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Ranking college football's top 25 must-see games on Rivalry Week

Sporting News ranks the top 25 games this Rivalry Week, including The Game, Iron Bowl, Apple Cup and more.

Rivalry week is here — the final regular-season weekend of college football with great games from Thanksgiving through Saturday.

That sets up conference championship weekend, and the last set of College Football Playoff rankings that determine who plays in the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1.

MORE: Ranking college football's 30 hottest rivalries

With that in mind, we ranked the 25 games on rivalry weekend that you can't miss.

25. Oregon State (1-10) at Oregon (6-5)

Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN2

The stakes aren't high, but the Beavers won this game last year and it's on Oregon's Willie Taggart to change that in his first season. It's the Civil War. Enough said.

24. Iowa (6-5) at Nebraska (4-7)

Friday, 4 p.m., Fox Sports 1

This could be Mike Riley's last game at Nebraska, but the Hawkeyes haven't exactly closed strong with back-to-back losses against Wisconsin and Purdue.

23. Missouri (6-5) at Arkansas (4-7)

Friday, 2:30 p.m., CBS

Embattled coach Bret Bielema catches a hot Missouri team that could close the season with six straight victories. It's another opportunity for Drew Lock and the Tigers' offense to shine.

22. Texas Tech (5-6) at Texas (6-5)

Friday, 8 p.m., FOX

The Longhorns clinched a bowl berth under first-year coach Tom Herman and now can keep the Red Raiders out of the postseason for a second straight year. What would that mean for Kliff Kingsbury?

21. Cal (5-6) at UCLA (5-6)

Friday, 10 p.m., ESPNU

It's late-night Black Friday football, and the Golden Bears and Bruins are playing for the postseason. First-year coach Justin Wilcox could use this as a building block. Josh Rosen can go out on a high note, too, if he chooses to go to the NFL.

MORE: 11 one-sided rivalries that need a response

20. Colorado (5-6) at Utah (5-6)

Saturday, 10 p.m., FS1

It's the last installment of #Pac12AfterDark, and the Buffs and Utes are fighting for bowl eligibility. That's the transition into conference championship weekend.

19. Arizona (7-4) at Arizona State (6-5)

Saturday, 4:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network

Rich Rodriguez and Todd Graham were on the hot seat coming into the season, and these schools have split the last 10 meetings. It should be an entertaining show in the desert.

18. Iowa State (7-4) at Kansas State (6-5)

Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2

Matt Campbell can put the finishing touches on an eight-win season, but the Wildcats have won the last nine meetings.

17. Indiana (5-6) at Purdue (5-6)

Saturday, noon, ESPN2

The Old Oaken Bucket is on the line, and Indiana has won the last four meetings. First-year coaches Tom Allen and Jeff Brohm are looking for a bowl bid to build on, too.

16. Florida State (4-6) at Florida (4-6)

Saturday, noon, ESPN

The Seminoles are trying to extend their FBS-best streak of bowl appearances to 36 straight seasons. The Gators can play spoiler. The stakes better be higher next season.

MORE: Week 13 bowl projections

15. Miami (10-0) at Pittsburgh (4-7)

Friday, noon, ABC

The Panthers played spoiler against West Virginia in this spot 10 years ago, but the Hurricanes could lose this game and still win the ACC championship. Miami is the first top-10 team in action this week.

14. Boise State (9-2) at Fresno State (8-3)

Saturday, 3:30 p.m., CBSSN

The Broncos and Bulldogs meet in the regular season, then they'll run it back in the Mountain West Conference championship game the following week. The Broncos still have a decent look at a New Year's Day Six bid, and Jeff Tedford's remarkable return to the coaching ranks continues.

13. Texas A&M (7-4) at LSU (8-3)

Saturday, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network

The winner here will land a decent bowl game, and the Tigers might be able to sneak into the New Year's Day Six. We're not sure if this will be Kevin Sumlin's last game with the Aggies.

12. West Virginia (7-4) at Oklahoma (10-1)

Saturday, 3:45 p.m., ESPN

Will Grier's injury dampens our expectations for this one. It's a chance for Baker Mayfield to add more highlights to the Heisman Trophy reel in what should be an emotional home finale.

11. Ole Miss (5-6) at Mississippi State (8-3)

Thursday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

A holiday showdown between two rivals. Also, a Mississippi State fan discovered Hugh Freeze's phone call to an escort service, which ultimately led to his dismissal. The stakes aren't high, but the heat will be. We're in.

MORE: Week 13 College Football Playoff projections

10. Virginia Tech (8-3) at Virginia (6-5)

Friday, 8 p.m., ESPN

The Hokies have won 13 in a row in the game for the Commonwealth Cup, but this would be a season-maker for the bowl-bound Cavaliers. Virginia Tech won 52-10 last year.

9. Louisville (7-4) at Kentucky (7-4)

Saturday, noon, SEC Network

Kentucky won last year's meeting, breaking a five-game win streak for the Cardinals. Heisman Trophy-winner Lamar Jackson could make a last-ditch run to New York as a finalist, too. This one's always hot.

8. Georgia (10-1) at Georgia Tech (5-5)

Saturday, noon, ABC

The Bulldogs' College Football Playoff hopes are alive, and a date in the SEC championship game awaits. But they must get past the Yellow Jackets first. Georgia Tech won this game 28-27 last year in Kirby Smart's first season as coach.

7. Wisconsin (11-0) at Minnesota (5-6)

Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC

The Badgers are playing for their first perfect regular season (and only their second 12-win season), while the Gophers are fighting for bowl eligibility. Wisconsin has won the last 13 in the battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe. P.J. Fleck and Minnesota will sell out for this one.

6. Notre Dame (9-2) at Stanford (8-3)

Saturday, 8 p.m., ABC

The Irish can cap off a 10-win season, and the Cardinal can get to the Pac-12 championship game, with a little help from Washington. The winner of this game could end up in a New Year's Day Six Bowl.

MORE: Iron Bowl is now biggest game left in CFP race

5. USF (9-1) at UCF (10-0)

Friday, 3:30 p.m., ABC

Who knew this would be the best game in the state of Florida this year? Scott Frost and Charlie Strong have each done a remarkable job, and the winner takes the American Athletic Conference East Division — and perhaps a New Year's Day Six bowl bid.

4. Clemson (10-1) at South Carolina (8-3)

Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

This is a chance for the Gamecocks to play spoiler here, and they will put everything out there against their in-state rivals. The Tigers can win four in a row for the first time since 2002-05 and stay on schedule for another College Football Playoff berth.

3. Washington State (9-2) at Washington (9-2)

Saturday, 8 p.m., FOX

It's the Apple Cup, and the Cougars have a chance to clinch the Pac-12 North championship. It's the first time both teams have been ranked in the top 15 in the AP Poll for the game.

2. Ohio State (9-2) at Michigan (8-3)

Saturday, noon, FOX

The Wolverines can't win the Big Ten East, but they can knock the Buckeyes out of the playoff chase for good. Jim Harbaugh needs this one: Urban Meyer is 5-0 against Michigan. It's still The Game, just not quite as big as last year.

1. Alabama (11-0) at Auburn (9-2)

Saturday, 3:30 p.m., CBS

It's huge. The SEC West is on the line, and the Tigers have a chance to halt the Crimson Tide's bid for a four-peat in the SEC. Jalen Hurts and Jarrett Stidham will be in focus. That makes the Iron Bowl the biggest game of the weekend, and it's not particularly close. What else would you expect on rivalry weekend?