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Start vs. Sit: Who to Play, Who to Bench Week 13

Chris Morgan

Chris Morgan

Chris Morgan is a writer of sports, pop culture, and humor articles, a book author, a podcaster, and a fan of all Detroit sports teams.

PLAYERS TO START

Chuckie Keeton, QB, Utah State (vs. Idaho)

Louisiana Tech and its high powered offense got the publicity, but last week Utah State actually bested the Bulldogs to seize control of the WAC on the strength of four touchdowns by Chuckie Keeton, two passing and two rushing. On the season, Keeton has thrown 25 touchdowns and rushed for six, and this week the Aggies take on Idaho, perhaps the worst team in the nation. Keeton should end the regular season with a bang.

Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech (vs. Virginia)

It has been a season to forget for Thomas and the Hokies, but they have the chance to at least score a victory over their intrastate rivals. Thomas only has 16 touchdown passes to 14 interceptions, but he's rushed for eight more scores, and this is a favorable matchup. The Cavaliers have given up 40 and 37 points in their last two games, which bodes well for Thomas.

Latavius Murray, RB, UCF (vs. UAB)

Murray missed three games earlier this season, and in his first week back he was eased back into action but since then Murray has been on a tear. He's scored at least one touchdown in six straight games, and he's totaled 13 touchdowns in those games. Murray certainly seems to be at full strength and capable of shouldering the load, and he has a nice matchup against lowly UAB this week to help him continue to make up for that lost time.

George Winn, RB, Cincinnati (vs. South Florida)

The Bearcats were stifled at home last week by Rutgers, knocking them out of the Big East title race, and Winn struggled as well, only managing 35 yards on 11 carries, with one 30-yard reception. Despite that setback, Winn has rushed 184 times for 1,015 yards and nine touchdowns this season, and Cincinnati ranks 22nd in rushing yards per game in FBS. Winn should be able to rebound in this home game against a South Florida team that has had a rough year.

Bryan Underwood, WR, NC State (vs. Boston College)

Underwood started the season on an impressive run, scoring at least one touchdown in eight straight games. However, he hasn't scored in three straight contests, and last week he was held to two receptions for 30 yards while teammate Tobias Palmer had seven receptions for 219 yards and three scores. Frankly, there are a few good options on this high-level passing offense, especially against a lousy Boston College team. If you are to pick one, however, given his 10 scores on the season, Underwood is the top pick.

Justin Hardy, WR, East Carolina, (vs. Marshall)

With these two offenses, it wouldn't be surprising to see East Carolina and Marshall combine for more than 800 yards passing. However, the Pirates are at home, which can't hurt, and Hardy is clearly their top receiving option. He's caught 67 passes on the season for 875 yards and 10 touchdowns, and he has only failed to find the end zone twice in 11 games. With both teams slinging the ball around, Hardy should get plenty of chances to rack up some major numbers.

Dri Archer, RB, Kent State (vs. Ohio)

A 10.3-yard rushing average is always somewhat impressive, but when it is done over 125 carries, that's eye popping. When that same player also leads the team in receiving, well then how can you resist? That describes Archer, who has also tallied 18 total touchdowns on the season. Ohio is a pretty good team, though it failed to live up to its early season hype, but there are few matchups that should give you pause when it comes to Archer, and this is not one of them.

PLAYERS TO SIT

Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson (vs. South Carolina)

It may seem a bit odd to suggest sitting a player the week after he racked up eight touchdowns and 529 total yards, but the Tigers aren't playing North Carolina State this week. Yes, Clemson is at home, but it is still taking on its heated rival from South Carolina, a team with a tremendous defense. Boyd is not going to come near last week's numbers. Maybe he can score a couple touchdowns, and his numbers won't likely be bad, but they will likely be somewhat pedestrian.

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (at Oregon State)

Stanford kept Oregon's offense in check last week and suddenly the Ducks find themselves in the position of perhaps not even playing in the Pac-12 title game. Mariota was decent against the Cardinal, throwing for 207 yards, one touchdown and one interception while also rushing for 89 yards, but that was also a home game. Now Mariota will be on the road against a very good Oregon State team, his first time dealing with the Civil War rivalry. That sort of thing might be a bit overblown, but this is still another tough game, and Mariota could be limited for a second week in a row.

Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA (vs. Stanford)

Franklin is having a great senior season as UCLA enjoys a nice turnaround year, rushing for 1,441 yards and 10 touchdowns so far. However, he has been held in check once, by Oregon State, and last week Stanford managed to really limit the impact of Kenjon Barner, who entered the game as a Heisman candidate. If Stanford can stymie Barner, it can do the same to Franklin.

Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida (at Florida State)

Usually, when one of the best SEC teams is in action against an ACC team, you would bet heavily on the SEC team. However, Florida State is the clear class of the ACC, and it actually has a really good defense. The Seminoles will be really hoping to beat the Gators, as per usual, and Florida is a team that wins on defense, not due to offensive prowess. Gillislee has had a good year, but before last week's game against Jacksonville State he had been held to less than 100 yards and held without a rushing touchdown for five straight games. The Seminoles could easy do both of those things to him once more.

Robert Woods, WR, USC (vs. Notre Dame)

Woods is having a very good season, but he is clearly not the top receiving option on this team, as Marqise Lee is perhaps the best receiver in college football. That's not the reason he's on the Sit list this week, though. The main concern is the fact that Matt Barkley will miss this game due to an injury, leaving Max Wittek, who has very little experience at the college level, under center. Oh, also the Trojans are playing the top-ranked team in the nation in Notre Dame. That's a lot of stuff adding up against Woods.

Josh Boyce, WR, TCU (at Texas)

The change of quarterback did not hinder Boyce, as he has at least six receptions and at least 52 yards in his last six games, though he has only had one truly big game, and that came against West Virginia. Texas had some defensive issues midseason, but those were against more formidable offenses than TCU's. They are still a team with talent on that side of the ball, and TCU is on the road on Thanksgiving. Boyce likely will be able to have another solid game, but do you really want to settle for merely "solid" when there are better options out there?

Josh Stewart, WR, Oklahoma State (at Oklahoma)

Stewart is clearly the top option for this high-powered Oklahoma State passing game. He has 73 receptions this season. No other Cowboy has more than 25. However, he only has 857 yards and five touchdowns on the season, and a lot of that came against West Virginia and Louisiana-Lafayette. Last week against Texas Tech he was held to four catches for 19 yards. Now, Oklahoma State is in Norman to take on an Oklahoma team hoping to secure a spot in a BCS bowl. This is a tougher matchup than usual for the Cowboys, and Stewart could be a bit of a disappointment for the second straight week.

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