What to watch: Week 12 college football viewing guide

Every week throughout the season we’ll give you a college football viewing guide by highlighting the five best games of the coming weekend. We will pick those five games against the spread and highlight some other matchups that caught our eye from a betting perspective.

We’ve reached the final two weeks of the regular season and there’s still so much to be decided.

With five undefeated teams and four others with one loss, the College Football Playoff race can go in many directions. There are also conference title races coming down to the wire and more than 20 teams on the verge of bowl eligibility.

Rivalry week is on the horizon and the coaching carousel has already ramped up, so we’re in for an eventful few weeks and beyond.

(Note: All times ET, odds from BetMGM)

Time: Noon | TV: ABC | Line: Miami -1 | Total: 46.5

Louisville can clinch a spot in the ACC title game with a win over Miami. It’s been an excellent first season for the Cardinals under Jeff Brohm, who left Purdue to take the reins at his alma mater. The Cardinals are 9-1 but this is just the third true road game they will play all season. UL needed a come-from-behind effort to win 13-10 at NC State on Sept. 29 and then UL’s only loss came at Pitt back on Oct. 14. Since then, the Cardinals have won three straight — all at home. Will they be able to take care of business in Coral Gables?

For Miami, it’s been another up-and-down season under Mario Cristobal. The Hurricanes started 4-0 before losing to Georgia Tech in inexplicable fashion and then suffering a road loss to North Carolina. From there, Miami rebounded with overtime home wins over Clemson and Virginia and then dropped back-to-back road games to NC State and Florida State. The Hurricanes had a spirited effort last week in Tallahassee, but lost 27-20. What will the motivation be from the Miami side this week?

Nick Bromberg: Miami -1, Sam Cooper: Louisville +1

Louisville running back Jawhar Jordan (25) runs from a Boston College defender during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Louisville, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. Louisville won 56-28. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Time: 2:30 p.m. | TV: Pac-12 | Line: Arizona -1 | Total: 45

If you have access to Pac-12 Network, you’re in for a treat on Saturday when No. 17 Arizona hosts No. 22 Utah. Arizona has come a long way in three seasons under Jedd Fisch. The program was in awful shape when he arrived after a winless 2020 campaign, but Fisch has rebuilt the program from the ground up. The Wildcats won one game in his first season and then went 5-7 last year. This year, the Wildcats are one of the biggest surprises as they sit at 7-3 and are still in the mix for a spot in the Pac-12 title game.

Arizona needs help to get to the conference championship game. The Wildcats need to beat Utah this week and rival Arizona State next week. Additionally, Arizona needs Oregon State to lose Saturday to Washington before upsetting Oregon next week. That would set up a Washington vs. Arizona matchup. Utah, of course, can put a stop to that whole scenario. The Utes are the two-time defending Pac-12 champions but have been besieged by injuries this season. The Utes nearly upset Washington in Seattle last weekend and can still finish the season strong and get to 10 wins.

Nick: Arizona -1, Sam: Arizona -1

Time: 3:30 p.m. | TV: CBS | Line: UGA -10.5 | Total: 58.5

Georgia is back atop the CFP rankings. The Bulldogs were No. 2 behind Ohio State in the first two installments of the CFP selection committee’s Top 25, but are now at the top following another dominant victory. Now 10-0, Georgia has posted back-to-back ranked wins, beating Missouri and Ole Miss. UGA destroyed the Rebels 52-17 last Saturday, putting up 611 yards of offense in the process. Will that offensive prowess continue this weekend on the road in Knoxville? Or could the Bulldogs be on upset alert?

Tennessee hasn’t been able to replicate the magic of its 2022 season, but there’s still the chance to post a huge victory at home while potentially impacting Georgia’s quest for a third national title. The Vols got blasted 36-7 on the road by Missouri last week, meaning all three of their losses have come on the road. Tennessee is 5-0 at home this year and hasn’t lost at Neyland since Georgia’s last visit on Nov. 13, 2021. The Vols couldn’t get the run game going last week and need to be more proficient in that area if they want to beat Georgia for the first time since 2016.

Nick: Georgia -10.5, Sam: Georgia -10.5

Time: 7:30 p.m. | TV: ABC | Line: OSU -2.5 | Total: 63.5

Washington keeps finding ways to win and can clinch a spot in the Pac-12 title game with a road win over Oregon State. The Huskies improved to 10-0 with a 35-28 win over Utah last Saturday. UW actually trailed at halftime but rallied for its sixth consecutive victory decided by 10 points or fewer. The Huskies got another strong performance from Heisman contender Michael Penix Jr., who threw for 332 yards and two TDs and added a rushing TD in the win. Penix will need another big outing if Washington wants to go into Corvallis and get a win.

