Utah vs BYU

Utah vs BYU : Utah football faces rival BYU in the Holy War to cap the 2018 regular season. Will the Utes remain alive for a shot at a 10-win season after the game? The Cougars had a few issues getting things going offensively over the second half of the season, and it all started on an offensive line that couldn’t get a push in game after game. There were moments – like an explosion against Hawaii – but that was an aberration.

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The Cougars rolled on the ground against UMass, and exploded last week against New Mexico State for 317 yards and six scores.

Utah, despite their storied history, has never played in the Rose Bowl. After moving from the Mountain West into the expanded Pac-12 in 2011, the Utes have been the only Pac-12 South team that has yet to reach the conference championship game. Even so, Kyle Whittingham’s team has been a consistent bowl participant at the Power Five level and has a chance to reach 10 wins for the second time in five years.

BYU likewise left the Mountain West in 2011, but instead of getting a shot to join a major conference the Cougars opted to go it alone as an independent. Hoping to set themselves up as the Mormon equivalent of Notre Dame and the independent parochial powerhouse of the 21st-century, BYU bet on themselves. It hasn’t paid off so far, but it was always going to be a long game for the Cougars.

A Utah victory puts the Utes through to the Pac-12 championship game. They will live or die based on how well Jason Shelley keeps developing as the replacement at quarterback for the injured Tyler Huntley. BYU will look to ruin their rival’s chances of their first conference title since earning the 2008 Mountain West title a decade earlier.

Can the Cougars win their first Holy War since 2009? Here’s how you can watch the Beehive State battle between Utah and BYU on Saturday:

If Utah has had one major flaw this season, it is the fact that they have allowed opponents to block five kicks and three punts this year. They are among the worst half-dozen teams in the FBS in both categories, which has cost the Utes points and field position all season long. Improving on their season averages in both kick and punt returns will also be critical for a team whose return games rank in the bottom half nationally.

BYU needs to get more pressure at the line of scrimmage. Getting hits on Jason Shelley will be critical to disrupt the youngster at quarterback, and they need to slow down the running game as well with tackles behind the line. Getting a big day from freshman quarterback Zach Wilson, playing his first Holy War against the team he grew up supporting, will be critical in Salt Lake City.

Lopini Katoa and the rest of the BYU backfield is going to struggle to advance the ball on the ground, as Utah’s fifth-ranked rushing defense clamps down and prevents the Cougars from moving the ball. Jason Shelley will put together a three-touchdown day throwing the ball, while Zack Moss posts a 150-yard game in his final regular-season game as a Ute. Kyle Whittingham’s team will be headed to Santa Clara for their first-ever trip to the Pac-12 championship game.

Notre Dame vs USC

Notre Dame vs USC :The Fighting Irish are one of four undefeated teams remaining in 2018, and a win in Los Angeles on Saturday would all but assure Brian Kelly’s spot in the College Football Playoff. Notre Dame has dispatched ranked foes like Michigan, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse en route to 11-0 and the No. 3 spot in the CFP rankings.

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Southern California, on the other hand, is 5-6 on the season and one loss away from firing head coach Todd Helton. Defeat Saturday will turn the Trojans over to a new chapter in their program history. And since they’re currently 5-6 and an 11-point underdog at home, that might be a good thing.

Watch Notre Dame vs. USC prediction:

The S&P+ ratings think the Irish are the nation’s No. 6 team (please direct all angry complaints to Bill Connelly and the concept of numbers). USC comes in at a very generous 42nd. All signs point to a Notre Dame win, and a big one.

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The industry consensus is that Clay Helton will be fired if the Trojans lose to undefeated Notre Dame on Saturday. Penn State head coach James Franklin’s name is the most prominent in early speculation about replacements.

We’re told this isn’t Franklin’s camp stoking the fire.

He fits the intangible needs people in the industry think USC needs: he’s media savvy and could stand out in the Pac-12 as an aggressive personality, had some Los Angeles recruiting experience for Washington State and Kansas State, and has already repaired a national brand that had far more significant damage.

So, yeah, USC AD Lynn Swann’s got some work ahead of him.

