Rivalry games define college football. More than bowl games or even conference championships, a win against your rival means bragging rights for a year. That is why this weekend's game can often be the hardest to call. A team with a losing record can suddenly make their season relevant with one single win.
Of course, that's what make college football great.
(4) Missouri (10-1, 6-1 Big 12)
(2) Kansas (11-0, 7-0 Big 12)
This game has national implications. The winner will be in the driver's seat for the BCS Championship Game. Played on neutral ground in Kansas City, this game should be a barnburner.
These states have a rivalry that goes back to the Civil War. The intensity should be high.
Alabama (6-5, 4-3 SEC)
Auburn (7-4, 4-3 SEC)
This could be Saban v. Tuberville for the first and only time. It's fairly well known that Texas A&M has Tuberville in its sights. If Auburn wants to keep him (this means a fat raise), then they will. Tuberville's Iron Bowl record is stellar.
If Saban wins, maybe the Auburn faithful won't be so interested in keeping him.
Saban has laid down the gauntlet for his team. He knows that the season has turned disappointing since their loss to LSU.
Prepare for fireworks.
Mississippi (3-8, 0-7 SEC)
Mississippi St (6-5, 3-4 SEC)
Ole Miss leads this rivalry 59-38 in overall wins. This year might be the most critical yet for the Rebels and their program. It lies at a crossroads. Anyone interested in this school's past and future should read Meat Market which chronicles Ed Orgeron on the recruiting trail before the 2007 season.
Despite his contract extension after last season, Orgeron's Rebels haven't turned the corner. Orgeron's recruits haven't been able to stay on the field, and they haven't been able to win even when they do.
TF thinks that if Orgeron has any hope of returning next season he must win the Egg Bowl this year.
Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate
(7) Georgia (9-2, 6-2 SEC)
Georgia Tech (7-4, 4-4 ACC)
Georgia is still in contention for a SEC Championship and a BCS bowl game. All they need is for Kentucky to beat Tennessee. Chan Gailey is teetering at Tech. A win here would be huge for him.
"The Border Bowl"
(18) Tennessee (8-3, 5-2 SEC)
Kentucky (7-4, 3-4 SEC)
This is the game Georgia needs to make it into the SEC title game against LSU.
Everyone is picking Kentucky, but Fulmer knows he needs this game more than ever. Kentucky is good, but they won't sneak up on the Vols. Mark Story echoes the feelings of Wildcat fans who want Rocky Top to stop.
This is just one more great game on the slate.
(22) Clemson (8-3, 5-3 ACC)
South Carolina (6-5, 3-5 SEC)
Tommy Bowden blew it again. All he needed was a win against BC, and he got his Tigers to the ACC Championship.
Steve Spurrier needs this game as well. The Gamecocks were ranked in the top ten at one point and have fallen apart since that point.
Ron Morris believes that Clemson's advantage comes through their home field. Carolina just doesn't do enough with theirs.
(8) Virginia Tech (9-2, 6-1 ACC)
(16) Virginia (9-2, 6-1 ACC)
With down years at FSU and Miami, this rivalry game has deeper conference implications. The winner of this game plays BC in the ACC Championship.
UVa is at home. It is time to see if they are for real.
Oklahoma St (6-5, 4-3 Big 12)
(10) Oklahoma (9-2, 5-2 Big 12)
TF think this might be the surprise of the weekend. Oklahoma has shown itself to be vulnerable against their in state rival in the past. OSU's high octane offense is very similar to Texas Tech's which just beat up the Sooners.
OSU would like nothing more than to open the door for OU's rival to go to the Big 12 Championship.
Lone Star Showdown
(13) Texas (9-2, 5-2 Big 12)
Texas A&M (6-5, 3-4 Big 12)
Dennis Franchione is getting a send off one way or another today. Texas still has a shot to go to the Big 12 title game if OSU can beat Oklahoma.
Richard Justice has a good piece about both coaches and the decisions that can doom a program - loyalty to assistant coaches.
Florida St (7-4, 4-4 ACC)
(12) Florida (8-3, 5-3 SEC)
Speaking of loyalty to assistants, Bobby Bowden dug a big hole for his program by doing this. Although neither team is in contention for much this year, both schools have reason to believe. Bowden's team can make a statement by keeping this close.
