Week 12 Lowe Down: Miami, Wisconsin carry on

Matt Lowe

November 18, 2017 at 4:49 am.

Nov 11, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier (12) runs in the end zone against Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 11, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier (12) runs in the end zone against Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Week 12 of The Lowe Down.

“Motivation is simple. You eliminate those who are not motivated.” – Lou Holtz said while coaching Notre Dame.

This time of year, it’s about which team wants it more. All the practice hours. All the strength and conditioning. All the film study. The countless hits. The pain. The sweat. The tears. The adjustments.

Just win a couple more (for the teams in the mix) and get to the Big Dance — as in the College Football Playoff.

At the moment, I think Oklahoma is playing great. I also think Auburn has a lot of momentum. And I think Miami is severely underrated. But that’s okay. They’ll get a shot to prove how good they are — like everyone else — in the next three weeks.

This week’s slate of games is about as interesting as a game of 52-card pickup. But don’t underestimate that power of pressure. It can be an animal for certain teams this time of year.

The yearly record is 110-44. To the games we go…

Saturday, November 18

Virginia (6-4) at No. 3 Miami (9-0) 11:00 a.m. CT

The Turnover Chain. The swagger. The flair for the dramatic. Ah, welcome back Miami. You’ve been missed. Now, just don’t do what Ohio State did a couple of weeks ago and get whipped following a big win. Virginia is a capable team (it beat a solid Georgia Tech squad two weeks ago) and could give Mark Richt’s crew a game if the surging Hurricanes are still dwelling on last week’s blowout of Notre Dame. But if the Wahoos want to throw a monkey wrench into the College Football Playoff standings, they will have to run the ball effectively. And I just don’t see that happening against Miami’s terrific front seven.
The Lowe Down: Miami 27, Virginia 13

No. 12 TCU (8-2) at Texas Tech (5-5) 11:00 a.m. CT
TCU controls its own destiny as far as the Big 12 title game is concerned but a loss in Lubbock would put Oklahoma State back in line to play Oklahoma for the conference title. With that said, expect the Horned Frogs to face a stiff test against the Red Raiders considering its top offensive players — quarterback Kenny Hill and tailback Darius Anderson — will not be available due to injuries suffered in last week’s loss to the Sooners. Hill, who has passed for 2,279 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for another 194 yards and three scores, is out due to a concussion, and Anderson will miss the rest of the season due to a foot injury. Ouch! With that said, look for Texas Tech to be in line for the upset behind the play of quarterback Nic Shimonek, who is fourth in the country in passing yards.
The Lowe Down: Texas Tech 31, TCU 28

No. 24 Michigan (8-2) at No. 5 Wisconsin (10-0) 11:00 a.m. CT
After getting blown out at Penn State, Michigan has rebounded to win three in a row. But if the Wolverines want to pull an upset in Madison, they will need a big performance from true freshman quarterback Brandon Peters. Peters, who has completed 28 of 46 passes for 329 yards and four touchdowns in four starts, is a classic drop-back passer who can deliver a nice ball when given time. But time in the pocket will likely be limited squaring off against a Wisconsin defense that’s one of the best team’s in America at pressuring the quarterback (35 sacks). Michigan’s been one of nation’s top teams defending the run this season, but the Wolverines front seven will need to be on point against a balanced Badgers’ offensive attack, which is led by quarterback Alex Hornibrook, dynamic tailback Jonathan Taylor (1,525 yards rushing; 12 TDs) and rangy tight end Troy Fumagalli. If Michigan can limit Taylor on the ground, it may have a shot at the upset.
The Lowe Down: Wisconsin 23, Michigan 17

Kentucky (7-3) at No. 7 Georgia (9-1) 2:30 p.m. CT
Despite the blowout loss to Auburn last week, Georgia is still in great shape to make the College Football Playoff if it wins out. But let me just say this: the Bulldogs seem like a squad that’s limited offensively when it comes to the passing attack, which will not bode well playing either Alabama or Auburn — again — in the SEC Championship Game. Georgia is a great team, and things kind of snowballed on Kirby Smart’s bunch a weekend ago. But the Bulldog coaching staff would be wise to hone in on the passing attack over the next two games. And that starts against Kentucky, in Athens, on Senior Day.
The Lowe Down: Georgia 35, Kentucky 10

