Following a weekend with multiple cancellations due to COVID-19, college football is back in full-swing this weekend. From a major top ten matchup to a handful of key conference games, there is a lot to unpack for Week 12. That being said, let’s dive into this weekend’s top matchups…
Now two games into their season, the Oregon Ducks are set to host the UCLA Bruins. The Ducks will look to go 3-0 through the halfway point of their regular season. Offering the Pac-12 their best shot at the playoffs, Oregon’s offense is coming off of a 45-point game, led by their powerful run game. The duo of CJ Verdell and Travis Dye has offered an excellent complement to quarterback Tyler Shough, who has held his own in two starts.
But for as much as Oregon’s offense has been clicking, their defense could offer the Bruins an opportunity to make this a close one. The Ducks have given up an average of 417 yards of total offense to Stanford and Washington State. Now going against a productive UCLA team, led by quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and running back Demetric Felton, the Bruins defense will have their hands full in this one.
One of the better stories of the 2020 season has been the performance of the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. Undefeated and dominating their opponents through their first seven games, they will host their toughest opponent yet in Appalachian State. The Mountaineers are 6-1 in their own right, though quarterback Zac Thomas and running back Daetrich Harrington are both battling injuries.
Without those two would drastically change the Mountaineers’ offensive approach. Nevertheless, these are two evenly matched teams, both offensively and defensively. This will be one of the more entertaining games in the noon slate.
Finally making their return from their COVID-19 outbreak hiatus, Wisconsin took care of Michigan last week to go 2-0. Having missed two games, this game against Northwestern is a must-win, not only to remain undefeated but to keep their conference title game hopes alive. Led by their ridiculous run game, Wisconsin heads to play the always difficult defense of Pat Fitzgerald. Expect a defensive battle, with both offenses searching for big plays as the only one can remain undefeated.
Top Three Games:
As always, the Battle of Bedlam will be an entertaining one. While it may not have college football playoff implications, there is a lot at stake. Both are still alive for the Big 12 championship game, and neither is going to go down without a fight.
For Oklahoma State, their offense starts and ends with the play of the fantastic trio of quarterback Spencer Sanders, running back Chuba Hubbard, and wide receiver Tylan Wallace. That is when it is functioning. After losing to Texas, the team barely escaped Kansas State, and desperately needs a big game against Oklahoma. Getting their defense going too will go a long way, especially against the Sooner’s offense.
Oklahoma has put up back-to-back 62-point performances, doing so against Texas Tech and Kansas. Of course, Oklahoma State is a much better team, being the best redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Rattler has faced thus far. If Oklahoma has any chance of pulling off an upset against their rival, it starts with Rattler playing a clean game.
It was not long ago when Central Florida was the team to beat in the American Athletic Conference. Now, that team is Cincinnati. The undefeated Bearcats need to win out and get some help from the teams ahead of them. Boasting one of the best defenses in the nation, the Cincinnati offense is also coming off their best performance since Week 1.
But do not count out the Knights. UCF averages an insane 619 total yards per game, with quarterback Dillon Gabriel leading one of the most dangerous pass offenses in all of college football. They too come in hot, riding a three-game win streak. In fact, currently, ESPN’s FPI has UCF with a 56.4% chance to upset the Bearcats at home. This battle between UCF’s offense and Cincinnati’s defense is the second-best matchup this weekend.
Coming into the season, nobody saw the Indiana Hoosiers as Ohio State’s biggest threat to win the Big Ten. They beat Penn State and Michigan, and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is playing the best football of his young career. Without a doubt though, this is going to be the most difficult game for Indiana yet this season. Defensively, these two teams are rather evenly matched. Except when it comes to offense, that is where this game can get out of hand.
Junior quarterback Justin Fields has thrown for as many touchdowns, 11, as he has interceptions through three games. They have averaged 511 yards of total offense, and that is taking into account the fact their run game has yet to hit stride. Whether or not Indiana can pull off the upset, this game brings huge playoff implications and should be a fun, high-scoring game to kick Saturday off.