College Football Picks: Week 12 Predictions for Every Game
Week 11 of the 2017 college football season was amazing. Week 13 is going to be even more incredible.
But Week 12?
Aside from an early-afternoon battle between Michigan and Wisconsin, there's nothing all that appealing. The most intriguing game of the evening/late games is probably Arizona vs. Oregon, and that's on a channel (Pac-12 Network) that most people don't even get.
Here's the thing, though: Aren't these supposed-to-be-boring weeks always the ones that end up producing the biggest shockers? I'm not saying Alabama is going to lose to Mercer, but something is going to come flying in from left field to shake up the top half of the rankings.
Plus, it's a Saturday in November. Chances are, you've already established with all your friends and loved ones that you'll be watching football all day, and you need to know which games are worth your time on the couch.
We've got you covered.
Allow us to let you know what to expect this weekend with our predictions for every single game beginning with Thursday night. (Sorry, Tuesday and Wednesday night #MACtion, but too much research goes into this piece to have it finished early enough in the week to include you.)
Week 10 Record: 41-17 outright; 23-32-3 against the spread
Year-to-Date: 164-67 outright; 113-109-9 against the spread
Year-to-Date (Top 25 Games): 66-12 outright; 43-29-6 against the spread
Top Early Games
No. 24 Michigan (8-2) at No. 5 Wisconsin (10-0), noon ET
Last Meeting: Michigan beat Wisconsin 14-7 last October
Without a close runner-up, this is the best game of Week 12. Wisconsin is hoping to remain undefeated and Michigan is still clinging to slim hopes of winning the Big Ten East, thus setting up a second game against the Badgers in the conference championship. It's the only battle between ranked teams and the only one guaranteed to have some sort of implication on the New Year's Six bowl picture.
But how will it play out? These are two of the best defenses in the nation, and contrary to the first seven weeks of the season, Michigan has been the better offensive team over the last three games since giving Brandon Peters the QB job. Moving the ball against Wisconsin will be a lot different than doing so against Rutgers or Minnesota, but this is a strong candidate for a game that gets weird in what is supposed to be a quiet week.
Prediction: Wisconsin 28, Michigan 24
No. 15 UCF (9-0) at Temple (5-5), noon ET
Last Meeting: Temple beat UCF 26-25 last October
UCF has one final hurdle to clear before the regular-season finale against one-loss South Florida and a showdown with one-loss Memphis in the AAC championship, but the Knights better not overlook this road game. Temple has won two in a row and has scored at least 24 points in five straight—a far cry from the offensively inept version of the Owls everyone was mocking earlier this season. But 24 won't be nearly enough to beat a UCF team averaging 48.6 points.
Prediction: UCF 51, Temple 24
SMU (6-4) at No. 21 Memphis (8-1), noon ET
Last Meeting: Memphis beat SMU 51-7 last November
Go ahead and mark this one down for the most total combined points of the week. In terms of total yards, each of these teams ranks top 12 in offense and bottom 20 in defense. Forty or more points for the losing team is a likely outcome, and the likely loser is SMU. Even though Navy didn't have a single completion against the Mustangs last week, they're still allowing more than 260 passing yards per game. Riley Ferguson and Anthony Miller are going to go wild.
Prediction: Memphis 59, SMU 45
Virginia (6-4) at No. 3 Miami (9-0), noon ET
Last Meeting: Miami beat Virginia 34-14 last November
Virginia has relented at least 31 points on defense in four consecutive games and it has not won the turnover margin in any of those games. Against the power of Miami's turnover chain—four forced turnovers in four consecutive games—that's going to be more than enough of an edge for the Hurricanes to avoid an upset. The fact that UVA has one of the worst rushing offenses in the country doesn't help its case, either.
Prediction: Miami 42, Virginia 16
No. 16 Mississippi State (7-3) at Arkansas (4-6), noon ET
Last Meeting: Arkansas beat Mississippi State 58-42 last November
Arkansas is a mess. Despite eking out one-point wins over Ole Miss and Coastal Carolina in recent weeks, the Razorbacks have given up at least 33 points in six consecutive games. And with the exception of a 50-43 thriller against Texas A&M, the Razorbacks haven't even been competitive against teams destined for bowl games. Meanwhile, Mississippi State made a real statement by amassing 330 yards in a near upset of Alabama in Week 11. This one could get ugly.
