The Iron Bowl is finally here and Alabama is one win away from punching its ticket to the SEC championship. After that, they’re likely headed to the College Football Playoff if all goes as planned.
It’s a big weekend for the Crimson Tide, but also for all of college football around the country. Here’s a guide for the other teams you should cheer for around the country in between commercial breaks of the Iron Bowl.
No. 4 Iowa at Nebraska, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC (Friday)
Root for: Nebraska. The Hawkeyes are heading into this game undefeated. If they beat Nebraska and then win the Big Ten championship, there is little question they will be given a playoff berth. One loss, however, could pose a serious threat to those hopes given their relatively weak strength of schedule.
No. 1 Clemson vs. South Carolina, noon ET, ESPN
Root for: South Carolina. The Gamecocks have endured one of their worst seasons in a while: Coach Steve Spurrier resigned and the once dominant SEC program is holding down just a 3-8 overall record. It’s unlikely they will beat the undefeated Tigers in the final regular season game, but Alabama fans can still hope. A Clemson loss would likely make the Crimson Tide No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings.
No. 3 Oklahoma at No. 11 Oklahoma State, 8 p.m. ABC
Root for: Oklahoma State. Because the Big 12 doesn’t have a title game, a Sooners win will make Oklahoma the Big 12 champions. But if the Sooners lose, the College Football Playoff likely won’t have a Big 12 representative. If Alabama can avoid facing Heisman candidate Baker Mayfield and the Sooners’ explosive offense, that will certainly bode well for the Crimson Tide.
No. 6 Notre Dame at No. 9 Stanford, 7:30 p.m. FOX
Root for: Stanford. The Fighting Irish only have one loss — to Clemson — while the Cardinal have two. If Stanford can beat Notre Dame, each team will have two losses, making it much more difficult for either to get into the Playoff. Not having to face Heisman contender and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey would be a plus for Alabama. The same goes for avoiding Notre Dame’s up-tempo offense.
Penn State at No. 5 Michigan State, 3:30 p.m. ESPN
Root for: Penn State. No brainer here. Penn State is unranked and Michigan State is sitting on the bubble at No. 5. A loss would likely knock them out of contention for good.