Week Twelve College Football 2021 Preview

College Football week 12 - OSU vs. MSU
Photo by Alyte Katilius

Week Twelve of the College Football season is here! This should be another fun week of College Football with some great matchups and playoff implications all around.

Here is your Week Twelve College Football 2021 preview.

Week Twelve College Football Top Matchups

No. 7 Michigan State at No. 5 Ohio State

  • Game Info: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Prediction: Ohio State 42, Michigan State 28

The Ohio State offense really is that good.

No, the defense hasn’t played anyone all that great since September 11th, but the offense had to deal with Penn State and Purdue, and it ripped through both of them.

No, the defense hasn’t been strong enough overall, but it takes the ball away and is good at buckling down in the red zone. Yes the team has been wildly inconsistent, but it’s also among the best teams in the country offensively, in passing, on third downs, and there are few attacks with more explosions.

No. 1 in the nation in yards and scoring, Ohio State got the running game going again with a brilliant day against the Boilermakers, the NFL-caliber receiving corps is lighting it up, and Stroud has settled in.

Michigan State might be playing well, but the defense has been awful. It’s got the nation’s worst pass defense – allowing over 1,300 yards over the last three games – and things aren’t about to get any better this week.

Ohio State will come out hot, but it won’t deliver the knockout punch. Walker will get going, the Michigan State offense will move, and it’ll be a close, tight battle going into the fourth quarter. And then Ohio State will go Ohio State.

Two big pass plays will finally open it up and the Spartans won’t quite be able to keep up. Ohio State will put up 500 yards, Walker will run for 150 and two scores, and it’ll be a true survive-and-advance battle.

No. 21 Arkansas at No. 2 Alabama

  • Game Info: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
  • Prediction: Alabama 28, Arkansas 13

Arkansas can score – it kept up in the shootout loss to Ole Miss – but that’s not the team’s style. It doesn’t control the clock or the time of possession battle, but it has a way of making teams play its style. Alabama can end that with a few early scores.

Yes, the Hog defense is among the best in the country on third downs, but Alabama leads the nation converting 57% of its tries, the run defense has been a rock – Florida is the only team that could run at all on this group – and while the offense has been a bit inconsistent, it’s been getting the job done when it absolutely has to.

This is scary for Alabama considering it ran for just six yards against LSU a few weeks ago and the Arkansas run D hasn’t allowed more than 135 since getting ripped up by Ole Miss in early October.

Bama will come out roaring with an early score, and then things will settle in. Arkansas will keep this close and tight, but the passing game firepower by the home side will take over in the second half.

There were be plenty of chances for the Hogs to push through, but the Alabama defense will hold firm just enough to give the offense time to come up with a few good scoring drives.

SMU at No. 5 Cincinnati

  • Game Info: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Prediction: SMU 38, Cincinnati 35

No. 5 Cincinnati hopes to add another signature victory to its College Football Playoff résumé as the Bearcats host SMU in a battle of two of the AAC’s more talented teams. The Bearcats beat South Florida 45-28, but let up three scores after the game was decided in the second half. The garbage-time performance was enough for voters to knock them in the AP Top 25. Still, Cincinnati is 10-0 and has not played a team closer than a touchdown all season. 

SMU started the season strong with a dominant win over TCU, but the Mustangs have been shaky lately in their 8-2 campaign. After losing 44-37 to Houston on Oct. 30, the Mustangs promptly lost to a struggling Memphis squad a week later. Demolishing UCF 55-28 a week ago helped get SMU back on track, but Cincinnati is the best team the Mustangs have played all season.

I do think Cincinnati is banged up and this will be their toughest test outside of Notre Dame. I think they come up short in this one.

No. 3 Oregon at No. 24 Utah

  • Game Info: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Prediction: Utah 45, Oregon 42

The Utah offensive line is crushing everything.

It took a week off against a depleted Arizona – the team only ran for 174 yards in the 38-29 win – but Cameron Rising and the passing game made up for it. Call it a bit of a rest as the team prepared for what’s coming next.

The ground game destroyed Stanford with 441 yards on the ground. It hammered UCLA for 290, and overall, the offense has been better and more efficient as the season has gone on.

Oregon’s defense is loaded with talent, but it hasn’t faced a whole lot of teams that can hammer away. UCLA can get tough, and Ohio State can move the ball, but for the most part it hasn’t dealt with a line that can pound like this.

That’s the offensive side. The defensive front is living in the backfield – it’s No. 1 in the Pac-12 in sacks and tackles for loss – and it’s about to pressure Anthony Brown into at least one key pick.

This is the game the Utah program has been waiting for. This is the chance to take the South, get back to the Pac-12 Championship for the third time in four years, and keep the dream of going to the Rose Bowl alive.

It’s going to get it done with in a tough, physical performance with a few key takeaways making up for a few late stalls. Utah will get the huge win, everyone will storm the field, and the College Football Playoff will lose another key contender.

