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College Football Week 12 Preview

(TCU and Oklahoma headlines a huge slate of Saturday games, Courtesy AP)
(TCU and Oklahoma headlines a huge slate of Saturday games, Courtesy AP)

Florida Atlantic (2-8) at #8 Florida (9-1), 12:00 P.M.

Florida has been playing great defense all season and the only way that this game could be close is if they aren’t focused. Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves will help shut down the FAU passing game. The Gator offense has struggled in recent weeks with quarterback Treon Harris at the helm.

Florida Atlantic has one great player in quarterback Jaquez Johnson, but even he has underperformed this season as he has only thrown for 1356 yards. The Owl defense gives up just eight more yards per game than Florida’s, but that is because of the lesser competition.

The Gators will win once again win because of their defense. Hargreaves will get another interception if Florida Atlantic chooses to throw in his direction.

Final Score: Florida 27 Florida Atlantic 6

#17 North Carolina (9-1) at Virginia Tech (5-5), 12:00 P.M.

North Carolina is flying up the College Football Playoff Rankings with their only loss coming to South Carolina in week one. Quarterback Marquise Williams is having a fantastic year for the Tar heels, who has thrown for 2222 yards and added his running ability to make the offense dynamic. The most impressive thing about UNC is how well their defense is playing, especially against the pass.

Virginia Tech has had a tumultuous season and have only beaten one FBS team with a winning record, which was a win over NC State. The Hokies have one of the best tight ends in the country in Bucky Hodges, who has been hard to cover in the red zone. Virginia Tech has lost its best player, cornerback Kendall Fuller, with a torn ACL, but is still only allowing 170 yards through the air.

Hodges will catch a touchdown pass for Virginia Tech, but it will not be enough for the Hokies. UNC will get a lot of offense from passes to wide receiver Ryan Switzer, which will win them the game.

Final Score: UNC 32 Virginia Tech 20

Purdue (2-8) at #5 Iowa (10-0), 12:00 P.M.

Iowa has gotten to an undefeated season thanks to great offensive line play and great defense. Cornerback Desmond King has eight interceptions which has helped Iowa hold opponents to 18.4 points per game. The Hawkeyes have a balanced offense with a stable of running backs picking up rushing yards and quarterback C.J. Beathard has been passing well.

Purdue allows almost 450 yards per game and gives up 34 points per game. Quarterback David Blough has been a bright spot for the offense, throwing for 1565 yards, but does have eight interceptions.

The Hawkeyes will control the line of scrimmage and win this game.

Final Score: Iowa 31 Purdue 13

#12 Michigan (8-2) at Penn State (7-3), 12:00 P.M.

Michigan still has a chance to win the Big Ten after winning three straight following their loss to Michigan State. Quarterback Jake Rudock is on a hot streak as of late and is doing a great job of protecting the football. The Wolverine defense had a down game against Indiana, but is still only giving up 14.8 points per game.

Penn State also has one of the best defenses in the Big Ten as they have only given up 17.7 points per game. The Nittany Lions have a very talented quarterback, Christian Hackenberg, but he has struggled. The running game has been able to bail him out at times, with Penn State rushing for 143 yards a game.

The Wolverines will shut down the Nittany Lions running game and force Hackenberg to throw interceptions.

Final score: Michigan 29 Penn State 15

#21 Memphis (8-2) at Temple (8-2), 12:00 P.M.

Memphis has two straight losses, but still has an impressive resume. Quarterback Paxton Lynch is a very talented player with a strong arm, which allows the Tigers to attack teams down the field. The Tiger defense is one of the most inconsistent units in the country and can’t be relied on.

Temple lost their second game of the season last week to an average USF team. Their defense, led by linebacker Tyler Matakevich, has been great other than the USF game. Quarterback P.J. Walker is one of the best quarterbacks in Temple history and has thrown 2029 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Lynch will take advantage of the fact that Temple has young cornerbacks who are inexperienced and outscore Temple.

Final Score: Memphis 41 Temple 33

Chattanooga (8-2) at #14 Florida State (8-2), 3:00 P.M.

Florida State has officially changed their starting quarterback to Sean Maguire for this game. Maguire played well in his first start of the season and played decently in relief last week. Running back Dalvin Cook is a very elusive runner that can make plays out of nothing. The Seminoles are loaded with NFL level talent on their defense.

Chattanooga is 8-2 on the FCS level and may be able to make the FCS playoffs.

Florida State shouldn’t have too much of a problem in this game. Cook will rush for over 100 yards.

