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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: What To Watch In Week 12

  • November 20, 2021
  • /   The Daily Wire
  • /   News
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With only two weeks remaining in the college football regular season, gut-check time has arrived. 

With rivalry week just a week away, there are multiple games on the week 12 slate that carry massive importance for the College Football Playoff picture. There are three top-25 games on the schedule, and they’re perfectly timed for you to not have an excuse to leave the couch for the entirety of the day. 

While there are many games with upset potential, we’re going to focus on the four that will have the biggest impact on the CFP. 

So, with that, let’s take a look at the games to watch in week 12. 

No. 4 Ohio State vs No. 7 Michigan State – 12:00 p.m. ET, ABC

Ohio State is coming off a very impressive win over Purdue, and now are tasked with playing two top-10 teams to finish off their regular season — the Buckeyes travel to The Big House to take on Michigan in week 13. 

Michigan State has surprised many by going 9-1 — including a win over in-state rival Michigan — in Mel Tucker’s second year as head coach. 

“Certainly turned that roster, quickly, over to a championship-level roster,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said of Tucker. 

The game has massive implications for the Big 10 and for the College Football Playoff, with the loser ending any hope of a CFP berth. Ohio State has won eight straight following a week two loss to Oregon, but college football’s leading rusher in Kenneth Walker poses a major threat to a defense that gave up 269 yards on the ground to Oregon. 

“It’s going to take more than one guy to bring him down,” Day said. “I think his vision, his patience, his ability to make a guy miss in the whole, are probably some of the things he does best.”

The Buckeyes have not allowed a 100-yard rusher since their loss to Oregon.

Michigan State’s pass defense is dreadful, last in the FBS allowing 329 yards per game through the air. Ohio State’s offense averages 353.6 through the air, sixth in college football. 

No. 2 Alabama vs No. 21 Arkansas – 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

An Alabama win will secure a spot in the SEC Championship game against Georgia, while Arkansas can snap a 14-game losing streak against Alabama. 

Arkansas boasts the sixth ranked rushing attack in the country with 233.5 yards per game on the ground while Alabama’s defense is fourth in the country in rushing yards allowed per game (83.5). 

Alabama head coach Nick Saban knows the threat that Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson poses as both a runner and a passer. 

“When he played last year, he was very athletic and obviously made good plays,” Saban said. “But I think as a starter, they’ve been able to teach him the things that he can do really, really well, and I think he’s made tremendous progress as a passer, knowledge of the offense and his ability to execute and do the things they need him to do to be effective in terms of distributing the ball, whether it’s run or pass.”

“The guy’s a big, strong guy. He’s hard to sack. He’s extended plays and made plays, running and throwing. He’s a very challenging guy to try to defend,” Saban added.

No. 5 Cincinnati vs SMU – 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Cincinnati is on the outside looking in of the College Football Playoff picture, and their week 12 game is a chance to impress against the 8-2 Mustangs. The Bearcats have failed to dominate in past weeks, coming off an unimpressive 45-28 win over a poor South Florida team. 

“It’s the last guaranteed game for our seniors to play in Nippert Stadium,” Bearcats coach Luke Fickell said. “And it’s a big week. It’s a huge, huge game. This is a game we have been waiting for, for quite some time.”

SMU has the eighth most prolific passing attack in college football (329.0 yards per game), they lead the AAC in points per game (41.6) and quarterback Tanner Mordecai is second in the country with 37 passing touchdowns. 

“You can see their evolution,” Fickell said. “(Mordecai) is a very, very, very good one. He does a lot of things, not just throwing the football. It’s how he makes things happen under pressure. And he can run a little bit.”

 No. 23 Utah vs No. 3 Oregon – 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC

A phenomenal opportunity for the Pac-12, and also an incredibly dangerous one. 

The Pac-12 conference has missed out on the last four College Football Playoffs’, and a second loss by Oregon would almost guarantee a fifth straight year without the conference being represented. The winner clinches a spot in the Pac-12 championship game. 

“We prepare the same way every single week,” Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal said about his team playing in big games. “You like to think that every single week you’re getting better and better. That’s always been the goal. I think teams that really focus on the points of technique, fundamentals, the simplicity of pad level, at this time of the year have the ability to keep getting better. If you do that, your season gets stronger. We’ve been doing that, and we still have miles to go. That being said, playing an excellent team, a great football environment, excited to play these guys this weekend.

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham will become the all-time winningest coach in program history with a victory over Oregon. 

“We treat them all the same,” Whittingham said. “That’s how you have to do it in the Pac-12 because if you don’t, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, you’re going to get beat if you’re not ready to go. We approach it the same exact way every single week.”

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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