While the top game of the week didn’t live up to the hype per se, there were plenty of thrilling results across the country, and plenty of conference and bowl implications played out from sea to sea. Let’s recap!
Games of Note and Predictions
Memphis 30 – Houston 14
-Scott: Houston 33, Memphis 30
-Gavin: Houston 28, Memphis 27
It seems the Cougars still can’t figure out their Memphis problem. The Tigers have three straight impressive wins, and now have a great shot to reach the American title game. The Cougars looked to be in great shape a couple weeks back, but dropping games to Temple and Memphis might have ruined their chances. Memphis now finds itself in a 3-way tie for second place in the AAC. Memphis faces a fellow team in the tie in Tulane next week, and that game will go a long way towards determining the championship game participants. Memphis continues to grow as a program under yet another young coach in Ryan Silverfield.
#5 Oklahoma 40 – #12 Iowa State 17
-Scott: Oklahoma 42, Iowa State 31
-Gavin: Oklahoma 35, Iowa State 21
The best game of the week heading into Week 12 didn’t quite live up to the billing. The Sooners defended Norman by throttling Matt Campbell’s Cyclones, ending their Big XII title hopes and crushing their once-high expectations even further. With the win, Lincoln Riley clinches a spot in the Big XII Championship yet again. Now, the question is, who will be the opponent? A rematch with the rival Cowboys might bode best for OU’s playoff chances. However, those games will be challenging to say the least. Regardless, Oklahoma looks to be hitting their stride at the right time.
#23 Wisconsin 36 – Nebraska 23
-Scott: Wisconsin 26, Nebraska 17
-Gavin: Wisconsin 24, Nebraska 10
Wisconsin continues to own Nebraska. The Huskers put up a valiant fight in chilly Madison, but the Badgers run attack eventually wore down Nebraska’s front. With the win, UW continues to hold its one game lead over the rest of the division. Now, just a rivalry victory over Minnesota is all that stands in the way between the Badgers and a return to the Big Ten title game. Nebraska falls to 6-5 on the season, and will have a massive showdown with Iowa next week. That will prove to be a huge game for program momentum going into 2022. Also, the Hawks still have B1G West title hopes as well.
#6 Oklahoma State 32 – Texas Tech 29
-Scott: Texas Tech 34, Oklahoma State 32
-Gavin: Oklahoma State 42, Texas Tech 32
Well, I picked OK State’s scores right. But, the Cowboys escape Lubbock with a 3-point win to get to a remarkable 10-1 record on the season. TTU fails to capitalize in this upset spot, but they sure put up quite a fight, scoring nearly 30 against an elite OSU defensive unit. The Red Raiders still need a win to go bowling, and that FIU loss from September might come back to haunt them even further. A trip to Waco lies ahead for the Raiders. OK State has Bedlam next week, and if they can emerge victorious, they’ll rematch the Sooners the following week in Arlington instead of Stillwater. OK State controls their own destiny. If they win both games, I can’t see how they miss their first-ever CFP berth.
#24 Oregon 29 – #17 Utah 21
-Scott: Oregon 30, Utah 21
-Gavin: Oregon 35, Utah 28
I was soooooo close to picking this score right on the nose. The Ducks come away from a hostile environment unscathed, and Anthony Brown made just enough plays to keep the Utes out of reach here. Utah, ultimately loses the Pac-12 South here. The Utes have been haunted by the Ducks in big games. Now, has Mario Cristobal done enough on the field to perhaps be poached for a bigger job? He says he loves Oregon, but you can’t take anything for granted in the college football coaching carousel.
Troy 35 – Appalachian State 23
-Scott: Appalachian State 38, Troy 28
-Gavin: Appalachian State 41, Troy 21
No one gave the Trojans a shot here. App State has been the class of the conference for years, and while Troy has been good, no one thought they could pull off this huge game. Troy did it, and Chip Lindsay controls his own destiny in gauntlet that is the Sun Belt East. A winner-take-all game takes place next week among the two 6-1 teams in the conference: Troy and Georgia State. They’ll have to travel to Atlanta, but that should be a heavyweight fight. App State has failed to win the East in back-to-back years now. Still, this program has plenty of positive momentum. There’s no shame in failing to win the East in 2021.
