Thanksgiving week always serves up an appetizing selection of rivalry games. The College Football Playoff provides the garnish.
The Iron Bowl, The Game and Bedlam carry massive implications for teams and fans, but this week, they also impact CFP contenders and will help shape the final top four. The battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe has extra intrigue with Minnesota, a surprise CFP contender, getting a shot to defend the axe against Wisconsin for the first time since 2004. Michigan, Auburn, Oklahoma State and Wisconsin all can end or damage their rivals' playoff chances.
With rivalry week kicking off, I talked to coaches to help break down The Game, as well as what to expect in the Iron Bowl, Bedlam and the battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe.
The Game: No. 2 Ohio State at No. 13 Michigan, noon ET Saturday
A month ago, this matchup looked like a total mismatch.
Michigan had no clear offensive identity under first-year coordinator Josh Gattis. The Wolverines were committing turnovers and other miscues at alarming rates. Although Don Brown's defense held up well, the unit's aggressiveness had led to busts in losses to Wisconsin and Penn State. Ohio State, meanwhile, was dominating every opponent, thanks to a dramatically improved defense and an offense clicking behind quarterback Justin Fields.