25 Bold Predictions for Week 12 of College Football
Week 12 of the college football season likely won't be as entertaining as last week, but there is still plenty of room to make wacky predictions. One prime-time matchup will go into triple-overtime, an unknown quarterback will go bonkers against one of the best defenses in the country and of course there will be more upsets than you can handle.
Well, quite a few of my bold predictions turned out to be correct last week. Why not throw a few more out there and see what sticks? After all, the holiday season is all about believing. Let's wish for the craziest stuff imaginable.
Note: These are bold predictions. Meaning that very few are supposed to be taken seriously. Relax.
Connecticut Finally Wins a Game
Connecticut is running out of chances to win a football game and avoid being considered the worst team in college football history. Nobody wants to be known as the worst ever.
So, with a road trip to SMU, coach T.J. Weist will have his guys ready. Put the past eight games in the back of your mind and go beat up a team that really isn't that much better than you. Seriously, the Mustangs are 3-5 and have a defense that is allowing 40 points per game.
Believe it or not, there's NFL talent on this Huskies' roster. Guys just have to dig deep and actually want to win a game for a change. If a win doesn't come against SMU, it probably won't come until next season.
This team will find a way to get it done.
Kyle Van Noy Scores Two Touchdowns
Kyle Van Noy is one of the best playmakers in college football. In fact, he may be the best playmaker in the game. He has a nose for the ball and always seems to make that game-changing play for BYU when its offense can't find a way to score a couple of touchdowns.
This week's matchup against Idaho State will be his last home game of his college career. Van Noy would love to leave fans with one last memory before he fades off into the sunset and begins harassing NFL quarterbacks.
Two touchdowns would do the trick.
The Bengals are an FCS opponent who have lost seven of their last eight games. Van Noy has been licking his chops all week.
Northwestern Ends Its 5-Game Losing Streak
A month ago, Northwestern was considered a dark-horse Big Ten contender. Then a loss to Ohio State spiraled into four more losses, and the Wildcats are once again the team in the Big Ten nobody is paying any attention to.
The good news is that Michigan is pretty much in the same boat. The Wolverines have lost three of their last four games and have played the same sloppy football all season long. Quarterback Devin Gardner looks lost back there, and the running game isn't any better.
Last season, Northwestern took Michigan down to the wire, losing 38-31. This time, the game is at Ryan Field and the Wildcats need the win to have a chance of qualifying for a bowl appearance. Northwestern should be motivated to beat Michigan for the third time since 2000.
Case McCoy Throws for 300 Yards
Case McCoy has only thrown for more than 300 yards in his career once, which was last season against Kansas State. However, he did come close last week, throwing for 283 yards in an overtime victory over West Virginia.
He'll have the game of his life this weekend against Oklahoma State, a team that can be shaky in pass coverage. The Cowboys have allowed three different teams to pass for more than 300 yards, including Texas Tech's Davis Webb, who threw for 425 yards.
McCoy seems to be gaining confidence and is coming off a three-touchdown game. Expect him to build on that and put together the best game of his up-and-down career.
Aaron Lynch Comes Up with Two Sacks
Where has Aaron Lynch been all season?
After becoming a household name in 2011 with Notre Dame, the dominant pass-rusher has been anything but. He has just 18 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and one sack. Those numbers are a far cry from the seven tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks he had in South Bend as a freshman.
However, Lynch seems to getting a little more comfortable in the lineup and is starting to be a lot more aggressive. South Florida will host Memphis this weekend, a team that is allowing 2.5 sacks per game. This is where guys like Lynch shine and have a big impact.
Expect him to finally start playing the way he's capable of playing.
Logan Thomas Goes Another Game Without Throwing a Pick
Logan Thomas could be turning the corner. Yeah, I know you've heard that before, but the senior quarterback looked pretty good against Miami last week. He threw for 366 yards and completed almost 81 percent of his passes!
He should be able to keep the production going against a Maryland defense that isn't that great. Ranked ninth in the ACC, the Terrapins also have only 10 interceptions in nine games. That's great news for Thomas, somebody who tends to get crazy with the football.
The Virginia Tech signal-caller needed that one good game to get him out of his funk. He got it. He should be able to continue playing at a high level at least for one more week.
West Virginia Beats Kansas by 50 Points
West Virginia has got to get that frustration out somehow. After being in control against Texas last week, the Mountaineers found a way to blow it in overtime. Those losses hurt, especially when you're a team fighting to qualify for a bowl appearance.
Well, Kansas will be the victim this week.
The Jayhawks are 2-7 on the year, can't score and can't play a lick of defense; the perfect team for a high-scoring West Virginia team to run into. Dana Holgorsen's club should be ready to go and will finally beat an FBS opponent in convincing fashion. It will be needed if West Virginia wants to go bowling and if Holgorsen wants to keep his job.
UCF Pitches a Shutout
It's time for you to take off the Louisville glasses and realize that UCF is the best non-AQ in the BCS rankings. Dominant on both sides of the ball, the Knights are built to go toe-to-toe with many college football powerhouses.
If the win over the Cardinals didn't convince you, holding a pass-happy Houston team to only 14 points should.