Prediction: Mississippi State 42, Arkansas 21
Texas (5-5) at West Virginia (7-3), noon ET
Last Meeting: West Virginia beat Texas 24-20 last November
Texas has done an admirable job of slowing down high-octane offenses, holding Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and USC all below 30 points. However, the Longhorns haven't done enough to actually win any of those games. Can they stifle a West Virginia offense averaging 352.1 passing yards and 3.5 passing touchdowns per game? If so, we like their chances of putting up enough points to beat a sub-par WVU defense.
Prediction: Texas 31, West Virginia 28
No. 12 TCU (8-2) at Texas Tech (5-5), noon ET
Last Meeting: Texas Tech beat TCU 27-24 last October
Remember back when Texas Tech beat Houston 27-24 to improve to 3-0 and everyone wanted to talk about the improved Red Raiders defense? Well, against Big 12 opponents not named Baylor or Kansas, Texas Tech has allowed an average of 41.8 points and 483.6 total yards. Against a TCU defense that has slowed down everyone other than Baker Mayfield lately, that's going to be a problem.
Prediction: TCU 38, Texas Tech 20
Minnesota (5-5) at No. 23 Northwestern (7-3), noon ET
Last Meeting: Minnesota beat Northwestern 29-12 last November
Northwestern is on a five-game winning streak, but it has been beatable through the air this season, allowing nearly 280 passing yards per game. Fortunately for the Wildcats, Minnesota has one of the worst passing attacks in the Big Ten and isn't equipped to capitalize on that weakness. In fact, in its last four games, Minnesota has completed 38.9 percent of pass attempts for one total touchdown and 91.3 yards per game.
Prediction: Northwestern 27, Minnesota 13
Fresno State (7-3) at Wyoming (7-3), 2 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Wyoming beat Fresno State 45-17 in 2014
Normally, this game would fly well below the national radar. In Week 12, though, it might be one of the five most noteworthy battles. Each of these Mountain West contenders ranks in the top 15 nationally in points allowed per game, but Fresno State is clearly the superior offense, as Wyoming ranks 128th in total yards per game. Despite winning six of their last seven games, the Cowboys have had a lot of trouble moving the ball. That doesn't bode well against the Bulldogs, even playing at home.
Prediction: Fresno State 21, Wyoming 10
Other Early Games
Mercer (5-5) at No. 1 Alabama (10-0), noon ET
Last Meeting: Alabama beat Mercer 20-0 in 1940
Maybe a lesser team would get caught napping here, but Alabama is used to this joke of a warm-up game for the Iron Bowl. The Crimson Tide has faced an FCS foe the week prior to facing Auburn in each of the past eight years. The average score of those games has been 48.3 to 6.4, including three shutouts. Poor Mercer is a sacrificial bear here.
Prediction: Alabama 45, Mercer 3
Louisiana Monroe (4-5) at No. 6 Auburn (8-2), noon ET
Last Meeting: Auburn beat Louisiana Monroe 58-7 last October
Neither Alabama nor Auburn will lose, but Auburn's game will be at least marginally more interesting. That's because Louisiana Monroe can put points on the board. The Warhawks have averaged 503 yards and 41 points over their last seven games. They won't come anywhere close to that against Auburn, and their dreadful defense is going to get scored on over and over again. But maybe they at least reach double figures.
Prediction: Auburn 63, Louisiana-Monroe 14
Cincinnati (3-7) at East Carolina (2-8), noon ET
Last Meeting: Cincinnati beat East Carolina 31-19 last October
A month ago, I might have picked East Carolina to win this game. However, Cincinnati has figured out how to run the ball in its last three games, which means the Bearcats are ready to take full advantage of the worst defense in the country.
Prediction: Cincinnati 38, East Carolina 31
Delaware State (2-8) at Florida State (3-6), noon ET
Last Meeting: First-ever meeting
ACC play has been a real struggle for Florida State. But the 10th-best team in the MEAC? Yeah, the Seminoles can handle that one. Even against FCS opponents, Delaware State has been outscored by nearly 20 points per game. This could be just the jump-start FSU needs to finish the season on a three-game winning run to avoid ending its bowl streak.
