Who SEC fans should root against: Week 12
SEC ROOTING GUIDE
In which we tell you which teams you should root against in the upcoming week.
With the Pac-12 eliminating itself three weeks before its conference championship game — both Stanford and Utah suffered second losses — the last two weeks of the regular season should be melodramatic. Barring an unforeseen disaster, Clemson and the Big Ten champion are in the playoff.
The same goes for Alabama or Florida if either team wins out. And Notre Dame and the team that emerges Big 12 may scrap for the last spot, or wait to overtake one of the others. There’s not as much drama as last season.
Still, the SEC — especially fans of the Tide and Gators — likely are starting to pay attention to potential College Football Playoff matchups. There are several games this weekend that surely will affect the pecking order. At least three good teams are doomed to suffer losses Saturday.
Here are the Week 12 teams that SEC fans should root against.
Michigan State at Ohio State (3:30 p.m. ET, Saturday): The Big Ten is counting on Ohio State and Iowa to finish the season unbeaten and meet in the conference championship. The winner would be a de facto entry into the four-team College Football Playoff. The Pac-12 has been eliminated from contention, more or less. So even a Buckeyes loss here won’t extinguish the B1G flame. But neither would the conference continue to be a lock for the playoff. Ohio State still must play Michigan, Michigan State still must play Penn State and Iowa still must play Nebraska. A Spartans win here would keep a late Big Ten collapse at least theoretically possible. It also would ensure at least a No. 2 seed for Alabama should the Tide finish as a one-loss SEC champion.
Baylor at Oklahoma State (7:30 p.m. ET, Saturday): The Big 12 has edged toward respectability as the good teams finally are playing each other. That also means the logjam at the top of the conference is about to unclog. In a hurry. This game is a pick ’em in Vegas. Baylor already has fallen, lost starting quarterback Seth Russell and is on the road. In other words, the Bears are the better team when hole, but they’re bleeding. Oklahoma State may taste its own blood for the first time this season, and still must play Oklahoma. This is more of a sorting-out game than an elimination game.
Boston College at Notre Dame (7:30 p.m. ET, Saturday): The Fighting Irish are a 16-point favorite. The Eagles have won just three games this year. This isn’t a likely upset in South Bend, Ind. But games featuring Stanford and Utah are almost inconsequential. If Notre Dame fell, it would send shockwaves throughout college football. Those waves may even be strong enough to revive a two-loss Stanford, which faces Notre Dame next week. Or perhaps Clemson, Alabama and Ohio State would all win out, and the Big 12 champion almost automatically would grab the fourth spot. Either way, it’s a game worth monitoring. Alabama or Florida would probably enjoy seeing Notre Dame in the national semifinals, so perhaps the SEC roots for a Fighting Irish victory here.
TCU at Oklahoma (8 p.m. ET, Saturday): Just like the outcome of the Ohio State game, this one isn’t going to spoil the Big 12’s chances to make the College Football Playoff. But an Oklahoma loss would start to make the conference nervous, not to mention unsure about which team is going to collect a potential bid. But star TCU receiver Josh Doctson is out, and if Treyvone Boykin doesn’t play, this could turn into a long game against the Sooners. SEC teams always want coach Bob Stoops to lose, though, and likely will be rooting against Oklahoma. Except for still-sore Ole Miss fans, of course.