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Stan Becton | | November 17, 2021

The college football fan's guide to Week 12 games

College football rankings: Oklahoma falls 5 spots after first loss

Week 12 of the college football season is here and teams at the top all face challenges.

Three games feature two ranked opponents this week: No. 21 Arkansas at No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Oregon at No. 23 Utah and No. 7 Michigan State at No. 4 Ohio State.

Week 12 preview: Games to watch

No. 7 Michigan State at No. 4 Ohio State | 12 p.m. | ABC

Week 12 kicks off with an early window top-10 matchup as Michigan State heads to Ohio State. The Big Ten East matchup has it all. There are conference title implications between teams that sit first and second in their division. There are Heisman candidates on each team in Spartan Kenneth Walker III and Buckeye C.J. Stroud. Most notably, this game may serve as a College Football Playoff eliminator, as the loser will receive its second loss, a mark that has kept out all two-loss teams from the Playoff in its history.

Players to watch: RB Kenneth Walker (MSU), WR Jalen Nailor (MSU), DE Jacub Panasiuk (MSU), S Xavier Henderson (MSU), QB CJ Stroud (OSU), WR Garrett Wilson (OSU), WR Chris Olave (OSU), DT Haskell Garrett (OSU)

PLAYOFF: Here's how Michigan State could reach the College Football Playoff

No. 21 Arkansas at No. 2 Alabama | 3:30 p.m.| CBS

Arkansas is back in the polls after ranking as high as eight earlier this season. Freshly back in the rankings, the Razorbacks face an Alabama team that once again looks like a dominant force in college football. The Crimson Tide scored 49 points in their last outing, resting starting QB Bryce Young after halftime in the blowout win. Arkansas will look to slow down the Crimson Tide offense this week in hopes of spoiling Alabama’s chance at clinching the SEC West this weekend.

Players to watch: QB KJ Jefferson (ARK), RB Trelon Smith (ARK), WR Treylon Burks (ARK,) DL Tre Williams (ARK), DB Montaric Brown (ARK), QB Bryce Young (ALA), WR Jameson Williams (ALA), LB Christian Harris (ALA) LB Will Anderson (ALA)

SMU at No. 5 Cincinnati | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN

While SMU may not be ranked, it still poses a formidable threat with the sixth-ranked scoring offense in the FBS. The Mustangs will face an undefeated Cincinnati that’s looking to make a statement to the Playoff committee. It may be the last chance for the Bearcats to impress the committee before the AAC title game, so look for the No. 5 team in the country to leave it all on the line.

Players to watch: QB Tanner Mordecai (SMU), TE Grant Calcaterra (SMU), S Isaiah Nwokobia (SMU), QB Desmond Ridder (CIN), RB Jerome Ford (CIN), DE Myjai Sanders (CIN), CB Ahmad Gardner (CIN), CB Coby Bryant (CIN)

PLAYOFFS: Here's how Cincinnati could reach the College Football Playoff

No. 3 Oregon at No. 23 Utah | 7:30 p.m. | ABC

In what may be a Pac-12 championship preview, Oregon battles Utah on Saturday night. The Ducks head to Salt Lake City coming off a string tight contests, but wins are still wins. Meanwhile, the Utes have won six out of their last seven games, with an average margin of victory of 19 points. Don’t be surprised if this game is closer than expected when the Pac-12 North and South leaders square off.

Players to watch: QB Anthony Brown (ORE), RB Travis Dye (ORE), DE Kayvon Thibodeaux (ORE), LB Noah Sewell (ORE), QB Charlie Brewer (Utah), RB Tavion Thomas (Utah), LB Devin Lloyd (Utah), DE Mika Tafua (Utah)

Big Week 9 questions

Does anyone want the Heisman trophy?

With two weeks left in the regular season, there’s no clear frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy. Many players can stake their claim as the most outstanding player in the country through 11 weeks, yet there has been inconsistency throughout the season. Can Week 12 finally be the week a player takes the lead in the prestigious award’s race? It might be, especially if one of the players in the aforementioned matchups excels and stands out.

SCHEDULE: Full FBS TV schedule and times

What teams will secure bowl eligibility this weekend?

To be bowl eligible in the FBS, teams typically need a minimum of six wins. With the regular season quickly trickling away, teams are running out of chances to reach that threshold. A few late-season wins can be the difference between postseason play and sitting on the couch for many programs. Entering Week 12, 25 teams have a chance to pick up their sixth win. Let’s see who will be going bowling after this weekend.

Here are the latest CFP rankings:





1 Georgia 10-0 1
2 Alabama 9-1 2
3 Oregon 9-1 3
4 Ohio State 9-1 4
5 Cincinnati 10-0 5
6 Michigan 9-1 6
7 Michigan State 9-1 7
8 Notre Dame 9-1 9
9 Oklahoma State 9-1 10
10 Wake Forest 9-1 12
11 Baylor 8-2 13
12 Ole Miss 8-2 15
13 Oklahoma 9-1 8
14 BYU 8-2 14
15 Wisconsin 7-3 18
16 Texas A&M 7-3 11
17 Iowa 8-2 20
18 Pittsburgh 8-2 21
19 San Diego State 9-1 22
20 NC State 7-3 16
21 Arkansas 7-3 25
22 UTSA 10-0 23
23 Utah 7-3 24
24 Houston 9-1 NR
25 Mississippi State 6-4 NR

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