Prediction: Florida State 38, Delaware State 0
Rutgers (4-6) at Indiana (4-6), noon ET
Last Meeting: Indiana beat Rutgers 33-27 last November
I have no idea how, but in a Big Ten East that might have four teams finish with 7-2 division records, one of these teams is going to have a shot at becoming bowl-eligible next weekend. And the smart money is on Indiana to be the one. Despite the brutal schedule, the Hoosiers have done a good job of passing the ball this season. Meanwhile, Rutgers has one of the worst defenses in the Big Ten. Factor in the location of the game and it's a clear edge for Indiana.
Prediction: Indiana 34, Rutgers 23
Pittsburgh (4-6) at Virginia Tech (7-3), 12:20 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Virginia Tech beat Pittsburgh 39-36 last October
Virginia Tech has struggled to move the ball in the past two weeks on the road against Miami and Georgia Tech. Coming back home to face Pittsburgh is just what the doctor ordered. The Panthers have the worst passing defense in the ACC, and it’s not just because they were eviscerated by Oklahoma State back in September. They have just done a poor job of slowing down the opposition, including allowing 34 points in a loss to North Carolina last week.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 38, Pittsburgh 21
The Citadel (5-5) at No. 2 Clemson (9-1), 12:20 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Clemson beat The Citadel 52-6 in 2013
Two years ago, The Citadel won a November game against South Carolina. But those Gamecocks went 3-9 and won only one game in SEC play. Not only are these Bulldogs less capable than that team, but the school from the Palmetto State is exponentially better. Kelly Bryant should get to rest during the second half of a blowout.
Prediction: Clemson 59, The Citadel 7
Rice (1-9) at Old Dominion (4-6), 2 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Old Dominion beat Rice 45-42 in 2014
Rice has given up at least 42 points in five of its last six games and has not held an opponent below 417 total yards since mid-September. Old Dominion isn't much of a powerhouse in its own right, but the Monarchs should at least be able to win a home game against the Owls.
Prediction: Old Dominion 34, Rice 17
Cream of the Midafternoon Crop
Navy (6-3) at No. 8 Notre Dame (8-2), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Navy beat Notre Dame 28-27 last November
Notre Dame's quest for the College Football Playoff is done, but the Fighting Irish still have a pair of important bragging-rights games. Notre Dame suffered a rare loss last year in this decades-old rivalry and will be seeking revenge against the Midshipmen. A 41-8 loss to Miami notwithstanding, the Irish are drastically better on offense this year, and Navy's defense has been giving out points like Halloween treats for more than a month. Look for Notre Dame to get back on track here.
Prediction: Notre Dame 52, Navy 31
Kentucky (7-3) at No. 7 Georgia (9-1), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Georgia beat Kentucky 27-24 last November
One thing we learned from Georgia's 40-17 loss to Auburn is that Jake Fromm needs an infusion of confidence in the pocket before a potential showdown with Alabama in the SEC championship Game. This is a great place for that to happen, as Kentucky has allowed 282.3 passing yards per game this season. Even though Georgia could easily win this game by just handing it off repeatedly, expect a lot of passes in this one to help prepare the freshman for what's to come.
Prediction: Georgia 45, Kentucky 17
No. 4 Oklahoma (9-1) at Kansas (1-9), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Oklahoma beat Kansas 56-3 last October
Dating back to the start of the 2000 season, there have been eight instances of one FBS team beating another FBS team by a margin of at least 70 points. That could be what happens in this one. Normally, you'd expect Oklahoma to call off the dogs before things get really out of hand. However, between seeking style points with the CFP selection committee and wanting to ensure Baker Mayfield wraps up the Heisman, Lincoln Riley might leave his starters out there well into the fourth quarter.
