Standout defensive tackle Derrick Brown leads the Auburn defense. (Butch Dill/AP)

The last full weekend of college football’s regular season is a post-Thanksgiving feast of playoff jockeying, what with Ohio State-Michigan, Alabama-Auburn, Wisconsin-Minnesota and Oklahoma-Oklahoma State all having some sort of bearing on the postseason chase (and that’s leaving out rivalry games such as Georgia-Georgia Tech and Clemson-South Carolina, which likely won’t be all that competitive but still are pretty important). Savor it, because after this weekend things slow down considerably.

Time Game TV
Noon No. 1 Ohio State at No. 13 Michigan Fox
Noon No. 4 Georgia at Georgia Tech ABC
Noon No. 3 Clemson at South Carolina ESPN
Noon Indiana at Purdue ESPN2
Noon Tulsa at East Carolina ESPNU
Noon Louisville at Kentucky SEC Network
Noon Northwestern at Illinois Fox Sports 1
Noon Florida International at Marshall CBS Sports Network
12:30 Wake Forest at Syracuse NBC Sports Washington (in D.C. area)
3:30 No. 5 Alabama at No. 15 Auburn CBS
3:30 No. 12 Wisconsin at No. 8 Minnesota ABC
3:30 No. 9 Baylor at Kansas ESPN
3:30 Miami at Duke ESPN2
3:30 Boston College at Pittsburgh ACC Network
3:30 Rutgers at No. 10 Penn State Big Ten Network
3:30 Connecticut at Temple CBS Sports Network
3:30 Southern Miss at Florida Atlantic NFL Network
3:30 Maryland at Michigan State Fox Sports 1
4 Oregon State at No. 14 Oregon Pac-12 Network
4 No. 16 Notre Dame at Stanford Fox
4 Tulane at SMU ESPNU
4 Vanderbilt at Tennessee SEC Network
7 Texas A&M at No. 2 LSU ESPN
7 Navy at Houston ESPN2
7 No. 23 Iowa State at Kansas State Fox Sports 1
7 North Carolina at North Carolina State ACC Network
7:30 Colorado at No. 6 Utah ABC
7:30 Florida State at No. 11 Florida SEC Network
7:30 Louisiana-Monroe at Louisiana ESPNU
8 No. 7 Oklahoma at No. 21 Oklahoma State Fox
9 BYU at San Diego State CBS Sports Network
10 Arizona at Arizona State ESPN
10:30 California at UCLA Fox Sports 1
10:30 Fresno State at San Jose State ESPN2
Midnight Army at Hawaii CBS Sports Network

Yes, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh never has beaten Ohio State as the Wolverines’ coach; and yes, the Buckeyes have won 16 of the past 18 meetings; and yes, last year Ohio State dropped 62 points on Michigan as a 3.5-point underdog. But there’s also this: Take away Rich Rodriguez’s three-year Wolverines tenure earlier this century, and nine of the last 10 teams getting at least a touchdown in the Ohio State-Michigan series have covered the spread. This year’s Wolverines were around 9.5-point underdogs at the time this was written and they’ve shown steady improvement over the second half of the season, holding each of their past four opponents to 14 points or less. They’ve also recovered 10 fumbles this season (tied for 14th nationally), while the Buckeyes have fumbled away the ball 11 times this season, which ranks 115th in the nation. They lost three of them in last weekend’s win over Penn State alone. …

It sure seems as if the College Football Playoff committee is setting up Alabama to slide into the No. 4 spot when all is said and done, keeping the Crimson Tide at No. 5 for a third straight week even though quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is out for the season. All Alabama has to do is beat Auburn in the Iron Bowl with backup quarterback Mac Jones running the offense. Jones has seen extensive action in only two games this season, but they were against a 3-9 FCS team (Western Carolina) and a 2-9 FBS team (Arkansas) that might be the worst SEC team in recent memory (and that includes a whole lot of bad Vanderbilt). So the Tigers — with dominant defensive lineman Derrick Brown leading the charge — present a step up in competition, offering up the nation’s fourth-best defense in terms of Bill Connelly’s SP+ efficiency metric. The Crimson Tide has played no one ranking higher than 18th in that metric (a 19-point win, with Tagovailoa, over Texas A&M on Oct. 12). …

Paul Bunyan’s Axe, given to the winner of the annual Wisconsin-Minnesota game, stands 6 feet tall, but its literal and figurative heft is dwarfed by the stakes of this year’s game. The winner will take on Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game and maintain at least faint hopes of cracking the playoff top four. …

Considering the playoff selection committee’s aforementioned insistence on Alabama as the nation’s fifth-best team, Utah will have to put on quite a show against Colorado (a loss to the 5-6 Buffaloes would mean the Utes won’t even win their division in the Pac-12). The prime-time ABC slot will help, and it’s just the second time this season that a truly national TV audience will get to see Utah’s defense in action. Take away a 33-28 shootout win over Washington on Nov. 2, and Utah has held its last five opponents to seven points or fewer and its last six to 13 points or fewer. The Utes’ offense, meanwhile, has put up at least 33 points in each of their last four. …

Oklahoma keeps inching up the rankings despite a growing number of close shaves, mostly thanks to a defense that’s middling at best. Now the Sooners will have to corral Oklahoma State and running back Chuba Hubbard, the nation’s leading rusher who’s done it all for the Cowboys after wide receiver Tylan Wallace and quarterback Spencer Sanders went down with season-ending injuries. The issue for Oklahoma State is its defense: Oklahoma has had 58 passing plays gain at least 20 yards this season (fourth nationally) and the Cowboys have allowed 44 such plays (tied for 113th in the nation).

Read more:

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Egg Bowl chances leak away for Ole Miss after dog-peeing celebration

College Football Playoff scenarios: Who should be No. 4? Georgia? Alabama? Utah?

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