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College football Week 12 viewing guide: Ohio State vs. Michigan State and hot seat watch

Our local of the week is from Largo, and Timmy McClain is having a huge impact at USF.
Miami coach Manny Diaz is on the hot seat when his Hurricanes face Virginia Tech.
Miami coach Manny Diaz is on the hot seat when his Hurricanes face Virginia Tech. [ GERRY BROOME | AP ]
Published Nov. 19

Viewing guide

Lamest time window: Prime time, but there are big games all day.

Noon: The loser of No. 7 Michigan State’s trip to No. 5 Ohio State (ABC) is out of the College Football Playoff hunt.

3:30: No. 21 Arkansas at No. 2 Alabama (CBS) is fine. But SMU at No. 3 Cincinnati (ESPN) is more interesting and more important.

4: Dan Mullen desperately needs a win at Missouri (SEC Network).

Related: 4 things Florida coach Dan Mullen can show for Gators future against Missouri

7:30: No. 4 Oregon vs. No. 24 Utah (ABC) loses luster because the teams will probably meet again in two weeks for the Pac-12 title. Instead, see how Manny Diaz and the Hurricanes respond against Virginia Tech and its interim coach (ACC Network).

10:30: Oregon State reaching bowl eligibility is an impressive feat. Beating Arizona State (ESPN) would be, too.

Local of the week

Brandon Drayton played at Largo High before becoming a valued contributor at Marshall.
Brandon Drayton played at Largo High before becoming a valued contributor at Marshall. [ Times (2015) ]

Marshall safety Brandon Drayton (Largo High)

The redshirt senior had a career-high 14 tackles last week against Alabama Birmingham. He’ll look to build on that strong performance against Charlotte to help keep the Thundering Herd’s division title hopes alive.

Eyes on the Irish

Kyren Williams and the Irish are still in the College Football Playoff mix.
Kyren Williams and the Irish are still in the College Football Playoff mix. [ MIKE CAUDILL | AP ]

Don’t forget about Notre Dame as a playoff contender. The Irish are ranked eighth by the selection committee with three teams ahead of them almost guaranteed a loss (two from Michigan/Michigan State/Ohio State and the loser of the presumptive Georgia-Alabama SEC championship). That means Notre Dame will be looking for a win and style points against Georgia Tech and its embattled coach, Geoff Collins.

GameDay breakdown

Michigan State and coach Mel Tucker are reportedly working on a $95 million contract extension.
Michigan State and coach Mel Tucker are reportedly working on a $95 million contract extension. [ MICHAEL CONROY | AP ]

Michigan State coach Mel Tucker can (somewhat) justify the reported 10-year, $95 million extension that’s in the works when his No. 7 Spartans face No. 5 Ohio State. Michigan State upset Urban Meyer’s No. 2 Buckeyes in 2015 in a game that helped the Spartans make the College Football Playoff. If it’s going to happen again, running back Kenneth Walker will have to dominate. Good luck against a revamped Buckeyes defense that hasn’t allowed more than 113 rushing yards in their last eight games.

Related: Is Florida staff shakeup enough for Dan Mullen to turn Gators around?

By the numbers: Week 12

USF's offense has improved drastically since Timmy McClain became the Bulls' starting quarterback.
USF's offense has improved drastically since Timmy McClain became the Bulls' starting quarterback. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

31.4 — USF’s scoring average when quarterback Timmy McClain starts

11.3 — USF’s scoring average when McClain doesn’t start

5.22 —Yards per rush by Missouri (15th nationally)

4.39 — Yards per rush allowed by Florida (No. 91 nationally)

2010 —The last time Wrigley Field hosted a college football game until this weekend, when Northwestern plays Purdue

3 — Times Michigan State has beaten Ohio State since 2011. That’s the most of any Big Ten team

45 — Yards needed for Miami’s Charleston Rambo to become the fifth 1,000-yard receiver in Hurricanes history.

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