Prediction: Oklahoma 66, Kansas 10
Kansas State (5-5) at No. 13 Oklahoma State (8-2), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Oklahoma State beat Kansas State 43-37 last November
Kansas State's offense just has not been the same since losing dual-threat QB Jesse Ertz to a knee injury. And on defense, the Wildcats have given up at least 370 passing yards in five of their last six games. Their chances of containing and/or keeping up with Mason Rudolph appear to be slim to none, even though they have only been beaten by a multiple-possession margin once this season.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 42, Kansas State 23
Maryland (4-6) at No. 17 Michigan State (7-3), 4 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Maryland beat Michigan State 28-17 last October
Now on its fourth quarterback of the season due to injuries, Maryland's passing game is about as potent as you might expect. Junior WR D.J. Moore (857 yards, eight touchdowns) deserves all of the awards for continuing to put up numbers in the face of constant change, but the Terrapins don't have much else. And despite getting just plain destroyed by Ohio State last week, Michigan State still has one of the better rushing defenses in the country.
Prediction: Michigan State 28, Maryland 16
Nebraska (4-6) at No. 10 Penn State (8-2), 4 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Nebraska beat Penn State 23-20 in 2013
It has been a rough second half of the season for former Heisman favorite Saquon Barkley. He has reached 100 yards from scrimmage just once in his past five games and only got to 55 this past Saturday against Rutgers. But over that same five-game span, Nebraska has given up 294.4 rushing yards and 3.6 rushing touchdowns per game. Expect a "He's back!" type of statement game from Barkley in an easy win for the Nittany Lions.
Prediction: Penn State 45, Nebraska 14
Solid Midafternoon Matchups
Iowa State (6-4) at Baylor (1-9), 2:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Baylor beat Iowa State 45-42 last October
The records suggest we should expect an Iowa State blowout, but these teams are headed in opposite directions. Over the past two games, Baylor has outgained its opponents by 352 yards while Iowa State has been outgained by a 205-yard margin. Granted, the Cyclones' opposition (West Virginia and Oklahoma State) was much tougher than Baylor's (Kansas and Texas Tech), but Baylor's offense has been good enough for multiple wins. The Bears will finally get their second victory in this game.
Prediction: Baylor 34, Iowa State 31
Arizona State (5-5) at Oregon State (1-9), 3 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Oregon State beat Arizona State 35-27 in 2014
When Oregon State came close to back-to-back wins over Colorado and Stanford, we thought perhaps the coaching change from Gary Andersen to Cory Hall helped the Beavers turn a corner. Over the past two weeks, though, they have reinforced their spot in the basement of the Pac-12 standings. That included giving up 534 rushing yards to Arizona in Week 11. Meanwhile, Arizona State has racked up 583 and 584 total yards in its last two games. Barring a sudden change of trajectories, the Sun Devils should become bowl-eligible shortly after halftime.
Prediction: Arizona State 46, Oregon State 18
Georgia Tech (5-4) at Duke (4-6), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Georgia Tech beat Duke 38-35 last October
Duke has been solid on defense, holding opponents to an average of 20.6 points per game. However, stopping the run has been a serious problem over the past month, which could turn into a full-blown disaster against Georgia Tech. Also, this Blue Devils offense has been awful, averaging just 12.2 points scored during the team's current six-game losing streak.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 27, Duke 14
Syracuse (4-6) at Louisville (6-4), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Louisville beat Syracuse 62-28 last September
If SMU vs. Memphis isn't the highest-scoring game of the week, it'll be this one. Wake Forest's John Wolford had 499 total yards and accounted for six touchdowns last week against Syracuse. Now Lamar Jackson gets to put on another show against that unit. He had 610 yards and accounted for five touchdowns against the Orange last year. But Syracuse should be able to put up more than a few points against this putrid Cardinals defense.
Prediction: Louisville 54, Syracuse 41
Illinois (2-8) at No. 9 Ohio State (8-2), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Ohio State beat Illinois 28-3 in 2015
This game isn't even a question of whether Ohio State will win. It's a question of whether it can cover one of the biggest spreads of the year (40.5 points, per OddsShark). And my gut says yes. Ohio State just stomped Michigan State by 45-points, and that team is laughably better than Illinois. The Buckeyes need to make a strong impression on the selection committee, and a biblical beatdown of the Illini is the only thing they can do to help their cause this week.
