College Football 2018: 3 reasons to be excited about Week 12

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
(Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images) /

3. Playoff hopes or broken dreams

Arizona heads to Pullman to face Washington State at 10:30 p.m. eastern on ESPN. The Wildcats are 5-5 and ranked 68th per the S&P+ while the Cougars are 9-1 and ranked 16th per the same metric. Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin has struggled to keep consistency all season and Mike Leach’s Cougs have been the model of consistency. It’s going to be tough to steal a win in Pullman this late in the year when the cold winds blow in with some misty rain.

Gardner Minshew, the ECU grad transfer, has been lighting up scoreboards in Leach’s Air Raid offense. Minshew has thrown for over 3800 yards and 29 touchdowns with seven interceptions in 2018. The former ECU Pirate also averages 7.4 yards per passing attempt and Arizona has put out a middle of the road defense all season.

Khalil Tate has thrown 19 touchdowns and six interceptions on the year while seeing his running stats completely squashed. He’s averaging only two yards per carry and has ran 10 less touchdowns than in 2018.

Prediction: Washington State by 10

Also on Saturday, 10-0 Notre Dame faces 8-2 Syracuse at Yankee Stadium. Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish squad needs to pull out a big win over Dino Babers‘ plucky Orange who gave Clemson a big scare earlier in the season. Babers’ Orange are ranked 39th overall by the S&P+ while the Irish are ranked 6th overall by Bill C’s analytics.

Notre Dame has been ever better on defense than offense in 2018. The Irish defense is ranked 3rd overall per the S&P+ and has a ferocious pass rush. They’ll be tasked with slowing down quarterback Eric Dungey who has scored 26 touchdowns this year while throwing only five interceptions. The Orange defense must stop the efficient Ian Book.

Book is back at quarterback after sitting out against FSU with a concussion. Book has scored 19 touchdowns while averaging 8.9 yards per passing attempt on the road to perfection.

Prediction: Notre Dame by 4