By Stewart Mandel
November 15, 2012
College Football Pickoff: Week 12
Saturday, Nov. 17
8 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 14 Stanford (8-2) at No. 1 Oregon (10-0)
Stanford owns the nation's top rushing defense (2.0 yards per carry), and its pass rush will pressure steady Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (71.7 completion percentage). But the Cardinal have struggled against up-tempo teams in the past, allowing 50-plus points to Oregon the past two seasons and giving up 617 yards to a similar Arizona offense on Oct. 6.
3:05 p.m. ET (FOX) No. 21 USC (7-3) at No. 17 UCLA (8-2)
This figures to be one of the bigger shootouts in the rivalry's history. Despite the best efforts of linebacker Anthony Barr (11 sacks), UCLA has struggled to defend against the pass, which bodes well for Trojans stars Matt Barkley and Marqise Lee. But USC's defense is easily vexed by spread offenses, and the Bruins' offense has averaged 51.7 points the past three weeks.
8 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 2 Kansas State (10-0) at Baylor (4-5)
Wildcats coach Bill Snyder admits he went "conservative" last week with Collin Klein, who was coming off a mild concussion at the time. With Johnny Manziel breathing down Klein's Heisman neck, the quarterback could really use a big game this week -- and he's facing the perfect defense to have one. Baylor is ranked 108th in the nation in pass efficiency defense.
3:30 p.m. ET (NBC) Wake Forest (5-5) at No. 3 Notre Dame (10-0)
The Irish have made every home game interesting this season, regardless of the opponent, so expect more of the same against a mediocre Demon Deacons squad that lost 37-6 to NC State last week. Unlike its close encounter with Pittsburgh, Notre Dame isn't coming off a big win at Oklahoma. But the Irish might get caught looking ahead to next week's showdown at USC.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC/ESPN2) No. 6 Ohio State (10-0) at Wisconsin (7-3)
The Badgers' normally powerful rushing offense has been boom or bust all season, in part because Wisconsin has lacked a legitimate passing threat. New quarterback Curt Phillips attempted just seven passes in last week's rout of Indiana. That won't fly against the Buckeyes' 24th-ranked rushing defense (3.5 yards per carry), which can load the box to stop Monteé Ball.
7 p.m. ET (FOX) No. 13 Oklahoma (7-2) at West Virginia (5-4)
Geno Smith and the Mountaineers showed signs of breaking out of their funk last week at Oklahoma State, with Smith throwing for 364 yards, his highest total since the 70-63 Baylor game. But he might not be able to do enough against the Sooners, because Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones will have a field day against the nation's worst pass defense (9.9 yards per attempt).
Noon ET (Big East/ESPN3) No. 22 Rutgers (8-1) at Cincinnati (7-2)
Bearcats senior quarterback Brendon Kay, making his first career start last week in place of struggling Munchie Legaux, notched 305 total yards in a rout of Temple. He and running back George Winn (108.9 yards per game) may struggle at times against Rutgers' top-20 defense, but the Bearcats have more big-play potential than the Scarlet Knights' 80th-ranked offense.
Noon ET (ESPN3) No. 25 Kent State (9-1) at Bowling Green (7-3)
What's this? MACtion on a Saturday? Blasphemy. Kent State and Bowling Green are likely playing for the MAC East title. Both teams have rolled off long winning streaks. The Flashes boast a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Trayion Durham (105.9 yards per game) and Dri Archer (104.3), but they're about to be slowed by the nation's 15th-ranked rushing defense.
3:30 p.m. ET (FSN) No. 23 Texas Tech (7-3) at Oklahoma State (6-3)
The Cowboys have managed to win four Big 12 games despite using three different quarterbacks. Mike Gundy's team has been particularly impressive in its past three home games. Texas Tech's defense will pose a challenge, but the Red Raiders have cooled off considerably in recent weeks and have allowed 50-plus points (one in triple overtime) in their past two road games
Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (ESPN3) Utah State (8-2) at No. 19 Louisiana Tech (9-1)
The Bulldogs have been this season's mid-major darlings and boast the nation's No. 2 scoring offense (53.4 points per game). But just as Sonny Dykes' team excels on offense, Gary Andersen's Aggies play stifling defense (13.5 points per game). Utah State lost by two points at Wisconsin and three points at BYU. It'll be the first team to slow down Louisiana Tech quarterback Colby Cameron (a little).
Record Last Week: 7-3               Record This Season: 65-45

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