College football now has all teams back. With that, there will always be things to watch each week. Here are five things to watch for in college football week 12.
1. Big Ten East Clash
No one would’ve expected that the biggest game in the Big Ten East this year featured Indiana. The Hoosiers have started the season 4-0, defeating all of the Big Ten East teams other than Ohio State and Maryland. They are led by quarterback Michael Penix, who has been a good dual-threat. His play has led Indiana to the undefeated record and a top 10 ranking in the polls.
Everyone would’ve expected Ohio State to be in the biggest game of the Big Ten East season. They are 3-0, after last week’s game against Maryland was canceled due to COVID. Quarterback Justin Fields has led an offense that ranks fourth in the nation at 46.3 points per game. Their defense has struggled, but no one can match their offensive production. With a win over Indiana, Ohio State will have passed their biggest test of the season.
2. The Battle for the Top of The Big Ten West
Another team that is playing above expectations is Northwestern. The Wildcats are 4-0 behind the arm of Peyton Ramsey. Their defense has also been stout with only 14 points allowed per game. They have defeated Maryland, Iowa, Nebraska and Purdue, but now they will have to play Wisconsin.
The Badgers are just 2-0 after they have had some games canceled due to COVID. They defeated Illinois in their opening game and destroyed Michigan last week. Graham Mertz has lived up to expectations at quarterback and the defense allows just nine points per game. Wisconsin will be favored to win this game and to take control of the Big Ten West.
3. Notre Dame vs. UNC
Notre Dame has played a few decent games in a row. It started with them beating Clemson at home in an upset and last week they beat Boston College to extend their unbeaten season. Ian Book has stepped his game up over the last few weeks as quarterback and helped Notre Dame be squarely in the College Football Playoff picture.
North Carolina has dropped games they shouldn’t have this season, to Florida State and Virginia, but they are still 6-2 on the season. Sam Howell is coming off a game where he passed for 550 yards and six touchdown against Wake Forest. The Tar Heels have two good running backs in Michael Carter and Javonte Williams. On defense they have a star in Chazz Surratt at linebacker. If Notre Dame isn’t careful, the Tar Heels could make this one too close for comfort.
Even though Oklahoma has two losses and Oklahoma State has a loss already this season, Bedlam will still be a fun matchup to watch. The Sooners are out of the CFP picture for the first time in a few years as quarterback Spencer Rattler continues to develop. They have an exciting offense that ranks fifth in the country with 46.1 points per game. The defense is lackluster, so the Sooners manufacture some close games.
Oklahoma State was looking like they could push for a CFP spot, but then they dropped a game to Texas. They can still make it, but would need a lot of help to get there. Their star trio on offense of quarterback Spencer Sanders, running back Chuba Hubbard and wide receiver Tylan Wallace haven’t played up to their potential this season, as the Cowboys average just 28 points per game. If they step up, Bedlam could be a fun game to watch.
5. Unbeaten Teams With Tough Tests
Last week, Coastal Carolina’s game against Troy was canceled due to COVID. They are 7-0 and ranked 15th this week. Grayson McCall has thrown 16 touchdown passes for the Chanticleers. He’ll have to be at his best as they play perennial Sun Belt power Appalachian State this weekend, who are 6-1 this season.
Liberty really started making headlines when they were victorious over Virginia Tech. They are 8-0 and are ranked 21st in the country. Malik WIllis has been a star for the Flames and he’ll have to be the difference maker this week if Liberty wants to stay undefeated. Liberty plays NC State, which will give them their second chance at upsetting an ACC team this season.
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