The first week of December in college football is typically reserved for conference championship games but in 2020 we get something close to a full slate with over 50 games.
The Saturday schedule is highlighted by a Texas A&M vs. Auburn showdown in which the No. 5-ranked Aggies will look to prove their worth as a College Football Playoff team. No. 12 Indiana will also play No. 16 Wisconsin, though that match-up has lost a bit of its luster with Hoosiers QB Michael Penix done for the year.
College football Week 14 odds
Saturday, Dec. 5: Top games to watch
No. 5 Texas A&M at Auburn – 12 p.m. ET
It’s been seven weeks since Texas A&M has played a team with a winning record (three of those weeks were spent idle). Outside of a 45-3 blowout of South Carolina, the Aggies have a +12.7 point margin over that time (Mississippi State, Arkansas, LSU). They do have an impressive win over Florida from Week 3, but weren’t competitive against Alabama the week prior. Since then, A&M hasn’t been tested.
Auburn has a similar story as it wasn’t competitive against Alabama but has played the rest of its schedule relatively tough. The Tigers have a +2.1 point margin on the season themselves (57th) and have been exasperatingly inefficient on offense, ranking 53rd among eligible teams. That’s lower than 3-7 Louisville, 2-7 Arkansas State, and 2-4 Michigan. Auburn does provide Texas A&M with one of their tougher challenges on the season, though, and the Aggies have a chance to prove their elite ranking.
A&M is currently a favorite.
No. 12 Indiana at No. 16 Wisconsin – 3:30 p.m. ET
It’s the only matchup of the week between two ranked teams, but it’s not the same showdown it appears to be on paper. The spread in favor of Wisconsin tips that sportsbooks doesn’t see Indiana as an even opponent. The Hoosiers lost star quarterback Michael Penix Jr. to an ACL tear in the middle of a dream season. Penix was coming off the back of a 500-yard, five touchdown performance against Ohio State – a game in which Indiana took the Buckeyes down to the wire.
Wisconsin had a major letdown their last time out, scoring just seven points against Northwestern. The Hoosiers boast the nation’s 36th-ranked pass defense, but face redshirt freshman star Graham Mertz, who has eight passing touchdowns through his first three games as a starter. Unfortunately without Penix, Indiana will likely see a regression and their ideal season may be out the window. Should they come away with the upset Saturday, it could get them back on track to challenge for the Big Ten title.
Fresno State at Nevada – 10:30 p.m. ET
It’s a battle of one-loss teams, with Fresno State (3-1) carrying a three-game win streak. Nevada (5-1) is coming off its first loss of the season to Hawaii – the team that handed Fresno their loss, as well. That adds plenty of intrigue to this game between a pair of the Mountain West’s best teams. Wolfpack quarterback Carson Strong has been nearly perfect this season, posting 1973 yards, 16 touchdowns, and just two picks.
Washington transfer Jake Haener has been right at home with Fresno State, throwing for 1186 yards in just four games, including 442 yards and four touchdowns a week ago. Both team defenses have been solid defending the pass this year, with Fresno State (189 passing yards allowed per game) standing 20th and Nevada (199.5 passing yards allowed per game) standing 26th. Whichever team can get the best of the opposing pass defense should come away with this one.
Nevada is currently a home favorite.