Week 13 of the 2022 college football season, also known as Rivalry Week, has many questions.
WRAL Senior Multiplatform Producer Mark Bergin tries to answer some of them.
This story uses the College Football Playoff standings.
North Carolina, NC State seeks redemption during rivalry week
NC State @ No. 17 North Carolina (3:30 p.m. ET Friday, ABC)
North Carolina (9-2, 6-1 ACC) was stuck at one slim Chance to make the college football playoffs before losing to Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets erased a 17-point deficit and scored 21 unanswered points with third-string quarterback Zach Gibson to beat the Tar Heels 21-17.
Now the Tar Heels are hoping their second loss of the season doesn’t cost quarterback Drake Maye a trip to the Big Apple for the Dec. 10 presentation of the Heisman Trophy. Maye won’t win the award, but he deserves to be a finalist if the Tar Heels win. Going into Rivalry Week and the ACC Championship game on December 3 against Clemson is a tall order.
Also, there is bad blood between North Carolina and the state of NC.
In September, Maye quickly apologized after saying during a news conference, “People who go to (NC) State just can’t come to Carolina.”
We’ll see if Maye’s comment provides additional motivation for the wolf pack.
NC State (7-4, 3-4 ACC) has lost two straight games and three of its last five.
The wolf pack was plagued by injuries. They played Louisville without freshman quarterback MJ Morris, center Grant Gibson, linebacker Payton Wilson, tight end Trent Pennix, wide receiver Devin Carter, running back Demie Sumo-Karngbaye, and defensive back Tyler Baker-Williams.
Earlier this season, NC State also lost starting quarterback Devin Leary, the preseason ACC Player of the Year, to a season-ending injury.
Jack Chambers could start on Saturday if Morris is unable to play. Ben Finley could also come into the mix.
The Wolf Pack won last year’s game 34-30.
What’s the best college football game of the weekend?
No. 3 Michigan @ No. 2 Ohio State (Noon ET Saturday, FOX)
Michigan eventually defeated Ohio State in 2021 for the first time in the Jim Harbaugh era and for the first time since 2011. The Wolverines won the 2021 game by dominating the line of scrimmage at 7.2 yards per carry while holding defensively allowed only 2.1 yards per carry.
The winner of this game will likely represent the Big Ten in the CFP. The winner is expected to beat the Big Ten West winner – likely Iowa – in the December 3 conference title game.
Both teams have Heisman competitors: Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud and Michigan running back Blake Corum.
However, Corum injured his left knee against Illinois. He returned for a carry in the second half before sitting out the rest of the game. It’s unclear how limited Corum will be against the Buckeyes
Stroud’s performance on Saturday could decide whether he wins the Heisman.
USC quarterback Caleb Williams is believed to be Stroud’s biggest Heisman challenger this weekend. Last Saturday, Williams had a Heisman-worthy performance against UCLA.
Which team will Lee Corso pick during ESPN’s College GameDay? State of Ohio or Michigan?
Corso loves Brutus the Buckeye, which traces back to the origins of his legendary headgear picks. I think he votes for the state of Ohio.
How is the rest of the CFP shaking up?
Assuming Georgia beats Georgia Tech on Saturday, the Bulldogs are likely to make the CFP regardless of the outcome of the Dec. 3 SEC title game.
Ohio State or Michigan will likely represent the Big Ten in the CFP.
If TCU and USC win, both teams are likely to be in it. However, both have tough schedules. TCU has Iowa State and Big 12 championship opponents (Kansas State or Texas). USC must beat Notre Dame and PAC-12 championship opponents (Oregon, Utah or Washington).
If TCU and USC make a mistake, the debate revolves around whether Clemson can remain a one-loss ACC champion or whether a two-loss SEC school is more worthy among Alabama and LSU. The reason I’m leaving Tennessee out is that Alabama and LSU play in the SEC West, which means they have a chance to play Georgia in the SEC title game.
What happens outside of Rivalry Week?
Bowl season is upon us and the coaching carousel is already in full swing.
There are several reasons why the rumors of Lane Kiffin going to Auburn are so juicy, including:
- Ole Miss, Kiffin’s current team, also plays in the SEC West.
- When Kiffin left Tennessee in 2009 — his first SEC coaching job — to accept the USC stint, Vols fans rioted. This was despite the fact that USC was paying Kiffin a reported average of $4 million a year, which was double his Tennessee salary.
- The transfer portal will open on December 5th and the early signing period for college recruitment will start on December 21st.
- Kiffin reportedly met with Ole Miss players Tuesday to let them know he hasn’t taken a job at another school.
- Kiffin’s Twitter shenanigans.
- Citing unnamed sources, WCBI’s Jon Skoloff stood by his coverage Monday. Skoloff claims Kiffin plans to resign on Friday and go to Auburn. Skoloff also reported that Auburn hasn’t officially offered the job to anyone yet.
If Kiffin turns Auburn down, former Ole Miss coach and current Liberty coach Hugh Freeze could be the next candidate in line.
Say what you will about Freeze, there aren’t many coaches who have beaten Alabama’s Nick Saban in consecutive seasons. Since Saban first became SEC head coach at LSU in 2000, only Freeze, Steve Spurrier with Florida and Les Miles with LSU have beaten the legend in back-to-back games.
Auburn’s current interim coach, Cadillac Williams, is also being considered for the full-time position. Williams could grab the job with a big upset from Alabama in the Iron Bowl Saturday afternoon. Alabama is a 22-point favorite.
Other openings include Wisconsin, Nebraska, Colorado, Arizona State, Georgia Tech and South Florida.
There’s a reason NC State Head Coach Dave Doeren has been rumored to be filling some of those positions. At least it should give Doeren some leverage for a possible salary increase.