College Football Forecast: 12/12

With regular-season schedules wrapping up and teams looking to solidify their spots within their respective conference, it is another impactful weekend in college football.

Once again, a laundry list of significant matchups have been either canceled or postponed. Fourth-ranked Ohio State was slated to take on historic rival Michigan in which featured the largest pre-game point spread in at least 40 years in this game with the Buckeyes as 30 point favorites over the Wolverines.

With the games that are still scheduled, here are the biggest matchups of the weekend.

5.) Navy vs. Army

In a year that has seen countless oddities, the fabled Army-Navy game will add to this list as this season’s contest will be held in West Point, NY, and will have to share the second Saturday in December, which, in recent memory, has been the only game played.

In terms of atmosphere and personal meaning to each squad and fan base, this game is arguably one of the most important and finest matchups in all of college football.

Since the turn of the century, it has basically been all Navy in this game except for a brief streak of three seasons from 2016-2018 where Army was victorious.

This year, Army has the edge as they enter this matchup 7-2 on the season with their last game coming three weeks ago against Georgia Southern. The Black Knights were able to hold on following a fourth-quarter touchdown thanks to a two-yard run from Jakobi Buchanan putting them up 28-27.

Like always, it will be a true game of inches with a heavy rushing attack from both sides as the Black Knights feature nine 100-yard rushers that have helped their squad average 296.7 yards per game, which ranks them third in the nation. Navy, on the other hand, has six rushers with more than 100 yards on the year.

Both defenses will key in on the run, but one aspect that sets these teams apart is Army’s strong secondary and pass defense that will force the Midshipmen to keep the ball on the ground all day long.

Prediction: Army wins 26-17

4.) No. 15 USC vs. UCLA

Another rivalry on tap in primetime will showcase the Trojans against the Bruins in a crucial game for USC as they look to solidify their spot in the Pac-12 South.

The Kedon Slovis-Amon-Ra St. Brown connection had themselves a ballgame this past Sunday as they linked for four touchdown scores, all in the first quarter, to guide the Trojans to a 38-13 victory over Washington State.

Slovis has done a phenomenal job leading his team in their shortened 2020 campaign thus far, and with one game remaining on their regular-season schedule, he will look to have another impressive outing against UCLA’s defense.

In their two losses, the Bruins have allowed 48 and 38 points, respectively, while giving up at least 260 yards through the air.

Following a slow start to the season, UCLA gained momentum in their past two games bringing them to 3-2, which is one game shy of their win total from last year. UCLA was able to squeak out a win against Arizona State last weekend with the rushing attack leading the charge with two scores.

It will be a test out on the West Coast for both teams as each group looks to earn some respect in the national scope. USC is on the verge of returning to the national spotlight and it will be this game that puts them there.

Prediction: USC wins 40-28

3.) No. 17 North Carolina vs. No. 10 Miami

Last year, it was an extremely raucous atmosphere in North Carolina that saw Dazz Newsome’s late-game touchdown catch propel the Tar Heels over the Hurricanes. This year, in Miami, the atmosphere may be different but the play on the field will still be worth the watch.

The Tar Heels looked to take a huge step this season and potentially make the ACC championship game, but some underwhelming losses to Florida State and Virginia spoiled that opportunity. Sam Howell and company will look for one last regular-season hoorah to cap off a pretty solid campaign.

Speaking of Howell, he has been a sight to watch over the past few months, putting up 3,129 passing yards, along with 26 touchdowns. He has been complemented beautifully by the running back duo of Javonte Williams and Michael Carter, who have combined for 23 touchdowns.

North Carolina once was dubbed with the best run defense in the nation, but that has been a different tale lately as they have allowed opponents to average 198 yards over the past three ACC games.

Miami and D’Eriq King will look to take advantage of the Tar Heel’s weakening defense. Along with King’s 467 rushing yards, he has thrown for 2,334 yards with 20 touchdowns. In his senior season, receiver Mike Harley has emerged as a reliable target for King as he has almost doubled his touchdown total from his previous three years.

The Hurricanes blanked Duke last time out, 48-0, forcing five turnovers including four fumbles. Miami will look to have another strong defensive day by containing Howell and UNC’s explosive run game, but the Tar Heels will pull off the upset to cap off their season.

Prediction: UNC wins 31-23

2.) No. 9 Georgia vs. No. 25 Missouri

This matchup has very little importance in terms of conference implications, but it will be an exciting game as Georgia aims to secure a New Year’s Six Bowl appearance, and Missouri will look to improve on their relatively surprising season.

Georgia comes into this contest aiming to match the longest winning streak of their season at three games.

Sophomore and USC transfer JT Daniels has led the Bulldogs to wins in his first two starts and looks to add to his 540 yards and six touchdowns against the Tigers. Georgia has underachieved on offense this season in all facets as they aim to finish off the season on a high.

The Bulldog’s calling card this season, just like any other, has been the ability to clog up the middle and prevent the rush. Devonte Wyatt and Malik Herring on the line with help from the linebacking unit will look to slow down Mizzou’s running back Larry Rountree and his 11 touchdowns.

Missouri enters this matchup posting their first above .500 conference record since 2014. They will seek to match their win total from last year in just nine games.

Connor Bazelak has been solid through the air in terms of yardage, but his inability to connect for touchdowns has been his kryptonite this season. The freshmen’s connection with his trustee receivers, six of which have over 200 receiving yards, will need to be on full display in order to upset the Bulldogs.

The Tigers have the potential to take this one from the Bulldogs, however, Georgia will not even give it a thought of allowing Missouri in front. Bulldogs will handle this one from the opening kick-off.

Prediction: Georgia wins 42-17

1.) LSU vs. No. 6 Florida

With LSU seeing a full reversal from last season’s National Championship, it will be Florida looking to be in their position this year. On the schedule, it may seem like an important game due to Florida’s ranking but they are not only in must-win mode but in a must-win-big mode as they hope to find a way into the College Football Playoff.

In their last game of the season, LSU’s sole focus is to knock off the Gators and spoil any chance for them to reach the top four.

The Tigers are coming off a beat down handed to them by the number one team in the nation, Alabama. LSU had no hope from the start as they went into halftime down 45-14 and then they were finished off, 55-17.

LSU had no business being in this game as they allowed the Crimson Tide to put up 650 yards of total offense. With the top-scoring offense just a year ago, the Tigers looked lifeless in their past two games as they only managed a mere 67 yards on the ground and a total of 24 points.

Florida should have this one in the bag and they need to win big as Kyle Trask and Kyle Pitts will strive for a key season-ending victory in this contest. The duo has connected for 11 touchdowns, while wide-outs Kadarius Toney and Trevon Grimes have both caught eight touchdown passes.

This offense will aim to expose the Tiger’s lowly passing defense as well as find a spark from the run game following a poor 17-yard rushing game against Tennessee last time out.

The only way LSU wins this game is if they find a way to put together a potent offense for 60 minutes of play against Florida’s mediocre defense. However, Florida will have a chip on their shoulder to show up and show out in their final game before the SEC championship game.

Prediction: Florida wins 45- 13