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National Preview: Week 13 Rivalry Extravaganza

Mike Ehrmann

Game of the Week

(4)Florida at (10)Florida State ABC 3:30 p.m.
Throughout the '90s, the annual year-end Florida-Florida State game was easily the hottest rivalry in the nation. The past dozen years have seen each program take turns backsliding, sucking all the fun out of a match-up that was once Must-See TV for any college football fan. They finally meet again in a game with major national title implications. Based on what happens the next two weeks, either team could find them in the BCS Title game (Ok, so it's very unlikely for FSU, but crazier things have happened...remember the end of the 2007 season??). Florida State's season was ruined by a sluggish game against NC State, while Florida has been living on the edge as of late.
Prediction: Florida State- 24 Florida- 20

Worth Watching

(1)Notre Dame at USC ABC 8 p.m.
Despite USC's struggles, it looked as though this may finally be the week that all of the close calls catch up with Notre Dame. Now that Matt Barkley is officially out with a shoulder injury, the Trojans chance to knock off their rival becomes even dimmer. Redshirt freshman Max Wittek (8/9 95 yards 1 TD 0 INT) will step in for Barkley and try to find holes in the stout Irish defense. If anything, Wittek has the advantage of coming in without enough film for the Irish to be fully prepared for him. If USC can finally put everything together and eliminate all the mistakes, now would be the time to do it as they host the #1 team in the nation under the lights. A combination of focus (which we haven't seen from USC all season) and big plays could make for a very long trip back to South Bend for the new #1 team.
Prediction: No matter who wins, humanity loses

(8)Stanford at (17)UCLA FOX 6:30 p.m.
If you would have went to Vegas and put money on Stanford beating Oregon and UCLA defeating USC before the season, you would have more money than the Maryland Athletic Department. UCLA clinched the PAC-12 South last week, and now Stanford can clinch the PAC-12 North with a win on Saturday, meaning....Stanford and UCLA would meet again in the PAC-12 Championship Game the following Friday. If UCLA defeats Stanford this week and Oregon beats Oregon State, the Bruins would play the Ducks for a chance to go to the Rose Bowl. Confused?
Prediction: Stanford-24 UCLA-21

(21)Oklahoma State at (13)Oklahoma ESPN 3:30 p.m.
A game between two ranked, in-state rivalries who really don't like each other? Count me in.
Prediction: Oklahoma- 34 Oklahoma State- 30

(12)South Carolina at (11)Clemson ESPN 7 p.m.
Just like Penn State, South Carolina is trying to finish strong for a fallen star that was the heart and soul of the team before succumbing to an unfortunate knee injury. Clemson only has one loss to Florida State, but has been forgotten about thanks to playing in the ACC. I'd be shocked if this game isn't decided in the final seconds.
Clemson- 35 South Carolina- 34

(5)Oregon at (15)Oregon State PAC-12 Network 3 p.m.
Oregon has no time for a let-down, as they still have a shot at making it to the BCS title game should a few things fall into place for them. Oregon State will need to mimic Stanford's ball-control gameplan for a chance to defeat their in-state rival. the Beavers have a disciplined and efficient approach, so they may be able to methodically move the ball while keeping the Ducks playmakers on the sideline. I just don't see it happening to Oregon two weeks in a row.
Oregon- 35 Oregon State- 24

Keep an Eye On

Georgia Tech at (3)Georgia ESPN Noon
Georgia Tech has taken a major step back, but have an explosive offense that's capable of dashing UGA's national title aspirations. With all these rivalries and tight match-ups, there has to be an upset or two over the weekend. Why not this one?
Georgia Tech- 54 Georgia- 52

Arizona State at Arizona ESPN 10 p.m. (Friday)
Thanks to disappointing seasons for Arkansas, Auburn and Iowa, the day after Thanksgiving is full of stinkers. This game helps somewhat salvage a day that is usually rich with amazing games. Todd Graham and Rich Rod may not be the most likable figures, but both have done well in their first years and will want to end the regular season on a high note. Grab a turkey leg and a slice of pumpkin pie out of the fridge, and enjoy.
Arizona- 42 Arizona State- 40

TCU at (16)Texas ESPN 7:30 p.m. (Thursday)
Thanks to conference realignment, the always entertaining Texas-Texas A&M rivalry is no more. TCU tries to take the place of the Aggies, who are performing swimmingly in the SEC. Either way, it's something to watch once you eventually make it out of your food-induced coma.
Texas- 38 TCU- 31

Baylor at Texas Tech FOX 3:30 p.m.
Do you love football, but hate tackling? This one is for you! Baylor's defense was atrocious all year until they found a way to clamp down on the #1 team in the nation last week against Kansas State.
Prediction: Texas Tech- 52 Baylor- 49