Week 12 isn’t the most loaded college football schedule ever, but that’s what we said about Week 11, and see where that got us? A good place. Below, we present the Week 12 FBS TV and streaming schedule with games categorized by quality. That’s determined by a subjective combo of stakes, competitiveness, what else is on at the time, and so forth.
It’s that time of week again, with ESPN College GameDay set to kickoff a busy Saturday. This weekend, ESPN hit the road and traveled to MAC country to feature the undefeated No. 14 Western Michigan Broncos against Buffalo.
Three games feature ranked teams on both sides, with definite postseason stakes in the Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC. We’ve even got a big weeknight game this time around. Otherwise, we’re finding fun where it arrives and waiting on big upsets because there’s gonna be another one before this regular season ends.(Click here for NCAA FB Week-12 picks without regard to the spread.)
As we all know by now, appearances can be decieving, as an ordinary slate of games somehow ended up with three of the top four teams in the country losing. Well, this week’s slate is a bit more interesting, and it features games that will have a major impact on the College Football Playoff picture, upsets or no upsets.
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NCAA FB: Week-12
When: Saturday, November 19, 2016
Online: NCAAF Game Pass
Florida Gators at LSU Tigers:
Last season North Florida scored 108 points against LSU and the Tigers were still able to come away with an 11-point victory. This year, LSU hopes it doesn’t have to score 119 to put away the Ospreys as North Florida will take on the Tigers at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center at 7 p.m.
It’s been six weeks since Hurricane Matthew caused the cancellation of LSU at Florida. After much, much debate and frustration, the SEC and both schools agreed to play the game at 1 p.m. ET this Saturday on the SEC Network in Baton Rouge instead of its original site, Gainesville. Both teams are also buying out non-conference opponents this weekend.
The new date and location came after several days of contentious negotiations involving the two schools and the SEC.
“Look, anything that comes up that really is out of your control, I mean, you can sit and cry about it or you can just move on,” Florida coach Jim McElwain said. “That’s what we’ve got to do. It is what it is. We’re going there to play and that’s the way it is.”
These teams’ seasons have come much more clearly into focus than they were when the postponement took place.
Oregon Ducks at Utah Utes:
|2:00 PM (ET)
||Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake C
The No. 11 Utes, who host downtrodden Oregon on Saturday (2 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network), are second in the nation in interceptions and No. 1 in takeaways after last week’s 49-26 victory at Arizona State.
Now UO closes the season with consecutive games away on the road, where it is winless this season. Oregon is attempting to avoid the distinction of becoming the first UO team since 1981 to lose the season’s first five road games, but 11th-ranked Utah, which has won four of its last five, will have other plans.
Utah entered the AP poll Sept. 18 at No. 24 and has risen to 11th in the past nine polls. Its only losses came Oct. 1 against California, when the Golden Bears stuffed Utah on fourth down on a goal-line stand, and Oct. 29 against then-No. 4 Washington.
“There is not a chance we will be looking past those guys. Not a chance at all. They’re very talented on offense. I mean, they’re Oregon. They have had some struggles on defense this year, but offensively, they’re scoring points, they’re moving the ball. They’ve got firepower.”
Georgia Southern Eagles at Georgia State Panthers:
|2:00 PM (ET)
||Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
The Georgia State Georgia Southern rivalry is presumably the most intense in the sun belt conference. With the Eagles’ high-powered run game and the Panthers’ defense continuously causing havoc for opposing offenses, I expect this to be a very competitive match in the trenches.
If the Eagles are going to finish 2016 strong, they’ll need their quarterback to be healthy. Once a position of great depth, injuries to Kevin Ellison and Favian Upshaw forced Tyson Summers to give the ball to true freshman Seth Shuman. The impact to the team’s trademark ground game was devastating.
While there’s no single reason that led to Miles’ ouster, an inability to crank up the offense was certainly a factor. The administration will almost certainly want to bring in a replacement who can develop quarterbacks and put more points on the board.