#19 Miami 39 – #18 Virginia Tech 29
-Scott: Miami 37, Virginia Tech 19
-Gavin: Miami 35, Virginia Tech 24
Miami continues to be red hot heading into the final turn of the 2021 season. Now the country is seeing why this team had so much hype in the preseason. Hard Rock Stadium had a bit of an electric feel Saturday night, despite no conference or national implications being present. That’s a great sign that the U may be on its way back towards national relevancy. The Canes have three ranked wins in their five-game win streak. Depending on how the committee view them, UM may have an outside shot at reaching a New Year’s Six bowl. Although Justin Fuente was on the hot seat coming into 2021, I don’t think he’s fired just yet. The Hokies are 8-3, but need to finish strong.
#8 Washington 26 – Colorado 25
-Scott: Washington 34, Colorado 20
-Gavin: Washington 28, Colorado 14
I don’t know if this is an impressive performance or a bit of a dud. Boulder can be a tough place to play, and this Buffs team is hungry for a bowl berth. That being said, Washington needs to be impressive to try to make an impact on the CFP selection committee. Therefore, I’ll lean with a bit of both. The Huskies get to 10-1 on the season, and a win is a win. They’ll have the Apple Cup next week before a Pac-12 Championship against the red-hot Trojans. The question is: will that be enough to vault them up the rankings? They could use some help in other places of the country. CU gets Utah next week, still looking for win #6.
Northwestern 30 – Purdue 13
-Scott: Purdue 28, Northwestern 16
I doubted my Cats yet again, and I failed. NU defended home turf (kind of?) at Wrigley Field to get to 8-3 on the season, in what’s been another successful year for Pat Fitzgerald. Purdue is knocked out of the B1G West race with the loss. Surprisingly, the Wildcats have a chance to win the West yet again. They need to beat the rival Illini, Minnesota to upset Wisconsin, Iowa to beat Nebraska, and Purdue to beat Indiana. If those four happen, the Cats will repeat as West champs.
East Carolina 26 – Navy 9
-Gavin: East Carolina 28, Navy 21
Somehow, Navy was favored in this game. I don’t know how, but credit Gavin for finding the right play. ECU has been playing better this season, and Navy has really spiraled downward as a program. If the Pirates can shock the talented, but beatable Bearcats next week, they’ll go bowling. That warrants as a smashing success for Mike Houston this early on in his tenure in Greenville.
Our Pick Results:
Scott: 5-4 (72-35 on season)
Gavin: 7-2 (71-36)
Gavin is closing in…..
Other Games of Note
Eastern Michigan 52 – Western Michigan 26
EMU stuns the Broncos by blowing them out of the Factory. If EMU can defeat Central next week, they’ll win the Michigan MAC trophy outright for the first time since 2011. Western missed out at a heck of a shot to win the division here.
Ohio 13 – Toledo 12
Ohio shuts down Toledo’s offense and like Western, Toledo missed a golden opportunity as well here. The Bobcats are quietly having yet another solid season.
Ball State 46 – Central Michigan 40
In one of the biggest games in the MAC this year, it looks like we might finally have a clear front-runner in the West. Ball State wins in an instant classic to get to 5-2 in conference, a full game ahead in the division. Like the Big XII, we may have back-to-back rematches in conference title games, as the Cardinals play host to East champ Buffalo this Tuesday. It will be interesting to see how much these two showcase, especially UB. If Ball State wins, they’re in.
#4 Ohio State 49 – Michigan State 22
Ohio State continues to roll, and to put the pressure on Penn State. Michigan State has shown flashes this year under Mel Tucker, but have not been nearly as good as they have in real life. That being said, this score was a lot closer in our sim that in real life too. The Bucks will turn around and root for Sparty to take down the Nittany Lions next week in East Lansing.
