College football is entering the back part of the season. Storylines are forming and teams are making their pushes for the postseason. Here are five things to watch for in college football week 13.
1. Big Ten East Deciding Game
Ohio State has run the table so far this season, sitting with a 10-0 record. They haven’t really been tested this season, as they have blown past their competition. The Buckeyes have a big win over Wisconsin, but they hardly broke a sweat. Their offense puts up 51.5 points per game, while the defense allows just 9.8. While they have been rolling on all cylinders, they have to play a tough Penn State team this weekend, which will likely decide the Big Ten East.
The Nittany Lions have just one loss this season, which came at the hands of Minnesota. They too have a successful offense and defense, as they score 36.8 points per game and allow just 13.5. Penn State will have to play their best to compete with Ohio State on the road this weekend.
2. Will Baylor Bounce Back?
Baylor was sitting pretty up 28-3 over Oklahoma, but they blew the lead and lost their first game of the season. There is still a lot on the table for Baylor this season, so they’ll want to get back on track as fast as possible. Charlie Brewer leads the offense with a balanced attack, while the defense is solid, giving up 20.5 points per game.
Texas is trying to come back from a loss as well. They dropped their game to Iowa State, which will likely leave them out of the Big 12 Championship Game. Sam Ehlinger has done well on offense, helping lead the team to 35.9 points per game, but the defense has been gashed. They’ll have to do better against Baylor, as allowing 29.9 points per game doesn’t cut it.
3. Cincinnati’s New Year’s Six Chances
The highest-ranked group of five conference team is Cincinnati. Luke Fickell’s squad has won every game besides their contest against Ohio State. Cincinnati has struggled this season though, as they have had several close calls this season. The latest close call came against USF this past weekend, but the Bearcats prevailed with a late field goal.
This week, Cincinnati plays Temple, which will be a tough matchup. The Owls have won seven games already this season, which includes victories over Maryland, Memphis and Tulane. All of those wins were at home, while they’ll have to beat Cincinnati on the road. If Temple quarterback Anthony Russo can have a big game, the Owls can win a tough one on the road, which will move Cincinnati down the line of New Year’s Six Bowl contenders.
4. ACC Coastal
One of the most interesting divisions in all of college football is the ACC Coastal. Four teams are still competing for a spot in the ACC Championship Game from that division. Virginia, Virginia Tech, Pitt and Miami still all have paths to the title game. Virginia plays Liberty out of conference this week, but currently lead the pack at 5-2.
Pittsburgh will travel to Virginia Tech this weekend in a key game in the division. The winner will be tied with Virginia at 5-2 in the conference. Virginia Tech plays Virginia next week, so if they win out, they can win the division. Miami is at 4-3 in the conference and has a game with Florida International. They’ll be hoping that some weird tiebreaker scenario can unfold in the next two weeks.
5. Mac Jones’ Performance
The biggest headline from this past week was Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s season-ending hip injury. Overcoming that will be a huge challenge for Alabama down the road. This week the Crimson Tide will play Western Carolina, but the Crimson Tide have Auburn on deck.
Mac Jones will start at quarterback for the Crimson Tide for the rest of the season. He has played a little bit this season, as Tagovailoa has had issues with his ankle. Jones has completed 69 percent of his passes for 566 yards and four touchdowns. He does have one interception on the season. The Crimson Tide struggled against Mississippi State once Tagovailoa went down, but understandably so with the air being let out of the stadium. Jones will need to really improve for Alabama to win out.