The Georgia Southern Eagles could use a nice road victory after losing six of their last seven games. The Georgia Southern Eagles must win their final two games to become bowl eligible. Kevin Ellison is completing 60.9 percent of his passes for 713 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions.
Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan Wolverines:
Michigan will bounce back after the loss against Iowa, but the weather could be problematic for the passing attack if the winds are as high (25 mph) as expected. With the Wolverines expected to break in a new starting quarterback, John O’Korn, the run game will need to offer a boost.
Michigan beat Indiana, 48-41, in two overtimes last year, tying the game with two seconds left in regulation on Jehu Chesson’s TD catch and winning on Amara Darboh’s 25-yard touchdown reception. The Hoosiers have not beaten Michigan since 1987 and have not won on the road in the series since 1967. The Wolverines are outscoring teams by an average of 27.4 to 4.6 in the first quarter this year. Indiana has lost seven fumbles in its last two games.
There are some gripes about Michigan still being No. 3 in the CFP rankings after its loss to Iowa. They’ve gotten louder with Wilton Speight out. But the Wolverines are still one of the top four teams in the nation despite the setback, and they’ll go back to proving that this week.
Indiana has won two of its last three and always has had the ability to score. The Hoosiers also need one more victory to become bowl-eligible. But scoring against the Michigan defense is no easy task, and the potential loss of QB Wilton Speight should be easily overcome.
Washington State Cougars at Colorado Buffaloes:
#22 Washington State
|3:30 PM (ET)
||Folsom Field, Boulder, CO
A potential Pac-12 championship berth is on the line for both Washington State and Colorado when the No. 22 Cougars travel South to take on the 10th-ranked Buffaloes Saturday in Boulder.
WVU fans are mad right now, and they have plenty of reason to be. West Virginia is ranked five spots below Oklahoma even though it has one less loss and basically the same wins as the Sooners. I’m guessing this will make what is typically a feisty Morgantown, West Virginia, crowd even more colorful by the time kickoff arrives Saturday night.
The 12th-ranked Buffaloes (8-2, 6-1 Pac-12) are the most surprising team in the country, considering they were picked to finish last in the Pac-12 South in a vote of league media and had only five conference victories in their first five seasons in the league.
The Cougars, the last remaining undefeated team in conference play at 7-0, sit atop the Pac-12 North standings entering Saturday’s tilt vs. CU. If WSU can grab a win in Boulder, then take down rival Washington (No. 6 in in the latest College Football Playoff rankings) next week, they will represent the North in Santa Clara.
Florida State Seminoles at Syracuse Orange:
Both defensive end DeMarcus Walker and quarterback Deondre Francois are expected to be in action when the Seminoles play at Syracuse on Saturday. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. ET at the Carrier Dome with the game featured in a split telecast between ABC and ESPN2.
Regardless of whether or not Florida State’s season has lived up to the lofty preseason expectations, another week brings another matchup where the Seminoles are heavy favorites against a conference opponent, this time on the road against Syracuse. The Orange, at 4-6 on the year, have bowl eligibility on the line this week but will be severely outmatched, especially if they are without their starting quarterback, Eric Dungey.
After the Orange suffered a 35-20 setback to NC State last weekend, head coach Dino Babers and Co. fell to 4-6 on the season with the Seminoles and a trip to Pittsburgh left on the schedule. Given the overall strength and talent level of the former and the latter is brimming with confidence after an upset at Clemson, it would not be a surprise if the Orange have seen their last win of the 2016 season.
Syracuse had significantly lower expectations in Babers’ maiden voyage in central New York. Although the odds of making a bowl are long, Babers helped establish an identity for the program going forward with his no-huddle, up-tempo offense. The Orange made strides on that side of the ball, but an injury to quarterback Eric Dungey has slowed progress there.
Buffalo Bulls at Western Michigan Broncos:
The cheers began before the show began. Hundreds of Western Michigan students chanting “Row The Boat, Row The Boat.” And when the hosts stepped onto the set they got even louder.