Prediction: Ohio State 54, Illinois 6
Purdue (4-6) at Iowa (6-4), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Iowa beat Purdue 49-35 last October
Which Iowa will show up? The one that Ohio State couldn't stop or the one that could barely manage one first down per quarter against Wisconsin? The Boilermakers aren't the Badgers, but the former have been shutting down the opposition's running game nicely for the past several weeks. That could be a problem for the Hawkeyes. However, Purdue's high-powered offense from the first few games of the season has gone missing in Big Ten play.
Prediction: Iowa 20, Purdue 17
UAB (7-3) at Florida (3-6), 4 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Florida beat UAB 39-0 in 2011
Has Florida fallen far enough to lose a home game to a program that didn't exist a year ago? The Gators haven't scored 21 or more points in a contest since September, and UAB has scored at least 24 in every game this season, so, maybe. But as disappointing as the Gators have been, this is by far the most difficult opponent the Blazers have faced. UAB is playing with house money and Florida has nothing left to play for, but I can't see the upset.
Prediction: Florida 23, UAB 20
Wofford (9-1) at South Carolina (7-3), 4 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: South Carolina beat Wofford 24-7 in 2012
Not all FCS vs. FBS games are created equally. Alabama and Florida State are going to beat the snot out of Mercer and Delaware State, respectively, but South Carolina could have its hands full with a Wofford team ranked in the Top 10 in the nation. But even in the Top 10, the Terriers are a far cry from a squad such as James Madison or North Dakota State that could really make a run at a road win over a middling SEC team. The Gamecocks will get the job done, but as has been the case with most of their wins, it will get a little too close for comfort.
Prediction: South Carolina 24, Wofford 14
Other Midafternoon Games
Louisiana Tech (4-6) at UTEP (0-10), 3 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Louisiana Tech beat UTEP 28-7 last October
How bad is UTEP? Its best offensive performance of the season (287 yards against Western Kentucky) is still 203 yards worse than Oklahoma's worst offensive performance of the season. Louisiana Tech has lost four of its last five games, is playing on the road and is probably still going to be a 21-point favorite by the time this game kicks off. The only question is: Will the Bulldogs find enough offense to cover that spread?
Prediction: Louisiana Tech 27, UTEP 7
Charlotte (1-9) at Southern Miss (6-4), 3 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Charlotte beat Southern Miss 38-27 last November
There are some one-win teams that aren't half bad, and teams that could have .500 records with a little better luck. And then there's Charlotte, which has been held to seven points or fewer in 50 percent of its games. There's a good chance Southern Miss will pass for more yards than the total number of yards Charlotte will accumulate in this one.
Prediction: Southern Miss 35, Charlotte 12
Hawaii (3-7) at Utah State (5-5), 3 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Utah State beat Hawaii 35-14 in 2014
With Utah State's offense, there has been no middle ground this season. The Aggies have gained at least 588 yards three times and have been held to 304 yards or fewer six times. But considering Hawaii has only limited one opponent to 400 yards all year, look for the good Aggies to show up in this one. The Rainbow Warriors defense will probably be even more sluggish than usual, too, considering this game kicks off at 10 a.m. in their time zone.
Prediction: Utah State 43, Hawaii 26
Texas State (2-8) at Arkansas State (5-3), 3 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Arkansas State beat Texas State 36-14 last December
Here's a fun fact: Texas State has not recorded an interception yet this season. Dating back at least as far as 2000, every FBS team has picked off at least one pass in each year, but not these Bobcats. They have allowed 15 passing TDs without one INT. But Arkansas State averages 41.6 pass attempts per game and has twice been picked off four times this season. Arkansas State will win, but the game within the game is Texas State's secondary's attempt to avoid making history for ineptitude.
Prediction: Arkansas State 38, Texas State 10
South Alabama (4-6) at Georgia Southern (0-9), 3 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Georgia Southern beat South Alabama 24-9 last September
For a team that runs the triple-option, Georgia Southern has been awful at it, averaging fewer than four yards per carry in each of its last five games. Meanwhile, South Alabama has gotten into a groove with its passing game, averaging 309.5 yards over the last four. Unless each of those trends change considerably and unexpectedly this weekend, the winless team will remain winless.
