Week 12 College Football Picks: USC-UCLA, SEC showdowns + more (presented by Betfred Sportsbook)
It's Thursday and you know what that means, it's time to make some college football picks.
That's right, it's Week 12 and... WHAT?! Week 12?! How the hell did we get here?
Because it's the week before Thanksgiving the slate isn't incredible, with teams like Alabama and LSU lightening up the schedule before rivalry week. But still, there are plenty of good games, and a reminder.
One, make sure you're subscribed to the "College Football Betting Show" - with new episodes dropping every Thursday and in the off-season. It really is the best betting content you'll find anywhere.
Also, as always, the picks are provided by our good friends at Betfred Sportsbook - at Betfred you can bet $50 on any game and get $250 in free bets, courtesy of Betfred.
Now, to the picks:
Florida at Vanderbilt (OVER 57.5): Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Credit where it's due: Over the last few weeks I've spent a lot of time in this space saying "I don't know what Florida does well," and to a degree, I still believe that. Frankly, I think this is one of the least talented rosters in the SEC East and that Billy Napier is overachieving with it.
Yet despite it, they are 6-4 and could get win No. 7 this weekend.
So what's the key to their success? It's that the run game has blown up - and not just with Anthony Richardson. Last week they ran for a staggering 374 yards against South Carolina, with two different backs going for 100+ yards. They also had 291 yards rushing at Texas A&M.
On Saturday, they're going against a run defense that ranks 90th nationally.
Then there's Vandy, who is quietly running the ball well themselves, with 226 yards on the ground two weeks ago against South Carolina and another 264 yards in a win (yes, win!) over Kentucky.
I fully suspect both teams are able to move the ball on each other, and a Florida win. Something like 38-24 and an as easy over to start your day.
No. 1 Georgia (-22.5) at Kentucky (UNDER 48.5): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Credit where it's due, Part II: Georgia isn't just the best team in the country. They're getting better each and every week. I still can't get over what they did two weeks ago, completely shutting down Tennessee's explosive offense, and they kept Mississippi State in check last week.
Well, simple question: If Tennessee and Mississippi State couldn't scheme open receivers against Georgia, what chance does Kentucky? Especially with an abysmal run game that ranks second worst in the SEC.
Point being, that all my years of watching football has taught me one simple thing: When you can't run the ball, and aren't going to be able to get receivers open on offense, it makes it really hard to score points against an elite defense.
Brilliant analysis, I know.
Georgia wins and dominates in their final SEC game.
Miami at No. 9 Clemson (UNDER 49.5): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
This one is interesting, if only because these two teams sort of mirror each other - only Clemson has the much better record to show for it.
At Clemson, what has been the story all season? Inconsistent quarterback play, and Dabo's juggling of his starter (DJ) and back-up Cade Klubnik. Well, at Miami it's much the same where (to go extreme LeBron James voice) the Hurricanes have played not one, not two, but three different quarterbacks. Jaccuri Brown helped the Canes get the win last week, with Miami mostly keeping the ball out of Brown's hands and relying on the run game.
Point being, both these teams want to run the ball and run it often, and both have pretty solid defenses up front.
I expect Clemson to win. And I expect it to be low-scoring and ugly.
No. 14 Ole Miss at Arkansas (+2.5/Moneyline): Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Credit to my buddy John Nabors, a radio host in Arkansas, for asking a simple question earlier this week: What's Ole Miss's best win this year?
No seriously, look at their schedule. What is it? They come into this one at 8-2 overall, with their four SEC wins Kentucky and Auburn at home and Texas A&M and Vanderbilt on the road. Their best out of conference win was probably, maybe, Troy?
So yeah, that resume is a little thin, and there are a few more variables at play here.
The Rebels are coming off an emotional loss, in which you could see the pain of defeat on Lane Kiffin's face
It's going to be freezing cold, with temperatures expected in the 20's at kick-off
This feels like a big-time body-blow game for Ole Miss, coming off a tough, physical defeat to Alabama.
Hogs pull the upset here, and get bowl eligible.
No. 7 USC at No. 16 UCLA (+2.5/Moneyline): Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET, FOX
So this was supposed to be Part I of the Pac-12's playoff, play-in Saturday. But then Oregon and UCLA crapped the bed last Saturday.
Now, it's just a marquee rivalry game, with a potential berth in the Pac-12 title game on the line. USC of course still has a shot at the playoff.
Still, when I look at this game, I have one simple question: Didn't, as of like a week ago, everyone think UCLA was the better team? Now, a loss later and are they worse? Or did Arizona just catch the Bruins on the right night?
I think it's the latter. This is college football. Upsets happen after all.
Beyond that, what have the two biggest concerns been about USC all season long: The front seven on defense and depth overall.
Well, this is the game where it all comes into play.
UCLA is averaging more yards per carry than any team in college football at close to (a staggering seven per game) and they'll be running against a Trojan front that simply isn't all that good. Also, this is the first game where I think the overall depth of the Trojans will be tested, with no Travis Dye, and Jordan Addison still not 100 percent off injury.
In the end, I expect a lot of points. I also expect a Bruin win in the Rose Bowl.
No. 10 Utah at No. 12 Oregon (UNDER 60): Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The thing to watch here is the status of Bo Nix, who as of a few days ago was uncertain to go here on Saturday. When Dan Lanning spends all week saying stuff like "We have full faith in all the guys in our quarterback room" that's probably not a good sign that Nix will go. Or that he will be 100 percent if he does.
So, with Nix limited, I suspect Oregon will want to keep the ball on the ground, and Utah always wants to run the football.
Two teams that want to run the ball on offense, going against two elite run defenses?
I'm not expecting a lot of points here.
Take the under.
A reminder: The picks are brought to you by Betfred Sportsbook. New users can get $250 when they bet $50 on any game this weekend - good in Arizona, Colorado and Iowa only