College Football on Sling: Rivalry Week Pits #3 Michigan vs #2 Ohio State, and #15 Florida vs #14 FSU

Nov 23, 2016 by Sling Staff

Welcome to Rivalry Week, when teams across the land face their most bitter enemies, with a couple of games having massive playoff implications. It’s a day when some teams are motivated by the pursuit of a title, while others hope to play spoiler. Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and Clemson sit atop the rankings, with Washington nipping at their heels.

#5 Washington (10-1) vs #23 Washington State (8-3)
3:30pm ET Friday on FOX

The Washington Huskies got back on track last week, following up their first loss of the season by taking a 30-0 nothing lead over Arizona State before coasting home to a 44-18 victory, the final score coming on a kickoff return by the Huskies with 6 minutes to play. Despite the win, quarterback Jake Browning’s Heisman hopes took another hit, as the sophomore completed just 27 of 44 for 338 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions – a perfectly fine day for a lot of guys, but for Browning it was his second-worst performance of the year. This is a must-win game for the Huskies if the want to keep their playoff chances alive, but even if they do win, they’re gonna need some help.

After opening their season with two losses, including one to sub-divisional Eastern Washington, the Washington State Cougars ripped off eight wins in a row before losing last week to then #12 Colorado 38-24. Cougar QB Luke Falk had a tough day, connecting on just 26 of 53 for 325 yards, while the Buffaloes steamrolled the Washington State defense, racking up 603 yards. Colorado QB Sefo Liufau gained 345 through the air, and another 108 and 3 TDs rushing, while Phillip Lindsay ran for 144 yards and 2 TDs on 31 carries. If the Cougars D doesn’t toughen up, they are in for a beating this week

#3 Michigan (10-1) vs #2 Ohio State (10-1)
Noon ET Saturday on ABC

This one is always a classic, but rarely are the stakes so high, with the winner guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, and the loser left to watch the scoreboard and pray. A loss won’t necessarily be a death sentence, but it could be.

The Ohio State Buckeyes barely escaped Lansing, Michigan, last week with a 17-16 defeat of the Michigan State Spartans. Buckeye senior QB JT Barrett endured one of the worst games of his career, connecting on 10 of 22 for 86 yards and a touchdown, though he and teammate Mike Weber did each rush for 100+ yards. Ohio State’s 310 yards on offense was the lowest total of the season by more than 100 yards, as the Spartans came within a whisker of ruining the Buckeyes’ title hopes for the third time in four years. The Spartans had a chance to take the lead with a 2-point conversion with in the final 5 minutes, only to have the pass intercepted.

The Michigan Wolverines had troubles of their own last week, struggling without starting QB Wilton Speight to beat Indiana 20-10. The Wolverines trailed 10-6 midway through the third quarter, before De’Veon Smith threw the team on his back, rushing for touchdowns of 34 and 39 yards in the span of 4 minutes to give his team a 20-10 lead that the Michigan defense would make stick. Speight suffered a broken collarbone two weeks ago during a 14-13 loss to Iowa, and though initial reports declared him out at minimum for the regular season, coach Jim Harbaugh continues to insist he’s day-to-day. Even with the stingiest defense in the country, if Speight can’t suit up, the Wolverines are in big trouble, because without him their offense gained fewer yards and scored the second-fewest points of any of Indiana’s opponents this year – and that includes 2-9 Rutgers.

Ohio State has won the last 4 matchups in this series, but Michigan holds a 58-47-6 edge overall.

#15 Florida (8-2) vs #14 Florida State (8-3)
8pm ET Saturday on ABC

Leading 16-10 with 3 seconds on the clock, the Florida Gators had no margin for error, as the LSU Tigers were one yard from the end zone and a game-tying TD, with an extra point attempt to follow. LSU’s Derrius Guice tried to leap over the pile, but got held up by the Gator D-lie and the ball squirted loose, where it was recovered by teammate Foster Moreau, but to no avail. Florida has dealt with quite a bit this season, including the loss of starting quarterback Luke Del Rio, who injured his shoulder November 5th against Arkansas, after having previously missed two games with a bad knee. Austin Appleby is 4-0 in Del Rio’s absence, but Saturday against LSU was grim, as he completed just 7 of 17 for 144 yards and a TD. As long as Appleby can get back on track, Florida should be in good shape, as they’ve given up the third-fewest points per game, 13.0, and the fourth-fewest yards, 282.4.

The Florida State Seminoles trounced Syracuse last week, setting a season high with 654 yards en route to a 45-14 win. It was 35-7 midway through the 3rd quarter before FSU finally took their foot off the gas. Seminoles QB Deondre Francois threw for 315 yards and 2 TDs, but it was running back Dalvin Cook who made things happen, racking up 225 yards on just 28 carries, and scoring 4 touchdowns. Cook is now sixth in the country in both rushing yards, with 1,467, and TDs, with 17.

The Gators’ run defense has been spotty the past five weeks, giving up 265, 21, 223, 43, and 219 yards. If they can contain Cook, they should be OK, but if that guy starts to find daylight, Florida’s gonna be in a world of hurt.


Houston (9-2) vs Memphis (7-4)
Noon ET on ABC

#5 Washington (10-1) vs #23 Washington State (8-3)
3:30pm ET on FOX

#16 Nebraska (9-2) vs Iowa (7-4)
3:30pm ET on ABC

Toledo (9-2) vs #21 Western Michigan (11-0)
5pm ET on ESPN2


Kentucky (6-5) vs #11 Louisville (9-2)
Noon ET on ESPN

#3 Michigan (10-1) vs #2 Ohio State (10-1)
Noon ET on ABC

Notre Dame (4-7) vs #12 USC (8-3)
3:30pm ET on ABC

Michigan State (3-8) vs #7 Penn State (9-2)
3:30pm ET on ESPN

#18 West Virginia (8-2) vs Iowa State (3-8)
3:30pm ET on FS1

#22 Utah (8-3) vs #9 Colorado (9-2)
7:30pm ET on FOX

South Carolina (6-5) vs #4 Clemson (10-1)
7:30pm ET on ESPN

#17 Tennessee (8-3) vs Vanderbilt (5-6)
7:30pm ET on SEC Network

#15 Florida (8-2) vs #14 Florida State (8-3)
8pm ET on ABC

Rice (3-8) vs #24 Stanford (8-3)
Pac-12 Network

ESPN and ESPN2, and ESPN3 are available to Sling Orange subscribers;
SEC Network is available to Sling Orange subscribers with Sports Extra;
ABC is available to Sling Orange subscribers with Broadcast Extra;
FOX is available to Sling Blue subscribers in select markets;
FS1 is available to Sling Blue subscribers;
Pac-12 Networks are available to all Sling subscribers with Sports Extra.

All stats courtesy ESPN and Sports Reference CFB.

Back to What's On