Games to watch: Crunch time for Wolverines in Happy Valley

Clark Dalton

Temple at No. 19 SMU

ESPN2, 2:30 p.m.

Shane Buchele, a former Texas quarterback, has fared well this season for SMU. The junior quarterback has thrown for 12 touchdowns, is completing 67% of his passes and has the Mustangs rolling at 6–0. However, SMU’s perfect season could end this week against the 5–1 Temple Owls. Freshman running back Re’Mahn Davis is averaging 5.4 yards per carry. The Owls’ secondary has stifled aerial assaults, allowing less than 200 yards per game. It’s one of the most important matchups in the American Athletic Conference, a league that has several teams vying for a New Year’s Six bowl.

No. 9 Florida at South Carolina

ESPN, 11:00 a.m.

The Gamecocks are on cloud nine after shocking the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, Georgia. Florida had its moments in Death Valley, but eventually succumbed to the power of the LSU offense. The Gators are favored by five heading into Columbia, South Carolina. Freshman quarterback Ryan Hilinski completed 75% of his passes against Georgia, and is starting to grow into the offense. Florida’s redshirt junior quarterback Kyle Trask and senior running back Lamical Perine have brought a balance to the offense with 14 combined touchdowns. The matchup between the Gators and Gamecocks could shift the SEC East for the rest of the season.

No. 16 Michigan at No. 7 Penn State

ABC, 6:30 p.m.

It’s likely that Michigan will have to win out if they want a taste of the Big Ten title. The Wolverines haven’t lost a game since their 35-14 loss against Wisconsin. But Michigan has another road game in Happy Valley during the whiteout. The Nittany Lions are undefeated, and sophomore quarterback Sean Clifford has posted a 171.0 passer rating and 13 touchdowns. Michigan is trying to stay alive, but there are still questions surrounding its offense, which may inhibit its ability to keep up with Penn State. Whoever wins this game could continue as a dark horse in the Big Ten.

No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington

ABC, 2:30 p.m.

Revenge and rivalry games go hand in hand. Last year, Washington missed a game-winning field goal, falling to the Ducks in overtime 30-27. This year, the game moves from Eugene to Seattle, where the Huskies have a new quarterback. Junior Jacob Eason has propelled Washington, and the Huskies are now averaging 36 points per game. However, the Ducks have a star quarterback of their own in senior Justin Herbert. According to ESPN, Herbert’s completion percentage increases against AP Top-25 teams, jumping from 69% to 75%. The Ducks’ offense matches the Huskies’ gaudy scoring output at 36 points per game. Their defense has been strong as well, allowing only nine points per game. Both teams are evenly matched, so this one could come down to the wire again.

No. 18 Baylor at Oklahoma State

FOX, 3:00 p.m.

Baylor continues to climb the Big 12 ladder, now standing at 6—0. The Bears’ offense is driven by a pair of juniors — running back John Lovett and quarterback Charlie Brewer. Lovett is powering through defenses, averaging 6.7 yards per carry, and Brewer has thrown 11 touchdowns. The Cowboys have an offense that will test all Big 12 defenses. Redshirt sophomore running back Chuba Hubbard has scored 13 touchdowns and rushed for 1,094 yards. If he continues to dominate, he could find himself in New York in December. Baylor is trying to continue a magical season, while Oklahoma State is trying to get back into the picture. This game could be a prime Big 12 matchup.