Each week, The Game Haus will offer previews of every college football game featuring teams in The Associated Press Top 25. We’ll also give an expanded look at three Top 25 matchups especially worth watching.
Here we go with those Top 25 previews for Week 12 (all times Eastern):
No. 12 Syracuse (8-2) vs. No. 3 Notre Dame (10-0), 2:30 p.m., Saturday
Scouting the Orange: They’ll be trying to knock off a top-3 opponent for the second time in as many seasons. With Yankee Stadium as the backdrop, the Orange look for their first five-game winning streak in a season since 2001.
Scouting the Fighting Irish: It looks like quarterback Ian Book will be ready for Week 12. However, Notre Dame’s defense (18.7 points per game allowed) remains a major reason it’s third in the College Football Playoff rankings.
Winner: Notre Dame
No. 18 Iowa State (6-3) at No. 13 Texas (7-3), 8 p.m., Saturday
Scouting the Cyclones: The hottest team in the Big 12 currently resides in Ames, Iowa. They will try for a sixth straight win, while also looking to keep their league title hopes alive. Running back David Montgomery, however, will miss the first half of this one.
Scouting the Longhorns: A win at Texas Tech has them on track again following back-to-back defeats. However, Texas’ defense remains suspect after allowing at least 34 points for a third consecutive contest and fourth in the last five games.
No. 19 Cincinnati (9-1) at No. 11 UCF (9-0), 8 p.m., Saturday
Scouting the Bearcats: A fourth straight victory and a position boost in the American Athletic Conference East Division is what Cincinnati has on the line. There is plenty of national hype surrounding this contest, but the Bearcats can’t afford to buy in.
Scouting the Knights: We know about the 22-game winning streak and the lack of respect, but to UCF players, it remains about football. Though it has not been easy for the last month and change, this program continues to excel.
No. 23 Boise State (8-2) at New Mexico (3-7), 9 p.m., Friday
The Skinny: The Broncos are back in the Top 25 and enter Week 12 looking for a sixth straight victory after cooling off Fresno State last weekend. They’ve also won eight of the last nine against New Mexico.
Winner: Boise State
Citadel (4-5) at No. 1 Alabama (10-0), Noon, Saturday
The Skinny: It’s that week where most of the SEC teams step out of conference for a number of lopsided victories. The Crimson Tide could probably score 80 in this one. As many are suggesting, there is no need to play Heisman frontrunner Tua Tagovailoa.
Middle Tennessee (7-3) at No. 20 Kentucky (7-3), Noon, Saturday
The Skinny: One would think the Wildcats are safe from their slide reaching three games. However, MTSU is a quality program that’s looking for a fifth consecutive win, and it has five victories over Power 5 conference teams under coach Rick Stockstill.
No. 9 Ohio State (9-1) at Maryland (5-5), Noon, Saturday
The Skinny: With the latest controversy surrounding Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and the lingering issues within the Terps program, this becomes a matchup of two schools in desperate need of an image upgrade. Or, perhaps, a complete housecleaning of both athletic departments.
Winner: Ohio State
No. 24 Northwestern (6-4) at Minnesota (5-5), Noon, Saturday
The Skinny: Ladies and gentlemen, meet your 2018 Big Ten West Division champion: Northwestern Wildcats. That’s right, Pat Fitzgerald’s team is headed to Indianapolis for the league’s title game. Northwestern’s success has been keyed by a defense that has not allowed more than 17 points in its last three conference contests.
Arkansas (2-8) at No. 25 Mississippi State (6-4), Noon, Saturday
The Skinny: Give the Bulldogs credit, they played Alabama tough last week even though they didn’t score. The concern might subside in Week 12 against an Arkansas team that’s lost six of its last seven on the road, but Mississippi State has now been held to a touchdown or less four times in 2018.
Winner: Mississippi State
No. 16 Penn State (7-3) at Rutgers (1-9), Noon, Saturday
The Skinny: The Nittany Lions have outscored Rutgers 115-19 during a four-game winning streak since the Scarlet Knights joined the Big Ten. The clock is counting down to the end of the Chris Ash era in New Jersey.
Winner: Penn State
Idaho (4-6) at No. 15 Florida (7-3), 1 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: Another potentially ugly SEC non-conference matchup. Florida avoided a third loss in a row with a gutsy comeback versus South Carolina last weekend. There should be no need for that in Week 12 against Idaho, which is 0-24 against Top 25 teams since the 1998 season.
No. 21 Utah (7-3) at Colorado (5-5), 1:30 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: With their starting quarterback and running back done for the year, the Utes still managed to beat Oregon last week. Another test awaits on the road in Week 12, but embattled coach Mike MacIntyre and the Buffaloes might be too far gone to end a five-game slide.
No. 14 Utah State (9-1) at Colorado State (3-7), 2 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: The Aggies are finally part of the CFP rankings, and they have one final hurdle to clear before a much-anticipated meeting with Boise State on the blue turf. Utah State is trying for its third 10-win season in the last seven.
Winner: Utah State
No. 22 Boston College (7-3) at Florida State (4-6), 3:30 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: BC is in position to win at least eight games in a season for the first time since 2009. Though, the status of quarterback Anthony Brown is uncertain. However, the story is Florida State’s 36-game bowl streak nearing an end. Got a feeling the Seminoles won’t go quietly.
Winner: Florida State
No. 7 West Virginia (8-1) at Oklahoma State (5-5), 3:30 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: The Mountaineers have found their form again and will try for a fourth consecutive victory, but Oklahoma State should be feared, considering it beat ranked Boise State and Texas teams at home. It also came a missed two-point conversion away from possibly stunning Oklahoma in Norman.
Winner: Oklahoma State
Massachusetts (4-7) at No. 5 Georgia (9-1), 4 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: Georgia’s regular-season SEC slate is finished, and this should be nothing more than a tune-up for an actually interesting matchup with Georgia Tech over Thanksgiving weekend. Then comes Alabama in the SEC title game.
Indiana (5-5) at No. 4 Michigan (9-1), 4 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: The biggest game of Michigan’s season is one week away, but the focus remains on the Hoosiers, as it should. The Wolverines have allowed just seven points in each of the last three games – and scored 42 in each of the last two.
Oregon State (2-8) at No. 17 Washington (7-3), 4:30 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: Before the Huskies can worry about the Apple Cup game against surging rival Washington State, they have a little business to handle. Washington has won six in a row over the Beavers by an average margin of 28.8 points.
Duke (7-3) at No. 2 Clemson (10-0), 7 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: With the ACC Atlantic Division clinched, the Tigers remain on path for a national championship date with Alabama in early January. They’ve won four straight and 11 of the last 13 against Duke.
Rice (1-10) at No. 10 LSU (8-2), 7:30 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: LSU is still being shown some love in the CFP rankings (No. 7), though it wasn’t overly impressive versus Arkansas last week. Domination should come easier to the Tigers against Rice, which has dropped 27 in a row when facing ranked teams.
Kansas (3-7) at No. 6 Oklahoma (9-1), 7:30 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: The Sooners have won 13 consecutive games in this series. They’ve averaged 42.2 points during that run, while Kansas has put up 11.2 per contest during that stretch. Expect to see more of the same in Week 12.
Arizona (5-5) at No. 8 Washington State (9-1), 10:30 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: Could this be a trap game before the Apple Cup? Don’t count on it. The Cougars are a focused team, and they proved that again by going on the road against a desperate Colorado team and handling the Buffs in relatively easy fashion.
Winner: Washington State