Brian Kelly knows Southern Cal is having a down year, but he also knows a team loaded with 4- and 5-star talent is still dangerous.

The winner Saturday takes home the jeweled shillelagh, which is one of the world’s better rivalry trophies.

Will Notre Dame send a message Saturday night?

The Irish are peaking. A 42-13 win over Florida State was expected. A 36-3 destruction of then-No. 12 Syracuse was not. Notre Dame smashed the Orange to pieces last week in a clear statement to the CFP selection committee. Now Kelly’s got the opportunity to do it again — this time by dismantling another five-star program that’s seen better days. Expect quarterback Ian Book (292 yards, 2 TDs) to play a role in the process.

LSU vs Texas a&m

LSU vs Texas a&m : A lot is at stake for No. 7 LSU and No. 22 Texas A&M when the two proud programs square off at Kyle Field on Saturday. The post-Thanksgiving matchup, and soon to be rivalry, has been one-sided since the Aggies joined the SEC in 2012. Including a Cotton Bowl game before their arrival, LSU has won seven in a row.

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That will help create a rivalry when two teams are as geographically close to one another as they are. It means frequent head-to-head battles on the recruiting trail with both crossing state lines into enemy territory.

I think this turns into a real rivalry down the road for LSU, the kind that administrators in Baton Rouge and Fayetteville tried to create with The Golden Boot Award. I see an LSU-A&M series turning into one on the same level as LSU and Ole Miss back in the 1950s, 60s and into the 70s.

Jimbo Fisher needs a signature win this season, and this is the biggest he can get. It is the difference in a 7-5 or 8-4 season. An 8-4 finish would look a lot better to those looking for their return on $7.5 million a year.

Ed Orgeron could notch LSU’s first 10-win regular-season finish since 2013 and his 19 regular-season wins matches the best back-to-back finishes since 2012-13. The prize at the end of the night is that New year’s Six Bowl LSU can wrap up with a victory.

Kentucky vs Louisville

Kentucky vs Louisville : This has been a shocking football season for both the Kentucky Wildcats and the Louisville Cardinals. The Wildcats are seeking their 9th win in a season where bowl eligibility was a preseason goal, and Louisville has given up 50+ points on six different occasions in route to dismissing their head coach before season’s end.

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Neither fan base could have predicted these outcomes for their teams in August. But as Mark Stoops said this week, “Throw the records out the window.” When you get into a rivalry game, all bets are off and anything can happen.

What will happen on Saturday in Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium when the Wildcats and Cardinals batter for the Governor’s Cup? The staff writers here

For the first time in recent memory, Kentucky is a heavy favorite in a football game that will be played in Louisville. That feels odd and awesome at the same time.

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Kentucky’s defense has been struggling a bit in the last two weeks, but really stepped up late against Middle Tennessee State last week to seal the victory. Louisville’s offense has been fairly inept outside of garbage time this season, posting no games with a running back carrying the ball for more than 100 yards.

Conversely, Louisville has given up an astronomical number of points this year. And as we all know, the Wildcats’ offense has struggled mightily down the stretch. This seems like the case of a stoppable force meeting a movable object.

Regardless of the match-up, I think Kentucky will be motivated this week to send this special group of seniors out with a bang and to get that illusive 9th win that Kentucky football has not seen since 1984. The season will end with back-to-back wins and a historic record, and many will forget the frustrations of falling short to Georgia and Tennessee.

In the regular season finale, Kentucky will travel to Louisville and face the Cardinals for the Governor’s Cup. Although Kentucky has slowed down over the last few weeks, not many teams have struggled more than Louisville.

Terry Wilson has been up and down all year long, yet Jawon Pass has one less TD total and five more interceptions. Benny Snell Jr.’s numbers have tripled Malik Cunningham’s total carries and touchdowns, and has nearly tripled his total yards. Lynn Bowden Jr. has more receptions, yards, and touchdowns than Jaylen Smith.

The most telling difference is on the defense. Kentucky held its first eight opponents at or under 20 points, while holding all its opponents to an average of 16.8 points a game. Louisville’s defense hasn’t looked like it could stop me, someone who has never played a snap of official football, all season. The Cardinals defense has allowed four 50 point games, a 66 point game and a 77 point game. They’ve allowed an average of nearly 60 points over their last 4 and have allowed an average of 43 points over their season.

