This is Trap Game week in the SEC. For the Tide, the Mississippi State affair traditionally is one in which Alabama has fallen flat (though rarely lost). For the LSU Tigers, they travel to Oxford to play a feisty but not very talented rival in the Ole Miss Rebels. No. 11 Florida hits the road to face a finally-healthy Mizzou team in CoMo — this is Gata’s version of Mississippi State, except the Gators do lose this one. And, A&M hosts the reeling South Carolina Gamecocks. So, yeah, trappish.
Here’s what to watch today, what to check in on, and what to avoid at all costs. First up, your schedule, in God’s Right and Proper Central Time:
Week 12 CFB Schedule
|#5 Alabama at Mississippi State||11:00 AM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Indiana at #9 Penn State||11:00 AM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#11 Florida at Missouri||11:00 AM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|#14 Wisconsin at Nebraska||11:00 AM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Michigan State at #15 Michigan||11:00 AM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Kansas at #22 Oklahoma State||11:00 AM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|VMI at Army||11:00 AM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Alabama State at Florida State||11:00 AM||ACCNX||WatchESPN.com|
|TCU at Texas Tech||11:00 AM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|UMass at Northwestern||11:00 AM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Tulane at Temple||11:00 AM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|UTEP at UAB||12:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|#23 Navy at #16 Notre Dame||1:30 PM||NBC||NBCSports.com|
|Idaho State at BYU||2:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|Troy at Texas State||2:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|Coastal Carolina at Arkansas State||2:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|UL Monroe at Georgia Southern||2:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|#2 Ohio State at Rutgers||2:30 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Wake Forest at #3 Clemson||2:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#4 Georgia at #12 Auburn||2:30 PM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|#18 Memphis at Houston||2:30 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|#19 Texas at Iowa State||2:30 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|West Virginia at #24 Kansas State||2:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Central Michigan at Ball State||2:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech||2:30 PM||ACCNX||WatchESPN.com|
|Kentucky at Vanderbilt||2:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|#8 Minnesota at #20 Iowa||3:00 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Syracuse at Duke||3:00 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Hawai'i at UNLV||3:00 PM||Spectrum Sports PPV|
|Incarnate Word at New Mexico State||3:00 PM||None||FloFootball.com|
|Wyoming at Utah State||3:00 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Stanford at Washington State||3:30 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Rice at Middle Tennessee||3:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Louisiana at South Alabama||5:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Southern Mississippi at UTSA||5:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|#1 LSU at Ole Miss||6:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|#17 Cincinnati at South Florida||6:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Air Force at Colorado State||6:00 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|#10 Oklahoma at #13 Baylor||6:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#25 Appalachian State at Georgia State||6:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|South Carolina at Texas A&M||6:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Louisville at NC State||6:30 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Arizona State at Oregon State||6:30 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|UCLA at #7 Utah||7:00 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|New Mexico at #21 Boise State||9:15 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Arizona at #6 Oregon||9:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|USC at California||10:00 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
Michigan State at No. 15 Michigan (-13.5) — The Dean of the Big Ten, facing calls for his resignation, travels to Ann Arbor to face his arch rival and (with Notre Dame) the team upon which he built his reputation. It’s as much a culture clash as Alabama - Auburn, only it’s the Meatheads vs. the Commies. True hate here with lots of tasteful halfback dives unfettered by scandalous scoring,
No. 23 Navy (+9) at No. 16 Notre Dame — You cannot call yourself a fan of college football without paying homage to one of its most historical rivalries, one that hearkens to a time before television when Notre Dame was the national darling and the service academies were among the elite. It makes it especially funny that the Naval Academy has been just good enough over the past decade to eke out some wins while generally terrorizing every G5 team that wants to spend three hours dodging cut blocks and chasing wingbacks.
No. 4 Georgia at No. 12 Auburn — Two offensively-challenged bitter foes meet in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. Both have played some tough games this year, and each have pulled out a marquee win or two. Georgia is in the mix for the playoffs, but they can’t like a schedule that ends with at Auburn and then LSU/Alabama. Auburn is mathematically not eliminated from either the SEC or the playoffs (weirder things have happened). But, they’re strictly spoilers for most practical purposes. A win here gives Gus leverage when he takes the Razorback/FSU job in a month, and at the least shuts up that hayseed fan base unaware of their historical unimportance. So, beware Auburn Jesus and the Barn’s typical dirty home play, Jawjah. These teams hate each other.
No. 10 Oklahoma at No. 13 Baylor — The more these teams keep winning, the more the rest of the conference drags them down. A win over the other isn’t going to shake up the playoff picture either way. In Matt Rhule’s third year at Baylor, he has rebuilt this team doing things the right way (and building it the right the way). Are the 2019 Dirt Burglars good enough to just line up and out-talent decent teams? That strategy won’t cut it today, nor will divine intervention in the form of the B12 refs bailing them out with shaky calls. The Sooners are going to face a diaspora of talent after this season and the suitors come a’calling for Lincoln Riley. A loss here, and a missed playoff appearance, probably sends Jerry Jones’s jet to Norman sooner rather than later.