Prediction: South Alabama 31, Georgia Southern 9
Massachusetts (3-7) at BYU (3-8), 3 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: BYU beat Massachusetts 51-9 last November
After dreadful starts to the season, each of these teams has turned a corner. BYU has won two of its last three, Massachusetts three of its last four. The Minutemen do most of their damage through the air, which doesn't bode well for the Cougars, who allow opponents to complete 65.5 percent of pass attempts—68.2 if you take out the season opener against Portland State. It should be a big day for UMass receiver Andy Isabella and tight end Adam Breneman.
Prediction: Massachusetts 38, BYU 33
Western Carolina (7-4) at North Carolina (2-8), 3 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: First meeting
It has been a long, injury-plagued year for North Carolina, but the Tar Heels just keep fighting. They darn near beat Miami on Oct. 28 and finally got an ACC win this past week against Pittsburgh. Their best isn't great, but they are playing their best football right now. That should be enough to take care of business at home against an FCS school that lost by 23 to Hawaii earlier this year.
Prediction: North Carolina 27, Western Carolina 17
San Jose State (1-10) at Colorado State (6-5), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Colorado State beat San Jose State 38-31 in 2014
San Jose State might be the worst team in the country. I know the Spartans have a win, which is better than Georgia Southern or UTEP can boast, but that's only because they scheduled a game against Cal Poly—a 1-9 FCS team. Aside from that, SJSU has lost every game it has played by at least an 11-point margin, and usually by much more than that. Colorado State will put an end to its three-game losing streak.
Prediction: Colorado State 49, San Jose State 13
Houston (6-3) at Tulane (4-6), 4 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Houston beat Tulane 30-18 last November
The strengths and weaknesses aren't lining up for a Tulane upset. The Green Wave have a great rushing attack, but Houston has one of the best run defenses in the AAC. The Cougars give up a ton of yards through the air, but Tulane would have the worst passing attack in the AAC if Navy wasn't completing fewer than four passes per game. Meanwhile, Tulane's defense isn't equipped to slow down Houston's offense. Lay the points and enjoy the winnings.
Prediction: Houston 41, Tulane 17
Cream of the Evening Crop
Arizona (7-3) at Oregon (5-5), 7 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Oregon beat Arizona 51-13 in 2014
If I just type "Khalil Tate" a dozen times, does that count as enough analysis? The breakout sensation of the 2017 season has pushed Arizona to No. 3 nationally in rushing yards per game. Since he became the No. 1 QB, the Wildcats have averaged 382.2 yards and 4.3 rushing touchdowns per game. Meanwhile, Oregon's offense has been held to 14 points or fewer in four of its last five contests, and the defense really struggled with the rushing attacks of Stanford and Washington. Per Winsipedia, Arizona's largest margin of victory in this series was 35 points in 1998. That record is in serious jeopardy.
Prediction: Arizona 42, Oregon 19
No. 19 North Carolina State (7-3) at Wake Forest (6-4), 7:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: North Carolina State beat Wake Forest 33-16 last October
Wake Forest has quietly emerged as an offensive juggernaut over the past three weeks. The Demon Deacons have averaged 648.7 yards and 47.7 points during that time. North Carolina State's defense—particularly the rush D—has been suspect at best lately. Can Ryan Finley and Jaylen Samuels keep pace in what should be a shootout?
Prediction: Wake Forest 45, North Carolina State 37
UCLA (5-5) at No. 11 USC (9-2), 8 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: USC beat UCLA 36-14 last November
Both Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen can fling the ball around the field with the best of them, but the story in this game isn't the quarterbacks. It's what Ronald Jones II and the rest of USC's rushing attack are going to do to a UCLA team that has allowed more than 300 rushing yards per game this season. The Trojans already have three games with at least 300 rushing yards, two of which have come in the past three weeks.
Prediction: USC 48, UCLA 31
California (5-5) at No. 22 Stanford (7-3), 8 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Stanford beat California 45-31 last November
There are decades of bad blood between these programs, including the (in)famous "the band is on the field" moment. But the reason this game counts as cream of the crop isn't that we expect a close battle. Rather, like the Arizona game, it's because we're intrigued to see what the Heisman candidate has up his sleeve. Bryce Love gashed Washington's great rush defense for 166 yards and three touchdowns last week. That's a conservative estimate for what he might do to California.
