Two weeks of what was billed as Separation Saturdays came and went without much separation atop the College Football Playoff Rankings. There are still eight teams in contention for those four valuable slots, and while undefeated teams certainly have the advantage going into the final weeks of the season, plenty can change before Selection Sunday.
Week 12 is not generally seen as a signature part of the college football season. Most top programs play cupcakes in hopes of getting healthy and gearing up before Rivalry Week and conference championship games. But that does not mean everyone is free and clear this weekend.
In fact, both No. 1 Georgia (at No. 18 Tennessee) and No. 5 Washington (at No. 11 Oregon State) have difficult road contests that could completely derail their campaigns. While the Bulldogs are nevertheless a double-digit favorite visiting Neyland Stadium, the Huskies are actually underdogs to the Beavers, largely because Washington’s defense has been so poor down the stretch.
And while Iowa State might be unranked, we have seen teams just as good as No. 7 Texas struggle and even take upsets visiting Ames, Iowa, in late November. Whether the Longhorns can overcome the Cyclones will be worth keeping an eye on as Saturday’s action concludes.
Be sure to stick with CBS Sports all day Saturday for college football coverage from the opening kickoff onward. Let’s take a look at our expert picks for the best games in Week 12.
Odds via SportsLine consensus | All times Eastern
No. 1 Georgia at No. 18 Tennessee
3:30 p.m. | CBS, Paramount+ with Showtime, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Try for free) — Tennessee may keep it close for a half behind the energy of what figures to be an electric atmosphere at Neyland Stadium. Third-year coach Josh Heupel drew up an excellent game plan which had the Volunteers ahead of Alabama on the road at halftime, and he can help scheme his team to a similarly competitive early showing in this one. But Georgia is simply too dominant offensively and should pull away after halftime against a UT squad that lacks the firepower from its passing game needed to keep pace with UGA’s diverse attack. Pick: Georgia -10 — David Cobb
No. 5 Washington at No. 11 Oregon State
7:30 p.m. | ABC, fubo (Try for free) — Are you surprised the Beavers are favored in this spot? You probably shouldn’t be. Oregon State’s been a good team all year, and it’s stronger at home. Meanwhile, Washington’s defense has been a problem. I see this game as a coin flip, and I’m not interested in the spread because of it. The better play is on the under because Oregon State runs the ball extremely effectively and will try to run over a Washington defense that has struggled to stop it. Meanwhile, Washington has run the ball a lot more the last two weeks with great results. Oregon State’s defense has been susceptible to the run as well. I don’t know how many times the clock will stop in this matchup. Pick: Under 64 — Tom Fornelli
No. 7 Texas at Iowa State
8 p.m. | Fox, fubo (Try for free) — The loss of Jonathan Brooks comes at a tricky time as Texas prepares to play one of the Big 12’s most physical defenses. The Longhorns failed to clear 30 points for the first time this season against TCU, and Iowa State is a more difficult challenge. Luckily, the Texas defense has carried it for stretches this year and should be able to do so against an inconsistent ISU offense. Expect the game to be lower-scoring than expected and well in doubt heading into the fourth quarter. Pick: Iowa State +7.5 — Shehan Jeyarajah
No. 3 Michigan at Maryland
Noon | Fox, fubo (Try for free) — Michigan’s game plan shouldn’t deviate much from last week, even without Jim Harbaugh. With the Ohio State game looming next week, the Michigan offensive staff will pound the rock from the moment toe meets leather in an attempt to drain the clock and get out of there as quickly as possible. Because of that, take the Terrapins to cover. Michigan won’t need to score more than two touchdowns to get the job done anyway. Pick: Maryland +19 — Barrett Sallee
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 12, and which underdogs will win outright? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned well over $2,000 in profit over the past seven-plus seasons — and find out.