A handful of undefeated upstarts will fall this Saturday
With many conferences starting the season late and dozens of games being postponed or canceled, the college football landscape looks a lot different than it normally does this time of year. Perhaps the biggest difference is in the rankings, where today, there are a total of seven non-Power 5 teams in the AP Top 25 — and none of them are named Boise State or UCF.
As a result, many are now trying to figure out which of those unbeaten, ranked upstarts has the best shot of crashing the College Football Playoff — or at least a New Year's Six bowl game.
After this weekend, that mystery will get a little easier to solve, as the competition for several of those undefeated teams ramps up.
Here are the OUTRAGEOUS predictions for Week 12.
Outrageous Predictions for Week 12 of the 2020 College Football Season
Appalachian State takes down Coastal Carolina
Since losing a hard-fought game to unbeaten Marshall back in mid-September, Appalachian State has ripped off five straight wins, scoring 36.6 points per and allowing an average of only 16.2 during that stretch. Coastal Carolina, though impressive, has looked beatable a couple of times this season, and the Mountaineers pose the toughest challenge to date. Look for Appalachian State to control the game with a dominant rushing attack and knock the Chanticleers from the ranks of the unbeaten.
UCF upsets Cincinnati
The Bearcats are one of the non-Power 5 teams many think could get into the College Football Playoff. To do so, they'll need to win out, and that starts with controlling a UCF offense that averages 44 points per game. The Bearcats have looked impressive on both sides of the ball, but this could be the first track meet they've been in this season. UCF lives for these types of games, and I give Josh Heupel's club the advantage.
NC State knocks off Liberty
Few coaches in the country have done a better job this season than Hugh Freeze has at Liberty. He has turned the Flames into a formidable power in 2020, knocking off two ACC teams along the way. Liberty looks to complete a three-game sweep of the ACC this weekend at NC State. The Wolfpack have had an up-and-down season where every game feels like a slugfest. Those battles, including a game they should have won against Miami two weeks ago, have galvanized this team. I like NC State to win, and don't be surprised if it's by double digits.
Northwestern upsets Wisconsin
Pat Fitzgerald's Northwestern team plays football like a confident boxer. They sit back and watch what the opponent does early on, lulling them into a false sense of security. Then, adjustments are made and opponents are shut down as the Wildcats eventually impose their will. Northwestern is battle-tested, while Wisconsin has looked impressive against two bad football teams. This is going to be a fun, old-school Big Ten fight, and I like the team that plays like a prizefighter to win it.
Podcast: Week 12 Preview and Predictions
*Remember, "outrageous" can be defined as "wildly exaggerated or improbable," and "very bold, unusual, and startling." These are "outrageous" predictions and should be treated as such.
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo!, SBNation, USA Today and Bleacher Report. He is a three-time FWAA writing contest award winner. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.