With only two weeks left in the college football regular season and the Pac-12 seeking its first college football playoff appearance in six years, the conference finds itself in the rare spotlight. Playoff chances are getting smaller with each passing Saturday, and two of the biggest Pac-12 games of the season will go down on Saturday night. They’ll go a long way to determining which teams tie in the league title game and whether one in particular has a chance to crack the CFP.
That team with playoff aspirations remaining is No. 7 USC, which faces No. 16 UCLA in a rivalry showdown that takes place two years from now in a different conference, the Big Ten. With the Pac-12’s only remaining losing program, the Trojans getting rid of the Bruins is the first step in making a legitimate CFP bid. No. 18 Notre Dame awaits next week, and USC will also need to make it through the Pac-12 Championship Game with No. 1 still in the loss column.
Although the second Pac-12 showdown has lost some of its luster, and despite kicking off at 10:30 p.m. ET, No. 10 Utah at No. 17 Oregon State features the largest remaining programs in the league once the aforementioned California schools leave for the Big Ten games in 2024. It will definitely be one of the highlights played this season.
Elsewhere, No. 1-ranked Georgia is looking to remain undefeated in its quest to defend the national championship when it travels to Kentucky for a similarly uninteresting SEC East showdown that was once assumed. The Wildcats helped Vanderbilt last week snap a 26-game losing streak in the SEC, and Kentucky has fallen out of every top-25 ranking after appearing in it all season.
No. 4 TCU is similarly seeking to remain undefeated in Baylor, a preseason Big 12 favorite, while Bedlam between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will only bear the effects of the rivalry due to the dwindling stature of both programs this season. Big Ten powers No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan are in action this weekend as well, although both programs are favorites in these contests.
Be sure to stick with CBS Sports all day for college football coverage from the opening kickoff onwards. Let’s take a look at our experts’ picks for the best games of Week 12.
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times are oriental
Illinois at No. 3 Michigan
Featured game | Michigan Wolverines vs Illinois Fighting Illini
Noun | ABC, fuboTV (Try for free) — One of the reasons Michigan has the advantage over so many of its opponents is because they start games off strong. The Wolverines have been one of the best first half teams in the country, and they often get off the throttle in the second half of games. With Ohio State closing in, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a similar performance this week. In addition, Illinois proved to be an excellent team in the second half, particularly defensively. So, Michigan -9.5 1H should definitely be a play. I also have Michigan to cover the total number, but for the purposes of this, let’s not think about it. We have two of the best defenses in the country, and two offenses built on running the ball. This is how juniors have been winning for thousands of years, and how they are still winning today. Prediction: Less than 40.5 – Tom Fornelli
No. 4 TCU at Baylor
Featured game | Baylor Bears vs. TCU Horned Frogs
Noun | Fox fuboTV (Try for free) — The Bears were picked to win the Big 12 and provided the required level of talent to beat even the elite teams. However, TCU wouldn’t waste this opportunity against a hated competitor. The Horned Frogs hit one more game than Baylor to emerge victorious in Waco, Texas, and keep their perfect season alive. Prediction: TCU -2.5 – Sheehan Jayaraj
No. 1 Georgia in Kentucky
Featured game | Kentucky Wildcats vs Georgia Bulldogs
3:30 PM | CBS, CBSSports.comAnd the CBS Sports app – I’ll take Bulldogs not only to win but to cover the massive spread. The Wildcats have fallen off a cliff, quarterback Will Levis has thrown more interceptions (five) than touchdowns (four) over the last four games, and a loss to Vanderbilt last week for a team that once had high hopes should shrink. The Bulldogs will keep their foot on the gas more than they normally would in order to keep their first team fresh for extended runs. Forecast: Georgia -22.5 – Barrett Sally
No. 22 Oklahoma State in Oklahoma
Featured game | Oklahoma Sooners vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys
7:30 PM | ABC, fuboTV (Try for free) — Oklahoma beat Kansas (with a backup quarterback) and Iowa State, the only team with a worse conference play record than the Sooners. OU has dominated Oklahoma State over the Mike Gundy era, but this is the worst Sooners team in 25 years. There is no reason to give them the benefit of the doubt. Prediction: Oklahoma State +7.5 – Sheehan Jayaraj
No. 7 USC at No. 16 UCLA
Featured game | UCLA Bruins vs. USC Trojans
8 m | Fox fuboTV (Try for free) — USC has looked great beating bad teams over the past month, but I’m not sure there’s as much of a difference between those two teams as the ratings suggest. The Trojans also have some potential injury issues other than not running back Travis Day, and while UCLA’s loss to Arizona is concerning, I think it was also just the kind of defeat we’re seeing in potential prospects late in the year. I think the Bruins bounced back in a big way and stole the win. Prediction: UCLA +2.5 – Chip Patterson
No. 10 Utah at No. 17 Oregon State
Featured game | Oregon Ducks vs Utah Utes
10:30 PM | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — Utah dominated Oregon in two meetings last season, and it’s not clear if the gap has narrowed. While first-year Ducks head coach Dan Lanning and offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham play quarterback Bo Nix at the elite level, the Utes will be the most physical team Oregon has faced since a Week 1 loss to Georgia. The Knicks’ condition is also uncertain after suffering an injury in the fourth quarter of last week’s loss to Washington. This defeat eliminated Oregon from the playoff conversation, and it will be interesting to see if the Ducks are still highly motivated to play for the Pac-12 title. Prediction: Utah -2 – David Cobb
What college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 12, and which top-20 team will fall back hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the gap – All from a proven computer model that has made nearly $3,000 in profits over the past 6 seasons – and find out
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