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College Football Week 12 Preview: Michael Penix Jr, Washington Travel to Oregon State in Pac-12 Clash

With the 2023 college football season just two weeks away, there is still potential for absolute chaos in the world. College Football Playoffs (CFP).

With each of the Power Five conferences having a team — and about two — that can make a case for the CFP at the end of the year, the risk of hard feelings is a real possibility.

Bo Nix, #10 of the Oregon Ducks, celebrates a touchdown pass in the first half during a game against the USC Trojans at Autzen Stadium on November 11, 2023 in Eugene, Oregon. (Brandon Sloter/Sports Image/Getty Images)

In the Pac-12, Oregon and Washington both have paths to the CFP, while the SEC still has undefeated Georgia and one-loss Alabama that gets better every week. The Big 12 has Texas with one loss, which has the advantage of beating the Crimson Tide in Week 2, and State of Florida remains the ACC’s only hope of making a playoff team as it looks to finish the year undefeated.


The Big Ten has Undefeated Michigan and Ohio State, who will face off in Week 13 with the Big Ten East title on the line.

Chaos could happen college footballbut the Week 12 roster may not be the one that created it.

Let’s take a look at some games to know about on Saturday. CFP rankings are reflected below.

No. 17 Arizona vs. No. 22 Utah – 2:30 p.m. ET

Even though the game in Tucson, Arizona will have no impact on the CFP, it is still a game worth tuning into.

The Wildcats have won four games in a row – including three straight victories against top 25 teams – after beating Deion Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes in Week 11.

Head coach Jedd Fisch quickly turned around a program that won just one game in its first season and now has his Wildcats ranked for the first time since 2017.

Arizona is doing this with quarterback Noah Fifita, who has now thrown for 16 touchdowns and four interceptions this year.

Noah Fifita plays against Colorado

Arizona Wildcats quarterback Noah Fifita, #1, returns to the pocket against the Colorado Buffaloes in the fourth quarter at Folsom Field on November 11, 2023 in Boulder, Colorado. (Matthieu Stockman/Getty Images)


Utah enters Saturday’s contest losing two of its last three games after facing Washington all the way in Week 11.

Even though he allowed 457 total yards to the Huskies, the Utes Defense is still second in the Pac-12 in yards allowed (299.8) and third in points allowed per game (17.8).

No. 18 Tennessee vs. No. 1 Georgia – 3:30 p.m. ET

Last season, the game between Georgia and Tennessee was for all the marbles as both teams entered the game undefeated.

The 2023 game doesn’t carry the same weight, but Tennessee has a chance to play spoiler.

The Vols are coming off a bad loss to Missouri, losing 36-7, as the Vols turned the ball over three times. Josh Heupel’s teamone of the best rushing attacks in the country, rushed for just 83 yards against Missouri.

Josh Heupel before playing at Missouri

Tennessee Volunteers head coach Josh Heupel before an SEC football game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Missouri Tigers on November 11, 2023 at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri. (Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

They now host the second-best rushing defense in the SEC at Neyland Stadium.

The Bulldogs are once again atop the CFP standings after back-to-back wins against their top 15 opponents.


Against No. 9 Ole Miss on Saturday, Georgia racked up 611 yards – 300 on the ground and 311 through the air. Their victory vaulted them over Ohio State in the College Football Playoff rankings and was Ohio State’s 27th straight victory. The Kirby Smart team.

Kirby Smart watches before playing at Ole Miss

Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart looks on before the college football game between the Ole Miss Rebels and the Georgia Bulldogs on November 11, 2023 at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. (Jeffrey Vest/Sportswire Icon via Getty Images)

The Bulldogs have won six straight against Tennessee and the last three games at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.

“The layout of the stadium is unique. It’s really vertical,” Smart said Wednesday during the SEC coaches’ teleconference, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. “It’s like they’re right on top of you. It’s right there, on you. Lots of fans, very passionate fans. And that makes it difficult.”

No. 11 Oregon State vs. No. 5 Washington – 7:30 p.m. ET

The marquee match of the weekend will take place in Corvallis, Oregon.

