College football is back, and that means our college football viewing guide is back to help you navigate the busy schedule ahead.
Each week we will do the heavy lifting, and figure out the top games that will be playing during each television window across college football. With Conference Championship Week inching closer, the stakes become higher for many teams, and this week there is no shortage of quality games that can influence division races.
Let’s take a look at Week 12.
Thursday, November 18
Louisville (5-5) at Duke (3-7) —> 6:30 p.m. CST on ESPN
Duke is still searching for their first ACC win of the season, while Louisville is attempting to reach bowl eligibility on Thursday night. Neither team has been overly impressive this season, but Louisville has done a good job of beating the teams they are supposed to this year.
Friday, November 19
Memphis (5-5) at No. 24 Houston (9-1) —> 8 p.m. CST on ESPN2
Memphis is still hunting to become bowl eligible, but their resume does have a quality win over Mississippi State. I don’t know if Memphis will be able to spoil Houston’s bid for a shot at an AAC title, but if they do it would potentially also be a blow to Cincinnati’s playoff hopes as well.
Air Force (7-3) at Nevada (7-3) —> 8 p.m. CST on FS1
The Mountain West has been a sneaky good conference this season, and this matchup features two of the top teams. Nevada is coming off a narrow loss to San Diego State, so they will look to bounce back against a tough Air Force team.
Saturday, November 20
This is arguably the game of the day. Both teams have Heisman Trophy candidates and are still looking to increase their odds of winning the Big Ten East. The Buckeyes have cruised since losing to Oregon early in the season, while Michigan State recently lost to Purdue. This is a monumental opportunity for both teams and the only game that features two top-10 teams this weekend.
No. 10 Wake Forest (9-1) at Clemson (7-3) —> 11 a.m. CST on ESPN
Wake Forest is still undefeated in the ACC and looking for their first conference championship since 2006 and third in program history. However, Clemson has been the top dog in the ACC for the past few seasons and the Demon Deacons will need to get past them to make it happen. Wake has a ton of offensive firepower, while Clemson has a great defense. Something has to give.
Other morning games of interest:
- Iowa State at No. 13 Oklahoma on FOX at 11 a.m. CST
- Rutgers at Penn State on BTN at 11 a.m. CST
- Purdue at Northwestern on BTN at 11 a.m. CST
Nebraska (3-7) at No. 15 Wisconsin (7-3) —> 2:30 p.m. CST on ABC
Nebraska will visit Camp Randall on Senior Day, with the Badgers winning the last seven matchups between these two teams. Wisconsin has been able to run all over the Cornhuskers, can Braelon Allen continue that trend?
No. 21 Arkansas (7-3) at No. 2 Alabama (9-1) —> 2:30 p.m. CST on CBS
Outside of a road loss to Texas A&M, Alabama has been very good this season. The Crimson Tide will welcome an Arkansas team that has outperformed preseason expectations under Sam Pittman and has already clinched a bowl berth. I’m not sure Arkansas has the horses to keep up with Alabama, but that is why they play the game.
SMU (8-2) at No. 5 Cincinnati (10-0) —> 2:30 p.m. CST on ESPN
SMU is probably the second-best team that Cincinnati has played this season, but they have now lost two of their last three games in the conference. The Bearcats need to win and do so comfortably to bolster their playoff resume. This is a good AAC game to monitor on Saturday.
Other afternoon games of interest:
- No. 6 Michigan at Maryland on BTN at 2:30 p.m. CST
- Virginia at No. 18 Pittsburgh on ESPN2 at 2:30 p.m. CST
- Minnesota at Indiana on BTN at 2:30 p.m. CST
- UCLA at USC on FOX at 3 p.m. CST
No. 3 Oregon (9-1) at No. 23 Utah (7-3) —> 6:30 p.m. CST on ABC
The second-best game of the weekend could very well be in the Pac-12 with Oregon and Utah squaring off for what could be the first of two matchups if they both wind up in the Pac-12 Championship. Utah has been playing some good football since making a quarterback change early in the season, and they should provide a good test for Oregon.
This game feels a little trappy with Bedlam looming in Week 13 for Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have a really good defense and are positioned in striking distance for a College Football Playoff berth if chaos erupts. Texas Tech on the other hand recently hired a new coach and is essentially playing with house money. Can the Red Raiders pull off the upset?
Other primetime games of interest:
- Auburn at South Carolina on ESPN at 6 p.m. CST
- Virginia Tech at Miami on ACCN at 6:30 p.m. CST
This Pac-12 battle is sneaky good. Oregon State has played well this season and is already secured a bowl bid. Arizona State has rebounded nicely after losses to Utah and Washington State, but the spread on this game is only three for a reason. This game could be a close thriller if you have the ability to stay up past midnight for the ending.