UPDATED: Week 12 Preview - Bedlam is 1-of-3 Matchups Of Top 25 Teams; Clemson-FSU A Late Scratch

November 21, 2020 by Staff

Covid is once again wreaking havoc on the college football schedule. After a season-high 15 games were canceled or postponed last week, a new record of 18 games have now been canceled or postponed this week after the Clemson-Florida State was scratched three hours before Saturday's kick-off.

A Clemson player traveled with the team to Tallahassee and then tested positive on Friday. Due to the lack of time for appropriate contact tracing measures to be taken, both teams agreed Saturday morning that it wasn't safe to play the game.

Thursday's announcement that the Michigan State-Maryland game will not be played became the 15th game to fall by the wayside and the San Jose State-Fresno State cancellation later in the day set the new and unwelcomed mark of 16. Then came the announcement late Friday that this Saturday night's Washington State at Stanford game was also canceled to raise the total to 17.

Here are the affected games this week:
UAB vs. UTEP. Make-up date to be determined (TBD)
Ole Miss at Texas A&M. Make-up date TBD. Possibly 12/19.
Louisiana-Monroe vs. Louisiana Tech will NOT be rescheduled.
Ohio at Miami (O) will NOT be rescheduled.
Arizona State at Colorado will NOT be rescheduled.
Georgia Tech at Miami. Make-up date TBS. Possibly 12/19.
Charlotte at Marshall. Make-up date TBD.
Wake Forest at Duke will NOT be rescheduled.
Navy at USF. Unlikely to be rescheduled.
Houston at SMU rescheduled on 12/5.
Central Arkansas (FCS) at Louisiana-Lafayette. No make-up date planned.
Utah State at Wyoming will NOT be rescheduled.
Texas at Kansas postponed to 12/12.
UNLV at Colorado State will NOT be rescheduled.
San Jose State at Fresno State will NOT be rescheduled.
Washington State at Stanford will NOT be rescheduled.
Clemson at Florida State postponed. 12/12 is available make-up date but not officially rescheduled.

This is the third straight week that Charlotte has had its game canceled. Navy hasn't played since October 31 and doesn't have another game scheduled until the trip to Army on December 12. (NOTE: On Friday, the American Conference announced that two Navy games have been rescheduled - home vs. Memphis on 11/28, and home vs. Tulsa on 12/5).

Miami (FLA) not only announced the cancellation of this week's home game vs. Georgia Tech, but also next week's road trip to Wake Forest.

In a related development, the PAC-12 today switched course and said it would allow non-conference scheduling to help teams replace games that get canceled. To date, five Pac-12 games have been canceled: Washington at California, Arizona at Utah, California at Arizona, Utah at UCLA, and Arizona State at Colorado.

Last week, we didn't have a single game that matched Top 25 teams in the AP Poll. This week, we get three of them on Saturday with #9 Indiana at #3 Ohio State at Noon, #10 Wisconsin at #19 Northwestern at 3:30, and #14 Oklahoma State at #18 Oklahoma at 7:30. (All times eastern).

Indiana is 4-0, but Vegas is apparently unimpressed as they installed Ohio State (3-0) as a 20.5-point favorite. Projections based on the Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com put it much closer with the Buckeyes favored by a comfortable 9.22 points.The Hoosiers have dropped 25 straight in the series and are 0-26-1 going back to 1989. However, the computer's top plays in 2020, so far, are its outright upset picks of Indiana over Penn State and Michigan. The Hoosiers opened the season with a 36-35 in overtime over the Nittany Lions to improve to 2-22 all-time in that series. Two weeks later, Indiana beat Michigan 38-21 to end a string of 24 consecutive losses to the Wolverines. Ohio State enters this week's game with winning streaks of 18 conference games and 19 regular season games. But the Buckeyes are also coming off an unexpected bye week when this past Saturday's game versus Maryland was canceled completely due to Covid issues within the Maryland program.

The computer does NOT predict a Northwestern (4-0) upset of Wisconsin (2-0), but rather has the Wildcats losing by much more than the 7-point Vegas spread with a projected margin of 18.15 points. This series has been quite competitive since 1985 when Northwestern ended a 13-game losing streak to the Badgers. The teams have now split the last 30 meetings. By the way, Wisconsin took over the #1 spot in the computer rankings this week and has Northwestern at #15.