Washington can secure a spot in the Pac-12 title game with a win, while Oregon State must win and have Arizona lose one of its last two games to play in Las Vegas.

This is a matchup between two very good quarterbacks Michael Penix Jr. and DJ Uiagalelei.

Michael Penix Jr. plays against Utah

Michael Penix Jr., #9 of the Washington Huskies, in action during the fourth quarter against the Utah Utes at Husky Stadium on November 11, 2023 in Seattle. The Washington Huskies won 35-28. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)


Penix has the second-best chance to win the Heisman, while Uiagalelei threw 20 touchdowns and just four interceptions in his first season with Oregon State.

Washington’s explosive offense will be on display against an Oregon State defense that allowed 40 points to Cal and 38 points to Washington State earlier in the year. The Huskies are averaging 503.9 yards and 378 yards per game through the air, which is best in the country. The Beavers defense allows 331.1 yards per game, fourth best in the Pac-12.

For the Beavers, running back Damien Martinez has totaled 1,024 yards and seven touchdowns this year, and scored a school-record four touchdowns against Stanford in Week 11.

A view of Reser Stadium

An interior view of Reser Stadium during the first half of the game between the Oregon State Beavers and the San Diego State Aztecs at Reser Stadium on September 16, 2023 in Corvallis, Oregon. (Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

“There’s still an opportunity for Oregon State, if they win, to put themselves out there the way I see it, knowing they’re going to bring everything they have,” the Oregon head coach said. Washington, Kalen DeBoer, according to CBS Sports. “They are playing at home and they are playing well and they have good momentum and we realize we are going to get the most out of it.”

Saturday will take place the 107th meeting between the two schools.

Iowa State vs. No. 7 Texas – 8 p.m. ET

Texas is set to leave the Big 12 after the season as it takes its athletic programs to the SEC.

The move obviously caused the remaining Big 12 teams to circle their schedules when they face the Longhorns, and the 6-4 Cyclones are no different.

Tuesday, Iowa State Offensive lineman Jarrod Hufford kicked off Texas’ week by pouring gasoline on the fire.

“It’ll be a hell of a parting gift,” Hofford noted, according to Outkick. “They’re going to come here on senior night in the dark. I don’t think they really know what’s in store for them. We’ve beaten them four of the last five times at home. They don’t know that. We don’t. “We don’t have a good record here. We have a very bad taste in our mouth about them, we definitely want to send them to the SEC with a loss on our side.

Jarrod Hufford plays against Cincinnati

Iowa State OL Jarrod Hufford, #54, during a college football game between the Iowa State Cyclones and the Cincinnati Bearcats on October 14, 2023 at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati. (James Black/Sportswire Icon via Getty Images)


“Since I got here, it’s been Iowa and Texas. That program, just like Oklahoma, they recruit all the 5-star recruits and have all the nicest things in the world and they just think they don’t stink. Just humans and that’s it.” how I see them. These are just people who have such high egos that need to be controlled. “

Hofford was almost right in his assessment. Iowa State has Texas beaten three of the last four times they played at Jack Trice Stadium.

However, this is the best team in Texas under head coach Steve Sarkisian, who has his Longhorns in the CFP mix.

Quinn Ewers passes against TCU

Texas Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers, #3, appears to pass during a game between the Texas Longhorns and TCU Horned Frogs college football game on November 11, 2023 at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. (Chris Leduc/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Texas is second in the Big 12 in yards allowed per game (337.1) behind only Iowa State, which will look to slow down Quinn Ewers and the Texas offense. Ewers returned last week from a shoulder injury as Texas held off TCU on the road.

“It’s getting better every day,” Ewers said. “I’m just going to keep getting treatment and keep riding.”

While Texas escaped Fort Worth with a victory, it did not achieve victory without suffering a major blow.

Star running back Jonathon Brooks tore his ACL and is out for the season. Brooks led Texas with 1,139 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns and was seventh in the nation in yards per game (113.9).

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