Predicting All Top 25 Week 12 College Football Games Against the Spread
We've got some fantastic college football games this week, including two ranked vs. ranked Pac-12 showdowns, and now it's time to pick them all.
Top-ranked Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame all place their unbeaten records on the line as they try to fill those coveted two spots in the BCS National Championship Game. Baylor, Stanford and Wake Forest would like nothing more than to play spoiler.
Some upsets are more likely than others.
Note: There is generally no line when FBS teams play FCS teams, so No. 4 Alabama, No. 5 Georgia, No. 6 Florida, No. 8 Texas A&M and No. 9 South Carolina will not be featured in this countdown. In addition, no lines have been posted as of yet for Cal at No. 16 Oregon State and Iowa at No. 21 Michigan. If/when those games are posted I will update.
All spread info came from ESPN's college football odds page.
So, what are my picks against the spread for Week 12? Read on.
Bonus Pick: Ohio State at Wisconsin
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Current Line: Wisconsin by 3.0
I'm using the BCS Top 25 for this countdown, but I just didn't feel good about leaving this one out. Ohio State is ineligible for the postseason and the BCS rankings, but the Buckeyes are still unbeaten and ranked No. 6 in the latest AP poll.
Vegas has the Badgers as a three-point favorite, and frankly I don't get it. Yes, Wisconsin did just have a fantastic game against Indiana, but that's one game against a mediocre 4-6 squad.
Didn't anyone pay attention to what the Buckeyes did to Illinois?
Ohio State gets the win as it has done consistently all year long.
The Pick: Ohio State wins
No. 25 Washington at Colorado
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Current Line: Washington by 20.5
I'm not quite sure what Colorado did to become this bad, but when you lose to the likes of Sacramento State you know you have a team in a world of hurt.
The only reason why Washington is favored by only 20.5 is because it has struggled a bit on offense this season despite having Keith Price under center. The team's defense is also pretty questionable, which may be why the Buffaloes will be able to beat the spread.
Still, I'd put my high school up against Colorado these days.
Pick: Washington wins but fails to cover
No. 22 Texas Tech at No. 24 Oklahoma State
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Current Line: Oklahoma State by 10.5
Something about Texas Tech seems to be making it hard for its coaches to stay out of trouble.
Tommy Tuberville made headlines after ripping a headset off of a graduate assistant. Sideline issues aside, it's going to take quite a bit to outgun Oklahoma State's offense.
Especially since this one is in Stillwater.
Pick: Oklahoma State wins and covers
No. 22 Rutgers at Cincinnati
Current Line: Cincinnati by 6.5
On paper, Rutgers has the No. 5 scoring defense in the nation. However, when you look over the list of the teams the Scarlet Knights have beaten, none of them are really offensive powerhouses.
The only decent offense that Rutgers has faced all year is, oddly enough, Kent State. The Golden Flashes dropped 35 points on the Scarlet Knights and came away with the W.
Cincinnati also has a good offense, scoring 34.2 points per game. The Bearcats also haven't lost at home this season.
Pick: Cincinnati wins and covers
Utah State at No. 20 Louisiana Tech
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Current Line: Utah State by 3.0
Here, Vegas has given Utah State the edge despite the fact that the Aggies are unranked and the visiting team.
Interesting, isn't it?
Utah State has the best defense that LA Tech will face all season, but will it be enough to stop a team averaging over 53 points per game?
Fortunately for the Aggies, LA Tech also can't play defense to save its life, giving up 36.2 points per game.
This has all the makings of an old-time WAC barn burner. However, I think that Utah State's defense slows the Bulldogs down just enough to get the W.
Pick: Utah State wins and covers
No. 18 USC at No. 17 UCLA
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Current Line: USC by 4.0
It has been a while since these rivals have been so evenly matched. Amazing to think that UCLA is scoring more points on average than the mighty Trojans this year (37.7 vs. 36.9).
I like the Bruins to win this one because:
1. It's about time the L.A. football monopoly ended, but Jim Mora is going to put the ad in the paper after he actually beats the Trojans.
