By Brad Carroll
The Week 12 Saturday early afternoon schedule features two teams in the College Football Playoff hunt, with Miami needing to avoid a letdown after its gigantic win over Notre Dame, and Wisconsin hoping a win over a ranked Michigan team is enough to change the committee’s minds about leaving them out, for now, of the top four.
Our college football experts preview and pick against the point spread those two games, plus two more featuring TCU and Mississippi State, below from the noon slate. Make sure to check out our Saturday late afternoon previews and picks here and our Saturday night previews and picks here. Follow us on Twitter … we will follow you back.
Virginia at No. 3 Miami, 12, ABC
Spread: Miami -19
Brad’s Breakdown: This has trap game written all over it. Miami not only beat Notre Dame last week, but utterly humiliated the Irish, winning 41-8. That win catapulted the Hurricanes into the third spot in the College Football Playoff rankings, and finally gave this undefeated campaign a marquee moment. Before that, Miami was winning close games against bad teams, and wasn’t anywhere near the top four. But the win over Notre Dame changed all that, and rightfully so. Now the test becomes whether or not the Canes will revert back to the team that squeaked by North Carolina, Syracuse and Georgia Tech, or remain the one that has convincing wins over Virginia Tech and Notre Dame the last two weeks. Virginia is 6-4 but has lost three of its last four games, with defeats to Boston College, Pittsburgh and Louisville. Miami won’t lose to Virginia, but covering the huge point spread is another story.
Brad’s Final: Miami 31, Virginia 14 (Virginia)
Craig’s Final: Miami 35, Virginia 10 (Miami)
Glenn’s Final: Miami 38, Virginia 17 (Miami)
Matt’s Final: Miami 42, Virginia 14 (Miami)
No. 24 Michigan at No. 5 Wisconsin, 12, FOX
Spread: Wisconsin -7.5
Brad’s Breakdown: I thought Wisconsin deserved a spot in the top four this week, but the fact the Badgers haven’t beat anyone of note (except a ranked Iowa last week) is something that has to be considered. That changes this Saturday as Michigan comes into town. Now, Michigan isn’t the team we all thought they would be coming into the season, with losses coming to Michigan State and Penn State to go along with eight wins, but it’s still a huge moment to get a win over Jim Harbaugh’s program. Wisconsin easily beat Indiana and Iowa the last two weeks, likely knowing it had to impress to move up. That bodes well for the Badgers in this game, as they still need to get impressive win after impressive win to fully grasp one of the top four spots, and that includes winning the Big Ten title game. Wisconsin keeps rolling.
Brad’s Final: Wisconsin 31, Michigan 21 (Wisconsin)
Craig’s Final: Wisconsin 27, Michigan 17 (Wisconsin)
Glenn’s Final: Wisconsin 28, Michigan 20 (Wisconsin)
Matt’s Final: Wisconsin 24, Michigan 14 (Wisconsin)
No. 12 TCU at Texas Tech, 12, FS1
Spread: TCU -7
Brad’s Breakdown: TCU was eliminated from Playoff contention with its loss to Oklahoma last week, dropping the Horned Frogs to 8-2 on the season. Just like its game against the Sooners, this game for TCU will be all about how its defense handles Texas Tech’s offense. The Frogs couldn’t stop the Sooners early and it led to a big loss. The same won’t happen here, though, as TCU bounces back with a big road victory.
Brad’s Final: TCU 42, Texas Tech 31 (TCU)
Craig’s Final: TCU 38, Texas Tech 27 (TCU)
Glenn’s Final: TCU 38, Texas Tech 27 (TCU)
Matt’s Final: TCU 42, Texas Tech 28 (TCU)
No. 16 Mississippi State at Arkansas, 12, ESPN
Spread: Mississippi State -12.5
Brad’s Breakdown: Mississippi State put a serious scare into Alabama last week, letting a fourth-quarter lead get away and losing in the final seconds. The Bulldogs will have to put that devastating (but confidence-building) loss behind them quickly and take on a desperate Arkansas team on the road. Arkansas just fired its athletic director and the fate of head coach Bret Bielema is up in the air, which could result in players not knowing what is going to happen this offseason and into next year with their own situations. There’s also the fact Arkansas has been blown out by each good opponent it has faced this season. Mississippi State continues that trend with an easy win.
Brad’s Final: Mississippi State 41, Arkansas 20 (Mississippi State)
Craig’s Final: Mississippi State 41, Arkansas 20 (Mississippi State)
Glenn’s Final: Mississippi State 27, Arkansas 17 (Arkansas)
Matt’s Final: Mississippi State 38, Arkansas 24 (Mississippi State)