College football Week 13 preview: Michigan, Ohio State take center stage in Ann Arbor


It feels like yesterday that Week Zero of college football kicked off as fans of the sport happily prepared for months of games. 

Three short months later, the final frame of the 2023 regular season has arrived with Week 13. 

Michael Penix Jr. celebrates against Oregon State

Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. of the Washington Huskies simulates shooting an arrow during the game against the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon, on Saturday. (Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

While it’s sad to know that the games will coming to a close in the very near future, the best football is still to be played. 

The College Football Playoff committee has ranked Georgia as the top team in the country for the second consecutive week, with Ohio State and Michigan following. 

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Washington finally edged Florida State on Tuesday as the fourth-ranked team in the country after defeating three consecutive ranked opponents. 

With one game remaining and conference championships still to come, potential chaos is on the horizon for college football. 

So, let’s take a look at the Saturday slate of Week 13 of the college football season. 

No. 3 Michigan vs No. 2 Ohio State – 12:00 p.m. ET

One of the greatest rivalries in all of sports takes center stage with everything on the line. 

For the second straight season, Michigan and Ohio State square off as undefeated teams for the Big Ten East title and a clear path to the playoff. 

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh won’t be on the sideline after agreeing to accept his three-game ban from the Big Ten for violating the conference’s sportsmanship policy. 

It will be the third straight game for Michigan without Harbaugh, having won the previous two against Penn State and Maryland. 

A picture of Michigan Stadium

General view of the kickoff between the Michigan Wolverines and the Bowling Green Falcons in the first half at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Sept. 16. (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

The Wolverines have defeated Ohio State in their past two matchups, and quarterback J.J. McCarthy doesn’t intend on breaking the streak anytime soon. 

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“Being able to get on top of that rivalry this last two years has been huge,” McCarthy said in an interview with The Associated Press. “And, we don’t plan on being on the other side of that at all anymore.”

Ohio State enters the game third in the country in yards allowed per game (252.9) and will be looking to slow down Michigan running back Blake Corum, who leads the nation in rushing touchdowns (20). 

Ohio State coach Ryan Day leads his team onto the field

Ohio State coach Ryan Day leads the team onto the field for the game against Michigan State at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 11. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

“We’re still confident,” Buckeyes defensive end Jack Sawyer said. “I think that’s our motto is playing confident and being stingy and trying to get turnovers and just playing as aggressive as we can on the field.

“If we do that, good things will happen.”

The winner on Saturday will face Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game. It will be the last matchup between the two rivals before the conference expands to 18 teams and eliminates divisions. 

Auburn vs No. 8 Alabama – 3:30 p.m. ET

For one day each November, houses across the state of Alabama are divided as the Iron Bowl is played for a year’s worth of bragging rights. 

Alabama enters Saturday’s matchup as winners of nine straight after falling to Texas in Week 2. The Crimson Tide are once again in the national championship picture and will face No. 1 Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, regardless of the outcome against Auburn. 

But if head coach Nick Saban and Alabama are to have any hope of making the CFP, a win over their bitter rival is required. 

“People talk about all the crazy stuff that happens in this game,” Saban said. “But since I’ve been here, the team that should have won the game won the game based on who played the best.”

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe celebrates with his teammate

Jalen Milroe, left, and Roydell Williams of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrate a touchdown against the Chattanooga Mocs at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Saturday. (Brandon Sumrall/Getty Images)

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Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe has become a threat with his arm and his legs in recent weeks, rushing for seven touchdowns in the last three games. 

“No matter what state you’re from, you do know about the Iron Bowl. Being from Texas, I know about the Iron Bowl, for sure,” Milroe said. “I grew up watching it. But to be able to experience the Iron Bowl, it’s going to be a great experience, for sure.”

Auburn is coming off an embarrassing loss to New Mexico State after entering the game as 23 ½ point favorites. 

Prior to the loss, the Tigers had won three straight. Alabama has won three straight Iron Bowl contests.  

Florida vs No. 5 Florida State – 7:00 p.m. ET 

It’s been a tough week in Tallahassee, Florida, after star quarterback Jordan Travis suffered a season-ending injury against North Alabama and the CFP committee dropped the Seminoles out of the top four. 

The injury to Travis ends his college career and puts Florida State’s national championship hopes in jeopardy, but the Seminoles are still undefeated and control their own destiny. 

The Seminoles are locked in to the ACC Championship Game and need to win out in order to have a chance of making the CFP.

Florida State's Tate Rodemaker hands the ball off

Florida State’s Caziah Holmes runs for a touchdown after getting a handoff from Tate Rodemaker during the game against North Alabama at Doak S. Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida, on Saturday. (AP Photo/Colin Hackley)

Tate Rodemaker, a fourth-year backup, replaces Travis as the Seminoles look to increase their winning streak to 18. 

“We’ve got a lot of confidence in Tate and the job that he’ll do,” Florida State head coach Mike Norvell said, according to On3. “He’s got a great supporting cast around him. But this is a football team. This is a team that has faced adversity all season. Over the course of the year, we’ve had to rise on different occasions.

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“All of those things have prepared for this point to go and cap off an undefeated regular season and knowing we have a conference championship game the following week.”

The Florida Gators have lost four straight games as they look to become bowl-eligible. Redshirt freshman quarterback Max Brown will get his first career start after a season-ending injury to Graham Mertz. 

Head coach Billy Napier of the Florida Gators Billy Napier coaches against LSU

Head coach Billy Napier of the Florida Gators looks on during the game against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Nov. 11. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

“This is a game that matters 24/7, 365,” Florida football coach Billy Napier said, according to The Gainesville Sun. “We’re certainly excited about being in the Swamp Saturday night, sold-out crowd. I think that’s five straight for Gator Nation. So we’re very thankful for that.”

Florida State will face Louisville in the ACC title game, regardless of Saturday’s outcome. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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