College football Week 12: Picks and preview

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SMU (6-4, 4-2 in AAC) at No. 21 Tulane (8-2, 5-1 in AAC), 7:30 p.m., Thursday, ESPN
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There wasn’t much shakeup within the latest College Football Playoff rankings, and some conference races have already been settled. Here are our previews and predictions (point spreads courtesy of DraftKings, current at the time of publication and subject to change) for those matchups involving teams that are included in this weekend’s CFP rankings and one other intriguing contest.

All times Eastern. Statistics in parentheses are from the 2022 season, unless noted otherwise.

 

1 of 24

SMU (6-4, 4-2 in AAC) at No. 21 Tulane (8-2, 5-1 in AAC), 7:30 p.m., Thursday, ESPN

SMU (6-4, 4-2 in AAC) at No. 21 Tulane (8-2, 5-1 in AAC), 7:30 p.m., Thursday, ESPN

Rebecca Warren/USA TODAY Sports

The first of three American Athletic Conference teams to be part of the latest College Football Playoff rankings, Tulane must bounce back after UCF ended its five-game winning streak. The Green Wave allowed a season-high 38 points in that contest, and things don’t appear to get any easier this weekend. SMU has scored more than 41 points in each contest during a three-game winning streak that included a 77-63 triumph over Houston. The Mustangs have also won the last seven meetings with Tulane.

Prediction: SMU (+3 1/2)

 

2 of 24

Navy (3-7, 3-4 in AAC) at No. 20 UCF (8-2, 5-1 in AAC), 11 a.m., Saturday, ESPN2

Navy (3-7, 3-4 in AAC) at No. 20 UCF (8-2, 5-1 in AAC), 11 a.m., Saturday, ESPN2

Mike Watters/USA TODAY Sports

Central Florida has won three in a row. A run that includes victories over Cincinnati and Tulane. Thus, giving the Knights the tiebreaker as the three teams share the top spot of the AAC standings. Ole Miss transfer John Rhys Plumlee has thrown for 2,015 yards and also leads UCF with 708 rushing yards — after gaining 176 and scoring twice on the ground in last week’s win over Tulane. Navy has allowed just 141 rushing yards in the last three games but also dropped three straight on the road.

Prediction: Navy (-16 1/2)

 

3 of 24

Austin Peay (7-3) at No. 8 Alabama (8-2), Noon, Saturday, ESPN+/SEC Network

Austin Peay (7-3) at No. 8 Alabama (8-2), Noon, Saturday, ESPN+/SEC Network

Petre Thomas/USA TODAY Sports

It’s been more than a month since Alabama won back-to-back games. That will change this weekend against FCS Austin Peay in the Crimson Tide’s tune-up for the Iron Bowl. There might be some argument as to which of Alabama’s final two regular-season games will be tougher. An SEC Championship is not in the cards for the Tide this season, and neither is a College Football Playoff berth. So, what about Bryce Young (2,443 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, four interceptions)? At least some out there believe it’s time to rest the future first-round NFL pick.

Prediction: Alabama (OFF)

 

4 of 24

No. 4 TCU (10-0, 7-0 in Big 12) at Baylor (6-4, 4-3 in Big 12), Noon, Saturday, Fox

No. 4 TCU (10-0, 7-0 in Big 12) at Baylor (6-4, 4-3 in Big 12), Noon, Saturday, Fox

Scott Wachter/USA TODAY Sports

Week after week, TCU continues to prove its worth as one of the best teams in the country. The latest came with last weekend’s 17-10 victory at Texas. Next up is Baylor, which the Horned Frogs have defeated in the last two meetings, and six of the seven most recent encounters. It might also be time for the country to truly appreciate TCU running back Kendre Miller, who is second in the Big 12 with 1,147 rushing yards this season and has averaged 134,6 in the last five games.