After another solid win, UCF will now turn its attention to 1-8 Temple. The Owls are ranked 101st in scoring offense and have scored more than three touchdowns only four times. The Knights should have no problem handing out another loss, and doing so with a shutout.
Dri Archer Finally Has a Breakout Game
Remember Dri Archer?
The poor man's De'Anthony Thomas?
He's struggled this season, racking up just 306 rushing yards and six total touchdowns. Some thought he was explosive enough to throw his name into Heisman conversations this season.
Well, numbers or not, he's still one of the fastest and most explosive players in the country. And you'll have a chance to see him Wednesday night against an 0-9 Miami (OH) program that can't do anything right on either side of the ball.
Poor team? National television (ESPNU)?
Oh, Archer is going to put on a show.
Florida State Scores 70 vs. Syracuse
Just about the only thing Florida State hasn't done this season is drop 70 points. With voters trying to decide who is the best between Alabama, Ohio State and Florida State, you have to do the unthinkable to separate yourself from the pack.
70 points would really gain folks' attention.
Florida State will play Syracuse, a team that actually has a fairly decent defense. The problem is that the offense is extremely one-dimensional, which is a no-no when going up against one of the better defenses in the country. There will be a lot of punts from the Orange, which gives Jameis Winston extra possessions.
It's going to get 10-touchdown ugly.
Utah Also Keeps Oregon's Offense in Check
Utah and Oregon met back in 2009 when the Utes were still in the MWC. The Utes held the Ducks to only 31 points, which is respectable considering the offense we're talking about. Now that Utah is in the Pac-12, the recruiting has gotten better and more pieces are in place to handle Oregon's explosive attack.
For instance, Utah has 33 sacks on the year and 65 tackles for loss. The recipe to slow down Oregon is to have an aggressive defensive front and be able to make plays in the backfield. Utah has that in spades.
I can't pick Utah to win because that would be bolder than bold. However, don't expect the Ducks to drop 50-60 points like they usually do.
Houston Beats Louisville
Besides quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, the Cardinals have shown that they are pretty much on the same level as the rest of the top teams in the AAC. They lost to UCF a few weeks ago and then couldn't even cover the spread against Connecticut.
Meanwhile, Houston has quietly been putting together a solid season, only losing to BYU and UCF by a combined six points. Both sides of the ball show up consistently, and quarterback John O'Korn has the pieces around him to match Bridgewater score-for-score. Speaking of the Heisman candidate, he was off last week, completing just 56.8 percent of his passes.
The Cougars will prove that the AAC is a deeper conference than you think.
Washington Knocks off UCLA
The battle of the two Pac-12 teams that aren't quite there yet. They both destroy mediocre competition, but then lose to the top-tier teams in the conference. But Washington seems to be the more consistent team of the two.
While UCLA has played great as of late and went into Arizona to steal a win last week, there are still mental lapses with this team. The Bruins nearly allowed the Wildcats to comeback after having a 31-19 lead in the fourth quarter. Not to mention the offense is all banged up at running back and the offensive line.
Washington has a more balanced offense and a defense ranked fifth in the Pac-12. The Huskies will win on the road and beat the Bruins for the fourth time in five games.
Myles Jack Leads the Bruins in Rushing
UCLA's backfield is still banged up, which forced linebacker Myles Jack to carry the ball six times for 120 yards last week in a win over Arizona. Although this isn't an ideal situation, the true freshman looked like a natural running back and may force the coaching staff to play him a little more on offense.
Jack's burst through the line was incredible. He explodes in and out of his cuts and is difficult to bring down. Arizona knew he was going to get the ball when he was on the field and still couldn't bring him down until he moved the chains.
As crazy as it may sound, Jack is probably the best running back on the team. He'll get at least 10 carries and lead the Bruins in rushing for the second straight game.
Bishop Sankey Enters Heisman Conversation
Bishop Sankey should have entered Heisman discussions after his 143-yard performance last week against Colorado. But considering it was the Buffaloes, nobody took notice once again.
It's difficult for running backs to earn Heisman consideration in a quarterback-driven era. But Sankey has 1,305 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on the season. He's topped 100 rushing yards in seven games and has scored at least one touchdown in every contest.
You'd think if any running back would receive an invite to New York, it would be him.
Sankey will rush for 200 yards against UCLA and finally throw his name in the hat for the most prestigious award in college football.
Jordan Lynch Also Becomes Heisman Candidate
Jordan Lynch is another player who should be mentioned as a possible Heisman candidate.
Quick: name another player who plays for Northern Illinois.
Lynch is the reason the Huskies are 9-0, as he continues to carry the team with both his arm and his legs. He's thrown for 1,871 yards, 18 touchdowns and has rushed for 1,150 yards and 12 touchdowns. Not much more you can ask from a player.
The Huskies will play their toughest opponent on Wednesday against 9-1 Ball State. When the senior quarterback has another jaw-dropping performance, it'll be time to throw him a bone with an invite to the Heisman ceremony.
Indiana Scores 40 vs. Wisconsin
Indiana needs a win against Wisconsin in order to have a chance to qualify for a bowl for the first time since 2007. A win against the Badgers won't be easy, but the offense will do whatever it can to try and make it possible.
