Games to watch: Week 12

Hannah Williford, Sports Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared as part of the November 19 Double Coverage flipbook.

No. 7 Michigan State at No. 4 Ohio State

Nov. 20, 11 a.m. CT, ABC

The destiny of Big Ten teams will finally start to clear up this week as frontrunners No. 7 Michigan State and No. 4 Ohio State face off Saturday. For both one-loss teams, winning out is essential for their playoff hopes. The teams promise to create an offensive battle as the Buckeyes boast 46.3 points per game, while the Spartans sit under at 34.6 points per game. Ohio State showed its skills in Week 11 against Purdue, the same Boilermaker team Michigan State suffered its first loss of the season to in Week 10. But Spartan running back Kenneth Walker III, a potential Heisman Trophy candidate, could be the difference maker for Michigan State with a strong performance come Saturday.

No. 3 Oregon at No. 23 Utah

Nov. 20, 6:30 p.m. CT, ABC

Oregon will face its first ranked opponent since an eye-catching win over Ohio State in early September. The Pac-12 matchup will feature the only ranked teams within the conference, and despite the Utes suffering three losses this season, both teams hold 6–1 conference records and less than a point separates them in average points per game. When the two programs meet in Salt Lake City, the game will hold Oregon’s playoff chances in the balance.

No. 21 Arkansas at No. 2 Alabama

Nov. 20, 2:30 p.m. CT, CBS

This SEC West matchup could cause confusion in the conference with an unexpected upset. In the past few weeks, Alabama has been less than perfect. Against LSU — once a powerhouse program with a now losing record — the Tide barely squeaked out a 20-14 win. While Arkansas has suffered losses this season to Auburn, Ole Miss and Georgia, the Razorbacks have also shown promise after defeating the Aggies who defeated Alabama in Week 6. Fans who enter Bryant-Denny Stadium should prepare for a possible showdown.

Iowa State at No. 13 Oklahoma

Nov. 20, 11 a.m. CT, FOX

If Oklahoma ever struggled to make the playoff before last weekend, the Sooners are now fighting for their lives. Head coach Lincoln Riley and team fell to Baylor on the road last week in a 14-27 defeat. The program will now need convincing victories over Iowa State this Saturday and Oklahoma State in Week 13 to even be a College Football Playoff contender. While the Cyclones also lost to the Bears this season, they took out No. 8 Oklahoma State earlier in the season and have put forward an impressive defense, allowing just 20 points per game in a conference dominated by heavy offenses.

No. 9 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech

Nov. 20, 7 p.m. CT, FOX

One-loss Oklahoma State will travel to Lubbock this weekend to take on the Red Raiders in what could be a telling matchup before Week 13’s feature of Oklahoma versus Oklahoma State. But before Oklahoma State gets ahead of itself, the Cowboys will face Texas Tech, a program coming off an impressive 41-38 win over  Iowa State with new head coach Joey McGuire. The Red Raiders have struggled this season on defense, allowing an equal amount of points per game that they score. Oklahoma State has held opponents to just over 16 points per game. The Red Raiders will need to put up a top-notch performance on both sides of the ball to have hope of a victory.