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We’ve reached Rivalry Week of the 2022 college football season, and some of this year’s traditional contests will have big playoff implications.

For college football teams on the outside looking in at a College Football Playoff bid, there is one more chance to pad the resume, impress the committee, and hope for some help.

All of the College Football Playoff top four teams struggled a bit to their wins in Week 12, but the committee remained steadfast in their rankings. From No. 5 on down, it’s looking pretty chaotic and the Rivalry Week games will play a part in clearing things up.

Right now, a handful of teams stand a shot (some better than others) at making the field of four when the smoke clears — LSU, USC, Clemson, and Oregon.

I’m going out on a big limb to say Alabama has zero chance of making the playoff this year, regardless of the outcome of games around them.

Looking back at my Week 12 picks before moving into this week’s predictions and spreads.

Upset: Once again, Chip Kelly ruins my week. I had UCLA in the upset, but USC and Caleb Williams just proved to be too much. However, I did hit the over correctly as neither team disappointed offensively.

Bonus Upset: Not only did Vandy beat the spread as I predicted, but they walked out of there with their second consecutive SEC win and their first over the Gators in decades.

Lock: TCU got the win, but couldn’t cover the 2.5-point spread. Big 12 games haunt me this season.

2-2 last week on picks brings me to 20-13 on the season. Here are my picks for Week 13 (Rivalry Week) games that have playoff implications, with odds via FanDuel Sportsbook.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

Matchup Notre Dame Fighting Irish 8-3 USC Trojans 10-1 Saturday, November 26 7:30 PM ET ABC USC -5.5 College Football Rivalry Week Upset Pick: Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs USC Trojans

What a way to end the season for both teams. One of the most celebrated rivalries in the sport and an opportunity for Notre Dame to create a big problem for the Trojans.

USC has already won their way into the Pac-12 Championship Game, but another loss could all but eliminate them from the playoff field, regardless of the conference title game outcome. The problem is, the Trojans are physically and mentally spent after an emotional and hard-fought win over UCLA.

Brian Kelly has the Irish firing on all cylinders right now. This is not the same team that lost to Marshall and Stanford. Notre Dame is currently one of the most dangerous teams in the country.

Neither team has been stellar ATS spread this season — USC at 7-4 and ND at 6-5 — but 5.5 points seems too high, even for a Trojans home game.

Pick: One of two things will happen. USC will win it with a game-ending field goal, or the Irish will run away with this game. Either way, USC won’t cover that spread. Over/Under is 64.5, which seems a bit high. Take the under. 

Another upset? Why not!

Matchup Baylor Bears 6-5 Texas Longhorns 7-4 Friday, November 25 12:00 PM ET ESPN Texas -8.5 College Football Rivalry Week Upset Pick: Baylor Bears vs Texas Longhorns

This is a game Texas needs to win and should win, which has been a big issue for the Longhorns this season. It’s hard to trust a Sarkisian team in the clutch times.

On the flip side, Baylor will be coming to Austin with a chip on their shoulder. Failing to hold the lead against TCU is likely still stuck in their craw, and they’ll be coming after Texas with some fire.

Both teams will be entering the game on short rest (and shaking off Thursday’s tryptophan intake), and Texas could be without running back Roschon Johnson, who suffered a leg injury against Kanas last week.

Texas is 4-2 ATS at home this year, and only 3-2 as a home favorite. Baylor is 3-1 as a road underdog. Bears will improve on that record.

Pick: There will be some big upsets this week, and this will likely be one of them. I’d call Baylor for the outright win, but certainly to beat a more than one-touchdown spread. 

Let’s move to some locks ATS

Matchup Kansas Jayhawks 6-5 Kansas State Wildcats 8-3 Saturday, November 26 8:00 PM ET FOX KState -11.5 College Football Rivalry Week Lock: Kansas Jayhawks vs Kansas State Wildcats

The Sunflower Showdown won’t be very sunny for the Jayhawks this year. Kansas had a nice run and is bowl-eligible, but this Kansas State team is going to be too much for them.

The Wildcats need this win, and a loss from Texas, to make the Big 12 Championship Game, so you can bet that they’ll be prepared and ready to put this one away early.

