College Football Picks Week 12: Top 25 Teams on Upset Alert

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2012

NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 10: Quarterback Landry Jones #12 of the Oklahoma Sooners looks to throw against the Baylor Bears November 10, 2012 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated Baylor 42-34. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Brett Deering/Getty Images

Alabama showed us with its loss to Texas A&M in Week 11 that dominant teams are never safe.

That lesson will hold true in Week 12 as well. Three Top 25 matchups will provide tough tests for the teams involved, but they won't be the only teams tested.

Three squads that play unranked opponents will feel the heat as well. With the season winding down, underdog squads have very little to lose, making them dangerous to the teams pushing for elite bowl positions.

Let's take a look at three squads that better pay attention in Week 12.


No. 12 Oklahoma

Oklahoma will have no problem scoring on West Virginia's defense, but playing in Morgantown will make a difference.

The Mountaineers are a proud team. Having lost four games in a row, they won't lay down easily in this one.

Oklahoma has an above-average defense, but it's still susceptible to big passing attacks. Baylor threw for less than 200 yards last week, but Geno Smith plays behind a better offensive line. The Mountaineers, despite their recent struggles, have more ability than the Baylor team that almost knocked off Oklahoma last week.

The Sooners will play Oklahoma State in two weeks. If they get caught looking past Dana Holgorsen's squad, Smith and Co. still have plenty of firepower to light up this secondary.

If this game was in Norman, it would be a different story. But it's not, and this one will be closer than expected.


No. 16 Oregon State

The Beavers lost a tough one to Stanford last Saturday and will face another stiff challenge from California this Saturday.

Jeff Tedford's team isn't the most talented bunch, but it's played tough throughout the season. Playing hard against teams like Ohio State, Southern California and Arizona State isn't easy, but the Bears have hung tough through every one of those matchups.

Cody Vaz has played well as Sean Mannion's replacement behind center for the Beavers, but Oregon State has struggled defensively as of late. Zach Maynard is a capable, albeit consistent, quarterback, and he's shown that on big stages this season.

If he plays, and he's considered day-to-day (via FOX Sports' Dan Greenspan), he will give his team a chance to win. The same goes for star receiver Keenan Allen.

A lot of this comes down to Allen on the outside. If the Bears receiver is able to play, he's a potential game-changer. He gives Maynard a legitimate No. 1 target, taking pressure off the rest of the team in the process.

If neither Cal star plays, this won't be close. Until they're ruled out though, don't sleep on this team.


No. 11 Clemson

Laugh at N.C. State beating Clemson if you want, but this is the same Wolfpack team that defeated Florida State earlier this season. And that's the same Florida State team that put Clemson in its place earlier this year as well.

This game comes down to Mike Glennon for N.C. State. Clemson's defense has been flawed this season, and it's prone to giving up big plays. If Glennon can play like he's capable of, he can keep his team in this game.

Clemson is a lot like Florida State in that it's very vulnerable to at least one slip-up per season. A slew of talented players on the offensive side of the ball will make this game interesting, but Glennon's ability to air it out will keep this game in reach.

Playing at home will help the Tigers, but this feels like an upset to me. Clemson has not been tested for weeks, and it's tough to say how the Tigers will react to a sneaky good Wolfpack squad.

The Tigers will score, without a doubt, but N.C. State will put enough points on the board to keep pace.