks in a row will be a tough challenge, because Florida State is probably not going to repeatedly shoot itself in the foot in the red zone like LSU did last week. Look for Dalvin Cook to take advantage of the Gators' depleted depth at linebacker.
Picks: Florida State 27, Florida 17
No. 17 Tennessee at Vanderbilt
7:30 p.m., SEC Network
After years upon years of in-state Tennessee dominance, Vanderbilt finally broke through to beat the Vols in back-to-back years in 2012-13, before Tennessee restored order the last two years. Now, Tennessee has to play knowing that it's SEC East title dreams are finished -- it hasn't won the division since 2007 -- because of Florida's win over LSU last week, while Vanderbilt is gunning for its first bowl trip under Derek Mason, with a 5-6 record. The Commodores unexpectedly ran away from Ole Miss 38-17 last week, but it's still hard to imagine they'll have enough offense to keep pace with the Vols, barring a handful of turnovers. And, hey, at least Butch Jones doesn't seem to be taking second place too hard …
Jones on this senior class: "They've won the biggest championship - that's the championship of life"- Rocky Top Insider (@rockytopinsider) November 21, 2016
Pick: Tennessee 35, Vanderbilt 24
East Carolina at Temple
7:30 p.m., ESPN News
South Florida is good enough to be in the major bowl hunt, but a 46-30 loss at Temple has forced the Bulls to play from behind over the past month. All Temple needs to do is win at home against the Pirates, who are just 3-8, to clinch a spot in the American title game against Navy. The Owls have allowed a total of 13 points in the past three games, including two shutouts, and they'll be a tough matchup for East Carolina and the new all-time FBS receptions leader, Zay Jones.
Pick: Temple 28, East Carolina 20
Rice at No. 24 Stanford
8 p.m., Pac-12 Network
For most Power Five teams, Thanksgiving weekend means rivalry games. For Stanford this year? It means its first and only game against a Group of Five team. The Cardinal played Notre Dame and Kansas State out of conference plus nine Pac-12 games so far, saving their one Group of Five opponent for last. It also happens to be one of the worst Group of Five opponents, as Rice is 3-8 after starting the season 0-6. Christian McCaffrey is quietly up to fifth in the nation in rushing yards per game, and he should close the regular season with a huge output.
Pick: Stanford 38, Rice 10
* * *
Saturday Late Night
Wyoming at New Mexico
10:15 p.m., ESPN2
Yes, it's Week 13, and Wyoming vs. New Mexico has significant Cotton Bowl implications. It's not because either of these teams is capable of getting that bid -- although they are a combined 11-3 in Mountain West play -- it's that Wyoming needs to beat the Lobos to clinch the Mountain Division. If the Cowboys lose, the door is open for Boise State to win the division and potentially get a major bowl bid. Wyoming has had a season filled with suspense, including the game-winning safety against Boise State, a 69-66 loss to UNLV and last week's 34-33 win over San Diego State on a stopped two-point attempt with no time on the clock. This week, it's a matchup of Brian Hill, the nation's No. 4 rusher, against New Mexico's top-ranked rush offense.
Pick: New Mexico 31, Wyoming 30
Colorado State at San Diego State
9 p.m., CBSSN
After last week's loss against Wyoming, Donnel Pumphrey needs 271 yards to break the NCAA's official FBS career rushing record held by Ron Dayne. It probably won't come this week, even though Colorado State's run defense is beatable, but Pumphrey could do enough to set the stage for a record-breaking run in the Mountain West title game.
Pick: San Diego State 28, Colorado State 17