Week 12 Preview

Games of Note:

#25 Cincinnati @ #23 UCF

Scott- This noon game is an absolute monster in the American. The Bearcats ended the Knights lengthy conference winning streak last season in Cincy. The Knights are sitting at 5-1, while the Bearcats are 4-2, so a loss for UC would prove more costly, and almost surely eliminate them. Luke Fickell’s squad had preseason expectations of winning the G5 New Year’s Six spot. But after starting 3-0, a 3 game losing streak followed. They were left for dead, but a 4 game winning streak featuring wins over ranked SMU and Memphis. This put them right back into contention. UCF has won 4 in a row themselves, and do have home field advantage here. The Bounce House will be rocking, and I think the Knights continue their surge. UCF 31, Cincinnati 24

Gavin- Yes, this is indeed a monster of a matchup. It is that time of season where games have much clearer implications, and this is no exception. With a win and a Memphis or SMU loss, UCF would clinch a spot in the American championship game. Cincinnati meanwhile are essentially eliminated with a loss, as Scott said. With such high stakes on the line, expect it to be a tight, well fought game. That being said, I think playing at home will be enough to get the Knights over the top. UCF 35, Cincinnati 31

#4 LSU @ #8 Auburn

Scott- The first of 3 ranked matchups in the SEC pits two top 10 teams against one another. Both teams sit with one loss, and the winner remains as a serious player in the hunt for the Playoff. Auburn’s sole loss was in a wacky OT game to Georgia, while LSU’s only loss was 2 weeks ago against undefeated Bama. A win for LSU means they will most likely remain in the Top 4, and set themselves up extremely well for the Playoff. An Auburn win would keep their playoff hopes alive, as well as their SEC hopes. With a win, Gus Malzahn’s squad would get their chance at undefeated Alabama in the Iron Bowl, in a winner-take-all game to face the Gators in Atlanta. Both Tiger defenses are ranked in the top 10, but I believe they will give up some points Saturday. I expect an extremely tight game. LSU 36, Auburn 28

Gavin- Scott covered most of the implications of this game already, and wow is there a lot riding on this matchup. These are exactly the kind of late-season games with everything on the line that make college football so great. If you look at the recent history in this matchup, LSU have won three in a row by a combined 8 points. So yeah, this one is gonna come down to the wire. In a virtual toss up, I will once again lean towards the home team. Auburn ends the drought against LSU with a last second field goal. Auburn 31, LSU 28

Nebraska @ #7 Wisconsin

Scott- While the Huskers have fallen off big time over the last couple weeks, I would like to point out to everyone that I believe the Badgers control their own destiny to the College Football Playoff. With a win, not only does Wisconsin clinch the West, they would pull off their eighth straight over UNL, and their sixth straight win this season. Nebraska is looking for some sort of momentum to finish out the season after losing three in a row, but heading to Madison is no easy task, especially with so much on the line. Wisconsin wins the Big Ten, they make the Playoff. The 11th ranked defense has carried this team, and with how both teams are trending. I’m taking the Badgers by a lot. Wisconsin 42, Nebraska 18

Gavin- Well, I have been saying it for weeks now. And I will say it again here. Nebraska is not a good football team. In fact, I believe that the big loss to Iowa last week shows that Nebraska isn’t really even anything but an average team at best. Unfortunately for the Huskers, Wisconsin is a very good team. The Badgers have been very solid on both offense and defense this year, and have several good wins. They are very much in the thick of things near the top of the rankings, with plenty left to accomplish this season. They are gonna roll in this one. Wisconsin 45, Nebraska 10

#15 Louisville @ #14 Notre Dame

Scott- This game features two teams that may not be the high profile playoff contenders. However, a New Year’s Six Bowl could very well be within reach for the winner. Louisville is enjoying a massive turnaround under Scott Satterfield, as the Cards sit at 9-1, and on a seven game win streak. They haven’t beaten a ton of great teams, but if they can defeat the Irish in South Bend, and defeat rival Kentucky next week, that is quite the two wins to close out the year. Notre Dame is still awfully talented, and the two losses on their resume are to extremely good teams. ND is more talented, and UL put a scare into them last year. Kelly will have the Irish ready to snap the skid. Notre Dame 47, Louisville 23

Gavin- Louisville have been one of the best surprises of this season. They have a chance here at the end of the year to really prove themselves, with two solid teams left on the schedule. The Irish are up first, and this ND team is certainly a good one. That being said, Notre Dame really hasn’t beaten anyone great, and have fallen flat in their two chances at big wins over ranked teams. This will likely be their final chance to collect a ranked win, which could prove necessary in order to make a New Year’s Six bowl game. I think it’ll be close, but I’m going to say the Cardinals make a major statement on the road. Louisville 31, Notre Dame 28

#13 Texas A&M @ #2 Alabama

Scott- It seems light years since Johnny Football beat the Tide in T-town. It’s amazing what an impact he has on this series, considering Bama has owned it since then, winning eight in a row, and the Aggies have really only been close once since Manziel’s departure. A&M is a longshot for the Playoff at this point, but with a lot of help, they still have a chance. And if those dominos don’t fall their way, they still have shots at two current playoff teams in their own division. Alabama is 10-0. They are favored perennially for a reason. But Aggie fans expect national title contention, especially given Jimbo Fisher’s contract. This is a tough spot for him, and Alabama is on a absolute roll. I think Mac Jones and the Tide will be too much. If the Tide can pull it off, and get a win from LSU, they clinch the West. I’m predicting it. Alabama 45, Texas A&M 28

