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No. 2 Ohio State and No. 6 Michigan meet with high stakes

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Second-ranked Ohio State plays at No. 6 Michigan on Saturday with high stakes. The victors claim the Big Ten East Division title, a spot in the conference championship game and a shot at being in the College Football Playoff. The loser falls out of Big Ten and national title contention and is left to wait for a second-tier bowl game invitation.

The Buckeyes, who are 23-0 in conference games under coach Ryan Day, are aiming for a fifth straight Big Ten title and sixth appearance in the conference championship. Michigan, meanwhile, hasn’t ever won a Big Ten division title and it is mired in the program’s longest conference championship drought that dates to 2004.

Ohio State has won a school-record eight straight and 15 of the last 16 matchups. The Buckeyes beat the Wolverines by a combined score of 118-66 the last two times they met.

Ohio State’s pass-rushing, run-stuffing defensive line against Michigan’s steady offensive line is the key matchup to watch.

In other notable Top 25 games Saturday:

— No. 10 Oklahoma visits No. 7 Oklahoma State. Both still have an outside shot at a berth in the College Football Playoff. Oklahoma State has already clinched a spot in the Big 12 title game, but a loss would end the Cowboys’ national title hopes. Oklahoma has won six straight Big 12 titles but would be out of the conference title game with a loss to Oklahoma State and a Baylor win over Texas Tech.

— Ninth-ranked Baylor will still have a shot at the Big 12 title with a win over Texas Tech in the regular-season finale. The 9-2 Bears have to win and then would be pulling for seventh-ranked Oklahoma State to beat 10th-ranked Oklahoma. Baylor is a two-touchdown favorite over the Red Raiders, who are coming off their first shutout loss since 1997. The 6-5 Red Raiders are already bowl eligible, but are trying for their first winning season since 2015.

— No. 3 Alabama hopes to keep its playoff hopes on track with a visit to rival Auburn in the regular season-ending Iron Bowl. Quarterback Bryce Young and the Crimson Tide are nearly three-touchdown favorites. They’re already set up a date with top-ranked Georgia in the Southeastern Conference championship game. It’s the first Iron Bowl for Auburn coach Bryan Harsin, whose team can secure a winning record with an upset.

— Top-ranked Georgia will attempt to cap an undefeated regular season when it visits Georgia Tech with state bragging rights on the line. Georgia is 11-0 and is playing for more than a state championship this season. The oddsmakers aren’t expecting a close game. Georgia Tech is 3-8 and has lost five consecutive games.

— No. 5 Notre Dame travels to Stanford to finish the regular season. The Fighting Irish will be in position for a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl with a win and can keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive. The Cardinal look to snap a six-game skid and avoid their first nine-loss season since 2006. Stanford has won five of the past six home games in the series.

Categories: National Sports