Two weeks to go and the competition for the College Football Playoff is narrowing. Ole Miss and Penn State dropped out of the running after picking up their second losses of the season. There are only nine teams left with an undefeated record or one loss. It would take a tremendous amount of chaos for the CFP participants to come from outside that group of teams.
Each week, I will use this space to tell you what I think are a few of the best bets heading into the weekend. I will also throw in an upset of the week, which will be a team that is at least a touchdown underdog that I am picking to win outright.
I will also give you picks on other games involving potential College Football Playoff teams. Any major conference team that hasn't lost twice yet is technically still a CFP candidate, meaning I'm only going as far down as No. 10 Louisville. (No. 9 Missouri is 8-2.)
My old reliable friend, Iowa, was my only hit in Week 11. I was 1-2 in picks of the week and am now 17-13 overall. The upset special's three-game winning streak also came to an end. It is now 3-7 straight up and 5-5 ATS for the season. It's time for a bounce-back week.
Odds via SportsLine consensus
Week 12 picks
This would be a trap game for normal teams, but little is normal about Michigan. The Wolverines have been out to not just win but send a message. No unranked team has gotten within 24 of Michigan this season. In the Wolverines' three road games against unranked opposition, they have won by an average of 43 points per game. Despite winning last week, the Terrapins have not played well since the first half at Ohio State on Oct. 7. This could be ugly. Pick: Michigan -19
Illinois at No. 16 Iowa (O/U 30.5)
The total for an Iowa game has foolishly crept back above the Ferentz Line. The 22 points in the Rutgers-Iowa game last week -- all scored by the Hawkeyes -- were the highest total in four weeks in a Hawkeyes' tilt. That is still way off of this number. Pick: Under 30.5
First place in the Mountain West, and possibly the right to host the conference title game, is on the line. The wheels (wings?) have come off of Air Force over the last two weeks in losses to Army and Hawaii. UNLV has been one of the more pleasant surprises this season and has a prolific offense. The Rebels have scored 44 points or more six times this season. UNLV is playing better and I like it to win outright. Pick: UNLV +3
Upset of the Week
I usually like to find a home underdog for this spot, but I'm going with a rivalry instead. The Trojans have lost four of their last five with the lone win coming in a 50-49 decision over Cal. The Bruins have not been terrific, either, but USC has had a tough time on and off the field. UCLA's defensive-minded style will frustrate the Trojans into another tough loss. Pick: UCLA +6.5
Other CFP candidates
- No. 1 Georgia (-10) at No. 18 Tennessee Pick: Georgia
- Minnesota at No. 2 Ohio State (O/U 49) Pick: Over
- No. 5 Washington at No. 11 Oregon State (-2) Pick: Washington
- No. 6 Oregon (-23.5) at Arizona State Pick: Oregon
- No. 7 Texas (-7.5) at Iowa State Pick: Texas
- No. 10 Louisville at Miami (-1) Pick: Miami