Both teams are 7-3-1 ATS this season, but Kansas State has a big home advantage and a lot to play for.

Pick: Kansas State will open up an early two touchdown lead and not let up. 

Another rivalry week lock on tap.

Matchup Michigan Wolverines 11-0 Ohio State Buckeyes 11-0 Saturday, November 26 12:00 PM ET FOX OSU -7.5 College Football Rivalry Week Lock: Michigan Wolverines vs Ohio State Buckeyes

This is the big one. The Game. The game of the week, possibly the year in terms of the reulgar season. Two bitter rivals, both undefeated, both ranked in the top four of the CFP rankings, both realizing a loss could end their playoff hopes.

Yeah, not much on the line here.

Up until last week, this was looking like a pretty evenly matched game. Strengh against strength, and star players matching up head-to-head. The injury to Michigan running back Blake Corum may have changed all that.

The Wolverines want to…need to…run the ball and run it a lot. If they want to keep their defense fresh and keep C.J. Stroud and company off the field, they have to play a ball control game. Without Corum, that plan may not work as well. Even if Corum suits up, which seems to be likely right now, it’s doubtful he’ll be 100 percent.

On top of that, Ohio State has simply looked like the better team this year, and they want a little payback for last year’s loss at the Big House.

Pick: As they’ve done many times this season, Buckeyes pull away in the 4th quarter for a double-digit win against a tired Michigan defense. 

The Strangest Thing We Saw in College Football Week 12: The Vanishing 12th man

Texas A&M fans proudly refer to themselves as “The 12th Man”.  It’s even bodly presented in huge letters on the inner ring of their stadium. The fans at Kyle Field are known for having a big effect on games and for supporting their Aggies, win or lose.

Last week, the 12th man must have taken a coffee break.

After six straight losses and a nondescript game against UMass going on, Kyle Field more resembled a Miami Marlins game in terms of attendance. After halftime, the stadium was so empty that fans began a relay race to pass the time.

There is some kind of relay race happening in the south stands of Kyle Field. So, yeah…

— ???????????????????????? ????. ???????????????????? (@Travis_L_Brown) November 19, 2022

That is a strange sight in College Station, to be sure, and it could have been the scene that convinces boosters to pay whatever is necessary to send Jimbo Fisher packing.

Next: Toasty Buns - CFB coaches on the hot seat

For more College Football news, analysis, opinion and unique coverage by FanSided, including Heisman Trophy and College Football Playoff rankings, be sure to bookmark these pages.

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3 games to watch in women’s college basketball for Week 5

Week 5 of the women’s college basketball schedule is loaded with key matchups, including the battle for Iowa, between two top-10 teams.

Welcome back to FanSided’s weekly look around the women’s basketball world. Looking for some games to watch this upcoming week? We’ll be highlighting three of them that should be on your radar.

Whether you’re a long-time viewer who’s just looking for a shortcut to see what you should watch or you’re just getting into the sport and want to know about compelling storylines, we have you covered. And at the end, I’ll include a short “other games to watch” section, if you want to take your basketball watching further.

Here are the women’s college basketball games you won’t want to miss this week:3. No. 8 Iowa State at No. 10 Iowa

Wednesday, Dec. 7, 7:00 PM — ESPN2

It’s CyHawk week, y’all! As a new-ish transplant to the state of Iowa, this one’s got me excited. The state of Iowa has two of the best programs in the country and they’ll be taking the court against each other on Wednesday night.

Let’s start with Iowa State. This has been a great offensive team for a few years now thanks to the play of Ashley Joens, but the team added 6-foot-6 center Stephanie Soares this offseason and suddenly the team has some defense too. Last year, the Cyclones had a defensive rating of 90.0, which ranked in the 56th percentile. This year, they’re at 83.8, which ranks in the 79th percentile. Soares still hasn’t fully figured everything out on the offensive end, but her rim protection makes it really tough to drive on the Cyclones. Per CBB Analytics, opponents shooting 48.5 percent at the rim this year against Iowa State. Last season, that number was 62.6 percent.

