Two weeks of what were billed as Separation Saturdays have passed without much separation at the top of the College Football Playoff rankings. There are still eight teams vying for those four precious spots, and while undefeated teams certainly have the advantage in the final weeks of the season, a lot can change before Selection Sunday.
Week 12 is not generally considered a marquee part of the college football season. Most top programs play cupcakes in hopes of being healthy and prepared before Rivalry Week and conference championship games. But that doesn’t mean everyone is free and clear this weekend.
In fact, No. 1 Georgia (to No. 18 Tennessee) and No. 5 Washington (to No. 11 Oregon State) have tough road competitions that could completely derail their campaigns. While the Bulldogs are nonetheless a double-digit favorite visiting Neyland Stadium, the Huskies are actually underdogs to the Beavers, largely because Washington’s defense has been so poor down the stretch.
And while Iowa State may not be ranked, we’ve seen teams as good as No. 7 Texas struggle and even suffer upsets in visiting Ames, Iowa. End of november. We’ll have to keep an eye on whether the Longhorns can defeat the Cyclones at the conclusion of Saturday’s action.
Be sure to stick with CBS Sports all day Saturday for college football coverage from kickoff. Let’s take a look at our expert picks for the best games of Week 12.
Odds via SportsLine consensus | All times Eastern
No. 1 Georgia at No. 18 Tennessee
3:30 p.m. | CBS, Paramount+ with ShowtimeCBSSports.com, CBS Sports app (Try for free) — Tennessee could stay close for a half behind the energy of what appears to be an electric atmosphere at Neyland Stadium. Third-year coach Josh Heupel put together a great game plan that had the Volunteers ahead of Alabama on the road at halftime, and he can help his team achieve an equally competitive debut performance in this -this. But Georgia is simply too dominant offensively and should pull away after halftime against a UT team that doesn’t have the firepower in its passing game needed to keep pace with Georgia’s diverse offense. UGA. Pick: Georgia -10 — David Cobb
No. 5 Washington at No. 11 Oregon State
7:30 p.m. | ABC, fubo (Try for free) — Are you surprised that beavers are favored there? You probably shouldn’t be. Oregon State has been a good team all year, and they are stronger at home. Meanwhile, Washington’s defense is problematic. I view this game as a coin toss game, and I don’t care about the spread because of that. The best play is underneath as Oregon State runs the ball extremely effectively and will attempt to overwhelm a Washington defense that has struggled to stop it. Meanwhile, Washington has run the ball a lot more over the past two weeks with excellent results. Oregon State’s defense was also susceptible to the run. I don’t know how many times the clock will stop in this match. Choice: under 64 years old –Tom Fornelli
No. 7 Texas at Iowa State
8 p.m. | Fox, fubo (Try for free) — The loss of Jonathan Brooks comes at a tricky time as Texas prepares to face one of the most physical defenses in the Big 12. The Longhorns failed to score 30 points for the first time this season against TCU, and Iowa State poses a tougher challenge. Fortunately, the Texas defense has carried it for stretches this year and should be able to do so against an inconsistent ISU offense. Expect the game to be less marked than expected and very uncertain heading into the fourth quarter. Pick: Iowa State +7.5 -Shehan Jeyarajah
No. 3 Michigan to Maryland
Noon | Fox, fubo (Try for free) — Michigan’s game plan shouldn’t deviate much from last week, even without Jim Harbaugh. As the game against Ohio State approaches next week, Michigan’s offensive staff will be hitting rock from the moment toes meet leather in an attempt to drain the clock and get out of there as quickly as possible. For this reason, take the Terrapins for cover. Either way, Michigan won’t need to score more than two touchdowns to get the job done. Choose: Maryland +19 — Barrett Sallee
What college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 12, and which underdogs will win outright? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread – all from a proven computer model that has returned well over $2,000 in profits over the past seven seasons – and find out.
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