Schwein für den Schwein Gott! No. 8 Minnesota (+2.5) at No. 20 Iowa — The Battle for Floyd of Rosedale, the hallowed pig statue of the Northern Great Plains. The Gophers are riding high after upending Penn State last week and being blearily in the playoff picture. If they want to remain in that conversation, then they have to travel to Iowa City and face a far more physical archrival who has held on to the pig for the last five years. Did I mention how poorly UMN has played on the road this year too? The Hawkeyes have narrowly missed in losses to PSU and Michigan. Is this the scalp they finally nail on the wall (my gut says yes, and Iowa is favored for a reason).
Style Points, Baby!
All of these games among the top tier of the playoff elite are going to be terrible and you’ll hate yourself for watching them. They only matter if someone happens to lose or looks absolutely terrible in a victory. Don’t believe me? Ask Oklahoma what happened when it almost lost at home to Iowa State last week. So, keep an eye on the scoreboard at least.
- No. 3 Clemson vs. Wake Forest (+34.5)
- No. 1 Ohio State (-53) at Rutgers
- No. 5 Alabama (-21) at Mississippi State
- No. 2 LSU (-17.5) at Ole Miss
- UCLA at No. 7 Utah (-21.5)
- Arizona at No. 6 Oregon (-27.5)
Be Ready to Grab the Remote:
South Carolina at TAMU (-11) — Why A&M isn’t ranked is utterly beyond me. They can make their case today (and help send Will Muschamp to Tuscaloosa) with a resounding home spanking of these limp Cocks.
No. 18 Memphis at Houston (-10.5) — It’s been a quiet few weeks for the Tigers. After their nationally broadcast win over SMU, Memphis had a bye. And now in their first game back they travel to face one of their primary Western rivals. For a team that’s tanking, the Cougars aren’t playing too badly...and especially at home. This one may be a lot closer than the records suggest.
No. 19 Texas at Iowa State (-7) — I see we’re still pretending that the Longhorns are a good team, eh? A win over the Cyclones will give them one more week’s reprieve. A loss will spare us all another seven days of the charade. Vegas thinks this is a Herman-splat special, for what it’s worth.
Temple (+6.5) vs. Tulane — Is low scoring and RTDB more of your bag today? Then two of the top three defensive squads in the AAC face off in Philly. Tulane is favored by almost a full touchdown. But, I’d be surprised if they win outright, much less cover that. Weird things and improbable games happen up there.
Indiana (+14.5) at No. 9 Penn State — If you want to know what game has under-the-radar potential to be good, it’s this one. Hungover Penn State, coming off their first loss and traveling to Ohio State next week, plays host to one of the most dangerous offenses in the Big 10. The Hoosiers have come tantalizingly close to getting a marquee win over a big boy the last few seasons. Even though it’s on the road, this may be their best shot in years. I told you to trust me last week on Illinois-Sparty; trust me on this one. Nothing in James Franklin’s CV suggests he can get this team focused after a heartbreak and before the biggest game of the year. At the least, hope for a one-score game late, when you can see one of the worst in-game managers in the sport drown in flopsweat with one baffling coaching decision after another!
This Week’s Unwatchable Filth:
I almost went with Florida at Mizzou, a game traditionally so bad that the Hague has enumerated it as an international crime. Then there were the obvious stinkers like Incarnate Word at New Mexico State — bet you didn’t know that Incarnate Word was even a school, did you? UMass at Northwestern. That mother of toilets, Kentucky at Vandy. But, no, those are too obvious.
So, this week, we turn our attention to a rivalry game that is going to stink to high hell — the USC Trojans (-7) at the Cal Golden Bears.
Clay Helton’s team has been absolutely awful on the road this year. They slogged through some close wins against 4-6 Fresno State, 3-7 Colorado...and even lost to 5-5 BYU. Three of their four losses, in fact, have come on the road. But last week was their piece d’resistance of 2019. Last week, after the Trojans got the dread Vote of Confidence, they got dump-trucked at home by the Ducks, being outscored 42-7 at one point before a mostly-empty Coliseum. They just DGAF anymore and folded at halftime. The staff of Dead Men Walking has lost this underachieving, undisciplined group of talented misfit toys.
Now, USC must travel to NoCal to face the Berkeley Bears, a team with absolutely the worst passing attack you will see all year. Worse than the option schools. Worse than Northwestern. And it’s not like the rest of the offense isn’t better — they are next-to-last in rushing in the P12. How an offense averages 19 points a game in the PAC 12 is one thing. But how they can do so in 2019 is simply astonishing.
But, what the Bears do excel in is in dragging games down into Jefferson Pilot-level muck. They play the most annoying, buzzing fly defense of all the West Coast teams. That’s a problem seeing as USC has shown a propensity to play stupid, to turn it over, to get impatient, and to continue losing all the mental battles that will get Helton fired in about two weeks. Expect more of the same today — only much lower scoring and with much worse offense.
This game is on FS1, but it should be some local high school kids brushing up their play-by-play chops on local access.
Finally, let us give a shoutout to the $5 Bits of Broken Chair rivalry — a better trophy than game. Today, however, is the equally atrocious Wisconsin-Nubber game.