If you have a team with a struggling offense, pray that you play the Cardinals. I could try to make an argument for Louisville to have a chance, but Kentucky leads almost every statistical category I’ve looked at between these two. Louisville is the home team and will have a fire lit under them for this rivalry game, but I think Kentucky wins big before they head into bowl season.

Isn’t it nice seeing Kentucky be the team favored by almost 20 points heading into the Governor’s Cup for once? The all-time series between Kentucky and Louisville might be tied, but lately it’s almost been all Cardinals as they’ve won six out of the last seven meetings.

However, with Lamar Jackson out of the picture the Cardinals have had a disastrous season. CBS Sports came out with a ranking of the 128 FBS teams and Lousiville was the second lowest rated power-five team only in front of Rutgers. That’s how bad it is for the 2-9 Cards. The Wildcats will still need to bring their A game because like both Mark Stoops and Lorenzo Ward said, in a game like this you can throw records out the window.

However, it’s very unlikely the Cats blow this game. The Cardinals defense is horrible and the Cats should run all over them. Expect huge games for Benny Snell and Terry Wilson on the ground. For Snell, the 207 yards he needs to become the UK all-time leading rusher should be very much in reach Saturday when the Cats will likely roll over the Cards in Louisville.

It’s time for the annual Governor’s Cup and it should be a fun one or UK fans this year. A win on Saturday would give UK its first nine win season in decades.

Louisville has a whole lot of…..well, nothing. Head coach Bobby Petrino was just fired, so Lorenzo Ward is serving as interim head coach. Multiple players have transferred. And they haven’t even decided on a starting QB for Saturday. So, I think it’s easy to say UK should have the edge in this one.

Louisville’s starting QB the majority of the year has been Jawon Pass. “Puma”, however, has not lived up to his four-star hype. For the season, he’s completing a lowly 54% of his passes to go along with 1,960 passing yards, eight touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. He’s a big QB that figured to be a solid threat passing out of the pocket, but he just hasn’t put it all together this year.

The other QB UofL will consider starting on Saturday is Malik Cunningham. Cunningham is basically a poor man’s version of Lamar Jackson. He doesn’t throw well whatsoever, so the majority of his damage is done on the ground. He’s carried the ball 74 times this season for 408 yards, which equates to 5.5 yards per carry. He’s dangerous in the open field, but with virtually no passing skills, the offense is too one dimensional when he’s in.

The Cards also have a couple decent RBs in Hassan Hall, Trey Smith, and Dae Williams. However, none of them have been good enough to take the position, which indicates their mediocrity. Not to mention, they’re running behind a terrible offensive line. In addition, Louisville is most dangerous at WR, which includes Jaylen Smith, Dez Fitzpatrick, Tutu Atwell, and Seth Dawkins. This is the position Kentucky has to be most worried about going into Saturday. This group of WRs is good…if the QB can get them the ball.

Finally, the Louisville defense is pathetic. Their passing defense isn’t terrible as they rank 36th nationally in passing yards allowed, but their run defense ranks 124th. This is exactly where the Cats can dominate the Cards. Louisville allows over 270 rushing yards per game.

All in all, Louisville is simply a bad team. They’ve played nine Power-5 teams this season and the average final score in those games was 49.9-19.6. They’re minus-14 in turnover margin, 127th in points per scoring opportunity offensively, and 126th in points per scoring opportunity defensively. This team is bad all around. And to add salt to the wound, Louisville ranks dead last in the FBS in “havoc rate allowed”, which includes sacks, TFLs, forced fumbles, INTs, and PBUs. Meanwhile, UK’s defense ranks 16th in that category meaning the Kentucky defense will have plenty of big play opportunities.

It’s a rivalry game, so it’s hard to project a blowout. Kentucky is miles ahead of Louisville, but if there was one game they might get up for all season, it’d be this one. With that being said, Kentucky’s just too good to let Louisville even keep this one close.