As the final season of the Pac-12 sadly winds down, Oregon State still has the chance to go out with its first outright conference title since 1956. To get to the Pac-12 title game in Las Vegas, the Beavers need to hand Washington its first loss and then upset rival Oregon next weekend in Eugene. The Beavers are 16-1 in their last 17 home games and are actually favored over the undefeated Huskies. Oregon State boasts a powerful running game led by Damien Martinez, who leads the Pac-12 with 1,024 rushing yards. A big game from Martinez could be OSU’s path to victory.

Nick: Washington +2.5, Sam: Oregon State -2.5

Oregon State running back Damien Martinez (6) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against Stanford during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, in Corvallis, Ore. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

Oregon State running back Damien Martinez (6) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against Stanford during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, in Corvallis, Ore. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Time: 8 p.m. | TV: Fox | Line: UT -7.5 | Total: 47.5

Texas is still firmly in the CFP hunt and can clinch a spot in the Big 12 title game with a road win over Iowa State. After a 5-0 start, the Longhorns were upset by rival Oklahoma back on Oct. 7. Since then, Texas has rattled off four consecutive victories — three of which came by seven or fewer points. Last week, Texas withstood a fourth-quarter rally and beat TCU 29-26 in Fort Worth. The Longhorns got QB Quinn Ewers back from injury for the game, but lost star running back Jonathon Brooks to a knee injury. How will that affect the offense on Saturday night in Ames?

Iowa State is also alive in the Big 12 title hunt. The Cyclones are 6-4 overall but 5-2 in conference play entering the final two weeks and need to upset Texas to keep their conference championship hopes alive. Iowa State has shown resilience this year, winning four of its last five following a 2-3 start that included a loss to Ohio. Last week, the Cyclones went to Provo and trounced BYU, 45-13. A visit from the mighty Longhorns will present a much tougher challenge.

Nick: Texas -7.5, Sam: Iowa State +7.5

Head-to-head ATS: Nick: 26-29-2, Sam: 35-20-2

Week 12 best bets

SMU (-7.5) at Memphis: Memphis, an 8-2 team, has covered the spread only once since Week 2 and that came against UAB’s backup QB. Over the last three weeks, Memphis has given up 42, 50 and 38 points in wins over North Texas, USF and Charlotte. SMU represents a major step up in competition. I don’t play road favorites often, but I’m doing it here. Pick: SMU -7.5

Purdue (-3) at Northwestern: Northwestern opened as a favorite but this has swung in Purdue’s direction. I don’t agree with the line move. Northwestern has out-performed expectations throughout the season and now gets the chance to clinch bowl eligibility on its home field after David Braun got promoted to full-time head coach. And I get a full field goal? Sure, I’ll bite. Pick: NU +3

NC State at Virginia Tech (-3): I like this spot for Virginia Tech with the chance to clinch bowl eligibility. The Hokies have a good defense, an improved offensive line and have found a recipe for success with Kyron Drones at QB. NC State is 4-10 ATS on the road over the past three seasons. Pick: VT -3

No. 5 Washington at No. 11 Oregon State (-2.5): UW has won so many close games and that has to turn at some point. I think it happens Saturday in Corvallis. Oregon State is such a good home team and the running game will be really difficult for UW to deal with. The Huskies will put up points too, but OSU’s ability to control the ball will be the difference. Pick: OSU -2.5

Florida at No. 9 Missouri (-11.5): Missouri just played two intense games, losing at Georgia before blasting Tennessee at home. Mizzou lost its previous three matchups with UT by a combined margin of 103 points, so a lot was put into that game. Where will the focus be this week against Florida? UF is desperately trying to get its sixth win and should come out firing. I can’t trust UF’s defense enough to back the underdog, but I like the over. Pick: Over 58.5

No. 7 Texas (-7.5) at Iowa State: Jonathon Brooks being out for Texas is a big deal, especially when you consider UT’s red zone struggles. The Longhorns still have a major talent edge and their defense is the best unit in this game. Things can get weird on a November night in Ames, and I think Iowa State probably keeps this close. But the play I like the most in this game is the under. Pick: Under 47.5

Last week: 3-2

Season to date: 39-29

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