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Previewing the Five Must-Watch College Football Matchups of Week 13

Brett Hundley

Brett Hundley

Time for a bit of a breather for a handful of teams.

Last week was plenty eventful with Alabama’s win over No. 1 Mississippi State, another Florida State comeback, a TCU scare, a Georgia rout of Auburn and an Arizona State flop in Corvallis.

This week may not be nearly as dramatic.

For starters, this week is the annual SEC-FCS challenge. SEC teams will face Eastern Kentucky, Charleston Southern, Western Carolina and Samford this week.

Even though we’re a little light on on games this week, there are a few highlights, chiefly the hotly contested Pac-12 South. UCLA faces USC this week, but Arizona State’s loss to Oregon State has opened the door for Arizona, provided the Wildcats beat Utah and catch some breaks.

The SEC has two key games, one in each division. Arkansas and Tennessee are more competitive this season, and they’ll look to keep up momentum against Ole Miss and Missouri, respectively.

The Week Ahead: Nov. 22

All games Saturday. All times Eastern.

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Arizona at Utah

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When and where: 3:30 p.m., ESPN

We’re watching because... Arizona is clinging to life in the Pac-12 South. The Wildcats, who defeated Cal on a Hail Mary earlier this season, capitalized on a Washington turnover to set up the game-winning field goal as time expired against the Huskies. Arizona must solve Utah’s stifling defense on the road and defeat rival Arizona State for a chance at the South — while getting help from USC and UCLA (with a win over USC and a loss to Stanford).

Vegas says: Utah by 3 1/2

Ole Miss at Arkansas

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When and where: 3:30 p.m., CBS

We’re watching because... one team in this game has an SEC losing streak, and it’s not Arkansas. Despite back-to-back conferences losses to LSU and Auburn, Ole Miss still has a shot at the SEC West and, thus, the playoff. The Rebels have a win over Alabama in hand and a shot at Mississippi State at home, but they’ll need to handle a rejuvenated Arkansas first. Ole Miss’ offense regrouped in the loss to Auburn, but the Rebels are working through injuries, chiefly to receiver Laquon Treadwell. Arkansas picked up its first SEC win under Bret Bielema, but it’s a debate what made this win more unlikely: A shutout against a ranked LSU team or that ground-and-pound Arkansas needed only 95 rushing yards to win.

Vegas says: Ole Miss by 3

Wisconsin at Iowa

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When and where: 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2

We’re watching because... Melvin Gordon is can’t miss-viewing. The Wisconsin tailback was appointment viewing before last week’s record 408 rushing yards, but do you want to miss a single carry from now on? Not only did Gordon break LaDainian Tomlinson’s single-game rushing record, he’s within reach of Barry Sanders’ single-season rushing record that has stood since 1988. Gordon needs 719 yards to catch Sanders’ 2,628 yards. Including a potential Big Ten title game and a bowl, Gordon has to average 180 yards per game to pass Sanders. Gordon averages 191.

Vegas says: Wisconsin by 9 1/2

Missouri at Tennessee

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When and where: 7:30 p.m., ESPN

We’re watching because... Missouri’s bizarre season always deserves attention. The Tigers lost at home to an Indiana team that’s now winless in the Big Ten, beat Florida on the road with 119 yards of offense and four return touchdowns and now sits at 8-2 after a 34-27 win at a Texas A&M that just upset Auburn on the road. A team that lost to the Hoosiers at home could win 10 games during the regular season. To do so, Missouri will have to defeat Tennessee in Oxford as the Volunteers are seeking their first bowl bid since 2010.

Vegas says: Tennessee by 3 1/2

USC at UCLA

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When and where: 8 p.m., ABC

We’re watching because... this game has potential for some late-night Pac-12 unpredictability, and we don’t have to stay up after midnight Eastern to see it.  With a win in hand against Arizona State, UCLA can take one step closer to a third consecutive trip to the Pac-12 title game with a win over rival USC. The game points to a quarterback showdown. Brett Hundley has completed 72 percent of his passes with 1,374 total yards and nine total touchdowns during UCLA’s four-game win streak. USC quarterback Cody Kessler’s season has been under the radar, but he’s completing 70.2 percent of his passes with 29 touchdowns and three interceptions. He’s doing most his heavy lifting against weaker teams, so this is a chance to remedy that reputation.

Vegas says: UCLA by 3