Louisville has fallen on hard times on both sides of the ball, and they have nothing to play for other than pride Saturday. Meanwhile, Kentucky has to win this game to go to what would likely be the Citrus Bowl, a very big bowl that would be a major accomplishment to make.

However, there’s an outside chance Kentucky can sneak into a bigger New Year’s Six bowl if they win and get help elsewhere. Then you’ve got the fact Louisville has embarrassed Kentucky in two of the last three times they’ve played, and all of this should be all the motivation this clearly-superior Kentucky teams needs to beat what should finish out as a 2-10 Louisville team.

But this rivalry typically sees some unexpectedly close games in what look like big mismatches. Then you’ve got the fact Kentucky is favored by as many as 18.5 points in this one, yet are 0-5 against the spread this season when favored, and we all know how bad they’ve been ATS under Mark Stoops.

Until this team shows it can live up to hype and actually dominate the teams it’s supposed to, I’ll continue to expect games that are closer than expected. But in the end, this is a game Kentucky should have comfortably at hand in the fourth quarter.

Well, here we are. The Governor’s Cup is upon us. However, this season it has a different feel to it. Lamar Jackson is off to the NFL, Louisville has only 2 wins on the year, Bobby Petrino has been fired, and the Kentucky Wildcats are 8-3.

While Kentucky has not been dominant, especially of late, their offense has more than enough firepower to take down the Cards. Louisville has looked lost on defense all season long and they have not found a suitable replacement under center for Jackson. If the Cats can just put 21 points on the board, that could be enough to put the Cardinals away.

The Cats should run away with the victory on Saturday, but I’ve got a strange feeling we could see a game similar to 2016 when the Cards were a three-touchdown favorite and eventually lost to Kentucky on a game-winning FG by Austin MacGinnis. Only this time I fear the outcome could be reversed.

I do not expect Louisville to fold early, but I think UK will pull away late and walk out of Cardinal Stadium with the victory.

Alabama vs Auburn

Alabama vs Auburn : Auburn’s season has been a disappointment. The Tigers began 2018 as a top 10 team and started the year by beating a very good Washington team.

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Then came the losses. Against LSU (reasonable). Against Mississippi State (huh.). Against Tennessee (oh no). Against Georgia (reasonable, but also Auburn’s last chance to prove its top 25 bonafides). But Gus Malzahn can still salvage the season with one monster win during rivalry week.

Watch Alabama vs Auburn Live

The Iron Bowl will pit the Tigers against top-ranked Alabama in one of college football’s fiercest rivalries. As optimistic as Malzahn may be, oddsmakers aren’t confident the animosity in Bryant-Denny Stadium will translate to a competitive game on the field. The Crimson Tide, led by Heisman Trophy frontrunner Tua Tagovailoa, opened the week as a 24-point favorite.

Auburn vs. Alabama prediction:

The S&P+ ratings unsurprisingly name ‘Bama the nation’s top team. Auburn clocks in at No. 15 despite four losses and a record that includes a win over Washington and zero other top 25 teams. That suggests the Tigers have a fighting chance Saturday … but have you seen Alabama this year? Tide by 30.

Time, TV channel, and streaming info

Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

Location: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL

TV: CBS

StreamingSEC on CBSfuboTV

Odds: Alabama is favored by 24.5 points.

Alabama vs. Auburn news:

There’s a Les Miserables themed preview for the Iron Bowl, so why are you even here?ry

No, seriously, someone Andrew Lloyd Webber’ed a game with a 24-point spread. That’s it. that’s the best thing you’re gonna get out of this.

GO READ THAT 1980s MUSICAL SENSATION TURNED SEC RIVALRY PARODY

Fine. Here’s something on Tua Tagovailoa, you tyrants.

Can Auburn do anything to derail Tagovailoa’s Heisman campaign?

Tagovailoa is on pace to be the least-used Heisman winner in modern NCAA history thanks to Alabama’s litany of blowouts this fall — the Tide’s closest game this season was a 22-point win over Texas A&M. While he’s a near-lock to win the award, Auburn can still spoil his season by bullying him into the mistakes that have cropped up more and more often as the year’s worn on.