Prediction: Stanford 37, California 21
Solid Evening Matchups
Army (8-2) at North Texas (7-3), 6:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Army beat North Texas 38-31 last December in the Heart of Dallas Bowl
Less than a month ago, North Texas gave up 447 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns in a 69-31 loss to Florida Atlantic. If you seriously believe this team will shut down Army's rushing attack, you're in for a rude awakening. But the Mean Green should be able to keep pace with the Black Knights thanks to one of the most potent offenses in the country. This game is probably decided by the offense that has the ball last, but we'll give a slight nod to the home team.
Prediction: North Texas 38, Army 35
No. 20 LSU (7-3) at Tennessee (4-6), 7 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: LSU beat Tennessee 38-7 in 2011
It took at least a month longer than expected, but Tennessee finally axed Butch Jones. Too bad it won't immediately solve the Volunteers' woes of an anemic offense and hapless rushing defense. Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams are going to run wild for LSU.
Prediction: LSU 45, Tennessee 13
Florida International (6-3) at Florida Atlantic (7-3), 7 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Florida International beat Florida Atlantic 33-31 last October
Once an unstoppable freight train, Florida Atlantic's rushing attack has been held below 200 yards in each of the past two games. It hasn't stopped the Owls from winning those games, but it's a far cry from the yardage they were putting up earlier this year against Bethune-Cookman, Old Dominion and North Texas. But FIU just lost a home game to Old Dominion, so you'd be out of your mind to pick the Golden Panthers here. Enjoy that rat poison, Owls.
Prediction: Florida Atlantic 41, Florida International 20
Texas A&M (6-4) at Ole Miss (5-5), 7 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Ole Miss beat Texas A&M 29-28 last November
For a team that lost its starting quarterback to injury and doesn't have a bowl season to play for, Ole Miss sure is battling. The Rebels have put up at least 37 points in three straight games as Jordan Ta'amu slings the ball at QB. Texas A&M did just get a huge game from Nick Starkel against New Mexico, but the Aggies had been struggling to put points on the board in SEC play. Ole Miss wins in a shootout.
Prediction: Ole Miss 44, Texas A&M 36
Missouri (5-5) at Vanderbilt (4-6), 7:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Missouri beat Vanderbilt 26-17 last November
Two months ago, Missouri scored three points in a loss to Purdue. In their last four games (all wins), the Tigers have accumulated 215 points and 2,355 yards of total offense. They are now in the top 10 in the nation in total yards per game, and they get to face a Vanderbilt team that has allowed 46.2 points per game in SEC play.
Prediction: Missouri 49, Vanderbilt 17
Other Evening Games
New Mexico State (4-5) at Louisiana (4-5), 5 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: New Mexico State beat Louisiana 37-31 last October
Louisiana has one of the worst defenses in the country. The Ragin' Cajuns have given up at least 45 points in six of nine games, including allowing FCS school Southeastern Louisiana to score 48. New Mexico State's defense hasn't been stellar either, but the Aggies have more than enough offensive firepower to win this road game.
Prediction: New Mexico State 39, Louisiana 32
Coastal Carolina (1-9) at Idaho (3-6), 5 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: First-ever meeting
Idaho was obliterated by Missouri a few weeks ago, but the Vandals have a lot of "close but no cigar" games in their loss column. Coastal Carolina hasn't won since Week 1, and three of its last five losses have come by at least a 20-point margin. Provided Matt Linehan is a full go—the Idaho QB injured his wrist in his last game—Idaho should win with room to spare.
Prediction: Idaho 34, Coastal Carolina 20
Marshall (7-3) at UT San Antonio (5-4), 7 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Marshall beat UT San Antonio 34-10 in 2013
UTSA has four wins over FBS opponents. Those four teams (Baylor, Texas State, Rice and UTEP) have combined for four wins this season. Against teams that aren't terrible, the Roadrunners tend to lose by a slim margin. I don't believe I've predicted overtime in one of these pieces before, but give me the Thundering Herd in an extra frame.
