We have reached the penultimate weekend of the college football regular season, and the slate includes some very spicy matchups that will go a long way toward determining divisional and conference championships.
Michigan State will visit Ohio State in a massive Big Ten East showdown, while Arkansas will travel to Tuscaloosa to take on an Alabama team that will clinch the SEC West with a win. Meanwhile, Oregon will put its College Football Playoff hopes on the line against Utah.
Caesars Sportsbook has released early lines for the upcoming weekend. Let's break down what the oddsmakers expect to happen in Week 12.
The big games
Michigan State at Ohio State (-20): Wow, look at the disrespect. The Spartans control their own destiny in the Big Ten East title race but apparently don't stand much of a chance against a Buckeyes team that is playing some of the best football in the country. The Spartans pass defense has been hit-and-miss, and Buckeyes quarterback CJ Stroud has emerged as a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. This ought to be fun.
Arkansas at Alabama (-20): The Razorbacks are getting about as much respect at Michigan State, and coach Sam Pittman's crew will have that at the top of their minds in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Alabama cruised by New Mexico State last weekend, but it'll be interesting to see if the Crimson Tide fixed their offensive line woes as they got full on a cupcake last weekend.
Oregon at Utah (-3): This one really jumped off the page. Oregon, a team that, as of now, is in the College Football Playoff according to the most recent rankings, is a three-point dog to a Utes team that has had some ups and downs throughout the season. Last week's win over Washington State wasn't exactly crisp, but they still found a way to pull away -- and cover -- in foggy Eugene.
Iowa State at Oklahoma (-6): The Cyclones have been one of the biggest disappointments of the season but have stunned the Sooners before. The quarterback situation in Norman has to have Iowa State's defense foaming at the mouth. The Sooners still have CFP hopes, but they're going to have to solve some issues this week and show it against Matt Campbell's squad. Clearly, oddsmakers think that might be easier said than done.
Other big games
Wake Forest at Clemson (-3.5): The Demon Deacons can clinch the ACC Atlantic with a win over the Tigers, but oddsmakers seem to think that public will still give the Tigers the respect they've earned over the last decade. Quarterback Sam Hartman and the rest of the Deacs will have their work cut out for them against this loaded Tigers defense.
SMU at Cincinnati (-12.5): The Mustangs will provide the biggest test to the Bearcats prior to the AAC Championship Game. They're 8-2, just destroyed UCF and are ranked sixth nationally in total offense at 498.7 yards per game. This one might turn into a shootout which will put a ton of pressure on Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder.
Oklahoma State (-11) at Texas Tech: The Red Raiders fired coach Matt Wells earlier this season but managed to get a big win over Iowa State last weekend. The stout Cowboys defense has Mike Gundy's crew in position to win the Big 12 and potentially make the College Football Playoff. It'll be strength vs. strength in Lubbock in what is going to be one of the most entertaining games of the weekend.
Best of the rest
- Purdue (-12) at Northwestern
- Rutgers at Penn State (-16.5)
- Texas at West Virginia (-2)
- Illinois at Iowa (-12)
- Georgia Tech at Notre Dame (-16.5)
- Michigan (-15) at Maryland
- Nebraska at Wisconsin (-11)
- Virginia at Pittsburgh (-11.5)
- UAB at UTSA (-5)
- BYU (-20) at Georgia Southern
- Syracuse at NC State (-11.5)
- Florida (-7.5) at Missouri
- UCLA (-3.5) at USC
- Baylor at Kansas State (-1.5)
- Auburn (-9.5) at South Carolina
- Vanderbilt at Ole Miss (-38)
- Virginia Tech at Miami (-7)
- Arizona State (-2.5) at Oregon State