LSU limited him to seven yards per pass (five lower than his insane season average) and forced him into his first interception of the year three games ago. One week later, Mississippi State limited him to just 140 total yards and another turnover. Some very fine, almost imperceptible cracks are beginning to kinda-sorta show on his statuesque season. Can the Tigers be the team that exposes an honest-to-goodness flaw in his game?

Penn State vs Maryland

Penn State vs Maryland : The Maryland Terrapins (5-6), led by quarterback Kasim Hill, meet the No. 12 Penn State Nittany Lions (8-3), led by quarterback Trace McSorley, in a Big Ten Week 13 NCAA football game on Saturday, November 24, 2018 (11/24/18) at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania.

Click here for our picks and predictions for Week 13.

We are less than a month out from the best part of the year: Bowl season. Will Michigan and Notre Dame hold the line with frontrunners Alabama and Clemson in the College Football Playoff? Which Group of 5 school will get the New Year’s Six bid? Is Texas back in the NY6 mix? Is Ohio State still going to the Rose Bowl after almost losing to Maryland? What Big Ten program will be in New York for the Pinstripe Bowl? Here are NJ.com’s latest bowl projections of the season.

Watch Penn State vs Maryland Live

No matter how Maryland fares in the regular season finale against No. 15 Penn State, it won’t change the pride that interim coach Matt Canada feels about how his players have performed under extremely difficult circumstances.

The death of teammate Jordan McNair, two external investigations involving the football program and the dismissal of head coach DJ Durkin combined to make this a season an emotional roller coaster for the Terrapins.

“I’m certainly proud of everything our players have done, from how they’ve stuck together, how they’ve grieved together, how they’ve leaned on each other,” Canada said Tuesday. “As a staff, we’re very, very proud of that.”

The Terrapins (5-6, 3-5 Big Ten) aren’t done yet. After trying for three straight weeks to become bowl eligible with their sixth win of the season, Maryland has one last chance to get it right Saturday against the Nittany Lions (8-3, 5-3).

“I’m proud regardless, but we need to win,” Canada said.

McNair collapsed on the practice field in May and died of heatstroke in June. In August, the school launched investigations into McNair’s treatment at scene and the culture of the football program, and also placed Durkin on administrative leave.

With Canada serving as interim coach and offensive coordinator, the Terrapins opened with an upset of then-No. 23 Texas were 5-3 on Oct. 27 after a 63-24 rout of Illinois.

On Oct. 30, Durkin was reinstated by University System of Maryland board of regents. The next day, he was fired by University president Wallace Loh.

Since then, Maryland has been in futile pursuit of its sixth win of the season.

The skid began with a 24-3 loss at home to Michigan State. Then, after rallying from a 31-15 deficit at Indiana, Maryland lost 34-32 on a late field goal. That wasn’t nearly as heartbreaking as last week’s 52-51 overtime defeat against then-No. 9 Ohio State, when Canada boldly called for a 2-point conversion try in overtime that failed on the final play of the game.

Now, Maryland must knock off Penn State to become bowl bound and make this season an unequivocal success.

“The last time we addressed it was going into Indiana, when the next win would be six,” Canada said. “Our players know what six wins means. They certainly laid it out there the last two weeks and had two very emotional, tough losses. They know where they’re at. They know how important this game is.”

Florida vs Florida State

Florida vs Florida State : The Florida Gators are 8-3 in Dan Mullen’s first year as head coach. Although there’s been some bad losses, the season should be counted as a success so far. Doubling the win total and knocking off a top-10 LSU team all contribute. That could all mean nothing however,

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if the Gators don’t beat Florida State. FSU has won the last 5 matchups and have won most of them by a decisive margin. Florida is seeking to establish a foothold in the perennial power struggle of the state of Florida, but if they can’t beat the Seminoles it will become increasingly more difficult. No. 11 Florida travels to Florida State in a non-conference college football 2018 game at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida, on Saturday.

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Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. Central, noon Eastern, with the game to be broadcast live on ESPN. Florida is a 6.5-point favorite, according to Vegas Insider.

Florida is 8-3 this season, while Florida State is 5-6. The Seminoles have beaten the Gators five straight years, including 38-22 last season in Gainesville.

