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Previewing the Must-Watch College Football Games of Week 12

Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott

Change in college football is all around us, especially in this first season leading to the playoff.

One truism remains the case in the changing landscape, though: It’s darn tough to win a conference road game.

The top two teams in the country may learn that this week when Mississippi State visits Alabama and Florida State visits rival Miami. 

Beyond the top two teams, the current cream of the crop in the Big Ten, Ohio State and Nebraska, will defend that status on the road. At the same time, Auburn attempts to recover from a damaging loss to Texas A&M by facing Georgia in Athens.

The Week Ahead: Nov. 15

All games Saturday. All times Eastern.

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Ohio State at Minnesota

When and where: Noon, ABC

We’re watching because... this is suddenly an important game in the Big Ten. After convincing divisional wins last week, Ohio State and Minnesota are a combined 9-1 in the Big Ten. The only conference loss among them, remarkably, is to an Illinois team with a backup quarterback. Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett is on the fast track to stardom after 386 yards of total offense and four touchdowns against Michigan State. Meanwhile, Minnesota showed rare balance on offense as Mitch Leidner threw four touchdown passes in a 51-14 rout of Iowa.

Vegas says: Ohio State by 12

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Mississippi State at Alabama

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

We’re watching because... this week’s powerhouse matchup in the SEC West may be the most important of the year. The enthusiasm on the Mississippi State bandwagon has dimmed a bit as the Bulldogs have been pressed by Kentucky and Arkansas. Mississippi State can solidify its hold on No. 1, and Dak Prescott can push Marcus Mariota for the Heisman with a win in Tuscaloosa. The Bulldogs’ defense may be just what Alabama wants to see, however, after putting up 4.2 yards per play in the overtime win over LSU.

Vegas says: Alabama by 7

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Nebraska at Wisconsin

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

We’re watching because... the two best running backs in the country (arguably) meet in a critical Big Ten West matchup. Melvin Gordon and Ameer Abdullah have been friends since the recruiting process, and now they follow each other’s box scores every week. Gordon, the nation’s rushing leader, has the edge now, but Abdullah at No. 6 in the country isn’t far behind. The winner may be the favorite in the Big Ten West.

Vegas says: Wisconsin by 6

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Auburn at Georgia

When and where: 7:15 p.m., ESPN

We’re watching because... one of the teams will salvage their hopes for the season after a devastating loss. Auburn is coming off a loss to Texas A&M while Georgia is two weeks removed from a loss to Florida. Both shocking defeats damaged college football playoff hopes. Georgia, at least, will get a jolt of energy with the return of Todd Gurley.

Vegas says: Georgia by 2 1/2

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Florida State at Miami

When and where: 8 p.m., ABC

We’re watching because... Florida State is on upset alert again. The Seminoles are invincible in the second half, which is good news for a team that has struggled early. Florida State has trailed in the first half in six of the last seven games, including 21-0 at Louisville two weeks ago. Miami is one of the nation’s most improved teams during the last month. Duke Johnson is averaging 10.1 yards per carry in the last three wins while the defense has rebounding to allow 2.1 yards per carry in the last three games.

Vegas says: Florida State by 2