CFB Week 12 Picks: Take Oregon as Road Underdog Against Utah


The marquee matchups on the Week 12 college football slate have some point spreads that make you think twice about your gut decision.

The Oregon Ducks are 20 spots higher than the Utah Utes in the College Football Playoff rankings, but they head into Salt Lake City as the underdog for Saturday's Pac-12 clash.

You should not be deterred by that status because there are holes in the Utah defense that the Ducks can exploit over four quarters.

As for the Ohio State-Michigan State game, the spread is just too big for either of us to have a concrete pick on it, but there are plenty of other games on the FBS slate that have our attention.

Week 12 College Football Picks

Joe Tansey

Overall Record: 78-64

Memphis at Houston (Over 59.5) (Friday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Houston is the most fascinating team to play on Friday night.

The Cougars could be the final team that faces Cincinnati before the Bearcats qualify for the playoff. The Cougars and Bearcats are on a collision course to face each other in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game.

The over is 6-2 in the last eight Houston games. The Cougars have put up 40 points on their own in four of their last six games and they produced 37 points in challenging elements last Saturday at Temple.

Memphis averages 451.6 total yards per game and it concedes 410.3 yards per game. If the Tigers want to be competitive, they are going to need to score points.

Florida State at Boston College (-2.5) (Saturday, Noon ET, ACC Network)

There is a reason why the line is moving upward in favor of Boston College.

The Eagles are a completely different team with Phil Jurkovec under center. He missed all of October with an injury. Once Jurkovec returned, BC got back to winning ways in the last two weeks.

Florida State is coming off an emotional game against Miami, and let's be honest, no kid from the south wants to play a noon game in Chestnut Hill in November.

Florida Atlantic at Western Kentucky (-10.5) (Saturday, Noon ET, Stadium)

Western Kentucky's offense is feeling it.

The Hilltoppers eclipsed the 40-point mark in four of their last five games. They put up 34 points in the other game during that span.

Western Kentucky can officially knock Florida Atlantic out of contention for the Conference USA Championship Game on Saturday with a win at home.

If that happens, WKU and Marshall will go head-to-head for the C-USA East title next week.

WKU is 4-1 against the spread in its last five games, all of which were double-digit spreads. FAU is 1-4 ATS in its last five.

Georgia Tech at Notre Dame (-16.5) (Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET, NBC)

Notre Dame is trending in the right direction and it has a chance to steal a College Football Playoff berth if results go in its favor.

The Fighting Irish won their last two games by a combined score of 62-9.

Georgia Tech is on a four-game losing streak and it allowed over 30 points in three of those contests.

Notre Dame's defense will not allow the Yellow Jackets to score much in South Bend and this game should be over by halftime.

Virginia (+14.5) at Pittsburgh (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

I'm expecting Brennan Armstrong to be under center for Virginia.

Armstrong missed last week's game against Notre Dame to make sure he is 100 percent for what is the ACC Coastal title game on Saturday.

Virginia has one of the most explosive offenses in the FBS with Armstrong at the helm and the Cavaliers should stay within two scores of Pittsburgh.

Both teams average over 500 total yards per game, so we should see a high-scoring affair inside Heinz Field.

Nebraska at Wisconsin (-9.5) (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Wisconsin could break Nebraska's will on Saturday.

The Cornhuskers have been involved in plenty of close games. They have four straight losses of 10 points or fewer.

Wisconsin is churning into fine form as it gears up for the Big Ten Championship Game. The Badgers held their last three opponents to single digits. Their run game should thrive against a Nebraska defense that allows 363.5 total yards and 132.5 rushing yards per game.

Florida (-9.5) at Missouri (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

If Florida has any life left in its program, it will demolish Missouri.

The Tigers were gashed by Georgia for 43 points and gave up 35 points to Texas A&M.

Florida has had its issues, but it still has the superior talent compared to the Tigers. I expect that to be on display as the Gators look to become bowl eligible, which is a wild thing to say on November 20.

Syracuse at NC State (Over 49.5) (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, ACC Network)

Syracuse and NC State have near identical total yard concessions.

The Orange allow 323.3 total yards per game and the Wolfpack let up 329.9 yards per contest.

NC State has the better offense with Devin Leary at the helm, but watch out for Syracuse running back Sean Tucker, who has 1,362 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.

Look for Tucker to power a bounce-back offensive performance for Syracuse, who scored three points last week versus Louisville.

Oregon (+134) at Utah (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

I'm not buying all the talk about Utah.

The Utes allow 139.2 rushing yards per game and were torn apart on the ground in their last loss to Oregon State.

Oregon averages 14 more rushing yards per game than it does through the air. Anthony Brown and Travis Dye have the potential to cut through the Utah defense all night.

Give me the Ducks and let's get a Pac-12 team back in the playoff.

Wyoming at Utah State (-5.5) (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, CBSSN)

I jumped off the Utah State bandwagon after it lost to Boise State earlier in the season.

I'm jumping back on the Aggies because they have been one of the best Group of Five programs in the country.

Utah State is 4-0 ATS in its last four games and it has three straight wins of 20 or more points.

Wyoming lost by six points or more in each of its last three road games in Mountain West play.

UL-Monroe at LSU (Over 57.5) (Saturday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

LSU has a chance to run up the score at home in one of Ed Orgeron's final games in charge.

UL-Monroe is 5-2 to the over in its last seven games and it allows 35.4 points and 464.4 yards per game.

LSU has the potential to run up the score on the smaller school from in-state to get ready for Texas A&M next weekend.

Jon Jansen

Overall Record: 12-21 (2-1 last week)

Wake Forest vs. Clemson (-4.5) (Saturday, Noon ET, ESPN)

I'm very aware that I MIGHT be getting a little cute here.

Clemson has somewhat salvaged it's season and is 7-3, but the Tigers are still a miserable 2-8 ATS. Now the Tigers are taking on the best that the ACC has in Wake Forest.

The biggest problem for the Tigers all season has been the offense, which has actually scored 30 or more points in the last three games. While those defenses were all not the best, Wake Forest doesn't boast a good defense either.

In fact, the Demon Deacons have given up 100 points in the last two games. It's a bad defense and Clemson is still allowing only 15 points per game. I think Clemson gets its first big win of the season on Saturday.

East Carolina (-4) vs. Navy (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBSSN)

I'm going back to the Pirates this week!

They paid off for me last week and sharps seem to love this matchup.

Navy's offensive stats tell pretty much the entire story and it's not worth listing them because, well, they're really bad. The only concern here would be a letdown for ECU after becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2015.

However, Pirates head coach Mike Houston called the Navy loss last season the worst of his career. He hasn't forgotten that and I'm sure the team hasn't either. There will be plenty of motivation here.

UAB vs. UTSA (-5) (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

The Roadrunners are continuing to have a spectacular season as they remain undefeated in 2021.

This game against UAB will be a bit of a challenge for UTSA and one that I'm sure some will think might be its first loss of the season. I'm not sure I feel that way though.

These teams are fairly similar. UAB and UTSA both have great rushing offenses and defenses. The thing is, UTSA is better at both aspects and I think it will be too much for UAB to contain. I jinxed Oklahoma last week and it lost. Hopefully the same doesn't happen here to UTSA.


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