The 14th-ranked Broncos (10-0 overall, 6-0 Mid-American Conference), one of two remaining unbeaten FBS teams, will try to keep their fans happy when they host Buffalo (2-8, 1-5) on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU). As an added treat, ESPN’s College Gameday show will hold its broadcast at the Kalamazoo, Mich., campus, a rarity for a Mid-American Conference program.
WMU running back Jarvion Franklin vs. Buffalo’s rush defense. Franklin recorded his sixth consecutive 100-yard rushing game in last week’s 37-21 win over Kent State. Franklin, whose 39 career rushing touchdowns are tied for the most in program history, is second in the MAC this season with 1,152 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns.
“The reception has been tremendous,” said College GameDay host Rece Davis. “I think the excitement that we’ve been able to sense since we made this decision has been palpable for us. So we’re excited.”
Missouri Tigers at Tennessee Volunteers:
|3:30 PM (ET)
||Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN
Tennessee will look to extend its win streak to three in a row when the No. 19 Volunteers host Missouri Saturday in Knoxville. The Tennessee Vols host the Missouri Tigers this weekend for the final game of the 2016 season at Neyland Stadium.
Florida heads to Baton Rouge this week to face LSU in a 1 p.m. ET kick. If the Gators win, they will lock up the SEC East title. Tennessee won’t know the outcome of that game and thus, won’t know if their title hopes are still alive prior to kicking off against Missouri at 3:30 p.m. ET. If Florida loses to the Tigers, then the Vols will have a chance to win the division if they win their last two games against Missouri and Vanderbilt.
The Tigers earned their first win in the SEC this season last week against Vanderbilt after jumping out to a hot start and holding on for the victory. It was a much needed win in Columbia after a five-game losing streak that including losses to Middle Tennessee State and South Carolina.
LSU, Florida, Middle Tennessee State and Kentucky averaged over 348 yards per game rushing against Missouri. The game plan for Tennessee should be very simple: run the dang ball. Alvin Kamara is back and John Kelly has looked good as the new No. 2 back in place of Jalen Hurd.
Virginia Tech Hokies at Notre Dame Fighting Irish:
|3:30 PM (ET)
||Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dam
At 4-6, Notre Dame needs to win its final two games to gain bowl eligible. For a team that came into the year with College Football Playoff aspirations, fighting for a bowl bid is the last place the Irish expected to be with two weeks to go.
Heading into today’s game at Notre Dame, the Hokies’ first trip to South Bend, it didn’t seem like Tech’s players were at all awestruck by the storied history of the Golden Domers, their 11 national championships, seven Heisman Trophy winners or even the 1993 hit film “Rudy,” about fabled Irish walk-on Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger.
While Notre Dame is looking to find its way to the college football postseason, Virginia Tech is trying to get over last week’s loss to Georgia Tech that could have wrapped up an ACC Coastal title for the Hokies. This week’s outcome won’t affect the ACC Coastal title race, but Virginia Tech would like to carry some positive momentum into its season finale against Virginia that will decide the division.
The Hokies need to have success running the ball and maintain a run-first offense against Notre Dame. The Irish have allowed 150-plus rushing yards seven times this season and are 1-6 in those games they’re 3-0 when allowing fewer than 150 yards.
Western Carolina at South Carolina Gamecocks:
This is the final game of the 2016 season for Western Carolina. The Catamounts have earned wins against Gardner Webb and VMI in head coach Mark Speir’s fifth campaign in Cullowhee. They lost 49-21 at Furman last Saturday.
South Carolina went into Gainesville and played a tough game against Florida, but the offense could not do enough, and the Gamecock were defeated 20-7. The running game gave no help to quarterback Jake Bentley, as 43 yards were all the Gamecocks could muster on the ground.
The State’s Josh Kendall warns of the Catamounts’ RB Detrez Newsome. Kendall describes Newsome as “a workhorse back who provides a lot each time he gets the ball.” The running back has 916 yards on the ground this year, a whopping 6.8 yards per carry. Kendall also adds a dimension to the passing game, as the team’s No. 3 receiver, with 30 catches for 332 yards.