Which makes this meeting with Iowa fascinating. The Hawkeyes shoot 69.6 percent at the rim this season, and center Monika Czinano is one of the most efficient bigs in the country. She’s currently 33rd in the country in field goal percentage; last season, she finished ninth in that stat. So, we’ve got a really classic matchup here between an elite defensive big and elite offensive big. Who’ll win it?

(Oh, and there’s Caitlin Clark for Iowa, who just set the Big Ten record for career triple-doubles, but Clark and Iowa State’s Ashley Joens are two of the biggest names in women’s basketball this season, so there’s not too much to say about them. Watch this game because of those two stars, but pay special attention to the Soares and Czinano battle.)

2. Toledo at No. 17 Michigan

Thursday, Dec. 8, 8:00 PM — B1G+

Forgive me, but I’ve been looking for an excuse to write about Toledo.

The Rockets sit at 6-2 on the season after beating Missouri State 91-63 on Sunday, and the losses were to Duke and Penn State, with the Penn State loss being by one point. The team’s won three in a row since then. While beating a ranked Michigan team might be asking too much, this is a chance to see some talented MAC players up against a power opponent. The Rockets are a very efficient team, ranking 27th in the country in points per play per Her Hoop Stats, with Quinesha Lockett leading the way at 16.5 points per game. She’s a really solid ballhandler and has been a big part of why the Rockets turn the ball over the seventh-least per game in Division I.

On the other side is Michigan. The Wolverines could have taken a step back with Naz Hillmon gone to the WNBA, but instead the team is 9-0 and ranks 30th in the country in scoring offense. The team’s 12th in the country in field goal percentage, with Emily Kiser averaging 19.9 points per game on 60.6 percent shooting and Laila Phelia just behind at 17.0 points per game.

But Michigan’s schedule hasn’t been the toughest. Their only ranked opponent was Baylor, and the Wolverines won that 84-75, but the Bears are dealing with a lot of injury concerns and were down multiple key players for that one. Michigan’s playing well, but the Rockets could make them sweat on Thursday.

1. No. 3 UConn @ No. 20 Maryland

Sunday, Dec. 11, 3:00 PM — ABC

UConn suffered its first loss of the season on Sunday, falling 74-60 to Notre Dame in a game that was mentioned in last week’s Watch Guide. But it’s really hard to know what that loss means for the Huskies. Azzi Fudd was limited to 13 minutes and didn’t appear at all in the second half because of a knee injury:

Azzi Fudd injured her knee when a teammate fell onto her, played four minutes in the second quarter, and then never re-entered the game after halftime

— Alexa Philippou (@alexaphilippou) December 4, 2022

If Fudd misses time, it’s hard to really know what to think about UConn. She’s been their best player. Through the first six games, Fudd was averaging 24.0 points per game, the seventh-highest mark in Division I, and was seventh in 3-pointers made per game.

Without her, UConn still has some good players. Lou Lopez-Senechal scored 21 in the loss to the Irish and Aaliyah Edwards is always a threat to make things happen when she’s on the court, but Fudd’s crucial to UConn’s title hopes.

As for Maryland, the Terps sit at 7-3 on the year. They had a big win over Notre Dame but also lost by 25 to South Carolina early in the season. Maybe more concerning is that on Sunday, Maryland lost by 23 to Nebraska, which…yikes. The defense is allowing 69.9 points per game.

There are some fun players on this team. Diamond Miller is averaging 18.6 points per game and has also blocked 1.9 shots per contest. This game could be a shootout, even if the math is kind of simple when it comes to who wins, since it’s tough to see UConn losing this one if Fudd is back.

Other Games of Note
  • No. 12 NC State at Georgia — Monday, Dec. 5, 8:00 PM — SEC Network
  • No. 9 Virginia Tech at Boston College — Wednesday, Dec. 7, 5:00 PM — ACC Network Extra
  • Drake at No. 13 Creighton — Saturday, Dec. 10, 7:00 PM — FloSports
  • No. 16 Utah @ BYU — Saturday, Dec. 10, 7:00 PM — BYUtv
  • South Florida @ No. 12 NC State — Sunday, Dec. 11, 2:00 PM — ACC Network
  • Oregon State @ No. 19 Oregon — Sunday, Dec. 11, 7:00 PM — Pac-12 Networks
Next: 10 womens college basketball players not on your radar who should be

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