Bedlam occurs in Norman on Saturday night when Oklahoma State (5-1) visits Oklahoma (5-2). The Cowboys have one fewer loss and are ranked 3 spots above the Sooners by the computer (#14 vs. #17), but the algorithm gives Oklahoma an 8.63-point edge. That's just under the 9.5-point line from the oddsmakers. This series has been surprisingly lopsided and many schools would have fired their head coach if he only delivered 2 wins over the main rival in 15 tries. No one is saying Mike Gundy's head is on the chopping block, but every OSU student, alum, supporter and fan would surely like to see the current 5-game losing streak in the series come to an end. Of course, it's not like Gundy is the only Oklahoma State coach that has had a difficult time winning one of these games as the Sooners lead the all-time series 89-18-7.

Week 12 had another early-week start, thanks to "MACtion" which presented a pair of games on Tuesday and 3 more on Wednesday. The computer was 12-0 outright on MAC games in the first two weeks and made it to 14-0 with Tuesday night's games before slumping to 1-2 on Wednesday. It has an incredible number of upset picks this week, going opposite the oddsmakers on 13 games, including Wednesday's Toledo visit to Eastern Michigan where the Rockets were favored by 4.5 but the computer had EMU by 3.81. Toledo won 45-28 to improve to 19-2 in the last 21 meetings.

Another projected upset popped up on the board on Thursday night with the computer going opposite the 4.5-point spread favoring Tulsa at home over Tulane and, instead, backing the Green Wave by 3.09. This pick looked great going into the 4th quarter with Tulane winning 14-0, and even though Tulsa tied it at 14-apiece with 3:16 to play, the Green Wave went back in front with 1:38 to go, 21-14. Not to be outdone, Tulsa took 9 plays to set up a game-tying 37-yard touchdown pass on the final play of regulation. Ultimately, the Golden Hurricane prevailed 30-24 in double-OT to end Tulane's 3-game wining streak in the series.

Tulsa and Cincinnati entered the week as the only undefeated teams in American conference play and they are schedule to face each other in Tulsa on December 5 (now changed to December 12). The Golden Hurricane and Bearcats had a 2-game lead on the rest of the field, so a loss by Tulsa this week would not have eliminated the school from conference title contention. Especially, since the computer also has Cincinnati on the wrong end of a 2.02-point computer spread when the Bearcats visit UCF on Saturday. The Knights lead that series 3-2, but Cincinnati won last-year's meeting 27-24 at home. The Knights are 2-0 vs Cincinnati in Orlando with wins in 2016 and 2018 by a combined scored of 62-16.

On Friday night, the computer is calling for a third upset in as many days by taking Minnesota at home by a whopping 16.6 over a Purdue squad that the oddsmakers installed as 3-point favorite. The Boilermakers are 2-1 while the Golden Gophers have seemingly forgotten how to row the boat and enter this contest with a disappointing 1-3 record after a 35-7 blowout home loss to Iowa last Friday. And yes, the computer also had Minnesota favored to win that game.

On Saturday in the ACC, Florida State, 2-6 and ranked 106th in the computer rankings, is in the unenviable position of having to host Clemson as a 21.19-point computer underdog, which is actually well under the 34-point spread. (NOTE: This game was canceled Saturday morning).

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech will look to end a two-game losing streak as a 5.89-point computer favorite at Pitt which is slightly over the 3-point line.

A trio of Big Ten teams will be looking to get off the mat when 8-point favorite Michigan (1-3) heads to Rutgers (1-3) as a 21.02-point computer pick, Michigan State visits Maryland as a 6.24-point computer play in a 6-point Vegas underdog role, and Penn State (0-4) is a 6.42-point computer pick versus an opposite 2.5-point line that favors Iowa.

In the Big 12, Iowa State and Kansas State return from a week off to face each other in Ames where the Cyclones are an 11.5-point favorite and an 8.83-point computer pick. Four other teams in the conference are idle - Baylor, TCU, Texas Tech and West Virginia.

Will Coastal Carolina (7-0, 5-0) see its unbeaten run come to an end? It will if the computer's prediction is accurate as it has the Vegas-favored Chanticleers (-4.5) as an 11.01-point underdog to Appalachian State (6-1, 4-0) in Conway, South Carolina in a key Sun Belt east division showdown.