Other Week Twelve College Football Contests

Memphis at No. 24 Houston

  • Game Info: Friday, 9:00 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
  • Prediction: Houston 52, Memphis 35

Memphis has lost three of its last four and is 0-4 ATS on the road this season. The Tigers have won five in a row in the series, a streak the Cougars end in style. Houston continues to barrel toward the AAC championship game. 

No. 19 San Diego State at UNLV

  • Game Info: Friday, 11:30 p.m. ET (CBSSN)
  • Prediction: San Diego State 31, UNLV 16

The Aztecs are a double-digit road favorite, but the line has dipped two points from its open. That’s a nod to the Rebels’ two-game winning streak. UNLV will struggle to run the football against a San Diego State run defense that allows just 83.1 yards per game. We’ll take the Aztecs here.

No. 10 Wake Forest at Clemson

  • Game Info: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Prediction: Clemson 28, Wake Forest 27

Clemson has won 32 straight home games, a streak the Demon Deacons will look to break in order to win the ACC championship. This is Clemson’s all-in game, too, but the Demon Deacons will put that streak to the test with their high-powered offense. It plays right on the line, but that home streak is there for a reason. 

Illinois at No. 17 Iowa

  • Game Info: Saturday, 2:00 p.m. ET (FS1)
  • Prediction: Iowa 28, Illinois 14

The Hawkeyes are still in the Big Ten West mix, but they are 1-3 ATS as a double-digit favorite this season. Illinois remains an unpredictable play under Bret Bielema, but they have played three straight one-score games. Iowa has won the last seven meetings in the series.

Georgia Tech at No. 8 Notre Dame

  • Game Info: Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
  • Prediction: Notre Dame 42, Georgia Tech 14

Georgia Tech is on a four-game losing streak, but they are 3-0 ATS as an underdog when the spread is 10 points or more. Notre Dame, however, has covered in five straight games. We like the Irish at home.

No. 6 Michigan at Maryland

  • Game Info: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (BTN)
  • Prediction: Michigan 45, Maryland 14

Michigan has been a great play all season with a record of 8-2 ATS. Maryland is fighting for bowl eligibility and the Terps rank 13th in the Big Ten in scoring defense (31.4). The Wolverines won’t be caught looking ahead to Ohio State. 

Virginia at No. 18 Pitt

  • Game Info: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
  • Prediction: Pitt 35, Virgina 3

This all comes down to if Brennan Armstrong is back or not. If so I will pick Virginia to win, but right now since he hasn’t been declared back, I will go with Pitt.

UAB at No. 22 UTSA

  • Game Info: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • Prediction: UTSA 35, UAB 32

It’s a huge Conference-USA showdown, and the Roadrunners are trying to stay unbeaten. UTSA is 3-2 ATS at home, but it’s safe to say this is the biggest home game of the season. The Blazers have won the last four meetings.

Nebraska at No. 15 Wisconsin

  • Game Info: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Prediction: Wisconsin 30, Nebraska 13

The Badgers are rolling toward a Big Ten West championship, and they have allowed just 7.5 points per game in four straight victories. The Huskers have played ranked competition tough all season, but the Badgers are playing for something more. 

No. 14 BYU at Georgia Southern

  • Game Info: Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • Prediction: BYU 34, GSU 21

BYU had an extra week to prepare for the Georgia Southern option, but the Eagles are at home. That will make the cover a little tougher for the Cougars, but we feel like the offense gets ahead early and presses Georgia Southern into mistakes. This still is too many points to lay on the road. 

Syracuse at No. 20 N.C. State

  • Game Info: Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET (ACCN)
  • Prediction: NC State 31, Sycracuse 21

Syracuse needs a win to stay bowl eligible, and the Wolfpack are coming off an emotional loss. The Orange are 8-2 ATS, even with last week’s 41-3 loss to Louisville. We think this one plays out much tighter. 

No. 11 Baylor at Kansas State

  • Game Info: Saturday, 5:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
  • Prediction: Baylor 42, Kansas State 39

The Bears are coming off a huge win against Oklahoma, but now they face the Wildcats on the road. The Wildcats have the longest win streak in the Big 12 at four games. We trust the Bears to get through on the road. 

Vanderbilt at No. 10 Ole Miss

  • Game Info: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (SECN)
  • Prediction: Ole Miss 51, Vanderbilt 16

Vanderbilt lost 62-0 at Georgia and 42-0 at Florida this season. Will the Rebels drop a third goose-egg on the Commodores? This is a game we’d typically stay away from with that spread. Ole Miss cruises, but Vanderbilt gets a back-door cover. 

No. 9 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech

  • Game Info: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET (Fox)
  • Prediction: Wake Forest 42, NC State 38

The Cowboys have allowed just 23 total points in a three-game win streak since the Iowa State loss. These teams have split the last four meetings, and the Red Raiders are 3-4 ATS as an underdog. My gut is telling me upset alert here, but I will go with Oklahoma State for now.

College Football – Upset Alert

Iowa State at No. 13 Oklahoma

  • Game Info: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (FOX)
  • Prediction: Iowa State 32, Oklahoma 29

Here I am picking Iowa State for another upset. I’m not sure if I will ever learn, but I think they will get it done this time.

Should be another excellent week of College Football!

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