Think of this game being a lot like the matchup against Michigan.
The Hoosiers score a boatload of points but don't come out victorious due to a defense that can't come up with any stops. Indiana is as explosive as an offense can get with a three-headed monster in quarterback Nate Sudfeld, running back Tevin Coleman and wide receiver Cody Latimer.
Like they have all season, the Hoosiers will score at will, even if they're playing the second-best defense in the Big Ten.
Mississippi State Keeps Alabama Game Within Two Scores
Alabama will have trouble against Mississippi State for the first time since 2007 when the Bulldogs beat the Crimson Tide.
Although the Bulldogs are 4-5 on the season, they have played a few great teams close. They matched Texas A&M score-for-score, gave South Carolina some issues and only lost to Auburn by four points. Mississippi State's defense is ranked sixth in the SEC, and the 86.11 red-zone scoring percentage is actually tied with Alabama for fourth best in the conference.
Another reason this game will be close is the home-field advantage at Davis Wade Stadium. There's nothing worse than hearing cowbells off in the distance.
Mississippi State will get a moral victory this weekend.
Dak Prescott Has 400 Total Yards
If Alabama does have a weakness, it would be defending dual-threat quarterbacks. Cam Newton and Johnny Manziel had great success against Nick Saban and Kirby Smart's defense.
Dak Prescott is still new on the scene and has a long way to go before playing at the level of either of those signal-callers, but he does have the potential. The sophomore has the size at 6'2", the arm strength and terrific mobility. Last week against Texas A&M, he had the best game of his career, throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for 154 yards.
It's only a matter of time before Prescott becomes a star quarterback with his skill set. There's no better way to prove that to the rest of college football with a big game against the two-time defending national champions.
Florida Beats South Carolina
After losing to Vanderbilt, the best thing for Florida at this point is to get away and clear its head. The team won't have to hear how lousy it is and how much pressure there is to win this game in hopes to clinch a bowl appearance.
But pressure may be good for the Gators.
Teams usually respond well when their backs are against the wall and find a way to win. South Carolina hasn't exactly been world-beaters this season and has lost five of the last seven meetings against Florida.
The Gators' defense puts together a solid showing, and freshman running back Kelvin Taylor has a breakout game with 100 rushing yards. Florida shocks the college football world and comes out with a victory.
Stanford-USC Goes into Triple Overtime...
This game is huge for both teams. Stanford is trying its best to hang around in national title discussions, while USC knows it still has a shot to win the Pac-12 South. There's a reason the College GameDay crew is showing up for this conference showdown.
With so much at stake, you can expect a tight game that comes down to the wire. In fact, we'll have multiple overtimes. The last three meetings between these teams have been decided by single-digits, and the 2011 meeting took three overtimes to be decided.
It'll be deja vu all over again.
Get your sleeping bag ready.
These aren't the same Lane Kiffin Trojans. The team is playing inspired and with a purpose. You see smiles on the players' faces, they're motivated and they know with Stanford coming to town that they have a chance to turn their season around.
Stanford is coming off an emotional win over Oregon and is due for a letdown. It's the same team that lost to Utah and was nearly upset by Oregon State. USC is hot, winning four of its last five games, and the crowd will be jacked up for this one.
The Trojans will fight on and find a way to win.
Clemson Gets Caught Clemsoning
Don't write off Georgia Tech just yet.
Those Yellow Jackets are one of the tougher teams to play every year due to an offense that averages more than 300 rushing yards. You never know which way the ball is going in the triple-option, and running back David Sims is a tough customer to bring down.
Interestingly enough, Georgia Tech has beaten Clemson five times in the last seven meetings. Besides the Florida State beatdown, the Tigers haven't really had any major slip-ups like they usually do. They're due.
Georgia Tech has played solid football all year and will get a marquee win on the road to improve to 7-3 on the season.
Miami-Duke Combine for 100-Plus Points
It's only a matter of time before Miami's offense wakes up. Quarterback Stephen Morris is an NFL prospect who is surrounded by playmakers. Going up against a Duke defense that allowed 58 points to Pittsburgh and 31 points to Troy? It's the perfect game for the Hurricanes to break out of their funk offensively.
One area that isn't going to improve is Miami's defense. That's where Duke's two-quarterback system and wide receiver Jamison Crowder and tight end Braxton Deaver can go to work. The Blue Devils have topped 30 points five times in the last six games and shouldn't have a problem doing so again against a Miami defense that continues to struggle.
This is a must-watch game if you enjoy high-scoring affairs.
Georgia Shocks Auburn
Are you really sold on Auburn?
Besides its impressive win over Texas A&M, the Tigers really haven't had a statement win that should convince you they are contenders. Yeah, the offense is explosive and fun to watch, but the defense is ranked 10th in the SEC, and the secondary has allowed 2,376 passing yards in 10 games.
That's not good with Aaron Murray coming to town. Running back Todd Gurley is also healthy and should have a field day against Auburn's defense. Not to mention, Georgia has won six of the last seven games against the Tigers.
Georgia will save its season with a nice win over an SEC rival.