Final Score: Florida State 54 Chattanooga 14

#9 Michigan State (9-1) at #3 Ohio State (10-0), 3:30 P.M.

Ohio State finally gets to play a marquee game and should show up with their best play of the season. The offense has been better under quarterback J.T. Barrett, but it still relies on running back Ezekiel Elliot to get things done on the ground. The pass defense has been great for the Buckeyes because they have great coverage and a great pass rush.

Michigan State has an ugly loss to Nebraska, but still controls their destiny in the Big Ten. Quarterback Connor Cook has been excellent this season, but his offensive line has been struggling to protect him. The Spartans aren’t getting the same production that they usually get out of their defense, but defensive end Shilique Calhoun is disruptive.

Ohio State’s defensive line will beat the Michigan State offensive line to stop the run and get pressure on Cook. This game won’t be as hard as the experts think.

Ohio State 37 Michigan State 26

#20 Northwestern (8-2) at #25 Wisconsin (8-2), 3:30 P.M.

Northwestern has only lost to Iowa and Michigan this season. Their offense has been very inefficient this season, especially their passing game. Luckily for the Wildcats, their defense has been able to step up and stop the pass.

Wisconsin has been great defensively this season and only gives up 12.3 points per game and 272 yards per game. Quarterback Joel Stave manages games well, but has thrown eight interceptions on the season. They also have a few running backs producing for them, which is essential to their offense.

Wisconsin’s defense is just a little bit better than Northwestern, which will get them the win.

Final Score Wisconsin 23 Northwestern 13

#19 Houston (10-0) at Connecticut (5-5), 3:30 P.M.

Houston had a twenty-point comeback in the fourth quarter to beat Memphis and stay undefeated. Quarterback Greg Ward is one of the best dual threat signal-callers in the country. Houston’s defense gives up 20 points per game, but allows way too many teams to torch their secondary.

Uconn needs one more win to become bowl eligible. Their offense has been bad this season as they only average 19 points per game. The Husky defense is playing really well and is shutting down the pass well.

Ward poses problems for the Uconn defense. The Cougar’s secondary should be safe in this game as the Huskies aren’t great at passing the ball.

Final Score: Houston 35 Uconn 19

#24 USC (7-3) at #23 Oregon (7-3), 3:30 P.M.

Oregon has lost three games this season because of their defense giving up 37.1 points per game. They allow 317 passing yards per game. The offense has been much better since quarterback Vernon Adams has taken over and the Ducks are averaging about 300 yards rushing.

USC has a great passing game thanks to quarterback Cody Kessler, who has thrown for 2715 yards. The Trojan defense, which is led by linebacker S’ua Cravens, is doing a great job of keeping teams out of the end zone as they only allow 22.7 points per game.

The Trojans will torch the Duck’s secondary and give USC the win.

Final Score: USC 45 Oregon 31

UCLA (7-3) at #13 Utah (8-2), 3:30 P.M.

Utah lost their second game of the season to Arizona last week and needs to continue to win for a chance at the Pac-12 championship game. Running back Devontae Booker has rushed for 1261 yards and is also a threat to catch passes out of the backfield. The Utah defense did a great job early in the season when they forced turnovers, but haven’t done that much lately.

UCLA lost to Washington State last week for their third loss of the season. Quarterback Josh Rosen has been phenomenal and thrown for 2904 yards. The defense has been average for the Bruins, but would be a lot better had linebacker Myles Jack not been lost for the season due to a torn meniscus.

Booker will have a big day for the Utes and get a big win to stay in Pac-12 Championship contention.

Final Score: Utah 28 UCLA 24

#15 LSU (7-2) at #22 Ole Miss (7-3), 3:30 P.M.

LSU has lost two straight games now and needs to get back on track. Running back Leonard Fournette hasn’t been playing his best, but it is not his completely his fault. The defense has struggled and allowed over 30 points in the last two games.

Ole Miss has had great offensive success this season, but quarterback Chad Kelly is prone to turnovers. Defensively Ole Miss didn’t play well in their last game allowing Arkansas to score 52 points.

Fournette will be able to have a good game against the Ole Miss defense. Cornerback Tre’Davious White will be able to pick off a pass from Kelly.

Final Score: LSU 34 Ole Miss 26

Wake Forest (3-7) at #1 Clemson (10-0), 3:30 P.M.

Clemson is still the number one team in the rankings and have a great Heisman contender in quarterback Deshaun Watson, who has been a great passer and runner. The Tiger defense has been great especially against the pass this season, because of their great pass rush.