Prediction: Marshall 31, UT San Antonio 24 (OT)
Boston College (5-5) at Connecticut (3-7), 7 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Boston College beat Connecticut 30-0 last November
Though I'm not going to pick the upset, this game could certainly get a little weird. Connecticut's defense is terrible, but it's primarily the pass defense. The rush defense is only below average, and Boston College's pass offense is dreadful—and could be even worse than usual with quarterback Anthony Brown (knee) now out for the season. Connecticut's offense is going to put at least a few points on the board. But A.J. Dillon will run well enough for the Eagles to avoid disaster.
Prediction: Boston College 28, Connecticut 17
Saturday Night Games
Air Force (4-6) at No. 25 Boise State (8-2), 10:15 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Air Force beat Boise State 27-20 last November
Wherefore art thou, Air Force offense? The Falcons averaged 426.0 rushing yards and 42.3 points per game in October, but those numbers have plummeted to 149.0 and 7.0 in November. Now they have to face Boise State. The Broncos allow the fewest yards per carry of any team in the Mountain West, and their offense has scored at least 41 in three straight. This game could get out of hand.
Prediction: Boise State 42, Air Force 13
Nevada (2-8) at San Diego State (8-2), 10:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: San Diego State beat Nevada 46-16 last November
Rashaad Penny struggled mightily in back-to-back losses to Boise State and Fresno State, falling out of the Heisman conversation. But the Aztec has rushed for 487 yards over his last two games in advance of a meeting with a Nevada defense that gave up 550 rushing yards in one game less than a month ago. The Wolf Pack have put up a lot of points against bad teams, but they have had difficulty scoring against competent ones.
Prediction: San Diego State 37, Nevada 10
Utah (5-5) at No. 18 Washington (8-2), 10:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Washington beat Utah 31-24 last October
When Washington rushes for at least 140 yards, it is 6-0 and wins by an average margin of 34.2 points. Utah is allowing 143.1 rushing yards per game, including a five-game streak of at least 174 yards earlier this season. Myles Gaskin gets fed early and often en route to a bounce-back win.
Prediction: Washington 35, Utah 20
Kerry Miller covers college football and college basketball for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @kerrancejames.
Buffalo (4-6) at Ball State (2-8), 7 p.m. ET Thursday
Last Meeting: Ball State beat Buffalo 31-21 last October
Even though Buffalo is a sub-.500 team playing on the road, this should be a walk in the park for the Bulls. Over the past six weeks, Ball State has been outscored 319-63 and has lost each of those games by at least a 28-point margin. Yes, it was a hellacious stretch against the six best teams in the MAC, but it would've been nice of the Cardinals to at least show up for one of those games.
Prediction: Buffalo 35, Ball State 17
Tulsa (2-8) at South Florida (8-1), 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday
Last Meeting: South Florida beat Tulsa 38-30 in 2014
These teams are shockingly similar on offense, each averaging 5.9 yards per play over the course of the season. But they are polar opposites on defense, where South Florida ranks 19th nationally in total yards allowed per game and Tulsa ranks 128th—hence the drastic difference in records. After resting up on their bye week, the Bulls come back and drop a 50-burger on this train wreck of a defense.
Prediction: South Florida 51, Tulsa 19
Middle Tennessee (5-5) at Western Kentucky (5-5), 8 p.m. ET Friday
Last Meeting: Western Kentucky beat Middle Tennessee 44-43 last October
It's nothing compared to some of last week's marquee games, but on a rather lackluster Week 12 slate, who doesn't love a winner-becomes-bowl-eligible showdown? Middle Tennessee has been hot for the past two weeks with QB Brent Stockstill back in the lineup, and Western Kentucky's defense has given up at least 30 points in each of the last four games. The Blue Raiders roll to a sixth consecutive season with at least six wins.
Prediction: Middle Tennessee 34, Western Kentucky 25
UNLV (4-6) at New Mexico (3-7), 9:30 p.m. ET Friday
Last Meeting: New Mexico beat UNLV 31-28 in 2014
New Mexico put up 56 points in a win over Air Force back on Sept. 30. The Lobos have scored a combined total of 51 points in five straight losses since then. But this is their chance to get back on the saddle. UNLV's defense has been bad, giving up at least 400 yards in seven of its last eight games. Of particular note is the run game, where UNLV allows 227.3 yards on average and New Mexico gains 226.1 yards per game. Expect a big day for Lobos running backs.
Prediction: New Mexico 31, UNLV 27