This Weekend in College Football: Week 12

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Wisconsin @ Purdue (ABC): It doesn’t get much easier for the Badgers, as they should continue to cruise through the non-Michigan/Ohio State portion of their schedule.
  • Ohio State @ Michigan State (ESPN): One upside of my trip to Columbus last weekend: being around a bunch of Ohio State fans as it gradually dawns on them that they no longer control their own destiny in the Big Ten East. Better hope Sparty finds a sudden burst of competence sometime after this game, Buckeyes!
  • Kansas State @ Baylor (ESPN2): Baylor.
  • Oklahoma State @ Texas Christian (FS1): Oklahoma State has made it tough on themselves as of late. Yes, they handled West Virginia, but since they’ve beaten K-State by 6 and Texas Tech on a missed extra point. (I don’t mean they won by a point, which they did; the margin literally was a missed extra point on what was thought to be the tying touchdown by Texas Tech.) And now they roll into Forth Worth, where I still have them pegged as the favorite, but with major reservations.
  • Texas-San Antonio @ Texas A&M (ESPNU): Welcome to SEC Cupcake Weekend, where most of the SEC doesn’t even play other FBS teams, unlike TAMU here. In accordance with our long-standing policy, I don’t list FCS vs. FBS matchups, so this is one of the few SEC games listed here.
  • Maryland @ Nebraska (ESPNEWS): Fun fact: Maryland and Nebraska lost to Ohio State by the exact same score (62-3). I still have the Huskers here, though.
  • Louisiana-Lafayette @ Georgia (SEC): This is definitely a game that it taking place in Athens, Georgia this weekend. Yep.
  • Iowa @ Illinois (BTN): You know, I’m not sure I’d be much more inclined to watch the Big Ten Network, even if I did get it in HD. I’ll go with Iowa here.


  • Virginia @ Georgia Tech (ACC): You can pick an number of recent events to point out that you didn’t see that coming, but even considering its relative unimportance, last week’s update of VPI was pretty shocking. Yes, Virginia Tech’s offense was awful, but we did generate actual pressure on the defensive line; started three freshman offensive linemen, which then played its best game as a unit on the season; and, oh yeah, our backup short-yardage QB had a 50+ yard touchdown run. It was good, vintage stuff, though it makes me terrified of what might happen when we play the Hokies next year.
    As for this game, hoo boy, the potential for a let down feels high, eh? I don’t know if I’d call it a trap game (can 6-4 teams really have trap games?), but I’d like to think the focus will be there on Senior Day. I don’t expect the team to suddenly be a lot better than they’ve been over the course of the season, but let’s hope something was learned in Blacksburg last wekeend.
  • Miami @ North Carolina State (ACC): I wrote last week that the Canes seemed to get their early-season mojo back, and sure enough, they beat Virginia by three scores. I expect the trend to continue here.

1:00: Florida @ Louisiana State (SEC): The odd timeslot and network placement for this game should tell you that yep, this was the game that was rescheduled. I still don’t know what magic was worked to both make this game happen and at Baton Rouge, but we’ll take it. Check your local listings to see if you get this instead of UL-Lafayette and Georgia. Also I like LSU.

2:00: Oregon @ Utah (Pac12): After two straight blowout losses to Southern Cal and Stanford, Oregon’s at 3-7 and effectively done.

3:00: Duke @ Pittsburgh (ACC/RSN): Pitt’s a good team! The only really shocking thing about their upset of Clemson was that they did in Death Valley, so I’ll give them credit for that. About the only thing that could stop them against the Blue Devils is a let-down.