Arkansas (7-4, 3-4 SEC)
(1) LSU (10-1, 6-1 SEC)
LSU already has the SEC West title under their belts. They need this one to keep in BCS contention. Although it would be a huge win for Arkansas and Houston Nutt, it seems unlikely.
LSU should take care of business and hope that Tennessee beats Kentucky. They will be a much easier matchup than Georgia for LSU.
Duke (1-10, 0-7 ACC)
North Carolina (3-8, 2-5 ACC)
Butch Davis has made his arrival in Chapel Hill known to all. This should be an exclamation point leading into next year.
Florida Atlantic (5-5, 4-1 S. Belt)
Florida International (0-10, 0-5 S. Belt)
As the Sun Belt tries to build rivalries (Troy already beat MTSU in the "Battle for the Palladium" on Tuesday), this game attempts to create one in South Florida. Unfortunately, FAU is much further along. They need to stay in contention for a Sun Belt title as they play Troy next week. The Owls should take care of business.
"Battle on the Bayou"
Louisiana-Monroe (5-6, 3-3 S. Belt)
Louisiana-Lafayette (3-8, 3-3 S. Belt)
Monroe and Lafayette face each other on the heels of Warhawks upset of Alabama. This one is too close to call.
Wake Forest (7-4, 5-3 ACC)
Vanderbilt (5-6, 2-6 SEC)
These two academic school are fighting for real meaning. Wake needs this game to ensure a good bowl bid. Vandy needs one to become bowl elgibible for the first time since 1982.
This game will also go along way in showing how close the SEC and the ACC truly are.
Miami (FL) (5-6, 2-5 ACC)
(14) Boston College (9-2, 5-2 ACC)
Can Miami help Clemson? We shall see. Randy Shannon has a long way to go down in Coral Gables.
Nebraska (5-6, 2-5 Big 12)
Colorado (5-6, 3-4 Big 12)
This game is for bowl eligibility for both even though neither may get a bid. Most likely, it will be known as Bill Callahan's final game as Nebraska's head coach.
Kansas St (5-6, 3-5 Big 12)
Fresno St (6-4, 5-2 WAC)
(20) Connecticut (9-2, 5-1 Big East)
(3) West Virginia (9-1, 4-1 Big East)
This is WVa's next to last test. UConn is a total pretender. WVa's is battling for the BCS Title bid. Bye, bye Huskies.
(23) South Florida (8-3, 3-3 Big East)
Pittsburgh (4-6, 2-3 Big East)
USF couldn't recover from their mid season swoon, but the polls still respect them. They need to finally beat a team in the cold.
(24) Cincinnati (8-3, 3-3 Big East)
Syracuse (2-9, 1-5 Big East)
Cincy kept it close against WVa, but they couldn't get over the top. They should cruise in the Carrier Dome.
UTEP (4-7, 2-5 C-USA)
UCF (8-3, 6-1 C-USA)
Tulsa (8-3, 5-2 C-USA)
Rice (3-8, 3-4 C-USA)
UCF and Tulsa have the inside track to play for the C-USA title. Both teams have scary games to end the season.
Texas Southern (0-10, 0-9 SWAC)
Houston (7-4, 6-2 C-USA)
Tulane (4-7, 3-4 C-USA)
East Carolina (6-5, 5-2 C-USA)
Houston and ECU lie in wait if either of those two lose.
Arkansas St (5-6, 3-4 S. Belt)
Southern Miss (6-5, 5-3 C-USA)
UAB (2-9, 1-6 C-USA)
Marshall (2-9, 2-5 C-USA)
Southern Methodist (1-10, 0-7 C-USA)
Memphis (6-5, 5-2 C-USA)
Arkansas St (5-6, 3-4 S. Belt)
Southern Miss (6-5, 5-3 C-USA)
The rest of C-USA looks towards next year.
Western Kentucky (7-4, 3-3 away)
North Texas (1-9, 1-5 S. Belt)
Western Kentucky will make the Sun Belt much better when they start Sun Belt Conference football play.