With each passing week, Utah steps closer and closer to claiming a playoff spot. Several matchups this week have the potential to help Utah’s chances, and we break them down below.
#8 Penn State vs #2 Ohio State 10:00 AM - FOX
All eyes will be on Penn State vs Ohio State as the first slate of games kick off Saturday morning. As two of the Big 10’s (if not the nation’s) best defenses clash, Penn State has a chance to force themselves back into the playoff conversation with a win. The Buckeyes are an -18.5 point favorite, and have passed the eye test on more than one occasion as the most dominant team in the nation, more or less cementing their inclusion in the CFP, so Utah fans should be rooting for another Ohio State win to keep things as they are rather than adding drama to the race with a Penn State upset that could have the Nittany Lions leap frog the Utes.
Texas A&M vs #4 Georgia 1:30 PM - CBS
Despite a bad loss to the 4-7 South Carolina Gamecocks, the committee has cut Georgia some slack due in part to their wins over Notre Dame, Florida and Auburn. This leaves the door open for the SEC to place two teams in the CFP if Georgia dethrones LSU in the conference championship. This would undoubtedly hurt the PAC-12, leaving the top team to take their rightful place in the Rose Bowl, with the runner-up likely landing in either the Alamo Bowl or the Cotton Bowl. A Texas A&M upset would help solidify the SEC as a one-bid conference unless Alabama decimates Auburn sans Tua in week 13.
TCU vs #9 Oklahoma 6:00 PM – FOX
The 9-1 Sooners are the most likely candidate to jump Utah in the rankings and force themselves into playoff consideration. The -18 point home favorites will have take care of business against a pesky TCU squad that took the previously undefeated Baylor Bears to triple overtime just two weeks ago, and are just one win away from clinching a bowl bid themselves. While an Oklahoma victory doesn’t seem likely to derail Utah’s chances, a loss would undoubtedly get the Big 12 off the PAC-12’s back.