  • Missouri @ Tennessee (CBS): Tennessee.
  • Washington State @ Colorado (FOX): If I told myself back in September that this would be the late-season Pac-12 game you need to have circled on your calendar (along with the Apple Cup), I would’ve said you were a lot crazier than any of the scenarios presented in those Chick-fil-a “chicken for breakfast” commercials. Yet, here we are. With a win, Colorado also ensures the Pac-12 South comes down to their clash next week against Utah. I suspect there will be plenty of reasons to look forward to that one.
  • Virginia Tech @ Notre Dame (NBC): Okay, so yeah, losing to Georgia Tech isn’t really the best look this season, but chin-up Virginia Tech! You’re still much improved over last year, and you’ll get a chance to soothe the sting of the loss by pasting the worst Notre Dame team in a decade.
  • Florida State @ Syracuse (ABC/ESPN2): I still have FSU running the table, so…
  • Texas @ Kansas (ABC/ESPN2): I don’t think there’s a number of points Texas could run up on the Jayhawks that would have any effect on Charlie Strong’s job status after the season, and perhaps more damningly, I don’t think Texas’s dysfunctional offense is really capable of shellacking anyone anyway. (They’re still going to win, though.)
  • Indiana @ Michigan (ESPN): I like the idea of Indiana as TEAM CHAOS as much as the next person, but they beat Maryland and Rutgers by a combined 12 points and lost to Penn State by two touchdowns. Also included are losses to Wake Forest and Northwestern. The Hoosiers are just, like, not really that good this year.
  • Texas Tech @ Iowa State (FS1): So Texas Tech needs to win out against Iowa State and Baylor to get to 6-6 and maybe keep Kliff Kingsbury employed. I’d say odds are good they win on or the other (and probably this one), but not both.
  • Buffalo @ Western Michigan (ESPNU): So Gameday’s at this point, but who watches Gameday anymore? I still might if I lived in on the East Coast, I’m not getting up at 6:00 AM to watch 3 hours of people talking about football. At any rate, the boat will continue to be rowed.
  • Northwestern @ Minnesota (BTN): These teams have been excruciatingly similar in Big Ten play so far, mostly in that they’re both 4-3 and have scored 201 and 199 points, respectively. Since it’s at Minnesota, I’ll give the edge of the Gophers.
  • San Diego State @ Wyoming (CBSS): And here’s where Boise is pinning their hopes after Wyoming’s triple overtime 69-66 loss to UNLV last weekend. San Diego State is probably actually the second best team in the Mountain West despite a bizarre loss to South Alabama (seriously, the Jaguars beat Mississippi State and SDSU and are 1-5 in the Sun Belt). I have them as the favorites here, which should get the Aztecs a match with Boise in a couple of weeks.

4:00: Navy @ East Carolina (ESPNEWS): Like the Florida-LSU game, this game was also pushed back due to Hurricane Matthew. Unlike that game, though, I don’t have any doubts about who’s going to win, and it’s not going to go well for the Pirates versus the government.


  • Southern Mississippi @ North Texas (beIN): I’d say Southern Miss is just a touch better than UNT. A touch.
  • Stanford @ California (Pac12): It’s the Big Game! Much like their last opponent, Cal also doesn’t really have a defense, and Stanford put up 52 on Oregon. It doesn’t figure to go much better for the Bears, but hey, it’s a rivalry game, so there’s always a wildcard factor.


  • Clemson @ Wake Forest (ESPN): Yes, Clemson lost to Pitt, and yes, the Tigers didn’t really look great in the process, but like I said above, Pitt is pretty good. Wake, however, is just good, and it’s going to cost them here.
  • Arkansas @ Mississippi State (ESPNU): A 38-10 loss pretty much has me saying “so much for Novembert” but I still like the Razorbacks here.
  • South Florida @ Southern Methodist (CBSS): I’m going to be honest: I don’t like SMU’s chances here.

7:30: Arizona State @ Washington (FOX): USC is enjoying a resurgent second half, Arizona State, not so much. Washington gets back into shape here.


  • Oklahoma @ West Virginia (ABC): Morgantown. Night. Right now (as of 7:30 AM, Eastern) the forecast for kickoff is 38 degrees with a 30% chance of snow. Football weather! I still like the Sooners, but boy howdy the conditions will be ripe to ignite some couches.
  • Tulsa @ Central Florida (ESPNEWS): If there were a “comeback team of the year” award, UCF would probably win it. I’m not sure it’ll be enough against this high-flying Tulsa team, though.
  • Mississippi @ Vanderbilt (SEC): The only other conference game of the day in the SEC! Ole Miss rallied to beat Texas A&M after taking the redshirt of their freshman quarterback, who came into his own in the 4th quarter. The task will be easier against the Commodores.
  • Pennsylvania State @ Rutgers (BTN): The Big Ten Network apparently is the home of games that figure mostly to be akin to a trainwreck. Hopefully those rights fees are worth the brand dilution of having Rutgers in your league! (… they probably are, but still)

10:15: New Mexico @ Colorado State (ESPN2): If you, like me, prefer 6-6 teams in bowl games over 5-7 teams, you really need Colorado State to win this game.


  • Southern California @ California-Los Angeles (ESPN): Though there’s basically nothing about UCLA’s season to indicate this, I have a feeling the Bruins will be able to keep it close until USC pulls ahead in the 4th quarter. Also, this game is always worth a peek due to the color uniforms for both teams and the immaculate Rose Bowl field.
  • Air Force @ San Jose State (CBSS): If you’re into bowl eligibility, well, this isn’t the game for you, since Air Force is 7-3 and SJSU is 3-7. I think that’s about what you need to know about this one.
  • Arizona @ Oregon State (Pac12): Seriously, the bottom of this column is particularly dire. These two teams have a combined 4-16 record. Oof. Uh, Beavers I guess?