#7 Auburn 17 – South Carolina 6
Auburn’s playoff odds still are intact with their two losses. However, I’m not sure how much room there is to vault upwards, given their losses to TAMU and Penn State. Regardless, the AU defense is starting to flex its muscles as of late. Carolina is still looking for elusive win number 6, as they’ve lost four in a row against elite competition. It won’t get any easier next week, as #1 Clemson comes to town.
UAB 23 – UTSA 12
While UTSA was looking ahead to a winner-take-all matchup with North Texas for the Conference USA West division, they were tripped up at home by the Blazers. UAB has been a team that’s disappointed all year, but Saturday’s game showed exactly why most writers thought they were a force to be reckoned with in the preseason. Now, UTSA has really struggled down the stretch, and there has to be a lot of questions the Roadrunners will ask themselves in the coming weeks.
Pittsburgh 36 – Virginia 7
After Pitt’s massive upset of UNC last week, there was no letdown in Week 12. Pitt slaughtered UVA from the opening kickoff, and Pitt seems to have righted the ship after a three-game skid mid-season. Don’t be surprised if Pitt is ranked again by the end of the season. The Cavaliers will now need to beat the rival Hokies to go bowling.
Tulane 25 – South Florida 14
South Florida couldn’t recapture the magic they had last week in Tampa when upsetting then #3 Cincinnati. Tulane defended New Orleans to remain entrenched in the thick of AAC title talks. They have a huge game next week for Memphis, which essentially serves as an eliminator game in the American race.
#13 Texas 28 – West Virginia 10
Texas’s formula to seek revenge on the rival Sooners is simple. The Longhorns need to obviously defeat K-State next Friday, and cheer like heck for OU against OK State. As hard as that may be for Longhorn fans to root for the Sooners, that is the only option they have at this point. Regardless, despite Morgantown’s raucous home crowd, the Longhorns’ defense showed up in a big way.
North Texas 37 – FIU 31
With this result, and the aforementioned UTSA upset, the Mean Green have continued their Cinderella season by clinching the West division within Conference USA. Now, they’ll face UTSA, before a rematch with FAU from back in 2017. That conference title game didn’t go so hot for the Mean Green. However, this seems like a team of destiny, and I won’t put anything past Seth Littrell’s squad.
#10 Florida 33 – Missouri 30
Hoo boy. Florida nearly got picked off in COMO, which would’ve knocked them out of the New Year’s Six race altogether. But a win is a win, and Missouri is no slouch. Road wins are always hard to come by in the SEC. Florida’s defense seemed rarely lost containing Connor Bazelak in this one. The Gators will attempt to keep the rival Seminoles out of the postseason next weekend.
USC 46 – UCLA 31
With the Victory Bell on the line, the hot team stayed hot, and the cold team stayed ice cold. SC is playing extremely well as of late, and Kedon Slovis outdueled DTR for the majority of this one. UCLA, despite being ranked in early October, is in danger of missing a bowl game all of a sudden. SC has won four in a row, and it’s a shame to see where this team would be at had they won a couple of their close losses. The jury is still out on what Clay Helton’s future is. Surprise surprise.
Arkansas 29 – #11 Alabama 25
Last, but certainly not least, we have probably the most surprising result of the weekend. Bama shockingly drops its third game of the season, this one at home to the Razorbacks. Arkansas snaps a 13-game losing streak to the Tide, and Sam Pittman got his upset win that might continue his forward momentum in Fayetteville. Alabama has its first three-loss season since 2010, a remarkable feat. I’m not sure Auburn won’t give them #4 next week however. The Hogs have a real shot to go bowling now, as they welcome Missouri on Black Friday.
Don’t see your favorite team? Be sure to check out all of our updated games over on the archive page. We’ll be sure to get a preview out for rivalry week soon! Have a great long holiday weekend everyone! Make sure it’s filled with plenty of college football!