In a CUSA west division clash, the computer has Southern Miss by 10.58 over UTSA in Hattiesburg for an outright upset against a 7.5-point Vegas spread favoring the Roadrunners.

Nevada and San Jose State are each 4-0 in the Mountain West, While Boise State is 3-0 in the conference. The computer has the Wolf Pack as a 2.12-point underdog at home to San Diego State (3-1) and the Broncos as a 6.43-point favorite at Hawaii. It had SJSU as a 0.20-point underdog at Fresno State, but that game was canceled and will not be rescheduled.

In the PAC-12, the cardiac kids from USC are a 3.39-point choice at Utah. The Utes look to finally get their first game under their belt after covid-related cancellations of their Arizona and UCLA games. Also, Oregon is a huge 21.05-point home pick over UCLA, and Washington is a 3.58-point home play over Arizona.

Alabama returns to action in the SEC after last week's game at LSU was canceled. The Tied are a 30-point Vegas favorite, but only get a 10.31-point margin from the computer. LSU is a whopping 26.11-point opposite play at Arkansas.

Other computer picks in the SEC are Tennessee by 0.97 in a home upset of Auburn, and Florida by 18.08 at Vanderbilt. Meanwhile, South Carolina is only a 1.26-point computer dog at home to Missouri in its first game since the firing of head coach Will Muschamp. Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is the interim head coach.


Arkansas State added Incarnate Word to the schedule for its second FCS game. But the Central Arkansas at Louisiana-Lafayette game scheduled for this Saturday was canceled.

With those scheduling moves, we now have 30 FBS teams are playing a total of 35 games against FCS schools this season.

There was only one such game on the docket last week with Liberty blasting Western Carolina 58-14. Gardner-Webb at Charlotte was canceled altogether.

There are three such games this week - North Alabama at BYU, Stephen F. Austin at Memphis, and Abilene Christian at Virginia.

FBS teams are 29-1 in such matchups this season. Since we began tracking this in 2003, the FBS teams are 1,464-128 (.920).

Last year, FBS teams were 111-3 (.974) in such games.

Here is the only FCS win vs. the FBS this season:
October 23: Jacksonville State 19, FIU 10

These were the FCS wins vs. the FBS in the previous 2 seasons:

August 29: Central Arkansas 35, Western Kentucky 28
September 7: Southern Illinois 45, Massachusetts 20
September 14: The Citadel 27, Georgia Tech 24 (OT)

August 29: UC Davis 44, San Jose State 31
September 1: Villanova 19, Temple 17
September 1: Northern Arizona 30, UTEP 10
September 1: Nicholls State 26, Kansas 23 (OT)
September 2: North Carolina A&T 28, East Carolina 23
September 8: Maine 31, Western Kentucky 28
September 22: Illinois State 35, Colorado State 19


CLEMSON - Three streaks ended with 47-40 double-OT loss at Notre Dame. The Tigers had won 35 straight regular season games, 29 straight conference games and 14 straight true road games - all of which topped the FBS. Clemson still has the longest home game winning streak at 27.
Last: Lost 47-40 in 2 OT at Notre Dame on Saturday, November 7.
Next: Visits Florida State on Saturday, November 21. (NOTE: This was canceled Saturday morning).

NOTRE DAME - Won 14 straight over-all (FBS-longest)
Last: Won 45-31 at Boston College on Saturday, Novermber 14.
Next: Visits North Carolina on Friday, November 27.

OHIO STATE - Won 18 straight conference games (FBS longest). Won 8 straight road games (FBS longest). Won 19 straight regular season games (FBS longest).
LAST - Game vs. Maryland on Saturday, November 14 was canceled and will not be rescheduled.
Next: Hosts Indiana on Saturday, November 21.

NEW MEXICO - Lost 19 straight conference games (FBS longest). Lost 12 straight road games (FBS longest).
Last: Lost 28-0 at Air Force on Friday, November 20.
Next: at Utah State on Saturday, November 28.

AKRON - Lost 20 straight overall (FBS longest). Lost 9 straight home games (FBS longest). Lost 11 straight road games (FBS second-longest).
Last: Lost 69-35 at Kent State on Tuesday, November 17.
Next: Hosts Miami (O) on Saturday, November 28.