College Football Watching Guide: Texas A&M, Texas face big opportunities in Week 13

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Early Window

Tune in For: Small College Playoffs

There are only two meaningful games at 1 p.m. or earlier in the state this weekend, and both are small college games. Tarleton State faces off against Texas A&M-Commerce in the first round of the Division-II playoffs at 1 p.m., and UMHB begins its title defense with a matchup against the University of Redlands. 

The fun part about this slate? All three teams in the playoffs are legitimate national title contenders. UMHB is obviously the leader as defending champs, but many rating systems have Tarleton as the best team in America. TAMUC has championship pedigree too. Anything can happen this weekend. 

Midday Window

Tune in For: Texas at Baylor, 2:30 p.m. on FS1

This is a fascinating game for multiple reasons. Baylor needs to rebound from a devastating loss one week ago against Oklahoma, while Texas needs this game just to stay alive for a Big 12 championship. 

There are multiple other levels to this game too. Charlie Brewer and Sam Ehlinger were high school rivals. Matt Rhule and Tom Herman were hired the same coaching cycle. These are two schools just 100 miles down the road from each other. 

Whichever team loses this game will be left reeling and ultimately will lose favor in the eyes of the nation. It’s a big matchup. 

Keep an Eye On: Texas A&M at Georgia, 2:30 p.m. on CBS

The Aggies have another shot against a team in the top five, and this is perhaps the most favorable matchup of the group. 

Texas A&M’s biggest strength over the past two years has been rush defense. Georgia is built to do nothing inventive – just run. The Aggies have the bulk in the front seven and explosiveness on offense to make this interesting. 

Put this game on your second screen, but be ready to switch over to it if the game stays close heading into the second half. 

Find a Third Screen: SMU at Navy, 2:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

This midday slot is loaded. The Mustangs are hoping to rebound from back-to-back poor performances against Memphis and ECU to keep their conference title hopes alive. The bye week came at a perfect time for the SMU defense. Navy is always a fun team to watch, especially since the option has started going out of vogue. Can SMU handle it? 

Check Your Phone: 

  • UTEP at New Mexico State (3 p.m. on Flo Football): This will be a hotly-contested rivalry game, but unfortunately is only featured on a pay-per-view platform. It should be a fun game, though, and perhaps the Miners’ best shot at a win. 

  • North Texas at Rice (2:30 p.m. on NFL Network): The Mean Green need to start playing better football to make a bowl. Luckily, Mason Fine is a terrible matchup for the Owls’ struggling passing defense. 

  • Texas State at App State (1:30 p.m. on ESPN+): This game technically exists. 

Late Window

Tune in For: Houston at Tulsa, 6:30 p.m. on ESPNU

This might not be the most meaningful game, but it’s a preview for what we should expect from Houston next season. The Cougars have played a number of excellent teams close. This is the moment when we figure out whether the Coogs just have Rice syndrome, or if they’re actually close to competitiveness. 

Tulsa has done almost the same thing, especially now since they have a quality quarterback in Zach Smith. The Golden Hurricane desperately need to win this game to keep Phil Montgomery’s job alive. Stakes abound for these two programs. 

Keep an Eye On: Texas Tech vs. Kansas State (6 p.m. on FS1)

The Red Raiders have been snakebit almost this whole season. There’s a legitimate case that about five plays have turned this from an 8-win team into one that could miss a bowl. 

However, Matt Wells and staff have a chance to turn some of that around against a good Kansas State team. These are two coaching staffs that have done a tremendous job in their first seasons. This is a great opportunity for Wells and his roster to prove that they’re up to the challenge of coaching against the many-time champs. 

Check Your Phone: 

  • UTSA vs. FAU (5 p.m. on ESPN+): This is a signature opportunity for Frank Wilson to save his job. The Roadrunners don’t have any wins over even decent teams, but getting one could prove that the gradual improvement is happening in San Antonio. Tune in if this game is close late. 

  • TCU at Oklahoma (7 p.m. on FOX): If this game is close after the half, tune in right away. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see that happening.

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