Week 12 saw a major shakeup with upsets removing Tennessee and North Carolina from playoff contention. Elsewhere the entire top four saw closer-than-expected games, with all surviving. Week 13 brings rivalry week and a guarantee of movement at the top, with Ohio St. hosting Michigan. Our staff gathers to prepare you for the action.
What Game Are You Watching?
#3 Michigan at #2 Ohio St
Jason Wood - It's rivalry week which always makes for good fodder and an unusually high number of upsets. This week is where the cliched' "throw the records out of the window" has some basis in reality. That said, how can anyone point to any game other than Michigan heading to Ohio State in a game that guarantees the winner a spot in the four-team college football playoff? It's a battle of No. 2 versus No. 3 and also one of the most storied rivalries among historically elite programs.
Christian Williams - All of them.
Seriousness aside, the matchup between #3 Michigan and #2 Ohio State in Columbus is the most appealing game on the slate. While both could wind up in the College Football Playoff this season, Michigan's resurgence over the last two years has given this game win-and-get-in stakes. This game has several compelling storylines, with C.J. Stroud's Heisman push, Blake Corum's availability (and simultaneous Heisman push), and trench play leading the group. Stroud hasn't put together a Heisman-like performance since early in the season. Michigan's strength on the defensive line versus Ohio State's Achilles-heel offensive line may make it difficult this Saturday. Corum is the X-factor, though. Michigan's offensive attack relies upon his talent between the tackles, and making J.J. McCarthy throw to win is a losing recipe for the Wolverines. This game is always exciting, but the 2022 iteration feels like one for the ages.
Kevin Coleman - The Game. #3 Michigan versus #2 Ohio State is one of the biggest matchups in their historic rivalry. Michigan broke through last season, beating the Buckeyes in Ann Arbor on their way to their first-ever College Football Playoff. But neither team was undefeated when they played last year, and the loser of this game will have no chance at a playoff appearance. This is a winner take all contest in one of the best rivalries in all sports. There is nothing else like it. As far as on the field, both teams are dealing with injuries to their star players. Ohio State’s offensive line depth should be the Buckeyes' biggest concern, and all eyes for Michigan will be on running back Blake Corum’s leg injury. If Corum can’t go Saturday, it could be a long day for the Wolverines.
What Player Are You Watching?
QB Drake Maye, North Carolina
Jason Wood - I'm interested in getting eyes on Drake Maye on Friday night. I haven't seen much of the Tar Heels this season because other games usually catch my eye, but the matchup against NC State doesn't have as much competition for my eyeballs, and Maye is quickly rising up NFL draft boards with eye-popping two-way production. While the Wolfpack have disappointed down the stretch, they still have a top-15 defense nationally and should present Maye with one of his more challenging defensive schemes. If Maye flourishes in the rivalry game against a near-elite defense, he'll all but cement his spot as the 2023 Heisman favorite and potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 rookie draft.
QB Caleb Williams, USC
Christian Williams - USC quarterback Caleb Williams has an opportunity to steal the Heisman out of Stroud's grasp this weekend against Notre Dame, and he's one of the most exhilarating players in college football. His record-breaking performance against UCLA last week should have placed him in the driver's seat for the Heisman, with enough plays to create an entire highlight reel and a win almost entirely on his shoulders. Notre Dame is playing great football, and ruling them out entirely in this matchup is a mistake. Williams putting on a show and getting the win would place him firmly in a position to win the Heisman as a true sophomore, and there isn't a more appealing storyline this weekend.
RB Kenny McIntosh, Georgia
Kevin Coleman - Georgia running back has me intrigued. He is a player that is starting to get noticeable draft buzz around the scouting community. McIntosh has stepped up for the Bulldogs this season and has looked like the best running back on their roster. The senior has seen more usage in the last four games, getting 58 attempts. He’s done the most with that usage rushing for 326 yards and three touchdowns over that time span, and it’s a big reason why his draft stock has been trending upward. This last weekend he had the best game of his career, rushing for 143 yards and a touchdown against the Kentucky Wildcats. McIntosh is a deep sleeper to watch in the 2023 class.
It is Rivalry Weekend! What is your favorite rivalry story?
Jason Wood - This one wasn't a needle-mover on a national scale. But I went to the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1993, both Penn and Princeton -- our centuries-old archrival -- were undefeated at 7-0 entering the matchup. It had been 25 years since two Ivy League schools were undefeated into November. We packed more than 35,000 people into Franklin Field, and the atmosphere was electric. Penn won 30-14, securing our first Ivy titles in ages. We stormed the field and tore down one of the goalposts. It was an incredible day.
Christian Williams - The 2004 Harvard-Yale prank is among the least ill-mannered yet effectively hilarious rivalry stories in college football history. Yale students dressed up as Harvard pep squad members and handed out red and white signs to Harvard students that read "We Suck" when seen from afar. The images are recognizable and got national attention. Harvard got the last laugh, beating Yale 35-3, but the prank is more memorable than the outcome, a sign of an effective prank.
Kevin Coleman - The 2013 Iron Bowl will permanently be etched into my memory as one of those you’ll remember where you were that day. Any college football fan knows what you are talking about when you say: “Kick Six.” Chris Davis' 109-yard return of Adam Griffith's 57-yard field goal attempt is one of the most memorable plays in college football history, and it would have never happened had Nick Saban let the time run off the clock. Instead, Saban got one second put on the clock as the game was over and heading to overtime. That one second changed college football history.