The top teams from the rugged Southeastern Conference get a little break from beating each other up, with only an Alabama-LSU matchup likely to have significance on the College Football Playoff race. The light SEC schedule frees up the national spotlight for a number of one-loss teams that go into a crucial elimination weekend for their national title hopes.
Count Baylor-Oklahoma, Notre Dame-Arizona State, Kansas State-TCU and Ohio State-Michigan State all as statement games for key one-loss teams. A late Saturday night matchup between No. 4 Oregon and No. 17 Utah could also impact the final field of four. The Ducks (8-1) enter the weekend as Bovada’s favorite to win the national championship.
TCU has been a pleasant surprise this season and could make a big statement with a home win over No. 7 Kansas State. The Horned Frogs have impressive wins over No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 15 Oklahoma State and No. 20 West Virginia on their resume, as well as an 82-point outburst in a home win over Texas Tech last month.
Michigan State and Ohio State have blossomed into the Big Ten’s only real contenders. The Spartans, who upset the Buckeyes in the Big Ten title game and eliminated them from national championship contention last season, enter this one as a four-point favorite in East Lansing. A win by either team, coupled with another potential victory in the Big Ten championship, could be enough to jump into the playoff picture.
Bob Flounders, Andrew P. Shay and Dustin Hockensmith take a look at the schedule ahead and the potential implication of this weekend’s matchup in this week’s Keystone Sports Network podcast. Tune in to the audio link above and be sure to visit KeystoneSportsNetwork.com and @KSNSportsNet on Twitter for more podcasts and analysis.