It’s Cupcake Saturday, everybody. The second to last weekend of the regular season when every team in the vaunted, beloved SEC — which has six teams in the College Football Playoff rankings, despite half of them having three or more losses — decides to play JV squads mostly from the SoCon.
So, obviously that’s going to hinder the college football watching experience for this Saturday. The day will kick off with No. 10 Ohio State traveling to College Park, Md., to take on the Maryland Terrapins at 12 noon ET on ABC. Obviously all of Buckeye Nation will be tuned into that one, but otherwise... it’s slim pickings.
Either way, let’s check out some of the games worth watching in a thin slate of matchups this college football Saturday.
Nothing. There’s literally nothing of interest in this window; at least not of enough interest to split your attention from the Ohio State game. Stick with the Buckeyes until roughly the end of the third quarter when one of those annoying “We’re Notre Dame, we don’t have to conform to the well-established confines of college football scheduling” start times at 2:30 p.m. ET.
No. 12 Syracuse Orange at No. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
2:30 p.m. ET | NBC
Even if Ohio State wins out — defeating Maryland today, No. 4 Michigan next week in The Game, and then No. 22 Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship game — it’s likely that they’ll still need some help above them to make it into the CFP.
One domino that could fall on Saturday that would help them in their quest is this surprising battle of top-15 squads. Syracuse, is out of the running for the ACC Atlantic Coast crown, but this could be a sort of championship game for Dino Babers’ Orange.
However, they will have to face the Domers’ top quarterback Ian Book who returns after sitting out last week’s game against Florida State. Syracuse has pulled off some crazy upsets in the Babers Era, so nothing is out of the realm of possibility, but this one isn’t super likely, especially in South Bend. But, if it does happen, can you imagine the post-game speech Dino is going to give to his team?
No. 24 Cincinnati Bearcats at No. 11 UCF Knights
8 p.m. ET | ABC
Folks, how are you going to talk to your children about the fact that we now live in a world in which Cincinnati and UCF are in the biggest game of a college football Saturday... in Week 12 of the season... against each other?
This is a crazy world that we’re living in these days, but this game actually should be pretty awesome. The defending national champs are one of the best stories — and offenses — in the country this season. The Knights are putting up 44.2 points and 543 yards per game, seventh and second nationally (second and first in the American Conference).
However, Luke Fickell has his UC squad playing a brand of defensive football that will look very familiar to Buckeye fans. The Bearcats are allowing only 14.9 points and 279.8 yards per game, seventh and sixth nationally (both first in the American Conference).
This should be a classic strength vs. strength/something’s gotta give matchup. Being a Central Florida resident and Ohio native, I am oddly excited about this game, and hope that if UCF wins, the national media will finally give the champs the credit that they deserve.
Pac-12 After Dark Window
Arizona Wildcats at No. 8 Washington State Cougars
10:30 p.m. ET | ESPN
Coming into the season, Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate was a trendy Heisman Trophy pick coming out of the Pac-12. However, the start to Kevin Sumlin’s first season in the desert did not go so well, and Tate not only looked human, but he looked below average. But, in the last two weeks, things have started to come together for the new staff and offense.
Last week, Tate was 17-for-22 passing with five touchdowns and 350 yards through the air; while running back J.J. Taylor has gone for 404 rushing yards in the past two games. If that continues tonight, that means that the Pac-12 is about to get extra “After Dark,” because this game is already a matchup of the conference’s two top offenses (WSU- 470 ypg, Arizona- 454.1).
There’s not a ton of good football today, but if you slog through it and stay up late, this one should be a nice offensive reward for your dedication and diligence.
Check Saturday’s full slate of games here:
Week 12 Saturday Schedule
|The Citadel at #1 Alabama||12:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|#10 Ohio State at Maryland||12:00 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|Idaho at #13 Florida||12:00 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|#14 Penn State at Rutgers||12:00 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Middle Tennessee at #17 Kentucky||12:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Arkansas at #21 Mississippi State||12:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|#22 Northwestern at Minnesota||12:00 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|South Florida at Temple||12:00 PM||ESPNews||WatchESPN.com|
|Colgate at Army||12:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Michigan State at Nebraska||12:00 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|TCU at Baylor||12:00 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Pittsburgh at Wake Forest||12:00 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|NC State at Louisville||12:20 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|#19 Utah at Colorado||1:30 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|#23 Utah State at Colorado State||2:00 PM||AT&T SportsNet||WatchStadium.com|
|Florida Intl at Charlotte||2:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|VMI at Old Dominion||2:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|#12 Syracuse at #3 Notre Dame||2:30 PM||NBC||NBCSports.com|
|UTSA at Marshall||2:30 PM||None|
|Georgia State at Appalachian State||2:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Western Carolina at North Carolina||3:00 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|UL Monroe at Arkansas State||3:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|#9 West Virginia at Oklahoma State||3:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#20 Boston College at Florida State||3:30 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Tulsa at Navy||3:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Texas State at Troy||3:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Louisiana Tech at Southern Mississippi||3:30 PM||Stadium||WatchStadium.com|
|Wisconsin at Purdue||3:30 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Bowling Green at Akron||3:30 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|Virginia at Georgia Tech||3:30 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Miami at Virginia Tech||3:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Texas Tech at Kansas State||3:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Iowa at Illinois||3:30 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Missouri at Tennessee||3:30 PM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|USC at UCLA||3:30 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Indiana at #4 Michigan||4:00 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|UMass at #5 Georgia||4:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Liberty at Auburn||4:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Air Force at Wyoming||4:00 PM||ESPNews||WatchESPN.com|
|Oregon State at #18 Washington||4:30 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Georgia Southern at Coastal Carolina||5:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|South Alabama at Louisiana||5:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|Nevada at San Jose State||5:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|Duke at #2 Clemson||7:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|UConn at East Carolina||7:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|UAB at Texas A&M||7:00 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Kansas at #6 Oklahoma||7:30 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Rice at #7 LSU||7:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Ole Miss at Vanderbilt||7:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Stanford at California||PPD (Smoke)||N/A||N/A|
|Chattanooga at South Carolina||7:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|UTEP at Western Kentucky||7:30 PM||beIN Sports||beINSports.com|
|#24 Cincinnati at #11 UCF||8:00 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#16 Iowa State at #15 Texas||8:00 PM||Longhorn Network||WatchESPN.com|
|New Mexico State at BYU||10:15 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Arizona at #8 Washington State||10:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|San Diego State at Fresno State||10:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Arizona State at Oregon||10:30 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|UNLV at Hawai'i||11:00 PM||Spectrum Sports PPV||Stadium (App only)|