Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan seemingly cannot be budged from their College Football Playoff positions, and now it’s the last week of the regular season. If there’s going to be any true chaos this season, the time is probably now.
All times Eastern.
|Noon||No. 4 Michigan at No. 10 Ohio State||Fox|
|Noon||No. 11 Florida at Florida State||ABC|
|Noon||No. 20 Syracuse at Boston College||ESPN|
|Noon||Purdue at Indiana||ESPN2|
|Noon||Navy at Tulane||ESPNU|
|Noon||Georgia Tech at No. 5 Georgia||SEC Network|
|Noon||Baylor at Texas Tech||Fox Sports 1|
|Noon||Western Kentucky at Louisiana Tech||CBS Sports Network|
|12:20 p.m.||North Carolina State at North Carolina||WDCA-20 (in D.C. area)|
|12:30 p.m.||Wake Forest at Duke||NBC Sports Washington (in D.C. area)|
|3 p.m.||Stanford at UCLA||Pac-12 Network|
|3:30 p.m.||Auburn at No. 1 Alabama||CBS|
|3:30 p.m.||Maryland at No. 12 Penn State||ABC|
|3:30 p.m.||No. 24 Pittsburgh at Miami||ESPN|
|3:30 p.m.||Minnesota at Wisconsin||ESPN2|
|3:30 p.m.||Temple at Connecticut||ESPNU|
|3:30 p.m.||Illinois at No. 19 Northwestern||Big Ten Network|
|3:30 p.m.||Arizona State at Arizona||Fox Sports 1|
|3:30 p.m.||SMU at Tulsa||CBS Sports Network|
|4 p.m.||Rutgers at Michigan State||Fox|
|4 p.m.||Tennessee at Vanderbilt||SEC Network|
|7 p.m.||South Carolina at No. 2 Clemson||ESPN|
|7 p.m.||No. 15 Kentucky at Louisville||ESPN2|
|7 p.m.||San Jose State at Fresno State||ESPNU|
|7 p.m.||Kansas State at No. 25 Iowa State||Fox Sports 1|
|7 p.m.||Colorado at California||Pac-12 Network|
|7:30 p.m.||No. 7 LSU at No. 22 Texas A&M||SEC Network|
|8 p.m.||No. 3 Notre Dame at Southern Cal||ABC|
|8 p.m.||Oklahoma State at TCU||Fox|
|9:30 p.m.||Nevada at UNLV||CBS Sports Network|
|10 p.m.||BYU at No. 17 Utah||Fox Sports 1|
|10:15 p.m.||No. 21 Utah State at No. 23 Boise State||ESPN|
|10:30 p.m.||Hawaii at San Diego State||ESPNU|
Michigan-Ohio State has a different tenor this season because, for the first time in what seems like forever, the Wolverines have the upper hand. Michigan is favored in the matchup for the first time since 2004 (it was giving 3½ points as of Friday morning). The Buckeyes haven’t been a home underdog since a game against Wisconsin in 2011, which also happens to be the last time that Michigan defeated Ohio State. The Buckeyes also haven’t been a home underdog against Michigan since 2004, when they defeated the favored Wolverines, 37-21, and kick-started their run of dominance over their neighbor to the north (13 wins in the last 14 meetings). Nonetheless, Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh isn’t making any victory predictions like he did as the Wolverines' quarterback in 1986, backing it up in a 26-24 win. “I don’t think about that,” he said this week, per the Associated Press. “It’s been a long time since. There’s not much to say about that. I can’t remember what it was or what it was that really made me say that or do that.” . . .
Alabama has been unbeaten entering its Iron Bowl matchup with Auburn six times in Nick Saban’s 11 completed seasons at the helm of the Crimson Tide and again has a perfect record entering this year’s game. But the Tigers have won two of those six meetings: The infamous “Kick Six” game in 2013 and last year’s 26-14 victory. Those two Auburn teams had a combined three losses entering the Iron Bowl, however, and this year’s version has four. One big matchup problem facing the Tigers is pass protection: They’ve given up a sack on 9.2 percent of their passing-down situations, which ranks 87th nationally. Alabama’s defense ranks second in that category, notching a sack on 15.3 percent of its opponents' passing downs, and has 37 sacks total, which ranks sixth nationally. . . .
It’s not entirely clear whether Clay Helton will be coaching for his job when Southern Cal hosts Notre Dame, but the Trojans certainly seem to be heading in the wrong direction: They’ve gone from 21-6 in his first two full seasons — with Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowl appearances — to 5-6 and needing an upset of the Fighting Irish to earn a postseason bid this season. USC last missed out on a bowl game because of a losing record and not because of NCAA sanctions in 2000, and Paul Hackett got the boot after that 5-7 campaign. USC was listed as an eight-point underdog as of Friday morning, and that’s a scenario under which Helton’s Trojans teams have struggled: They’re 1-11 both straight-up and against the spread when they aren’t favored. In any case, Helton will be coaching amid reports that USC might be interested in hiring James Franklin away from Penn State. Stay tuned.