2. This one is at the Rose Bowl.
3. UCLA has the more consistent offense (well, that is if you don't count the day off it took against Cal...).
Pick: UCLA wins
Minnesota at No. 14 Nebraska
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Current Line: Nebraska by 19.0
Don't look now, but the Golden Gophers are bowl eligible. While their passing game is almost nonexistent, their decent running game (166.2 yards/game) and solid defense (22.3 points/game allowed) have led to six wins.
I like Nebraska to win this one, but the Huskers haven't really beaten anybody by more than two touchdowns in the B1G. Minnesota should beat the spread.
Pick: Nebraska wins but fails to cover
No. 12 Oklahoma at West Virginia
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Current Line: Oklahoma by 10.0
What on Earth happened to Geno Smith and the Mountaineers?
After starting 5-0, West Virginia hasn't won a game since. As incredible as it sounds, the Mountaineers are in danger of missing out on a bowl game.
The main problem is that West Virginia's defense can't stop anybody. It is No. 121 in the nation in scoring defense, giving up 41.4 points per game.
Landry Jones and Oklahoma should have a field day.
Pick: Oklahoma wins and covers
NC State at No. 11 Clemson
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Current Line: Clemson by 17.0
This one is a bit trickier than it might appear at first glance.
On the one hand, Clemson is a hot team. It's beaten its last four opponents by an average score of 45-15.
On the other hand, NC State can be dangerous. After all, the Wolfpack did take out Florida State earlier this year.
However, I'm taking Clemson to cover the spread, especially since this game is at Death Valley.
Pick: Clemson wins and covers
No. 10 Florida State at Maryland
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Current Line: Florida State by 31.0
Maryland's season is skidding out of control as it loses quarterback after quarterback to freak injuries. The Terrapins' current starting QB is Shawn Petty, a freshman who started the season on Maryland's scout team.
As a linebacker.
My guess is that it's going to be a long day for Terrapins fans as they face a formidable Florida State defensive front. Oh, did I mention that Florida State is No. 4 in scoring offense and scoring defense?
Pick: Florida State wins and covers
Ole Miss at No. 7 LSU
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Current Line: LSU by 18.5
Zach Mettenberger and the LSU offense finally seem to be clicking. They gave Alabama quite the scare and were able to handle Mississippi State by 20.
Ole Miss is undoubtedly better than it was last season, but the Tigers should cruse to victory against the Rebels in Death Valley.
Pick: LSU wins and covers
Wake Forest at No. 3 Notre Dame
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Current Line: Notre Dame by 23.5
There's no question in my mind that Notre Dame wins this game, but an almost 24-point spread?
I have a healthy respect for Manti Te'o and the Fighting Irish defense as they are No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense. The Demon Deacons may be lucky just to put points on the board.
But I still don't trust that Notre Dame offense, though.
Notre Dame beat Boston College by 15. Notre Dame will win this game by 21 points at most, and that's still lower than the spread.
Pick: Notre Dame wins but fails to cover
No. 13 Stanford at No. 2 Oregon
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Current Line: Oregon by 20.5
The only team that was able to get within two touchdowns of the Ducks all year was USC, and that was because the Trojans have the offensive firepower to run with Oregon.
Stanford? Yeah, not so much.
The difference here might be the Cardinal's solid defense, but these guys haven't seen anything like the Quack Attack this season.
Given that this game is at Oregon and that the Ducks want to continue to pile on the style points to ensure their place in the BCS National Championship Game, the Ducks should roll by at least three touchdowns.
Pick: Oregon wins and covers
No. 1 Kansas State at Baylor
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Current Line: Kansas State by 11.5
Baylor is currently No. 7 in scoring offense at 42.7 points per game. However, Kansas State has the best defense that the Bears have faced all year.
That and Baylor has practically no defense. The Bears are giving up almost 40 points per game on average.
Even if Collin Klein isn't exactly 100 percent, I expect K-State to win by at least two touchdowns.
Pick: Kansas State wins and covers