Well, here we are at the final regular season week of the 2022 college football season. When you start getting deep into the second half of the season it gets harder and harder to accept that the end is nigh, at least it does for me.
“There are still four week left. Lots of season left.”
“Three weeks to go...wow the season goes fast.”
“Wait, only two weeks left? What happened, where did the time go?”
“It’s the last week of the season!? No, no, it can’t be the end. It just can’t be.”
Well...at least we can drown our sorrows in gravy this week.
Yes, we have finally reached the end of the road, my friends. This is the last week for teams to play for whatever they have left, whether that be CFP positioning, a better bowl bid, pride, or simply to play spoiler for their arch rival. “Saving the best for last” could certainly apply here, as there are many story lines whose endings will be revealed and others that will hopefully provide a few plot twists before the finale.
It’s always a bit depressing to reach the end of a college football season, but there is the promise of something bigger once the final whistle sounds. I recently reread The Two Towers and there is a touching exchange which comes to mind:
PIPPIN: I didn’t think it would end this way.
GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.
PIPPIN: What? Gandalf? See what?
GANDALF: Championship week. And beyond...bowl season under a swift sunrise.
Amazing how the great works of literature speak to our times.
Thursday, November 24
|Mississippi State @ #20 Ole Miss||6:00 AM||ESPN||WatchESPN|
Friday, November 25
|#19 Tulane @ #24 Cincinnati||11:00 AM||ABC||WatchESPN|
|Baylor @ #23 Texas||11:00 AM||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Utah State @ Boise State||11:00 AM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|Central Michigan @ Eastern Michigan||11:00 AM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Toledo @ Western Michigan||11:00 AM||ESPN U||WatchESPN|
|Arizona State @ Arizona||2:00 PM||FS1||FOXSports.com|
|NC State @ #17 North Carolina||2:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN|
|Arkansas @ Missouri||2:30 PM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|New Mexico @ Colorado State||2:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Nebraska @ Iowa||3:00 PM||BTN||FOXSports.com|
|#18 UCLA @ Cal||3:30 PM||FOX||FOXSports.com|
|Florida @ #16 Florida State||6:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN|
|Wyoming @ Fresno State||9:00 PM||FS1||FOXSports.com|
Thanksgiving week is unique in the college football season, as there are always lots of quality games on a weekday. Black Friday brings some great rivalries and conference tilts that you can enjoy while you polish off that third plate of leftovers.
Obviously, we’re looking squarely at Nebraska @ Iowa as the Big Ten West could be decided before the weekend even gets started. The Hawkeyes won in the most Iowa-like fashion last week: giving up nearly 400 yards against Minnesota, 312 of which on the ground, but notching two timely turnovers and winning on a last minute field goal. It was about as uncomfortable win as you’ll find but it solidified Iowa’s control over the division. The only thing standing in their way is a middling Nebraska team which hasn’t beaten the Hawkeyes since 2014. Nebraska would love to spoil Iowa’s chances to repeat as division champs. It’s quintessential “rivalry week” stuff.
Saturday, November 26
|Georgia Tech @ #1 Georgia||11:00 AM||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|#3 Michigan @ #2 Ohio State||11:00 AM||FOX||FOXSports.com|
|South Carolina @ #8 Clemson||11:00 AM||ABC||WatchESPN|
|West Virginia @ Oklahoma State||11:00 AM||ESPN 2||WatchESPN|
|Army @ UMass||11:00 AM||ESPN+||WatchESPN|
|New Mexico State @ Liberty||11:00 AM||ESPN+||WatchESPN|
|Rutgers @ Maryland||11:00 AM||BTN||FOXSports.com|
|Coastal Carolina @ James Madison||11:00 AM||ESPN U||WatchESPN|
|Old Dominion @ South Alabama||11:00 AM||ESPN+||WatchESPN|
|Georgia State @ Marshall||11:00 AM||ESPN+||WatchESPN|
|Western Kentucky @ Florida Atlantic||11:00 AM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|East Carolina @ Temple||12:00 PM||ESPN+||WatchESPN|
|Kent State @ Buffalo||12:00 PM||ESPN+||WatchESPN|
|Akron @ Northern Illinois||12:30 PM||ESPN 3||WatchESPN|
|Rice @ North Texas||1:00 PM||ESPN+||WatchESPN|
|#25 Louisville @ Kentucky||2:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN|
|Troy @ Arkansas State||2:00 PM||ESPN+||WatchESPN|