Prediction: TCU (-2 1/2)

 

5 of 24

Louisiana (5-5) at No. 19 Florida State (7-3), Noon, Saturday, ESPN3

Louisiana (5-5) at No. 19 Florida State (7-3), Noon, Saturday, ESPN3

Mark Konezny/USA TODAY Sports

Apparently, it’s all about streaks when it comes to the 2022 version of the Seminoles. They opened with fourth straight victories, then lost three in a row — all against ranked teams — before their current three-game winning streak, during which they own a 124-22 scoring advantage. The latter included back-to-back road wins over Miami and Syracuse, where Florida State allowed three points in each contest. Now, after going 5-3 in ACC play, they conclude with a pair of non-conference games. After three straight double-digit win seasons, Louisiana is trying to become bowl eligible.

Prediction: Florida State (-24)

 

6 of 24

Illinois (7-3, 4-3 in Big Ten) at No. 3 Michigan (10-0, 7-0 in Big Ten), Noon, Saturday, ABC

Illinois (7-3, 4-3 in Big Ten) at No. 3 Michigan (10-0, 7-0 in Big Ten), Noon, Saturday, ABC

Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports

Michigan is 10-0 for the first time under Jim Harbaugh, and Ohio State awaits next week. But, it’s probably not wise to overlook Illinois, which has secured its first winning season since 2011, ranks third in the country in scoring defense (12.5 average points allowed), and can still win the Big Ten West Division despite losing the last two — at home — versus Michigan State and Purdue. Then again, Michigan has won five straight in this series and has the country’s best-scoring defense (11.2). Regardless of history, this matchup could feature two of the nation’s best rushers in the Wolverines’ Blake Corum (1,349 yards) and I llinois’ Chase Brown (national-best 1,442), if he’s healthy.

Prediction: Illinois (+17)

 

7 of 24

No. 15 Kansas State (7-3, 5-2 in Big 12) at West Virginia (4-6, 2-5 in Big 12), 2 p.m., Saturday, ESPN+

No. 15 Kansas State (7-3, 5-2 in Big 12) at West Virginia (4-6, 2-5 in Big 12), 2 p.m., Saturday, ESPN+

Chris Jones/USA TODAY Sports

Kansas State has split its last four games but still sits second in the Big 12. After throwing for 196 yards and three touchdowns, following an in-game injury to quarterback Adrian Martinez, in last weekend’s 31-3 win at Baylor, Will Howard (nine passing touchdowns, one interception) might be the Wildcats’ MVP and should move forward as the starter. Meanwhile, West Virginia just fired its AD and has two league wins, but those came against Baylor and last weekend against Oklahoma.

Prediction: West Virginia (+7 1/2)

 

8 of 24

No. 23 Oregon State (7-3, 4-3 in Pac-12) at Arizona State (3-7, 2-5 in Pac-12), 2:15 p.m., Saturday, ESPN2

No. 23 Oregon State (7-3, 4-3 in Pac-12) at Arizona State (3-7, 2-5 in Pac-12), 2:15 p.m., Saturday, ESPN2

Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports

The CFP continues to show its love for Pac-12 teams with no chance of reaching the top four. Then again, the Beavers have a chance to win more than seven games for the first time since 2012. Oregon State, which lost to Utah, USC, and Washington, has allowed just 53 points over the last four games. Meanwhile, Arizona State has failed to score 20 points in two of its last four games. That said, the Sun Devils have won three straight and 17 of 18 at home against the Beavers.

Prediction: Arizona State (+8)

 

9 of 24

Boston College (3-7) at No. 18 Notre Dame (7-3), 2:30 p.m., NBC/Peacock

Boston College (3-7) at No. 18 Notre Dame (7-3), 2:30 p.m., NBC/Peacock

Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports

The Irish have averaged 38.8 points during their current four-game winning streak. However, they nearly blew a 22-point lead against Navy last weekend. Boston College might have just three wins, but one of them came last week at a then-ranked North Carolina State squad. Notre Dame has won eight in a row during this series, but we saw the home side fall to a Stanford team that entered with one win from five games and has one in four contests since. Perhaps, once again, expect the unexpected.

