College Football Preview – Week 13

All times Central

For the foreseeable future my Saturdays in the fall are consumed by college football. I often include a second, and sometimes third screen in my day, and this year will be no exception. Be that as it may, I figured a good way to preview the college football weekends would be to go through the day and say what I plan to watch on each screen.

Thursday, November 21st

Evening

Main Screen
Rutgers at UCF (6:30 pm/ESPN) – It’s nice to at least have a top 25 team playing on Thursday night. UCF might be a bit underrated having only lost to South Carolina. If they had pulled that close one out they would be in the top 10 right now for sure. Meanwhile Rutger’s AAC swan song is not going well. They have lost 3 of 4, all by at least two touchdowns.

Friday, November 22nd

Evening

Main Screen
Navy at San Jose St. (8:30 pm/ESPN2) – It’s always fun to watch the triple option, so there is that. San Jose St. QB David Fales came into the season as a quiet, small conference pro prospect. He has been passed by Fresno State’s Derek Carr at this point. Fales has 12 interceptions and just a 60% completion percentage. It seems likely he will still be drafted, but he won’t be going in the first round without a strong finish.

Saturday, November 23rd

Morning

Main Screen
Michigan St at Northwestern (11 am/ESPN) – Michigan St. can seal the Big Ten Legends division with a win this week or next. And now that Minnesota has creeped into the top 25, this is the more likely win. Northwestern started the season in the top 25, but has already clinched last place in the Legends division. They have to win this week and next week at Illinois to even be bowl eligible.

Second Screen
Oklahoma at Kansas St (11 am/Fox Sports 1) – Oklahoma isn’t completely eliminated from the Big 12 race. A multi-team tie at the top might give them a chance provided they win this week and, more importantly, next week against Oklahoma St. Of course, if Baylor wins this week that conversation is over. Not a lot of teams have something to play for at this time slot Saturday though.

Third Screen
Memphis at Louisville (11 am/ESPN3) – Louisville was supposed to be the lock to win the AAC and perhaps crash the BCS party. Instead they lost a close one to UCF. They are still quietly 9–1 and alive in the AAC if UCF loses twice. More importantly though, this is one of the last chances to watch future top–3 NFL pick Teddy Bridgewater.

Afternoon

Main Screen
Texas A&M at LSU (2:30 pm/CBS) – A&M is one of the most underrated teams around right now. They are 12th in the BCS despite losses only to #1 Alabama and #6 Auburn. Stanford is 9th, their two losses are to unranked Utah and unranked USC. Neither team can win the division, but these QBs are both early round picks in the NFL draft, and A&M still has a great shot at an at-large bid they win out. It’s almost a certainty that a 2nd SEC team would grab one, and two of the four teams ahead of A&M are guaranteed to lose at least once. Plus with Johnny Manziel they will be an attractive pick.

Second Screen
Oregon at Arizona (2:30 pm/ABC or ESPN2) – Oregon is in an interesting position after Stanford lost again. They again control their own destiny in the Pac 12 North, and since they are 5th in the BCS right now, they still have a shot to sneak into the National Championship if everything breaks their way. They close with Arizona and Oregon St., and neither is going to be a big boost to strength of schedule, but it could be worse.

Third Screen
Wisconsin at Minnesota (2:30 pm/ESPN) – People forget that Wisconsin is a debacle at Arizona St. away from possibly being 9–1 right now. There are four at-large spots to be had, and even assuming that one of the spots goings to NIU or Fresno St., Wisconsin will have a shot. The SEC is a virtual lock to nab one of them, and because Stanford is egregiously ranked 9th somehow, they stand a shot at grabbing one. Clemson is likely the only other school to be in the mix since no one from the Big 12 outside of Baylor will likely make it. So if Wisconsin wins out they will be in the conversation.

Evening

Main Screen
Baylor at Oklahoma St. (7 pm/ABC) – A pretty solid evening slate, but the focus is definitely on this one. Baylor is 4th in the BCS, and while they might need some help, they have to keep winning to even stay in the conversation. This is the toughest game left on their schedule, and it’s on the road. Oklahoma St. had an unforgivable loss to West Virginia, but because that was way back in September, the voters seem to have forgotten. Both of these teams have better defenses than anyone gives them credit for, but Baylor’s offense has been unstoppable as of late.

Second Screen
Missouri at Ole Miss (6:45 pm/ESPN) – Missouri is ranked 8th, and clinging to a one game lead in the SEC East. Because their loss is to South Carolina they can’t afford to lose. With Texas A&M next week, this season is far from over. Ole Miss bounced back from a 3-game losing streak @ Alabama, @ Auburn and against Texas A&M (which now looks crazy!) but three of the four wins were Idaho, Arkansas and Troy. This one can’t be overlooked by Missouri. Ole Miss is in the top 20 in a bunch of categories and has 7 wins. With Mississippi St. next week, they are eyeing a ten win season (with a bowl win) if they can win this week.

Third Screen
Arizona St. at UCLA (6 pm/FOX) – The Pac 12 South gets crazy if UCLA can pull off a win. If they do, these two teams, plus USC will be tied at 5–2 for the Pac 12 South lead. ASU already beat USC, but UCLA will play them next week. So the scenarios go this way, assuming USC beats Colorado this week: If UCLA wins this week, they control their own destiny next week. If ASU wins they will clinch the division because they have the one on one tiebreaker with USC. USC needs ASU to lose this week no matter what. Then if ASU loses next week, USC will need to beat UCLA. If ASU loses this week, and wins next week, we get a crazy three-team tie.

Did I miss any games you will be watching?