UAB (7-3) at Florida (3-6) 3:00 p.m. CT *****Upset Special
UAB is one of the best stories in college football and an upset of Florida would only add to the resume of likely coach of the year, Bill Clark, while also adding to the building legend that is the 2017 Blazers. UAB gets it done offensively behind a potent ground attack — paced by dual-threat quarterback A.J. Ederly and bruising tailback Spencer Brown (1,177 yards and 10 TDs rushing) — that ranks 28th nationally (210.5 ypg.). The Blazers also play sound defense, which is a hallmark of a Clark-coached team. And look for that Clark-coached team to down a coach-less team in the Swamp.
The Lowe Down: UAB 26, Florida 22

No. 20 LSU (7-3) at Tennessee (4-6) 6:00 p.m. CT
Butch Jones is no longer at Tennessee, which means Brady Hoke, the former Michigan head man, will be the interim coach of the Vols for the remainder of the year. But in the grand scheme of things, does that matter? No, it doesn’t. But it could for one Saturday simply because a change can be good. Now it’s left to be determined who will be the Vols’ starting QB, but look for freshman Will McBride, a dual-threat, to get the nod. McBride (16 of 32 passes for 139 yards, a score and two interceptions; 63 rushing yards) didn’t have an eye-popping debut last week against Missouri by any means, but he showed toughness, which is what Tennessee needs. LSU will play without starting defensive end Arden Key (knee) and inside linebacker Donnie Alexander (shoulder/neck) so that should benefit McBride. But I’m interested to see if Hoke will let talented tailback John Kelly, who has been underutilized all season long, do his thing. If so, the Vols could hang around.
The Lowe Down: LSU 30, Tennessee 20

UCLA (5-5) at No. 11 USC (9-2) 7:00 p.m. CT
When I think about this game, I think about athletes. And I mean great athletes. But if it weren’t for USC quarterback Sam Darnold, running back Ronald Jones and wideout Deontay Burnett and UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen and wideout Jordan Lasley, there wouldn’t be a whole lot to write home about, as far as what I have seen — and as far as potential NFL talent is concerned. Neither team plays strong defense so expect a Darnold vs. Rosen showdown … in a nationally-watched TV game. But, strangely, a win by the Trojans would keep the pulse alive for a potential playoff berth.
The Lowe Down: USC 52, UCLA 28

California (5-5) at No. 22 Stanford (7-3) 7:00 p.m. CT
If there’s one head coach around the country that could be somewhat underrated it’s Cal’s Justin Wilcox. Wilcox, who was a DC at Boise State, Tennessee, Washington, USC and Wisconsin, before being named the head coach of the Bears, has done a great job reviving a program that was a complete dumpster fire last year. Stanford is playing well, with Heisman candidate Bryce Love carrying the running load and K.J. Costello emerging as a playmaker at quarterback. But look for this to be a tight game due to Wilcox’s coaching prowess and the underrated duo of quarterback Ross Bowers and tailback Patrick Laird, who is averaging nearly six yards per carry, spearheading the Bears offensive attack.
The Lowe Down: Stanford 34, Cal 27

In other Saturday games:

Mercer 10 at No. 1 Alabama 48

No. 15 UCF 38 at Temple 31

SMU 20 at No. 21 Memphis 37

Texas 23 at West Virginia 27

No. 16 Mississippi State 44 at Arkansas 16

Minnesota 14 at No. 23 Northwestern 29

La.-Monroe 14 at No. 6 Auburn 57

Pitt 28 at Virginia Tech 45

Hawaii 28 at Utah State 35

Navy 24 at No. 8 Notre Dame 42

Kansas State 20 at No. 13 Oklahoma State 48

No. 4 Oklahoma 55 at Kansas 17

Army 33 at North Texas *****Upset Special

Texas A&M 33 at Ole Miss 37

No. 19 NC State 37 at Wake Forest 29 *****Upset Special

Air Force 20 at No. 25 Boise State 34

Utah 13 at No. 18 Washington 38