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Wayne Staats | | November 15, 2019

College football Week 12 preview: Top games, what to watch, rankings

5 college football games to watch in week 12

We're getting down to the final stretch of the college football regular season. In Week 12, the conference and division races will become more clear as teams hope to move up the rankings.

Below, find our preview of the Week 12 top games, what to watch out for and the Top 25 rankings.

College football Week 12 preview: Top games

Michigan State at No. 15 Michigan | 12 p.m. Saturday | FOX

Michigan has looked much, much better since a brutal start to the Penn State game. The schedule gets tougher here, though, even if Michigan State has slumped to 4-5. The Wolverines still get Indiana and rival Ohio State to close the season. But Michigan should continue its ascent against the Spartans.

Indiana at No. 9 Penn State | 12 p.m. Saturday | ABC

How will Penn State regroup after losing for the first time this season? This will be a test, as Indiana is 7-2 and is ranked for the first time since 1994. PSU is 21-1 all-time against IU and needs to win this and shock Ohio State next week to have a chance in the East.

No. 23 Navy at No. 16 Notre Dame | 2:30 p.m. Saturday | NBC

The Irish won 43 in a row in this series before Navy memorably won in 2007. The Midshipmen have won three more times since then and bring a national ranking into this one. Notre Dame is hoping to close strong to possibly get into a New Year's Six game. The Irish can't let Navy dictate the pace.

Wake Forest at No. 3 Clemson | 3:30 p.m. Saturday | ABC

This looked like it could be a test, but Wake Forest lost to Virginia Tech by 19 points last week. So this won't be a game against an AP-ranked team for the Tigers. Also, those Trevor Lawrence interception concerns might be a thing of the past — he's thrown nine touchdowns without a pick in his last three games.

UNDEFEATED WATCH: Tracking the remaining undefeated teams this season

No. 4 Georgia at No. 12 Auburn | 3:30 p.m. Saturday | CBS

Georgia has rounded into championship contender form since losing to South Carolina and beating Kentucky in a slog. Still, Auburn might be primed for the upset. Tigers QB Bo Nix could find a new level at home in front of what will be a loud crowd.

No. 8 Minnesota at No. 20 Iowa | 4 p.m. Saturday | FOX

Minnesota has now raised expectations after stunning then-No. 4 Penn State. The Big Ten West title is getting closer to reality, as are the College Football Playoff hopes. But this is a series Iowa has dominated lately, even taking the last four.

No. 1 LSU at Ole Miss | 7 p.m. Saturday | ESPN

OK, LSU. You beat 'Bama. Now don't go through a letdown at Ole Miss. The Rebels are 4-6, so they'll need to beat the Tigers and then win the Egg Bowl to become bowl eligible. They'll be hyped up and ready to go. But LSU should be good for another huge offensive game behind Heisman favorite Joe Burrow.

No. 10 Oklahoma at No. 13 Baylor | 7:30 p.m. Saturday | ABC

Baylor continues to be ranked behind the other remaining undefeated teams. The Bears have played some close games this season, though Oklahoma has also looked less than dominant. The Sooners' defense has struggled in recent weeks, plus Baylor has the tough defense that could stand tall against QB Jalen Hurts and WR CeeDee Lamb.

TOP 25 POLLS: College Football Playoff | Associated Press | Coaches Poll

College football preview: What to watch

What does the 1-loss team hierarchy look like?

It's possible the College Football Playoff will have four undefeated teams: LSU, Clemson, Baylor and the Big Ten champion (Ohio State or Minnesota). But it's more likely there will be at least one 1-loss team playing in the semifinals.

  • 2014: Three of the four semifinalists had one loss
  • 2015: Three of the four semifinalists had one loss
  • 2016: Three of the four semifinalists had one loss
  • 2017: ALL four semifinalists had one loss
  • 2018: One of the four semifinalists had one loss

Of the current batch of 1-loss teams, which ones could have the strongest case?

You have to start with the SEC, where Georgia could end up 12-1 with wins against Florida, Auburn and possibly LSU in the conference title game. That's a really strong resume. If Alabama wins out, it would be 11-1 without any real big wins (Auburn might be the top one by season's end — if the Tide beat Auburn) and with no division or conference title.

Penn State is one of the most highly ranked 1-loss teams, but the Nittany Lions might pick up a second loss soon with Ohio State on Nov. 23. If PSU shocks the Buckeyes, a 12-1 PSU team would be very, very hard to leave out.

A lot can change, but one of the more interesting debates would be between a 1-loss Oklahoma (or Baylor) against a 1-loss Pac-12 champion (Oregon or Utah). If the Ducks and Utes play in the Pac-12 title game, it could very well end up being a quasi-play-in game if things break right elsewhere.

CFP: Examining the state of the Playoff race after Week 11

What's next for Alabama?

Alabama has been so dominant for so long with Nick Saban, it's always eye-opening when the Tide lose. It's even more so when Alabama loses at home (first time 2015 to Ole Miss) and gives up 559 yards and 46 points.

