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Sport College football Week 12 primer: Heisman Watch, upset picks, predictions and more

20:15  15 november  2019
20:15  15 november  2019 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Week 12 of the college football season has arrived, and there are just three more weeks until the College Football Playoff pairings are revealed.

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There are four matchups involving teams ranked in the College Football Playoff rankings.

No. 23 Navy meets No. 16 Notre Dame (2:30 p.m., NBC) in the first of those matchups. No. 4 Georgia travels to No. 12 Auburn (3:30 p.m., CBS) in the afternoon slot along with a matchup between No. 8 Minnesota and No. 20 Iowa (4 p.m., FOX). The prime-time spotlight shines on the Big 12 with No. 10 Oklahoma at No. 13 Baylor (7:30 p.m., ABC).

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No. 5 Georgia travels to No. 13 Auburn (3:30 p.m., CBS) in the biggest SEC game of the week, and No. 7 Minnesota is an underdog at No. 23 Iowa (4 p.m., FOX). No. 12 Baylor puts its unbeaten record on the line against No. 10 Oklahoma (7:30 p.m., ABC) in the primetime slot.

Every week, Sporting News will survey the landscape looking for Heisman contenders, coaches on the spot, upset alerts and other trends. With that in mind, get ready for Week 12:

Heisman watch

LSU's Joe Burrow took control of the Heisman Trophy race after hitting 31 of 39 passes for 393 yards and rushing for 64 more yards in a 46-41 victory against Alabama last Saturday. That effectively knocked Tua Tagovailoa and the rest of the field into a race for second. Ohio State's Chase Young won't be on the field in Week 12, so this is an opportunity for Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts to firm up a spot as a finalist.

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Hurts still leads all FBS quarterbacks with a 94.1 QBR, and he ranks second in the FBS in total offense at 401.2 yards per game. Burrow is third at 376.3. Hurts by no means will catch Burrow with a victory at Baylor, but it's still a chance to stay in the Heisman vote and continue the never-ending debate with Tagovailoa.

Who is second on your ballot right now?

Coach on the spot

Penn State is coming off a 31-26 loss at Minnesota, and the Nittany Lions cannot afford to look ahead to next week's noon showdown with No. 2 Ohio State.

Not with Indiana coming to Happy Valley. James Franklin can't lose this game. The Nittany Lions are 5-6 against teams ranked in the AP Top 25 since 2017, and the Hoosiers are No. 24. Indiana is 0-10 at Beaver Stadium, however.

The Nittany Lions must win out to get to the College Football Playoff, but a loss here and next win in Columbus would be devastating for a program on the rise.

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Upset alert

We will give you three doors to choose from:

Can Auburn throw a wrench into the Playoff race by knocking off Georgia at Jordan-Hare Stadium? The Tigers won the last meeting 40-17 in 2017 and are 7-1 ATS as home underdogs under Gus Malzahn. That's a tough spot for the Bulldogs.

Iowa beat No. 2 Michigan at Kinnick Stadium on Nov. 12, 2016, then beat No. 3 Ohio State in the same place on Nov. 4, 2017. Will Kirk Ferentz beat another top-10 team at home for the third time in four seasons with Minnesota coming to down?

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly is 7-2 against Navy, but he has never lost to the Midshipmen in South Bend. Navy won at Notre Dame Stadium in 2007 and 2009, however, and they can slow the Irish's so-so run defense down.

One of those is going to happen Saturday. We just don't know which door to choose.

Over/under

Alabama suffered a November loss, but that will not be the defining reason as to why they would be left out of the CFP.

Of the 20 playoff participants since 2020, a total of five lost in November. That list includes Michigan State (Nov. 7, 2015), Clemson (Nov. 12, 2016), Washington (Nov. 12, 2016), Georgia (No. 11, 2017) and Alabama (Nov. 25, 2017). The Crimson Tide

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There have been six undefeated teams, too, and among other nine playoff teams seven lost in October and two lost in September. That says it's still better to lose early, but it really does not matter if you don't lose twice.

Think about it …

Clemson averages more points this year than last year – a slim difference of 45.3 to 44.3 – and is giving up fewer points than last year – 11.5 to 13.1 – and yet they are considered a rung below LSU and Ohio State.

The Tigers have a future No. 1 pick at quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, an All-American tailback in Travis Etienne who averages 8.9 yards per carry, a receiver who averages 20.4 yards per catch in Tee Higgins and a defense led by the multi-talented Isaiah Simmons. Did we mention they have won 25 straight games?

Clemson might play in the ACC, but they aren’t like the other teams in the ACC. They also are a victim of a close 21-20 victory on Sept. 28 against North Carolina. One more time: The Tigers won the game.

The Tigers at +300 to win a national championship might be a steal.

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LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron celebrates midfield with his players following the Tigers 46-41win over the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 9, 2019. 

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