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College Football 2018 Week 12 Preview
Saturday, 2018 November 17 - 1:07 pm
Michigan plays Indiana, N.C. State plays Louisville, Penn State plays Rutgers. It's kind of the week before the real madness, where a lot of teams have tune-up games that can't be overlooked.

Michigan vs. Indiana, 4:00 PM FS1
A lot of sportscaster time will go to the fact that Indiana hasn't beaten Michigan in a bazillion years, but the truth is, Michigan has had a lot of narrow escapes against the Hoosiers, for differing reasons, over the years. Last year Michigan was down to John O'Korn at quarterback and he had 58 yards passing.

This is not last year. Michigan has a functional quarterback and a functional offensive line. Karan Higdon could well top his 200-yard performance from last year, as Michigan will probably look to keep Shea Patterson healthy and grind the Indiana DL into dust. It wouldn't surprise me if it's another one of those games where Michigan does the bulk of its scoring in the second half, when the opposing DL is gassed and beaten up.

Indiana's offense features former Michigan OC Mike DeBord (as OC) and former Michigan star running back Mike Hart (as RB coach). I feel like this is partly a job interview for Hart, whose dream job is to coach at Michigan someday. DeBord was reviled by some as a predictable and unimaginative play-caller while at Michigan. He's learned a few wrinkles since then, but... Kevin Wilson he is not. Don Brown will out-gameplan him: I'm confident of that.

Prediction: Michigan 38, Indiana 13.

N.C. State at Louisville, 12:20 PM ACC Network
Louisville coach Bobby Petrino, once seen as a genius, has been fired after Louisville started 2-7 this season. Then they got waxed by Syracuse last week. This is not a good team, you guys. Their only wins were against Indiana State and Western Kentucky, and except for their close loss to Florida State, every other loss has been a blowout.

I can't find a single strength on this Louisville team. Run offense, run defense, pass offense, pass defense... they're all a wreck. And you have to think that, with not much left to play for, this Louisville team might be disinclined to give it their all. This should be a recipe for a big Wolfpack win.

So of course N.C. State will find some way to let Louisville hang around.

Prediction: N.C. State 56, Louisville 38.

Penn State at Rutgers, 12:00 PM BTN
Yeah, it's Rutgers. They are still bad. Not as bad maybe as I've made them out to be, but still bad.

Penn State will need to watch for the same thing that tricked Michigan for one play: a running play with a lot of fake action (jet sweep, backside blocks) that gives speedy tailback Isaih Pacheco room to run. But otherwise, Rutgers shouldn't prove to be too much of a threat, and I think the Lions will be looking to make a statement.

Prediction: Penn State 55, Rutgers 13.

Games to Watch on TV
The #14 Penn State vs. Rutgers game is at noon on BTN. N.C. State vs. Louisville is on the ACC Network (or streaming on WatchESPN). #10 Ohio State might be tested against a scrappy Maryland team on ABC. #22 Northwestern, who has clinched the Big Ten West, is actually an underdog playing at Minnesota today; that's on BTN. Michigan State plays Nebraska in the Big Ten Disappointment Bowl on Fox.

At 1:30 PM, Utah plays Colorado on the Pac12 network, and I only mention that because of the Pac12 South playoff chaos.

At 2:30 PM, #12 Syracuse plays #3 Notre Dame, and that's the Game of the Week. Syracuse has an explosive offense but Notre Dame's defense is tough. Should be an interesting matchup.

At 3:30 PM, #9 West Virginia will look to get past Oklahoma State to make sure next week's game against Oklahoma game becomes a Big12 title matchup.

At 4:00 PM, #4 Michigan plays Indiana on FS1.

At 7:00 PM, Duke plays #2 Clemson, which will probably be a blowout, but at least Clemson is playing a team with a winning record this week, which is more than can be said for most of the SEC.

At 8:00 PM, #16 Iowa State plays #15 Texas in what amounts to a Big12 semifinal game.

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