'Bama still has Tua Tagovailoa and Najee Harris and an incredibly talented receiving group, but the defense isn't a force. And with a lack of major wins (the best win now is...unranked Texas A&M?), Alabama will need to hold off fast charging 1-loss conference champions if it's going to make the College Football Playoff again.

It's unlikely Alabama wins the SEC West, so it'll likely finish at best 11-1 with a win against Auburn as the highlight. Is that enough? The Tide made the CFP in 2017 without winning the SEC West and ended up winning the national title. There might be too many 1-loss conference champion contenders this season for Alabama to get the benefit of the doubt again.

College football rankings for Week 10: College Football Playoff, AP Poll, Coaches Poll

1. TBD 
LSU (54)

LSU (55)
2. TBD

Ohio State (5)

Ohio State (5)
3. TBD
Clemson (3)

Clemson (4)
4. TBD


5. TBD



7. TBD

8. TBD

9. TBD
Penn State

10. TBD

11. TBD

Penn State
12. TBD

13. TBD

14. TBD


15. TBD

16. TBD
Notre Dame

Notre Dame
17. TBD

18. TBD

19. TBD
Boise State

Boise State
20. TBD

21. TBD

22. TBD


23. TBD

24. TBD


Appalachian State
25. TBD
Oklahoma State


Week 12 college football schedule, game times, TV channels

Tuesday, Nov. 12

Western Michigan at Ohio | 7:30 p.m. | ESPN2
Eastern Michigan at Akron | 8 p.m. | ESPNU

Wednesday, Nov. 13

Bowling Green at Miami (OH) | 8 p.m. | ESPNU
Northern Illinois at Toledo | 8 p.m. | ESPN2

Thursday, Nov. 14

Buffalo at Kent State | 7 p.m. | CBSSN
North Carolina at Pitt | 8 p.m. | ESPN

Friday, Nov. 15

Louisiana Tech at Marshall | 7 p.m. | CBSSN
Fresno State at San Diego State | 9:30 p.m. | ESPN2

Saturday, Nov. 16

Indiana at Penn State | 12 p.m. | ABC
Kansas at Oklahoma State | 12 p.m. | FS1
Alabama at Mississippi State | 12 p.m. | ESPN
Florida at Missouri | 12 p.m. | CBS
Michigan State at Michigan | 12 p.m. | FOX
Tulane at Temple | 12 p.m. | ESPNU
Alabama State at Florida State | 12 p.m. | ACC Network Extra
UMass at Northwestern | 12 p.m. | Big Ten Network
TCU at Texas Tech | 12 p.m. | ESPN2
VMI at Army | 12 p.m. | CBSSN
Wisconsin at Nebraska | 12 p.m. | Big Ten Network
UTEP at UAB | 1 p.m. | ESPN3
Navy at Notre Dame | 2:30 p.m. | NBC
Idaho State at BYU | 3 p.m. | ESPN3
Troy at Texas State | 3 p.m. | ESPN3
UL Monroe at Georgia Southern | 3 p.m. | ESPN+
Coastal Carolina at Arkansas State | 3 p.m. | ESPN+
Georgia at Auburn | 3:30 p.m. | CBS
Ohio State at Rutgers | 3:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network
West Virginia at Kansas State | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN
Wake Forest at Clemson | 3:30 p.m. | ABC
Kentucky at Vanderbilt | 3:30 p.m. | SEC Network
Texas at Iowa State | 3:30 p.m. | FS1
Memphis at Houston | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN2
Central Michigan at Ball State | 3:30 p.m. | CBSSN
Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech | 3:30 p.m. | RSN
Minnesota at Iowa | 4 p.m. | FOX
Wyoming at Utah State | 4 p.m. | ESPNU
Syracuse at Duke | 4 p.m. | ACC Network
Incarnate Word at New Mexico State | 4 p.m. | FloSports
Stanford at Washington State | 4:30 p.m. | Pac-12 Network
Rice at Middle Tennessee | 4:30 p.m. | ESPN+
Louisiana at South Alabama | 5 p.m. | ESPN+
Hawai'i at UNLV | 5 p.m. | Spectrum Sports
Southern Miss at UTSA | 6 p.m. | ESPN+
LSU at Ole Miss | 7 p.m. | ESPN
Air Force at Colorado State | 7 p.m. | ESPN2
Cincinnati at South Florida | 7 p.m. | CBSSN
Appalachian State at Georgia State | 7:30 p.m. | ESPNU
Oklahoma at Baylor | 7:30 p.m. | ABC
Arizona State at Oregon State | 7:30 p.m. | FS1
Louisville at N.C. State | 7:30 p.m. | ACC Network
South Carolina at Texas A&M | 7:30 p.m. | SEC Network
UCLA at Utah | 8 p.m. | FOX
New Mexico at Boise State | 10:15 p.m. | ESPN2
Arizona at Oregon | 10:30 p.m. | ESPN
Southern California at California | 11 p.m. | FS1

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