Georgia defensive lineman Jordan Davis
Georgia defensive lineman Jordan Davis (99) is shown in action against Charleston Southern in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Athens, Ga.. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


Mike Shara

The end of the college football regular season has become the weirdest time in any sport’s calendar. The coaching carousel has begun to spin, and several teams that will have major bowl games to play – even possible CFP appearances – have already lost their Head Coach to another school. It is a deeply strange phenomenon that has only become more common over the last few years. Let’s be frank – if you are someone who cares about the game of college football, not the money Head Coaches, or Athletic Directors make – it sucks. When you hear the details of the deal Lincoln Riley got to leave Oklahoma for USC (look it up – it is outrageous!), you realize that the game has become shamelessly predatory – it is all about money and recruiting and switching conferences for television revenue (Texas and Oklahoma in the SEC????). There is no going back to the good old days. Sigh.

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It’s a shame that the changing of coaches in places like USC, Notre Dame, LSU, Florida, Washington, Washington State and other major programs became such a big story, because there were some truly memorable games played last week. Auburn almost pulled off a huge upset vs. Alabama in the Iron Bowl, Jim Harbaugh defeated Ohio State for the first time since he took over at Michigan, NC State staged a miraculous comeback to beat North Carolina and Clemson shut out South Carolina in the Palmetto Series (which sounds like a yacht race, btw). The NCAA has got to figure out a way to avoid having all the excitement of Rivalry Week immediately squashed by stories of outlandish Head Coach salaries in the media.

This week’s schedule, however, is not one bit of a comedown after Rivalry Week created so much excitement. It does feature fewer games overall but a lot of them are really meaningful. Currently undefeated (and in the playoff picture), Cincinnati will face perhaps their toughest test since defeating Notre Dame two months ago as they host Houston. Michigan will have to avoid a letdown after their big win vs. OSU, facing a very dangerous Iowa team in the Big 10 title game in Indianapolis. And, of course, in a clash of legendary programs, the top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs will face the #3 Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. Plus, #7 Oklahoma State faces #8 Baylor in the Big 12 Finale in Arlington and #19 Utah facing #11 Oregon on Friday night in the Pac 12 title game from Las Vegas. Come to think of it, maybe the week after Rivalry Week is even better somehow – so long as all of the Head Coaches show up with their teams…

All games listed below feature teams currently ranked among the AP Top 25 and are at EST. Check your local listings.


Western Kentucky#22 UTSA (+1.5 on FanDuel)7 pmCBSSN
#11 Oregon#19 Utah (-3 on BetMGM) ****8 pmABC
**** indicates a neutral site conference championship game.


#8 Baylor#7 Oklahoma State (-5 on DraftKings) ****12 noonABC
Utah State#21 San Diego State (-5.5 on BetMGM)3 pmFOX
#1 Georgia#3 Alabama (+6.5 on FanDuel) ****4 pmCBS
#24 Houston#4 Cincinnati (-10.5 on BetMGM)4 pmABC
#5 Michigan#16 Iowa (+10.5 on DraftKings) ****8 pmFOX
#17 Pittsburgh#18 Wake Forest (+2.5 on FanDuel) ****8 pmABC
**** indicates a neutral site conference championship game.

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