By Brad Carroll
The night games on the Week 12 college football slate Saturday doesn’t offer the same intrigue as last week did, with two matchups that served as College Football Playoff elimination games, but there are still plenty of reasons to tune in. The big one features the battle of possible No. 1 NFL Draft picks, as UCLA and Josh Rosen takes on No. 11 USC and Sam Darnold.
Our college football experts preview and pick against the point spread that game and four others featuring a ranked team below. Make sure to check out our Saturday early afternoon previews and picks here and our Saturday late afternoon previews and picks here. Follow us on Twitter here … we will follow you back.
No. 20 LSU at Tennessee, 7, ESPN2
Spread: LSU -16.5
Brad’s Breakdown: This is a tricky game for LSU, and the same goes for Tennessee, as the Vols fired head coach Butch Jones and Brady Hoke takes over on an interim basis. Typically when these changes are made, and when the players love and respect the guy moved to the head spot, there is the definite possibility of an upset. It’s happened before and will happen again. Tennessee might not win this game, but the move forward should give it plenty of motivation to get a home win against a ranked team. LSU current coach Ed Orgeron knows this first hand, as he came on in an interim basis for USC and LSU, winning both games following the move. Tennessee could continue the trend, but either way, the Vols cover the point spread.
Brad’s Final: LSU 33, Tennessee 31 (Tennessee)
Craig’s Final: LSU 34, Tennessee 14 (LSU)
Glenn’s Final: LSU 31, Tennessee 10 (LSU)
Matt’s Final: LSU 31, Tennessee 10 (LSU)
UCLA at No. 11 USC, 8, ABC
Spread: USC -16
Brad’s Breakdown: For Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, Denver Broncos and maybe even New York Giants fans, this is a game to watch, as two future NFL draft picks will go head-to-head on the national stage. UCLA’s Josh Rosen and USC’s Sam Darnold haven’t played their best football this season, and if that knocks them down a few picks in the draft is something only NFL GM’s can answer, but this could be the spotlight that elevated either of them to that coveted top spot. Rosen has 21 touchdown passes to nine interceptions, while Darnold has 24 scoring passes to 11 picks. USC is the better team, but at 9-2 would need a miracle to make the College Football Playoff. UCLA, at 5-5, is still trying to play spoiler, and will put a serious scare into the Trojans.
Brad’s Final: USC 42, UCLA 38 (UCLA)
Craig’s Final: USC 38, UCLA 20 (USC)
Glenn’s Final: USC 42, UCLA 38 (UCLA)
Matt’s Final: USC 49, UCLA 20 (USC)
California at No. 22 Stanford, 8, FOX
Spread: Stanford -16
Brad’s Breakdown: Stanford can still make the Pac-12 title game, helped by the fact the Cardinal defeated Washington last week, knocking the Huskies out of contention for a Playoff spot. Stanford is 7-3 on the season and has won four of its last five, with the lone loss coming against then-No. 25 Washington State. California is 5-5 and has lost three of its last five games, with the defeats to then-No. 6 Washington, Arizona State and Colorado. The Bears beat Oregon State two weeks ago and hold a win over then-No. 8 Washington State, 37-3, a month ago. This should be a low-scoring game, and with a 16-point spread, the pick should be easy (although picking games never really is easy, as everyone knows).
Brad’s Final: Stanford 27, California 17 (California)
Craig’s Final: Stanford 41, California 17 (Stanford)
Glenn’s Final: Stanford 35, California 17 (Stanford)
Matt’s Final: Stanford 31, California 21 (California)
Air Force at No. 25 Boise State, 10:15, ESPN2
Spread: Boise State -17.5
Brad’s Breakdown: Boise State is trending up, while Air Force is trending down. The Broncos are 8-2 and in the rankings, with five straight impressive victories on their resume. Air Force is 4-6 and has lost two straight, to Army (21-0) and Wyoming. When the Falcons lose that bad to Army, you know this is a down season for the service academy. Boise State has scored 141 points over its last three games, while Air Force has just 14 in its last two. Boise State rolls at home.
Brad’s Final: Boise State 45, Air Force 24 (Boise State)
Craig’s Final: Boise State 28, Air Force 20 (Air Force)
Glenn’s Final: Boise State 38, Air Force 16 (Boise State)
Matt’s Final: Boise State 41, Air Force 21 (Boise State)
Utah at No. 18 Washington, 10:30, ESPN
Spread: Washington -17.5
Brad’s Breakdown: This game is all about how Washington responds to being eliminated from the College Football Playoff race after a loss to Stanford last week. Washington can still play for the Pac-12 title, but that might not be enough motivation to come out firing Saturday night. Utah might be the perfect opponent, however, as the Utes have lost four of their last five games, with defeats to USC, Arizona State, Oregon and Washington State. Utah beat UCLA during that span. Washington wins, but it might take awhile for the offense to fully get going.
Brad’s Final: Washington 34, Utah 17 (Utah)
Craig’s Final: Washington 34, Utah 10 (Washington)
Glenn’s Final: Washington 48, Utah 24 (Washington)
Matt’s Final: Washington 34, Utah 20 (Utah)