12 PM ET Wisconsin at #20 Penn State on ABC - Can Wisconsin “badger” a hobbling Penn State team without their starting quarterback?
Both programs probably didn’t see themselves with three losses each in November but here we are. It’s been disappointing for the Badgers but they still have Big 10 motivation to get the win at Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions are battered and bruised with their best player, Trace McSorely, also not himself right now as he deals with nagging injuries. On the Badgers’ side, they will likely be without starting quarterback Alex Hornibrook, so that means Jack Coan will make his second start:
With Hornibrook being the starter for so long, timing between him and his receiving targets may be more in sync as well. Pryor called out that experience Hornibrook has over Coan, but also noted how the latter is improving.
“He’s confident in making the right reads and with us being in the right place at the right time, I think like our timing’s getting pretty good,” Pryor said. “That’s what practice is for. Just us kind of working on that and if he don’t like something, like after practice kind of just getting those throws down so we can get the timing right. I think Jack has done a really good job so far of just being calm, reading through the routes and finding the right people in the open.”
What to expect: Most out there are picking the Badgers to force Penn State to roll over but not here. With an inexperienced quarterback to face, I see Penn State rising to the challenge and getting a close win at home.
A BIG 12 Two’fer: Are we in for some more drama in the BIG 12? It’s a perfect day for an upset.
12 PM ET TCU at #9 West Virginia on FS1: There’s no time for another let down, Mountaineers
The BIG 12 race started out pretty hot but it’s cooled way off as West Virginia looks to be headed for a showdown with the Sooners. However, the Mountaineers can’t forget how they were easily handled by the Cyclones a month ago. Now that they beat Texas on an aggressive two-point try, it’s time for Will Grier and company to put the pedal down. Go out there and dominate this TCU team that can’t hang with their high-powered offense:
The West Virginia offense needs no introduction. Instead, I’ll just note a few short-comings. First, WVU has been marginally less efficient with the blitz - WVU’s success rate overall is 52.2%, and that falls to 33.9% on blitzing downs. Similarly, their sack rate rises from 7% to 8.2% on blitzing downs. TCU’s injured secondary will need some help ,and getting the blitz early and often will force Grier to look short and quick, perhaps adding some defensive help implicitly.
3:30 PM ET Oklahoma State at #6 Oklahoma on ABC: Battle of Bedlam is on! Will the Cowboys keep breaking BIG 12 hearts?
Oklahoma State has the offense to contend with anyone but the Sooners are a different animal. Still, the Cowboys knocked off the Longhorns and they would love nothing more than the same result against the in-state rival. If they could be responsible for another BIG 12 upset, we may get a little chaos in the conference which always makes college football more fun. The problem is that in order for an upset special, this OK State team will have to keep pace:
It’s Bedlam! It might be a long afternoon for Oklahoma State, but you know they’ll be fired up for this one. The Cowboys will travel to Norman and an upset would make them bowl eligible. It would also throw OU’s status for the Big 12 Championship game into question. Oklahoma State has nothing to lose in Norman, while the Sooners have quite a bit to lose. That doesn’t mean this one will be close. The Cowboys are prone to penalties and the offense struggles at times. OU doesn’t have a great defense, but their offense should torch the OSU secondary.
What to expect: As much as we’re hoping to be wrong, OU rolls the Cowboys in this one. Oklahoma may actually be the only type of offense that could handle Alabama though nobody wants ‘Bama right now. Sooners by 14 points!
7:30 PM ET #7 LSU at Arkansas on SEC Network: The Tigers need a rebound after being crushed by ‘Bama
The Tigers got the pants beaten off them last week by the best team in the country. LSU also tends to have a hangover when they get rocked by Alabama. To make matters worse, the Razorbacks have often been the team that kicks them while their down. Thankfully, under Coach ‘O’, the Tigers have been much more competitive coming off a big loss:
In the last 10 years or so, Arkansas has been picking the Tigers’ carcass clean at the end of the November slate. And moving the game up to directly after the Bama game didn’t help matters — ugly losses in 2014 and 2015 helped pave the road for Les Miles’ departure (at one point, the Razorbacks were literally the only team that had ever defeated a Miles LSU team following a prior loss).
If there’s one thing Ed Orgeron has very clearly changed in his short tenure post-Miles, it’s been that trend; the Tigers followed up losses to Alabama with 28- and 23-point wins over Arkansas in the last two meetings. Resiliency has been one very sure quality of his LSU teams to date.
What to expect: LSU has too much talent on defense for them to allow Arkansas in this game. The Razorbacks are just not good enough though they will have an emotional edge, Tigers by three scores.
You can find the full slate of college football games right here.