4. Oregon Ducks at Utah Utes (Nov. 20, 7:30 p.m. ET)
Because of their win over Ohio State in Columbus in the second week of the regular season, the Oregon Ducks are very much in control of their own destiny, as tired as that phrase might be.
If the Ducks can win out in the regular season and get another victory in the Pac-12 Championship Game, they’ll be in the College Football Playoff. Unfortunately for them, they have continued to let teams they are far more talented than almost trip them up (or succeed in doing so in the case of Stanford). Now that leads us to a trip to play a surging Utah squad in Week 12.
Since the Utes made a quarterback switch, they have been highly impressive, by far the best team that Oregon will have seen since beating the Buckeyes. All the Ducks have to do is win but that is anything but a given in this matchup against Utah.
3. Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Auburn Tigers (Nov. 27, TBD)
Admittedly, some of the Iron Bowl’s luster has been lost with the news that Auburn starting quarterback Bo Nix is out for the rest of the season after breaking his ankle against Mississippi State. Even still, a huge rivalry game such as this has huge implications, though not for the Tigers.
Auburn is out of CFP contention but, shockingly, Alabama came in at No. 2 in the first rankings from the committee and has stayed there since. With one loss on their record already thanks to Texas A&M, they would likely have to win out or, potentially, win out in the regular season and lose closely to Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.
In any scenario, though, Auburn is the Crimson Tide’s biggest hurdle to making that happen. There have been several instances in which an inferior Tigers team has risen to the occasion in the Iron Bowl and, with the inconsistency Bama has shown at times, that makes this rivalry matchup all the more intriguing.