Gavin- On paper, this is a big game between two solid teams. And don’t get me wrong, the implications of this game are certainly big. But looking a bit closer, is this Texas A&M team really that good? Their four conference wins have all come against SEC bottom-feeders, and their best non-conference win is against an average Fresno State team. The two best teams A&M have faced beat the Aggies fairly handily by a combined 35 points. Alabama on the other hand, have rolled to victory in every game, including victories over two top 6 teams. I’ll take Bama to expose the overhyped Aggies. Alabama 42, Texas A&M 21

#9 Georgia @ #18 Kentucky

Scott- The Dawgs are having a great year, but given their expectations, it is a disappointing one. The Cats are having a great year, but given their expectations, it is a pleasantly surprising one. This one could be hard for Georgia to get up for. However, UGA has owned the Wildcats, winning 10 straight. After the loss to Florida, the Bulldog defense has won their last two, giving up 6 total points. UK has won five straight, in a year that no one saw coming. If Kentucky can beat Georgia and Louisville to end the season, a surprising New Year’s Six berth could be in store. Georgia would love to get to the premier tier of bowl games as well. This would make it 4 straight years for them, but they can’t afford another slip-up. The #4 defense steps up here. Georgia 23, Kentucky 13

Gavin- For me, this is the second most intriguing SEC matchup of the week. Yes, there is much less at stake than in the previous game we discussed, but I think that these teams are more closely matched. Kentucky have surprised just about everyone this season with an 8-2 start, and they have a chance to get into a New Year’s Six bowl and cap off an impressive season. There are two very good teams standing in their way however. A gritty, proven Georgia squad is first. These Bulldogs had very high hopes coming into the season, and a couple of losses to top teams have ended playoff aspirations. However with a couple more wins, Georgia can secure a good bowl game and a top 10 ranking to end the year. The Bulldog defense has been a sight to behold, and the Wildcats will struggle to put up points in this one. Georgia 27, Kentucky 10

#19 Utah @ Arizona State

Scott- This game will most certainly determine the winner of the Pac-12 South. Utah is looking to repeat as division champs, and face Oregon for the second straight Championship game. ASU is coming off a tough loss to heavyweight Oregon, snapping their 5 game win streak. However, everything is still in front of them, and this would be the biggest win for Herm Edwards in Tempe. The Utes had a nice bounce back performance last week, dominating Oregon State on Senior Night. Utah finishes off the season with two road games. Win, and go to Vegas for your shot at the Ducks. I like the Utes, even with the rowdy environment present in Tempe. The defense will pave the way. Utah 28, Arizona State 19

Gavin- This game will likely serve as the de facto Pac-12 South Championship game. ASU recovered from a rough start to the season to find themselves in this position, and Utah have struggled a bit as of late. Even on the road however, the Utes will still come in as favorites. With the winner looking to set up a date with Oregon in the Pac-12 title game, I like the Sun Devils to pull off the home upset and schedule the rematch. Arizona State 35, Utah 31

#17 Iowa State @ #11 Texas

Scott- The nightcap for the ranked matchups this week features Texas’ shot to clinch a spot in the Big XII Championship for the second time in three seasons. As I’m sure you know, the Horns are scorching hot, winning eight straight, and flaunting a perfect conference record. After the first two games of the season, it’s amazing to think the Longhorns would be ranked #11 in mid-November. This challenge won’t be an easy one, however. ISU is coming off of an impressive 10 point win over a ranked Baylor squad, with the Cyclones staying in the hunt for the Big XII. They’ll need help, but they can help their case a whole bunch if they can pull off the upset in Austin. Despite Texas being down the last decade, and the Cyclones trending upward given both programs’ histories, Iowa State still has lost their last four trips to DKR. Iowa State has a proven D, but Texas is averaging nearly 40 points per game for a reason. I think Texas survives the upset bid, and clinches their spot in the Championship. Texas 37, Iowa State 24

Gavin- Texas are a freight train that cannot be slowed down. The Longhorns have been on a trajectory for the Big 12 title game since conference play started, and the Cyclones will have a difficult time keeping them from doing so. A loss will pretty much mean the end of the Cyclones hopes at a title this season, and unfortunately for them Texas is looking like too much to overcome. Texas 35, Iowa State 17

Upset Picks:

Scott- Navy @ South Florida

USF is a team that has been up and down all season. Unfortunately for the Bulls, they’ve had a few too many downs, and that’s going to cost them a chance at a conference championship and most likely a New Year’s Six bid. USF has had an impressive first year under coach Jeff Scott, as they had a rough end to the Charlie Strong era. Navy is a team that has also had its fair share of impressive and rough stretches this season. The difference being, Navy was expected to contend for the AAC this year, and was even ranked a month ago. Since they’ve lost 4 of 5, and while they have been competitive in those losses, that can take a toll on a team and get very frustrating. I think the Bulls are able to defend home turf here, and end their two game skid. South Florida 31, Navy 28

Gavin- Kansas State vs #21 Oklahoma State

I was too scared to pick the Wildcats last week, even though I wanted to. I have also picked back to back underdogs playing on the road, which has not gone well for me. I have decided that I won’t make either of those mistakes again. KSU have certainly been disappointed by the conference season they have had thus far. It didn’t appear that things would get better, with the ‘cats being underdogs in three straight games to end the season. A win over the Sooners last week was a very welcome surprise, and provided some hope that Kansas State could finish the season on a high note after all. It is certainly a tough matchup against a solid Oklahoma State team, but I think that KSU come out kings of Oklahoma. Kansas State 27, Oklahoma State 21

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