Week 12 Friday games feature Colorado/Washington State, South Florida/UTSA
We’ve got two games in very different places for Friday Night Lights: College Football Edition in Week 12. South Florida heads to San Antonio to take on UTSA and Colorado treks up to Pullman to take on Washington State. These are both later games for the East Coast crowd, as the UTSA game doesn’t start until 9 p.m. ET and Wazzu kicks off at 10:30.
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Bowl eligibility is still on the table for both Colorado and Washington State heading into this one, but the climb has to be done up a steep and jagged mountain. This game could go either way, but Colorado visits Utah next week and Washington State goes to Seattle to take on Washington in the Apple Cup, so both teams will be sizable underdogs.
Washington State’s season has really gone off the rails. The Cougars opened 4-0 with a way more impressive win over Oregon State than the 38-35 score would indicate, but they’ve dropped six in a row since. The worst part about it is that they’ve only faced one ranked team in that span, losing the last three games to Arizona State, Stanford, and Cal.
Junior QB Cameron Ward posted a 13/0 TD/INT ratio over the first four games and has a 7/5 ratio over the last six. He’s also been sacked 23 times in that span. He’s still had three games with at least 315 passing yards, but Washington State has struggled to consistently score. Ward has 197 pass attempts over his last four games, as the Cougars have no offensive balance whatsoever. They’ve rushed for three yards per carry, with Ward leading the way in attempts with 99 for just 136 yards.
Colorado’s season has fallen apart after a 3-0 start as well, but at least they’ve played a tougher schedule while losing six of their last seven. Much like Wazzu, protecting the QB has been a major problem. Shedeur Sanders has been sacked 48 times and that doesn’t even take into account all of the hurries and knockdowns. Through it all, he has a 69.5% completion rate and a 26/3 TD/INT ratio.
Teams aren’t the least bit worried about Colorado’s running game, which has mustered all of 2.3 yards per carry. That means we’re going to see a whole lot of throwing in this FS1 telecast, which has a good chance at leading to points.
Washington State has only registered 17 sacks on the season and only nine in the last six games. Sanders has taken better care of the ball than Ward lately. I’m also not really sure what the mindset is around the Washington State program, where maybe Jake Dickert isn’t really the guy to lead this team.
I’ll take Colorado plus the points here.
Pick: Colorado +4.5
Other Friday Game
South Florida at UTSA (-16, 67): Both games on Friday feature totals in the 60s. South Florida has given up 56 or more points in three of the last five games and UTSA has gotten its offensive swagger back as QB Frank Harris has been better able to manage some early-season injuries, including a case of turf toe.
During their current six-game winning streak, the Roadrunners have averaged 39.7 points per game. They’ve also allowed at least 20 points in four of those six games, including 39 to North Texas a couple games ago. On the whole, the defense has played a lot better than what we saw earlier this season, but USF QB Byrum Brown could be in line for a really big bag from another school this offseason. He’s accounted for 27 total touchdowns and just shy of 3,200 yards of offense, with 2,538 through the air and 659 on the ground.
Despite Brown’s heroics, these two teams rank 70th and 71st in yards per play. UTSA is 32nd in YPP on defense, though, while USF is 125th. Outside of the game against Tennessee, UTSA has only allowed 4.82 YPP to unranked foes. The Bulls have allowed 6.98 YPP to AAC opponents.
No bet from me in this one, but we’ve got two good QBs and that should make for an exciting tilt.