Since taking over the starting job, Bentley has been what the Gamecocks needed under center and has shown that he could be a star in the SEC soon. Look for him to air it out more and get some reps against the mediocre Catamounts passing defense.
Stanford Cardinal at California Golden Bears:
|5:30 PM (ET)
||Memorial Stadium , Berkeley, CA
The Cardinal have won three in a row and seemed to have righted their ship, while the Bears have dropped their last three outings and need to win their final two games to reach bowl eligibility.
The Big Game has been all Stanford the last six years, with Christian McCaffrey’s 192 yards rushing leading the Cardinal to a win last season. McCaffery might not put up such gaudy numbers in this meeting, but he’ll get his share as the Cardinal outlasts Davis Webb and the Golden Bears.
The Cardinal have a chance to finish 9-3, which is certainly a bit disappointing. However, that’s how far Stanford has come as a program: being disappointed over a nine-win season. Davis Webb will get his share of yards through the air, but the Golden Bears will have no answer for Christian McCaffrey both on the ground and as a pass-catcher.
Sonny Dykes said he doesn’t allow red in his house. If that is the case, what does he do at Christmas time with wreaths and ribbons and wrapping paper and all that other junk that only comes in green and red? And he doesn’t have one of his old Louisiana Tech or Texas Tech shirts, with both schools featuring red in their color scheme? I find this statement bogus.
Clemson Tigers at Wake Forest Demon Deacons:
The No. 4 Clemson Tigers can clinch a spot in the ACC championship game and get back on track after a home loss to Pittsburgh spoiled their perfect season last week. The unranked Wake Forest Demon Deacons led Louisville for three quarters before falling apart in the final 15 minutes of a 44-12 loss.
Clemson took a hit with the loss to Pitt, but winning this and the next two should send the Tigers to playoffs comfortably. A loss and they’re all but out as they cede the division to Louisville. Wake Forest has already exceeded expectations with bowl eligibility, and even hanging with Clemson would be a big step.
Wake Forest hasn’t beaten Clemson since 2008. That’s not going to change this year. I’ve been saying since opening week that the Tigers were going to lose a game and it finally happened, but they’re not going to lose two straight. Clemson beats the Demon Deacons for the eighth straight time.
The unexpected loss to unranked Pittsburgh did not eliminate Clemson from contention for one of the four spots in the College Football Playoff, especially considering what else transpired last weekend with Michigan and Washington also losing for the first time.
Chattanooga at Alabama Crimson Tide:
The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide should get a chance to rest and heal up a few key players this week against the Chattanooga Mocs. The Mocs, ranked 11th in the FCS coaches poll, close their regular season hoping to avoid being blown out.
Nick Saban doesn’t want No. 1 Alabama taking a step backward in performance no matter the opponent.
The Crimson Tide coach paraphrased a well-known movie line to drive that point home leading up to Saturday’s game against FCS team Chattanooga.
“I think that this week the old ‘Shawshank Redemption’ statement, you’re either busy living or you’re busy dying,” Saban said. “You know, it kind of means you’re not going to stay the same. From my perspective, we’re either going to get better or we’re going to get worse. We’re probably not going to stay the same.”
With chaos ensuing in the college football world last week with half of the nation’s Top 10 — including the Nos. 2, 3, and 4 teams — all losing, No. 1 Alabama delivered a message as it emerged as the only undefeated team from a Power 5 conference.
Arizona State Sun Devils at Washington Huskies:
|7:30 PM (ET)
||Husky Stadium, Seattle, WA
The seventh-ranked Huskies (9-1, 6-1 Pac-12) still control their destiny in the Pac-12 North, needing to beat struggling Arizona State (5-5, 2-5) at home on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET, FOX) before finishing the regular season at division-leading Washington State.
After dropping their first contest of the season to red-hot USC last week, the No. 6 Washington Huskies will look to rebound against the Arizona State Sun Devils while making a case to the College Football Playoff committee.
