It all comes down to this weekend as Rivalry Week kicks off the regular season finale on the 2022 college football season, featuring two major historic rivalries that will directly impact the upcoming College Football Playoff selection process.
And now the oddsmakers are choosing their favorites for major clashes between Ohio State and Michigan and USC and Notre Dame.
More than just the Big Ten East title is on the line in The Game, with the winner between the Buckeyes and Wolverines widely expected to win the league championship en route to the No. 2 seed in the eventual final four semifinal.
Meanwhile, the Trojans have forced their way into national contention after a statement win over UCLA and heading into an even bigger clash with traditional rival Notre Dame, itself on the upswing after winning five straight games, including against the two teams in the ACC title game: Clemson and North Carolina.
College football odds, lines, schedule for Week 13 announced
Game lines are courtesy of SI Sportsbook and may change after publication
Michigan at Ohio State (-8). Arguably college football's most intense rivalry is loaded with national title implications for the second straight year. OSU brings in a pyrotechnic offense, albeit one that's dealt with depth and injury issues, but still has the pieces to go the distance on any snap. Michigan packs a heavyweight punch on the ground, but now lead back Blake Corum is recovering from a knee injury sustained last week. The winner virtually punches their ticket as the Big Ten champ and from there, is a shoo-in for the playoff.
Auburn at Alabama (-22). Usually the Iron Bowl is a set-up for the national championship race, but this year Alabama appears to have played itself out of the College Football Playoff. That doesn't make this rivalry any less intense and the Tide wants to keep its foot on the gas in the hopes of situating itself for a quality New Year's bowl game. Cadillac Williams, meanwhile, wants to increase his already considerable Auburn legend by knocking off Bama as the Tigers' interim coach. He's already 2-1 since Bryan Harsin's firing, and is just a 6-point loss to MSU away from coming in undefeated.
Notre Dame at USC (-4.5). A pair of first year coaches meet up in one of college football's traditional rivalries: Marcus Freeman and the up-and-down Irish, mostly up these days, on a 5-game winning streak and poised to hand their rivals a damning loss that would plunge USC out of its privileged position just outside the College Football Playoff. That is, unless Caleb Williams, the dynamic Trojan quarterback who's played himself into the Heisman Trophy race, and these superb skill threats have anything to say about it.
Oregon (-3) at Oregon State. Despite the loss at home to Washington two weeks ago, the Ducks are still in the fight: beat the Beavers, and they're in the Pac-12 title game against USC. But that looks like a taller order than usual. Oregon has taken 12 of the last 14 in the game once called the Civil War, but this OSU team is quietly 8-3 and 6 combined points away from being a 1-loss team. Bo Nix is playing on a questionable ankle, but he helped Oregon hold on against Utah last week.
LSU (-10) at Texas A&M. Seven of the 11 teams that played A&M won so far this season and LSU needs this one to stay at two losses heading into the SEC Championship Game in order to stay in the College Football Playoff race.