|Auburn @ #7 Alabama||2:30 PM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|#9 Oregon @ #21 Oregon State||2:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN|
|Illinois @ Northwestern||2:30 PM||BTN||FOXSports.com|
|Minnesota @ Wisconsin||2:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Purdue @ Indiana||2:30 PM||BTN||FOXSports.com|
|Wake Forest @ Duke||2:30 PM||ESPN 2/ACC Network||WatchESPN|
|Hawai'i @ San Jose State||2:30 PM||N/A||N/A|
|Memphis @ SMU||2:30 PM||ESPN 2/ESPN U||WatchESPN|
|UAB @ Louisiana State||2:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|UTEP @ UTSA||2:30 PM||N/A||N/A|
|Iowa State @ #4 TCU||3:00 PM||FOX||FOXSports.com|
|#14 Utah @ Colorado||3:00 PM||PAC-12 Network||PAC-12.com|
|Michigan State @ #11 Penn State||3:00 PM||FS1||FOXSports.com|
|Southern Miss @ UL Monroe||4:00 PM||ESPN+||WatchESPN|
|Louisiana @ Texas State||4:00 PM||ESPN+||WatchESPN|
|Nevada @ UNLV||5:00 PM||N/A||N/A|
|Appalachian State @ Georgia Southern||5:00 PM||ESPN+||WatchESPN|
|Middle Tennessee @ Florida International||5:00 PM||ESPN 3||WatchESPN|
|#5 LSU @ Texas A&M||6:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|#22 UCF @ South Florida||6:00 PM||ESPN 2||WatchESPN|
|#10 Tennessee @ Vanderbilt||6:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN|
|#15 Notre Dame @ #6 USC||6:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN|
|Oklahoma @ Texas Tech||6:30 PM||FS1||FOXSports.com|
|Syracuse @ Boston College||6:30 PM||ESPN 3||WatchESPN|
|Tulsa @ Houston||6:30 PM||ESPN U||WatchESPN|
|Kansas @ #12 Kansas State||7:00 PM||FOX||FOXSports.com|
|Pittsburgh @ Miami||7:00 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN|
|Air Force @ San Diego State||8:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|#13 Washington @ Washington State||9:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|BYU @ Stanford||10:00 PM||FS1||FOXSports.com|
“The Game” is the main attraction Saturday morning, with #3 Michigan @ #2 Ohio State kicking off at 11:00 on FOX. The Wolverines squeaked by Illinois last week, also on a late field goal, but also suffered the loss of star running back Blake Corum to injury. If Corum is unavailable they’ll need to make up for that production somewhere, as after last year’s defeat, Ohio State will be looking for revenge in front of their home crowd. Oh yeah, and there’s another division championship on the line as whichever team wins will punch their ticket to Indianapolis. Again, this is top shelf “rivalry week”.
Elsewhere in the Big Ten there are all sorts of rivalry shenanigans going on. Minnesota @ Wisconsin will decide who gets to wield Paul Bunyan’s Axe, perhaps the best rivalry trophy in the Big Ten. At this point, I’ve stopped considering Floyd of Rosedale a rivalry trophy until Minnesota manages to makes it one again.
Michigan State @ #11 Penn State play for the Land Grant trophy, Illinois @ Northwestern awards the Land of Lincoln Trophy, and Purdue @ Indiana the Old Oaken Bucket. Has someone talked to the Big Ten about its trophy addiction? Come 2025 I fully expect USC and Michigan State to play for a bronze copy of The Illiad.
Speaking of our future conference brethren, #15 Notre Dame @ #6 USC is another historic rivalry of two gargantuan brands. The Trojans defense is...how to put this nicely?...garbage. And Notre Dame has picked up a great deal of momentum. USC is walking a fine line in the CFP race and doesn’t have much margin for error. They must continue to roll and hope for a slip up ahead of them to be in the conversation.
Aside from the Big Ten, the Big 12 is another major conference whose championship game is undecided. #4 TCU is already in and they’ll host Iowa State. The question remaining is who the Horned Frogs will face in AT&T Stadium next weekend. The most logical choice is #12 Kansas State who hosts Kansas. Both the Jayhawks and Wildcats have had more success this year than anyone expected. If the Jayhawks pull off the upset, the remaining championship spot would go to #23 Texas, should the Longhorns beat Baylor.
South Carolina @ #8 Clemson is a rare non-conference rivalry game this week but given the Gamecocks’ surprise thrashing of Tennessee last week they have to be riding high, but the Tigers will be a tough test. My head thinks they’ll still have a hangover from last week’s upset, but this isn’t the same Clemson team as in years past so anything is possible.
There are so many games to look forward to this weekend it’s impossible to go through them all. The 2022 college football season is really going out with a bang and I can’t wait to see what happens.