Prediction: Boston College (+20 1/2)

 

10 of 24

Miami, Fla. (5-5, 3-3 in ACC) at No. 9 Clemson (9-1, 7-0 in ACC), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPN

Miami, Fla. (5-5, 3-3 in ACC) at No. 9 Clemson (9-1, 7-0 in ACC), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPN

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY Sports

Remember prior to the season when many college football “experts” thought this would be the ACC Championship matchup? Well, Clemson held up its end of the bargain and secured a familiar spot atop the Atlantic Division. Miami, meanwhile, still isn’t even bowl-eligible and will try to win back-to-back games for the first time since starting 2-0. This won’t be easy, considering Clemson has won the last three meetings with the Hurricanes by an average margin of 39.3 points.

Prediction: Clemson (-19)

 

11 of 24

No. 1 Georgia (10-0, 7-0 in SEC) at Kentucky (6-4, 3-4 in SEC), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, CBS

No. 1 Georgia (10-0, 7-0 in SEC) at Kentucky (6-4, 3-4 in SEC), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, CBS

Joshua L. Jones/USA TODAY NETWORK

The Bulldogs remain No. 1 in the CFP rankings, have clinched the SEC East Division, and won 25 straight regular-season contests — not including the league championship game. Georgia has won its last two true road games by a combined 41 points. It’s also won 12 in a row over Kentucky, which was just stunned by Vanderbilt at home. The Wildcats have averaged 18.0 points during their current 2-4 stretch. Georgia, meanwhile, is giving up 11.6 points per game.

Prediction: Kentucky (+22 1/2)

 

12 of 24

No. 2 Ohio State (10-0, 7-0 in Big Ten) at Maryland (6-4, 3-4 in Big Ten), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ABC

No. 2 Ohio State (10-0, 7-0 in Big Ten) at Maryland (6-4, 3-4 in Big Ten), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ABC

Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch/USA TODAY NETWORK

We talked about this week being a potential trap game for Michigan, but Ohio State might have to break a collective sweat against the Terrapins. The Buckeyes have been hit hard by injuries to their running back corps, but they also have C.J. Stroud (2,750 passing yards, 34 touchdowns, four interceptions). Not to mention a defense that allowed 21 points in the last two games versus Northwestern and Indiana. None of that seems to bode well for Maryland,  which was outscored 53-10 while losing its last two at Wisconsin and Penn State.

Prediction: Maryland (+27 1/2)

 

13 of 24

No. 11 Penn State (8-2, 5-2 in Big Ten) at Rutgers (4-6, 1-6 in Big Ten), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Big Ten Network

No. 11 Penn State (8-2, 5-2 in Big Ten) at Rutgers (4-6, 1-6 in Big Ten), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Big Ten Network

Matthew OHaren/USA TODAY Sports

The Nittany Lions have bounced back nicely from that fourth-quarter breakdown versus Ohio State by outscoring Indiana and Maryland 75-14 to win the next two games. Meanwhile, Rutgers has totaled 38 points during its current three-game losing streak. Oh yeah, Penn State has also won 15 straight during this series and has not allowed the Scarlet Knights to score more than seven points in any of the last seven meetings. Since joining the Big Ten, Rutgers has totaled 24 points while losing all four home games to Penn State.

Prediction: Penn State (-19)

 

14 of 24

No. 23 North Carolina State (7-3, 3-3 in ACC) at Louisville (6-4, 3-4 in ACC), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ACC Network

No. 23 North Carolina State (7-3, 3-3 in ACC) at Louisville (6-4, 3-4 in ACC), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ACC Network

Rob Kinnan/USA TODAY Sports

Even after losing at home to a then-two-win Boston College team last weekend, N.C. State remains appealing to the CFP committee. That said, the Wolfpack are not ranked in the AP Top 25, and rightfully so, and face another potentially stiff test at Louisville, which had its four-game winning streak end last week at Clemson, but can still record a fifth straight home victory. N.C. State has won three of the last four in this series.

