Updated: Nov 15
It's Wednesday and you know what that means: It's time to make some Week 12 college football picks, BABY!
That's right, we're coming off another winning week, and incredibly, hitting the second to last weekend of the regular season. And as is usually the case, it leads to a bit of a thin slate, with many of the sport's best teams (Alabama, LSU, Florida State) playing buy games, and a rather thin slate elsewhere.
Still, the show must go on and so do the picks!
Take advantage. Help your boy.
Now, to the picks!
No. 20 North Carolina at Clemson (-6.5): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The morning, 12:00 p.m. ET slate leaves quite a bit to be desired, so let's jump right to 3:30 where things get interesting. And let's start with Clemson, where it's largely been quiet the last few weeks (well, minus Dabo being asked about the A&M opening of course).
At first glance, it feels crazy for the Tigers to be favored by near a touchdown in this game - but let me explain why I like them here.
One, to their credit, Clemson has been a completely different team at home this year. They're quietly 6-1 in Clemson, with the sole loss coming to Florida State, in a game where they largely outplayed the Gators. That includes a dominant win over Notre Dame just a few weeks ago.
As for North Carolina, while Drake Maye gets all the headlines, North Carolina's defense has been awful the last few weeks. In their last four games against FBS opponents, the Heels have given up 31, 31, 46 and 45 points to the opponents. Not good.
Finally, as good as Maye is, they will be facing an elite pass defense. The Tigers rank in the Top 10 nationally in both pass defense and interceptions, with their 10 picks second in the ACC.
Put simply, at home, their offense should look as good as it has all year and the defense should lock down this potent UNC offense.
Clemson 31, UNC 14.
UCLA at USC (UNDER 65.5): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
First off, let me start by saying two things: One, if UCLA really is thinking about firing Chip Kelly, they are absolutely insane. UCLA has an elite defense, solid running game, and appears to have the QB of the future on their roster in Dante Moore.
They're also going into a new league next year.
Meaning, now is NOT the time to be completely reshuffling the deck. There is like a 10 percent chance they end up in a better spot three years from now post-Chip Kelly, and like an 80 percent it gets worse (for the mathematicians out there, I'll include the 10 percent chance that they're about the same).
So that's one, and two, I know what you're thinking: Torres, how in the hell can you take an UNDER in a USC game.
I know, I'm nervous, but I think it's the right side.
On the one hand, UCLA's offense just isn't good. Period. They've scored a combined 24 points the last two games, and have used four different quarterbacks basically in the last two or three weeks. That's not ideal.
But their defense is good, and I just don't know much USC has left in the tank. This is their ninth straight week playing, and several of those games - Notre Dame, Utah, Oregon - were against super physical teams. UCLA is no different.
Add in that this weekend we're expecting a rare, rainy LA Saturday, and I'm thinking this one goes under with ease.
No. 1 Georgia at No. 18 Tennessee (+10): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Over the last couple weeks, we've seen what I like to call "The Georgia rollercoaster." Every time you think the Dawgs are an unbeatable juggernaut (like coming out of the Florida game) they are good, but not super human the next week (Missouri). Then they get doubted again, and they come for blood (Ole Miss last week).
Well, we're at the tip top peak of the rollercoaster again, and I'm going to predict a close game here.
First off, it's kind of worth noting, this is just Georgia's third true road game of the year. They played at Auburn early, and at Vanderbilt, which barely even counts as a road venue. (or a venue at all, for that matter). By the way, know what their closest win of the season is so far?! Yup, at Auburn.
So, Georgia largely hasn't been tested on the road, and bluntly, Tennessee just isn't as bad as they looked last week against Missouri.
I can't predict the outright Tennessee win, because, well, Georgia basically hasn't lost a regular season game since the Clinton administration.
But can I see a 28-20, gritty Georgia win?
Minnesota (+27.5) at No. 2 Ohio State: Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
All week long I've seen a lot about how Michigan has a sneakily tough matchup at Maryland this Saturday, and I agree. But I also think, before "The Game" we shouldn't overlook Ohio State with its own unique challenge.
Minnesota isn't "good" per se, but they play low-scoring, ugly games, where they like to chew the clock and limit possessions. They actually rank 18th nationally in time of possession, Only Michigan ranks higher in that category in the Big Ten.
And beyond that, it's not as though Ohio State's offense has, at any point, been super explosive.
I know they've been injury-prone, but this was a team that just a few weeks ago trailed Rutgers at the half.
I don't believe the Buckeyes will lose.
But could I see a 27-10, ugly finish and Minnesota cover?!
I absolutely could.
Florida (+11.5) at Missouri: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Credit Billy Napier: As I said after the Gators lost at home to Arkansas, no coach in America has quite the week-to-week swings of "Hey, maybe this is going in the right direction" to "we're a total disaster" quite like he does.
Every time something good happens (beating Tennessee, the rally at South Carolina), something disastrous happens to make you think "They're a debacle?"!
I bring it up, because we're kind of at the tail end of a "They're a debacle" cycle. Florida is currently in the midst of a two-game stretch where:
* They lost Arkansas at home
* Gave up 700 yards to LSU in a historic Jayden Daniels performance
* And are currently hemorrhaging recruits.
Yup, they're a debacle. Meaning, naturally, that Napier will pull a rabbit out of his hat and keep things competitive against Missouri in CoMo.
I'm not saying the Gators will win, but the Gators did put up close to 500 yards of total offense last week (they gave up 700, but that's another conversation for another day) and the one place Missouri struggles is in pass defense. Graham Mertz, weirdly, is like the only competent part of Florida's operation right now.
Will the Gators win?
Of course not. But will they do enough where you say "Ok, maybe it's going in the right direction,"... before it all inevitably falls apart again?
Yes. Yes they can.
No. 5 Washington at No. 11 Oregon State (-2) (UNDER 63.5): Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Quick show of hands: How many of you honestly knew that Oregon State was 8-2? And how many, before this article really realized they are ranked in the Top 15?
Don't lie to me now. Be honest!
As far as this game, Washington has just been in this weird fog, where they haven't lost, but haven't looked great for about six weeks now. They had a three-game stretch where they went 3-0 despite being outgained in each game, gave up 42 at USC (thanks to Alex Grinch it wasn't an issue) and are now coming off an emotional win to Utah.
At some point they're due to get tripped up, and in a snake pit like Corvallis, this feels like the spot.
Remember too, Oregon State still has an outside shot at the Pac-12 title game if they win out (weirdly, even if they beat Washington and Oregon, they need Arizona to lose a game) so you know they'll be fired up.
Add in choppy, rainy weather, which plays into the Beavers favor, and I see a 28-20 type final. And I expect Oregon State to be on the right side of it.
Colorado at Washington State (-4.5) - Friday, 10:30 p.m. ET, FOX: Remember when Deion and Colorado were a thing? They're still technically alive for bowl eligibility and have played their last two opponents (Oregon State and Arizona) tough. I think Colorado can win, but it's been so long, I'm just staying away.
Kentucky (-1.5) at South Carolina - Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network: This is a series that Kentucky has largely dominated the last few years, going 7-2 straight up in the last nine overall. I think the Wildcats win, but with just one victory in their last five games (against a Mississippi State team that just fired its coach) it's hard for me to get excited about betting this. Cats probably win, but I'd rather just stay away.