C’yontai Lewis’ losing streak to Florida State feels even longer than it actually is.

Not only has the Florida tight end lost all four games to the Seminoles during his college career, but the fifth-year senior was part of another setback in 2013. Lewis was on his official visit to Florida that year and witnessed the program’s worst defeat (37-7) to rival FSU since 1988.

So Lewis is essentially 0-5 against the ‘Noles.

“It’s the biggest game of the year,” he said. “I’ve just got to get a win against them. … I’ve just got to get that win, get the streak going. After we beat them this year, it’s never going to end.”

Live stream for Florida-Florida State is available via Watch ESPN.

Florida’s five-game losing streak is its longest in series history. The Gators need to end the slide Saturday in Tallahassee to remain in contention for a New Year’s Six bowl — a potential trip to the Peach Bowl or Fiesta Bowl.

“We got a great feeling about this game,” linebacker David Reese said. “We just want to get that feeling out our mouth, the losing feeling, the record, all that. You know we hear it, but it’s in the background. But we do hear it and we want to change that.”

The Gators (8-3, No. 13 CFP) have been outscored 157-63 during the streak, losing by an average score of 31-13.

First-year Florida coach Dan Mullen playfully noted that he won all four meetings against FSU during his time as offensive coordinator (2005-09). Florida actually won six straight back then, but the ‘Noles has dominated since by winning seven of eight.

“It’s huge,” Mullen said. “Every year it’s huge. You get in these games you’re talking about, right, you’re talking in-state rivalries, you’re talking a lot of neighbors against neighbors. You go to the grocery store you want to have bragging rights over your neighbors for the year. To get that win, it gives all of the Gator Nation the bragging rights over all of State’s fans.”

There’s more than bragging rights at stake, too.

Florida likely would lock up a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl with a win, capping an impressive turnaround after last season’s 4-7 debacle. They also have a chance to end the nation’s bowl streak. Florida State (5-6) has made 36 straight.

“That’d be great,” Mullen said, smiling. “I’d love to do it. That’s what rivalry games are all about, right?”

The Seminoles haven’t missed a bowl since 1981 — early in coach Bobby Bowden’s tenure.

“It’s very important,” first-year FSU coach Willie Taggart said. “We’re a prideful university. We pride ourselves on winning and you think about the streak, that’s winning. We have been winning every year. So it’s very important that we go out and give our fans, our alumni, our former players and coaches that have been here and our current players and coaches everything we can to see that we get this victory and keep it going.

“That’s important to us and we know what is at stake and we got to go take care of business.”

Florida opened as a four-point favorite — the first time since 2009 the Seminoles have been underdogs against the Gators.

Since that one, Florida has lost to FSU at home, on the road, on senior day and with postseason positioning on the line. It’s been so one-sided of late that Mullen doesn’t have any players on his roster who have experienced a victory against the Seminoles.

“In rivalry games, those are things that you don’t like,” he said. “If you’re on the winning side of it, it’s great to be on a long winning streak in rivalry games. If you’re on the losing side, it doesn’t feel good for you or your fans. So we have to try to start a new streak.”

Georgia vs Georgia Tech

Georgia vs Georgia Tech : The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will try to play the role of spoiler against in their heated rivalry against the Georgia Bulldogs (5) this afternoon. Georgia is clawing and scrapping their way toward the College Football Playoff, but they’ll need some help to get there.

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Today’s Georgia rivalry football game can be found on television by tuning into the SEC Network cable TV channel. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 pm EST / 9 am PST.

Watch Georgia vs Georgia Tech live online streaming without cable from your computer, tablet or phone today via one of the following recommendations:

A great way to watch today’s Georgia football game online without cable is to try out Hulu with Live TV. Hulu’s Live TV channel selection includes SEC Network, ESPN, ABC and many other others.

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The easiest way to watch the Georgia rivalry football game online free is by taking advantage of a Sling TV free 7-day trial. The Sling Orange bundle includes SEC Network as well as other ESPN-branded channels.