Washington’s weak nonconference schedule — Rutgers, Idaho, Portland State — continues to be an issue as the Huskies now need help to reach the playoff. But they have a chance to impress late in the season, by beating the Cougars and then facing a ranked champion from the Pac-12 South, possibly even getting a rematch against USC.
ASU expects to have four-year starter LB Salamo Fiso back after a two-game absence because of injury. That should help with communication issues, which led to two TDs in last week’s loss at Utah. Big plays have killed the Sun Devils all season. They have given up scoring plays of 50-plus yards in every game but one, at Texas-San Antonio.
Penn State Nittany Lions at Rutgers Scarlet Knights:
#8 Penn State
|8:00 PM (ET)
||High Point Solutions Stadium, P
No. 9 Penn State, ranked eighth in this week’s College Football Playoff poll, is expected to play without its top three offensive tackles when it travels to Piscataway, N.J., to play Rutgers (2-8, 0-7) on Saturday.
Penn State redshirt sophomore QB Trace McSorley has both a rushing and passing touchdown in five of the past six games. He has six games this season with a passing and rushing touchdown, second only to Lamar Jackson of Louisville.
The door to a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game is wide open for Penn State and what was unthinkable just weeks ago — a shot at the four-team College Football Playoff — is within reach. The question now is: Can the injury-riddle Nittany Lions (8-2, 6-1 Big Ten) limp through it?
Penn State has won six in a row since losing to Michigan in the conference opener. Rutgers last win in the series was a 21-16 decision at Beaver Stadium in 1988. The Nittany Lions were then ranked No. 15.
Oklahoma Sooners at West Virginia Mountaineers:
Prolific offense is the reputation by which No. 8 Oklahoma lives, but Bob Stoops doesn’t mind hearing about how far his defense has come in a few short weeks as the Sooners pack their bags for a Big 12 showdown at 10th-ranked West Virginia on Saturday night.
The Oklahoma Sooners are 14-0 straight up and 10-4 against the spread in their last 14 games against Big 12 opponents. The Sooners will look to knock off another conference rival with a road win this Saturday against the West Virginia Mountaineers.
West Virginia QB Skyler Howard has thrown five interceptions in his last three games. The Sooners intercepted him three times last season but are allowing 297 yards through the air this year. West Virginia’s stock dropped after a 37-20 loss on the road to Oklahoma State, but the team has bounced back with wins over Kansas and Texas.
Oklahoma wide receiver Dede Westbrook had five catches for 107 yards against the Mountaineers a year ago. This year he’s tied for second in the country in yards receiving per game at 125.4 and in touchdown catches with 14.
USC Trojans at UCLA Bruins:
After knocking off Washington last week, the No. 13 USC Trojans will look to continue their rise with a win over cross-town rival UCLA Bruins Saturday night. The Trojans have won six straight entering Saturday’s game and remain alive in the Pac-12 South standings, just a game back of leader Colorado.
This game would be a lot more entertaining if Josh Rosen could play. He and Sam Darnold are two of the young guns already taking the Pac-12 by storm — really, all of college football — and it’s a shame fans won’t get to witness them duel. Nevertheless, Darnold is going to sling the rock for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns. He’ll find JuJu Smith-Schuster for two of those touchdowns, and the Trojans stave off a late comeback attempt by UCLA to take the win.
Redshirt freshman Sam Darnold is at the forefront of a Trojans resurgence that reached a peak with Saturday’s 26-13 victory at previously undefeated Washington, which was No. 4 in the country. Darnold completed 22 of 33 passes for 287 yards — the most allowed by the Huskies this season — and two touchdowns.
USC looked like they were in dire straights after the loss to the Utes. The Trojans had a 1-3 record and didn’t even have a point in the AP poll after falling to three ranked teams. But behind Darnold, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, all-purpose star Adoree’ Jackson and a reinvigorated defense, USC has wins over two ranked teams.
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