College Football Week 12 What to Watch: Virginia Tech looks to extend bowl streak to 27

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College Football Week 12 What to Watch: Virginia Tech looks to extend bowl streak to 27

Virginia Tech sits one win away from bowl eligibility, Penn State will look to rebound from its first loss and Navy has its sights set on the Cotton Bowl, but they will have to go through the Irish first.

Here is a breakdown of all the local action.

No. 9 Penn State vs. Indiana

When: 12 p.m. Saturday
Where: Beaver Stadium, University Park, Pa.
How to watch: ABC

Penn State is coming off its first loss of the year and now returns home to host a sneaky good Indiana team that enters this game with four straight wins. No one needs a rebound more than quarterback Sean Clifford who threw three interceptions against Minnesota after throwing only three interceptions total in the eight games prior. Indiana boasts the 34th best defense in the country and the 9th best pass defense.

Also in need of a rebound will be the Nittany Lions defense which yielded 461 yards to the Golden Gophers.  Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is out for the season, but Peyton Ramsey is not exactly coming cold off the bench. He has started in three games this season and played in seven.

The Hoosiers' offense has been able to find consistent success this season scoring at least 31 points in eight out of nine games.

No. 23 Navy at No. 16 Notre Dame

When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, Ind.
How to watch: NBC

There's always a lot on the line when these two traditional rivals meet, but that is especially true this year as both teams remain in the running for a New Year's Six bowl.

Both teams enter this game ranked for the first time since 1978.  Navy has won five straight and has its sights set on the Group of 5 teams' bid to the Cotton Bowl. Winning the AAC won't be enough, however, Navy has to beat out the other competitors in the rankings as well. That's what makes this game so critical.

A loss to Notre Dame won't affect the conference standings, but it will likely drop the Midshipmen out of the rankings next week. That means Navy will not only have to run the table and win the conference, but it will need help to make sure other Group of 5 teams, such as Boise State and Appalachian State remain below them in the final standings.

Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, Ga.
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington

A remarkable turnaround has Virginia Tech within one win of reaching bowl eligibility and extending their bowl streak to 27 years. The Hokies will hope to reach that on Saturday against Georgia Tech.

The Hokies are coming off of their best game of the season, a 36-17 win over Wake Forest. Hendon Hooker was back under center and continues to show signs of improvement every week. Suddenly the offense is running the ball with consistency. The defense has also come alive after being left for dead earlier in the season. Bud Foster's defense completely shut down the Deamon Deacons and now has what looks to be a much easier task against Georgia Tech.

It has been a tough season for the Yellow Jackets who are transitioning away from the option offense. Georgia Tech sits in last in the Coastal standings while Virginia Tech controls its destiny. Another win will put the Hokies one step closer to a winner-take-all showdown with Virginia in the season finale.

Game of the week: No. 13 Baylor vs. No. 10 Oklahoma

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: McLane Stadium, Waco, Texas
How to watch: ABC

While Jalen Hurts may have been grabbing all the headlines early in the season, there was no bigger reason for the Sooners' dominant start than the resurgence of the defense. Oklahoma's defense had been putrid in recent years and may have cost them a real shot at the national title after losing in the semifinal of the College Football Playoff in each of the last two seasons. The Sooners' defense had looked much improved until its past two games where it let up 48 points to Kansas State in a loss and 41 points to Iowa State in a narrow one-point victory. The Cyclones were just one two-point conversion away from handing Oklahoma its second straight loss.

Now the Sooners have to play undefeated Baylor who is looking to cement itself as the top team in the Big 12.

The Bears may be undefeated, but they have not been dominant by any stretch. Two of their wins came in multiple overtimes. They also have wins of eight points or fewer against Rice, Iowa State and West Virginia.

But still no losses.

This game may well prove to be Round 1 between these two teams. The Big 12 does not have divisions and instead the No. 1 and 2 teams will play in the conference championship. Right now, Baylor sits in first at 6-0 with Oklahoma second at 5-1. An Oklahoma loss could open the door for two-loss Texas, but an Oklahoma win will likely set things up for a rematch in December.

On NBC Sports Washington

Florida State vs. Alabama State

When: 12 p.m., Saturday
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Fla.
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington Plus

Other local teams

VMI at Army, 12 p.m. Saturday on CBSSN
Georgia at Bucknell, 1 p.m. Saturday
Morgan State vs. Virginia Lynchburg, 1 p.m. Saturday on ESPN3
William & Mary vs. Towson, 1 p.m. Saturday
Hampton vs. Kennesaw State, 1 p.m. Saturday on ESPN+
Norfolk State at Delaware State, 2 p.m. Saturday on ESPN3
James Madison vs. Richmond, 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Howard at Florida A&M, 4 p.m. Saturday on ESPN3


Syracuse comes to DC with drama swirling around Hoyas

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Syracuse comes to DC with drama swirling around Hoyas

Georgetown's season has flipped on its head. A once-promising season is now muddled in controversy and the unknown of what the future has in store.

But, as the Hoyas continue to navigate their way through troubled waters, there is one constant that remains: playing Syracuse. 

The Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry will enter it's 95th chapter on Saturday at Capital One Arena. One of the best rivalries in college basketball still burns despite how far apart the worlds of both teams are. 

Decades have come and gone - along with their once-great Big East conference - but once again Patrick Ewing is the leading face of the Hoyas and Jim Boeheim is coaching on the Orange's sideline. Both of whom are going through two of the toughest years during their time at their respective schools. 

Georgetown (6-3) is in the midst of turmoil within their program. Two of their top six players abruptly left the program in early December. One of which was their point guard, James Akinjo, the other was their sixth man off the bench, Josh LeBlanc. LeBlanc and two other current Hoyas are facing legal issues as they all have restraining orders from a Georgetown student. 

Despite the issues, the team has won two of their three biggest wins of the season since. Road wins over Oklahoma State and SMU gave Georgetown two top-100 KenPom victories that will go a long way for them in March. In Akinjo's absence, the current Big East Player of the Week Mac McClung has delivered masterful performances of 33 and 19 points respectively. 

Sputtering to a 5-4 (1-1 ACC) start, things have not been smooth for Syracuse either. All season the Orange have struggled to find their identity with no seniors and five freshmen on the roster. Their shooting has been inconsistent and ill-timed mistakes put them in early holes. Redshirt Junior Elijah Hughes and the coach's son Buddy Boddy Boeheim have provided most of the offense, accounting for 47% of their points this season. 

A rough start is not what Boeheim is accustomed to - before their win over Georgia Tech, 4-4 was their worst start in his 43-year tenure.

This won't be the Georgetown-Syracuse rivalry of the 1980s or have the importance the games did in the late 2000s in the old Big East. But when the Blue and Orange take the court the intensity will be there for both sides. Ewing will be erratic on the Georgetown bench and Boeheim, well is Boeheim. The fanbases' disdain for one other will fill Capital One and all that energy should percolate down to the players. 

This is the final big test of each team's nonconference slate, but another chapter in the great rivalry.


Army-Navy: Why the Midshipmen hold the edge and should snap Army's streak in Saturday's match-up

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Army-Navy: Why the Midshipmen hold the edge and should snap Army's streak in Saturday's match-up

The regular season isn’t over yet. There’s still one last piece of business to attend to and it may be the biggest game of the season. It’s time for Army-Navy.

This year will be the 120th meeting between these two storied rivals. While the bowl games have already been decided, there will be plenty on the line on Saturday besides just pride.

Here is everything you need to know for Army-Navy.

When: 3 p.m., Saturday
Where: Lincoln FInancial Field, Philadelphia, Pa.
How to watch: CBS

A quick season recap

Navy enters this game ranked No. 23 in the final College Football Playoff rankings after earning a 9-2 record. They were in the running for the Group of 5’s New Year’s Six bowl bid up until the final week before championship week when Memphis wrapped up the division. The Midshipmen’s lone blemishes on the season were a loss to the Tigers that, in the end, cost them the division and a one-sided defeat at the hands of Notre Dame. They will play the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31 against Kansas State, the only team with a win over a playoff team this season.

This will be the final game of the season for Army who is 5-7 after last week’s loss to Hawaii. But wait, if Army wins this game, won’t they have six wins? Yes, but the rule for bowl eligibility is not technically not six wins, rather a team has to win 50-percent of its schedule which Army will not. It has not been a bad season for Army so much as it has been a frustrating one. SIx of their seven losses have been by single digits including a three-point loss to Michigan in the Big House.

Army has won the last three meetings

After Navy enjoyed a 14-game win streak against the Black Knights, the longest streak between the two rivals, Army has responded with three straight wins of its own. All three games had a margin of victory of seven points or less, the narrowest of which was a 14-13 win in 2017.

The Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy is on the line

The Commander-in-Chief Trophy is the rivalry trophy shared between the three service academies. Army is the current holder of the trophy, but they cannot win it outright after losing to Air Force earlier in the year. Navy beat Air Force which means they have a chance to reclaim it with a win over the Black Knights.

Navy currently has the longest drought as the Midshipmen have not won the trophy since 2015. Air Force last had it in 2016.

Should Army win on Saturday, the academies will be in a three-way tie and Army will retain the trophy as the current holder.

This game will feature the top two rushing offenses in the nation

Both Army and Navy run the option offense which means a whole lot of running and not much passing offense. When you rely that much on the ground game, you better be able to do it well and both of these teams do.

The Black Knights enter this game with the second-best rushing offense in the country with 311.7 yards per game. There is only one team that averages more and that team just so happens to be their opponent. Navy boasts 360.8 yards per game on the ground, easily the top rushing attack in the nation.

Army and Navy also rank 129th and 128th respectively in passing offense so there is no real distinct advantage there. Offensively, these teams appear to be about as even as you can be. The advantage then is on defense where Navy has the edge.

The MIdshipmen have held their opponents to 109.7 yards per game on the ground this season, the 17th best rush defense in the nation. Army’s defense ranks 52nd with 144.1 yards per game.

Both teams are going to look good

Here is a look at the uniforms for each team. Army really brought it with the video. Nice touch.