College football schedule, Week 11: What to watch on Saturday, TV kickoff times
Another big weekend is on tap with plenty of College Football Playoff implications
The next time somebody tells you that college football needs to expand the playoff, remind them that weekends like this one (and last week, and next week) already give us all the playoff games we need.
We have a Saturday full of playoff games, even if they aren't labeled as such.
All times Eastern
No. 1 Georgia at No. 10 Auburn, CBS, 3:30 p.m.: There's a lot of talk about both Georgia and Alabama getting into the playoff this season, and for good reason. I mean, both are currently ranked No. 1 and No. 2 and could be undefeated when they meet in Atlanta in early December.
But there's another SEC team that can throw a wrench in the plans, as Auburn still gets to play both teams, beginning on Saturday when the Tigers play host to the Bulldogs. Yes, Georgia has big wins over Notre Dame and Mississippi State, but its spent the last five weeks beating up on mediocre SEC East fare. This Auburn team will be its toughest test in a while.
No. 3 Notre Dame at No. 7 Miami (Fla.), ABC, 8 p.m.: Miami fans may have wanted to declare that "The U is back" after last week's win over Virginia Tech, but I'm of a mind to say that The U won't be back unless it beats Notre Dame. If it does, then we can officially declare it BACK.
This is a huge game for both. As a team without a conference, it's somewhat imperative that the Fighting Irish win out of they want to keep their playoff hopes alive, and a win over Miami would just add to an already impressive resume.
For Miami, this would be the win that punches its card as a legit playoff contender. There's no better way to convince the committee you're one of the four best teams in the country than by going out and beating one.
No. 6 TCU at No. 5 Oklahoma, Fox, 8 p.m.: This could be the first of two meetings we see between these teams in the coming weeks. Both teams are currently atop the Big 12 standings, and a loss here wouldn't eliminate either from the conference title race.
A loss could eliminate them from something else that's somewhat important, however: the College Football Playoff.
No. 12 Michigan State at No. 13 Ohio State, Fox, noon: This is a different kind of make-or-break game. While I wouldn't consider it likely, given the current landscape of college football, it's not entirely crazy to believe we could see a two-loss team in the playoff this season.
Well, these are both two-loss teams, and both are still alive for a Big Ten title. The winner of this game gets a chokehold on the East, and if it can go on to beat an undefeated Wisconsin, maybe that's enough to push it into the top four. What's a certainty is that the loser will have no playoff life left.
Maintain your position games
No. 20 Iowa at No. 8 Wisconsin, ABC, 3:30 p.m.:: A critical game for Wisconsin, as is every game for the Badgers from here on out. Iowa beating Ohio State may have been the best thing to happen to Wisconsin this year. Not only did it lead to Iowa being ranked, giving the Badgers a chance to add a top 25 win to the resume, but should the Badgers get to the Big Ten title game at 12-0, they might not have to play Ohio State! No offense to Michigan State, but if you're Wisconsin, which one would you rather play?
Florida State at No. 4 Clemson, ESPN, 3:30 p.m.: Who could have predicted this game would have lacked such appeal before the season began? Essentially at this point, Florida State is just another run-of-the-mill team that Clemson needs to get to so it can stay in the top four. Hell, it's possible that unless Clemson looks impressive, beating the Seminoles might not be enough to keep that top four spot anyway.
No. 2 Alabama at No. 16 Mississippi State, ESPN, 7 p.m.: The equation for Alabama is simple. Just keep winning, and you'll get another shot at a national title. Standing in its way this week is Mississippi State, and the Bulldogs just might be the best team Alabama's faced this year.
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