Prediction: Louisville (-4)

 

15 of 24

No. 25 Cincinnati (8-2, 5-1 in AAC) at Temple (3-7, 1-5 in AAC), 4 p.m., Saturday, ESPNU

No. 25 Cincinnati (8-2, 5-1 in AAC) at Temple (3-7, 1-5 in AAC), 4 p.m., Saturday, ESPNU

Katie Stratman/USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati is still in the hunt for the outright ACC lead. The Bearcats’ five league wins have been decided by a combined 28 points, so they know how to win the close ones. And, their one defeat — to UCF — came by four points. While Cincinnati has won the last two overall meetings with Temple, both at home, it looks to avoid a third consecutive defeat against the Owls in Philadelphia. Cincinnati receiver Tyler Scott has caught 17 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games.

Prediction: Temple (+17)

 

16 of 24

Georgia Tech (4-6, 3-4 in ACC) at No. 13 North Carolina (9-1, 6-0 in ACC), 5:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPN2

Georgia Tech (4-6, 3-4 in ACC) at No. 13 North Carolina (9-1, 6-0 in ACC), 5:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPN2

Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports

For just the second time in school history, North Carolina is headed to the ACC Championship. The league’s hottest team, riding a six-game winning streak, clinched the ACC Coastal Division with last weekend’s 36-34 win at a reeling but still above-average Wake Forest squad. This is a team that has a high-powered enough offense (40.1 points per game) to compensate for a rather generous defense (allowing 31.3 points per game). Georgia Tech has lost three of the last four but won at Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech this season.

Prediction: North Carolina (-21)

 

17 of 24

No. 5 Tennessee (9-1, 5-1 in SEC) at South Carolina (6-4, 3-4 in SEC), 7 p.m., Saturday, ESPN

No. 5 Tennessee (9-1, 5-1 in SEC) at South Carolina (6-4, 3-4 in SEC), 7 p.m., Saturday, ESPN

Randy Sartin/USA TODAY Sports

For the third time this season, Tennessee dropped at least 63 points on an opponent. Missouri was none too happy following last weekend’s 66-24 loss at Knoxville . This version of Josh Heupel’s Volunteers doesn’t want to leave any doubt when it comes to the outcome. Tennessee leads the nation averaging 47.4 points. Meanwhile, South Carolina has allowed more than 30 points three times this season but is coming off a 38-6 loss at Florida. The Gamecocks have won four straight during this series, but this is the first meeting since 2011.

Prediction: South Carolina (+22)

 

18 of 24

No. 14 Mississippi (8-2, 4-2 in SEC) at Arkansas (5-5, 2-4 in SEC), 7;30 p.m., SEC Network

No. 14 Mississippi (8-2, 4-2 in SEC) at Arkansas (5-5, 2-4 in SEC), 7;30 p.m., SEC Network

Marvin Gentry/USA TODAY Sports

The Rebels have dropped two of three following that 7-0 start, and their hopes of an SEC West title have gone by the wayside. Though Arkansas is 2-5 since its 3-0 start and totaled 29 points in losing the last two versus Liberty and LSU, this should still be a sizable challenge for Ole Miss. The Razorbacks have lost three of the last four meetings with Mississippi, but that lone victory came in the most recent matchup at Fayetteville, from 2020.

Prediction: Arkansas (+2 1/2) 

 

19 of 24

No. 22 Oklahoma State (7-3, 4-3 in Big 12) at Oklahoma (5-5, 2-5 in Big 12), 7:30 p.m., ABC

No. 22 Oklahoma State (7-3, 4-3 in Big 12) at Oklahoma (5-5, 2-5 in Big 12), 7:30 p.m., ABC

Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman/USA TODAY NETWORK

This year’s edition of Bedlam has lost much of its luster, Oklahoma State has two wins in its last five games, while the Sooners are trying to avoid a third consecutive defeat following their three-point loss at West Virginia. Still, this matchup has earned a prime-time audience. Oklahoma State snapped its six-game losing streak in the series, but Oklahoma has won three in a row and eight of the last nine meetings in Norman.

