College football’s regular season has three weeks left, including championship weekend.
Week 12 is all about Oklahoma. The Sooners state is the site for three big games, all with major postseason implications.
Elsewhere, the Big Ten’s game of the year will be played in Columbus, and Michigan is not invited. Virginia Tech says goodbye to one of the greatest coaches in college football history. Plus, several division titles could be handed out.
Things to watch for in Week 12 of the college football season.
The epicenter of college football this weekend is the state of Oklahoma.
Three FBS games across the state feature five ranked teams and could result in the most important Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game ever played.
On Saturday in Norman, the seventh-ranked Sooners host No. 11 TCU.
Later in the day in Stillwater, No. 4 Oklahoma State faces No. 10 Baylor.
If the Sooners and Cowboys both win, next week’s Bedlam game at Oklahoma State will determine the Big 12 champion and maybe a spot in the College Football Playoff. If either the Horned Frogs or Bears win, then their game the Friday after Thanksgiving will still be relevant in the conference and national championship races.
The road teams both have quarterback issues. TCU star Trevone Boykin’s status is uncertain because of a sore ankle. Baylor freshman Jarrett Stidham is questionable, which would leave the Bears with a third-stringer starting.
Over in Tulsa, the Golden Hurricane host No. 17 Navy and record-breaking quarterback Keenan Reynolds. The Midshipmen are trying to stay unbeaten in the American Athletic Conference and setup a possible winner-take-all game with No. 13 Houston next week.
A victory for the Middies also keeps them one of the favorites to earn a bid to a New Year’s Six game.
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No. 17 LSU heads to No. 25 Mississippi looking to break a two-game losing streak and maybe take some heat off coach Les Miles.
A report from The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge this week stated Miles could need a strong finish to keep his job, remarkable considering the Tigers have never won fewer than eight games in a season since he took over in 2005. LSU won the national title in 2007 and played in the BCS title game after the 2011 season.
But such is life in the SEC, where almost all the coaches make at least $4 million and there is little patience for championship droughts.
The Tigers haven’t won an SEC title since 2011. They also haven’t lost three straight games since 1998.
THAT OTHER TEAM FROM UP NORTH
While Michigan has been muddling through some tough times, the biggest game in the Big Ten over the last couple seasons has been Ohio State against Michigan State.
The ninth-ranked Spartans and No. 2 Buckeyes meet at Ohio Stadium. Both teams have national championship hopes.
Two years ago Michigan State ended Ohio State’s perfect season and kept Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes out of the national title game with a victory in the Big Ten championship.
Realignment then put the Buckeyes and Spartans in the same division last year and Ohio State won in East Lansing, Michigan. It was a victory that launched a national title run for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State has won 23 straight games.
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer will coach his final game at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg against No. 12 North Carolina.
Beamer, the winningest coach in Virginia Tech history, has announced he will retire after this season. The Hokies (5-5) need one victory to ensure a bowl bid for the 23rd consecutive season. If they can’t get it this week, the Hokies plays at Virginia next week. They have won 11 straight against the Cavaliers.
— Stanford can clinch the Pac-12 North with a win over Cal or an Oregon loss to USC.
— Iowa can clinch the Big Ten West with a victory against Purdue or a Northwestern win at Wisconsin.
— North Carolina can wrap up the Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal with a win or Pitt loss to Louisville.
— Alabama, which plays Charleston Southern, would clinch the SEC West if Ole Miss losses.
AP College Football site: https://collegefootball.ap.org/
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter/ralphDrussoAP