Wake Forest is a very young team and has had a rough season. Their defense is decent, but their offense can’t score.

Watson will have a big stat day and the Tigers will win.

Final Score: Clemson 52 Wake Forest 8

Charleston Southern (9-1) at #2 Alabama (9-1), 4:00 P.M.

Alabama is still playing the best football in the country, but is ranked second again. Running back Derrick Henry has been great recently and is now a frontrunner for the Heisman. The Crimson Tide defense has been playing lights out, especially against the run.

Charleston Southern is a great FCS team this season. According to ESPN’s FPI the Buccaneers have a 0.6% chance of winning this game.

The Crimson Tide will role in this game and get ready for the Iron Bowl in their next game.

Final Score: Alabama 62 Charleston Southern 6

#16 Navy (8-1) at Tulsa (5-5), 7:00 P.M.

Navy is making a late push to be in a New Year’s Six Bowl Game. Their triple option attack is working to perfection, as they have gained 335 rushing yards per game. The defense has been steady all year and allows 18.4 points per game.

Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans has thrown for 3313 yards on the season to lead a great offense. The Golden Hurricane’s defense is not good and allows over 500 yards per game.

The Midshipmen triple option attack will not be stopped.

Final Score: Navy 33 Tulsa 26

#10 Baylor (9-1) at #6 Oklahoma State (10-0), 7:30 P.M.

Oklahoma State barely got a win over Iowa State last week and now faces a tough challenge. Quarterbacks Mason Rudolph and J.W. Walsh have both played well this season, with Rudolph throwing for over 3000 yards and Walsh running the ball well. The Cowboys have had a defense that has stopped good Big 12 offenses.

Baylor lost to Oklahoma and needs to win out in order to have a chance at the Big 12 championship. The Bears are playing with backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham, but they do have wide receiver Corey Coleman, who is playing like the best receiver in the country. Baylor has given a lot of yards up on the ground this season.

The Cowboys will make Stidham uncomfortable and win the game for Oklahoma State.

Final Score: Oklahoma State 41 Baylor 33

#4 Notre Dame (9-1) at Boston College (3-7), 7:30 P.M., at Fenway Park

Notre Dame stayed at number four in this week’s rankings. The offensive line is the key to this team as all skill position players don’t seem to matter because they are all producing. The Fighting Irish have one of the best defensive players in the country, Jaylon Smith, who makes plays all over the field.

Boston College has a great defense with linebacker Steve Daniels leading the way. They allow only 14.4 points per game. The Eagles are terrible offensively and shouldn’t pose much of a threat.

Final Score: Notre Dame 36 Boston College 6

#18 TCU (9-1) at #7 Oklahoma (9-1), 8:00 P.M.

Oklahoma may be able to sneak into the playoffs if they can win out. Their defense has been doing well, especially against the powerful Big 12 offenses. Quarterback Baker Mayfield has also pushed himself into the Heisman conversation for operating a great offense.

Quarterback Trevone Boykin and wide receiver Josh Doctson are both questionable for this game. The Horned Frogs have a great offense, but will be horrible without these two players. TCU’s defense is has improved this season, but is still not great.

Oklahoma’s defense will stop TCU’s offense, especially without Boykin and Doctson. Mayfield will have a good game.

Final Score: Oklahoma 43 TCU 27

California (6-4) at #11 Stanford (8-2), 10:30 P.M.

Stanford lost to Oregon last week and made their road to the playoffs much harder. Running back Christian McCaffrey has had an outstanding season and has been a nice compliment to quarterback Kevin Hogan. The Cardinal defense had its worst game of the season last week and needs to do better stopping the run.

California has a great pro prospect at quarterback, Jared Goff, who has thrown for 3324 yards this season. The Bear defense hasn’t been great, as they allow 200 yards on the ground per game.

Stanford will be able to run all over the Cal defense.

Final Score: Stanford 41 Cal 30

Five Players to Watch:

1. Connor Cook, Quarterback, Michigan State

Cook is having a great season, but needs to play his best game to beat Ohio State.

2. Joey Bosa, Defensive End, Ohio State

Bosa has the potential to have a great game and keep his team in the College Football Playoff.

3. Corey Coleman, Wide Receiver, Baylor

Coleman has another big game and needs to help out his quarterback to get Baylor a win.

 4. Sterling Shepard, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma

Shepard is Oklahma’s best receiver and can have a good game against Baylor.

 5. Cody Kessler, Quarterback, USC

Kessler can get another big win for his team over a bad Oregon defense.

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