Prediction: Oklahoma State (+7)

 

20 of 24

No. 7 USC (9-1, 7-1 in Pac-12) at No. 16 UCLA (8-2, 5-1 in Pac-12), 8 p.m., Saturday, Fox

No. 7 USC (9-1, 7-1 in Pac-12) at No. 16 UCLA (8-2, 5-1 in Pac-12), 8 p.m., Saturday, Fox

Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports

UCLA’s home loss to Arizona last weekend took some of the shine off this anticipated rivalry matchup. Still, USC currently sits atop the Pac-12 standings, and a victory Saturday would secure it a spot in the league’s championship game. Trojans, who’ve totaled at least 41 points in each of the last four games and just dropped 55 on Colorado, have won two of the last three meetings. Meanwhile, the Bruins have yielded 70 points in their last two games. We expect this to be a wild one if anything else.

Prediction: USC (-1)

 

21 of 24

UAB (5-5) at No. 6 LSU (8-2), 9 p.m., Saturday, ESPN2

UAB (5-5) at No. 6 LSU (8-2), 9 p.m., Saturday, ESPN2

Nelson Chenault/USA TODAY Sports

Brian Kelly took plenty of heat and was often mocked for his decision to leave Notre Dame for LSU. Well, it looks as if Kelly made the right choice. The Tigers have won four straight, clinched the SEC West Division, and will try to upset Georgia in the league title game. First, there are a couple of regular-season hurdles to clear, beginning with this home finale. LSU is 60-1, and amid an 11-game home winning streak, against non-conference opponents at Baton Rouge.

Prediction: LSU (-14 1/2)

 

22 of 24

Colorado (1-9, 1-6 in Pac-12) at No. 17 Washington (8-2, 5-2 in Pac-12), 9 p.m., Saturday, Pac-12 Network

Colorado (1-9, 1-6 in Pac-12) at No. 17 Washington (8-2, 5-2 in Pac-12), 9 p.m., Saturday, Pac-12 Network

Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports

Coming off that impressive 37-34 victory at Oregon, Washington has won its last four games by a combined 23 points. However, we expect the Huskies to have more breathing room this weekend. They average 38.4 points and now face a Colorado squad that allows 41.7 per contest and just gave up 55 in a 38-point loss at USC. Washington boasts two of the Pac-12’s best receivers in Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan, who have combined for 120 catches, 1,706 yards, and 12 touchdowns.

Prediction: Washington (-30 1/2)

 

23 of 24

No. 10 Utah (8-2, 6-1 in Pac-12) at No. 12 Oregon (8-2, 6-1 in Pac-12), 10:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPN

No. 10 Utah (8-2, 6-1 in Pac-12) at No. 12 Oregon (8-2, 6-1 in Pac-12), 10:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPN

Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

USC-UCLA is not the only marquee matchup in the Pac-12. This particular contest got a little more interesting after Oregon was upset by Washington last weekend. That said, we expect the Ducks will be fired up to rebound as they still control their own destiny in terms of reaching the Pac-12 title game. Then again, Utah is pretty much in the same boat when it comes to the league. The Utes beat Oregon twice last season, including in the Pac-12 Championship game, by a combined 59 points to win the league title. But they have not played in Eugene since 2017. Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (2,774 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, five interceptions, 512 rushing yards, 14 touchdowns) was nicked up against Washington, so it will be interesting to see how he feels this weekend.

Prediction: Oregon (-3)

 

24 of 24

Boise State (7-3, 6-0 in Mountain West) at Wyoming (7-3, 5-1 in Mountain West), 7 p.m., Saturday, CBS Sports Network

Boise State (7-3, 6-0 in Mountain West) at Wyoming (7-3, 5-1 in Mountain West), 7 p.m., Saturday, CBS Sports Network

Michael Madrid/USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Mezydlo has written about sports and entertainment online and for print for more than 25 years. He grew up in the far south suburbs of Chicago, 20 minutes from the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, Ind. He’s also the proud father of 11-year-old Matthew, aka “Bobby Bruin,” mascot of St. Robert Bellarmine School in Chicago. You can follow Jeff at @jeffm401.





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Our target is to take our local communities to the worldwide audience. Submit your story and we will help you to build your audience. Thank you Roots News Team

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