Satellite and cable subscribers can head over to the Watch ESPN website or mobile app and use their provider login credentials to access the SEC Network live stream for the Georgia Tech and Georgia game on any mobile device or computer.

Georgia (10-1) may be one ranking point out of the College Football Playoff currently, but moving up that one spot is fraught with difficulty.

First, the Bulldogs need to beat Georgia Tech — whom they are favored to win by 16 points. Then they’ll have to take down undefeated Alabama in the SEC Championship game.

On top of that the Bulldogs will likely need Ohio State to upset Michigan or either Clemson or Notre Dame being upset. The latter is unlikely to happen, but the former could potentially transpire.

As for the Yellow Jackets, their mission is clear: upset the Bulldogs and keep their rivals from having any change at the College Football Playoff.

Michigan vs Ohio State

Michigan vs Ohio State : No. 4 Michigan (10-1, 8-0, No. 4 CFP) likely will make its first trip to the College Football Playoff by beating Ohio State, and then taking care of Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship.

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“It’s our whole season,” Michigan defensive tackle Carlos Kemp said. “It’s what we wanted, though, for it to be us versus Ohio State in a game to go to the Big Ten championship and keep our playoff hopes alive.”

A win also would complete an undefeated Big Ten slate for Michigan for the first time since 1997 when it last won a national championship.

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No. 10 Ohio State (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten, No. 10 CFP) comes in more vulnerable than its record shows, having played spotty defense for much of the year. Beating the Wolverines and playing for a conference championship would be a notable achievement this season in which Ohio State suspended coach Urban Meyer for three games for mishandling repeated professional and behavioral problems of an assistant coach.

The two clash in their annual rivalry Saturday at 11 a.m. (Noon ET) on Fox.

Michigan is a four-point favorite.

PREVIEW

Even if Dwayne Haskins Jr. never plays another down for Ohio State his name will live in Buckeyes lore.

He entered the Michigan game in relief last year as a redshirt freshman when starting quarterback J.T. Barrett went down with a knee injury. Ohio State trailed 20-14 in the third quarter. Haskins directed a touchdown drive and went on to lead Ohio State to a 31-20 win at Ann Arbor and a sixth straight win in The Game.

“I was pretty calm going into that situation,” Haskins contended as he prepared to face Michigan for the first time as a starter Saturday. “I don’t really recall everything that happened in that game, but just being able to go into that atmosphere and that environment meant well for me going into this season.”

The game will live streamed online at FSGo.

Haskins certainly has displayed poise since then. He’s rewriting the school record book for single-season passing this year and has helped position Ohio State second nationally in total yards. His 36 touchdown passes are tied for first in the country. But he didn’t have the starting job in hand until Joe Burrow dropped out of the quarterback derby in the summer and subsequently transferred to LSU.

“I think going into the season there was a lot of uncertainties there, a lot of unknowns,” Ohio State co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Ryan Day said. “Obviously, we saw talent but weren’t sure. This was a sophomore who really hadn’t played much football at all. And I think now he’s battle-tested, he’s been through it, He’s got some experience under his belt. He’s been hit in the mouth.”

Some other things to look for in the 115th edition of The Game:

CONFIDENT CREW

Michigan is making the final stop on what defensive end Chase Winovich has called a revenge tour. The Wolverines have beaten three of the four teams it lost to last year, leaving Ohio State as the last one. They have been increasingly confident publicly.

Running back Karan Higdon guaranteed a win over Ohio State. Linebacker Devin Bush, wearing a revenge tour hat, said a win would mean everything.

“We haven’t beaten them in a while,” Bush said. “That’s something we want to do, and that’s something we’re going to do.”

WINOVICH WATCH

Coach Jim Harbaugh declined repeatedly this week to say if Winovich will play after he appeared to hurt his left shoulder last week. Winovich’s roommate, quarterback Shea Patterson, expects him to be on the field with his teammates. “You’d have to kill him to take him out,” Patterson said.

BETTER BUCKEYES

Ohio State offensive lineman Thayer Munford (knee), receiver Terry McLaurin (head), running back Mike Weber (thigh bruise), defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones (shoulder) and linebacker Baron Browning (unspecified) all are expected to play.