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Hate Week brings the showdowns

Each year, the best week in college football is always Hate Week. It’s the last batch of games before the conference championship games and subsequently, the bowl season which has now ballooned into total madness. Hell, if you have six wins against a bunch of crappy teams and still enjoy a pulse, you qualify!

Yet, Hate Week is all about getting a chance to beat your rival. There are some absolutely great games that are going on this weekend that we won’t even get into, including the Oregon Ducks vs. the Oregon State Beavers in the Civil War, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. the Georgia Bulldogs, and the Virginia Tech Hokies against the Virginia Cavaliers. Just because those games won’t be impacting the College Football Playoff does not mean they don’t carry a ton of weight.

Regardless, here are the games you need to be watching this Saturday as all the action unfolds:

No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes at No. 13 Michigan Wolverines

By the time Tuesday night rolls around, we will know just how far Ohio State falls for its last-second loss at home to the Michigan State Spartans. There is a good chance that the Buckeyes are already out of the mix, but a win against Michigan coupled with a Michigan State loss against the Penn State Nittany Lions at East Lansing. Should the Spartans win, they will be the ones getting to play in the Big Ten championship, having beaten both Michigan and Ohio State.

No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide at Auburn Tigers

This should be a cakewalk on paper for Alabama, but Auburn will be ready and waiting for this game in front of its home fans. A win for the Crimson Tide puts it in great position as the SEC conference title game looms against the Florida Gators. Florida has not shown much offense since losing starting quarterback Will Grier for the season to a PED suspension. If Alabama takes care of business in the Iron Bowl, it is in terrific shape.

No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at No. 11 Stanford Cardinal

Notre Dame has a very simple task ahead of it; go into Stanford and walk out with a hard-fought victory. Unfortunately for the Fighting Irish, the Cardinal has the same message in reverse. This is going to be an extremely physical and hard-fought games between two similar teams. Both have one loss, so whoever loses is cooked. Stanford has the PAC 12 title game ahead, while Notre Dame obviously does not play in a conference. If the Fighting Irish win, it would be impossible to keep them out of the playoff.

No. 7 Oklahoma Sooners at No. 6 Oklahoma State Cowboys

Whoever wins this game is in prime position to make a serious run at the national championship. Oklahoma sustained what appeared to be a crushing loss to the Texas Longhorns earlier in the year but has bounced back in a major way, going undefeated since including a win over the Baylor Bears. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State has quietly gone undefeated and now takes on its interstate rival. The winner takes the Big 12 regular-season championship and bragging rights to the bank.

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