We're entrenched now. Almost every talking point for the remainder of the season is about the College Football Playoff Rankings -- who should be in and who should be out. I'm very much a believer that things tend to work themselves out in the end, and a big part of that are upsets. So, as we get into Week 12, let's take a look at the games that could shape some of the national landscape -- or, in other cases, divisional races.
Each week, I'll give you the top five upset alert games based on matchups, injuries/suspensions and other factors. But in the spirit of the upset, I generally avoid games where lines are within a touchdown, though there will be some exceptions. Similarly, I'll only go with moneyline picks when the payout is around 2:1 -- maybe a little less, definitely when it's more.
Week 11 results
North Carolina at Pitt
When: Thursday, 8 p.m. ET | Where: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania | Moneyline: Pitt -186, UNC +159
Why it's listed: I've found it: the most ACC Coastal game ever. Prepare for someone to have their soul sucked straight from their body at the end, Shang Tsung style. It'll probably be anyone betting on this game. Wait ...
North Carolina's key to the game: Normally I'd fade a frosh QB on the road vs. a quality defense, but Sam Howell's moxie more than makes up for that doubt. His eight fourth-quarter touchdowns are the most in any part of the game, and more than half of his 26 touchdowns are in the red zone.
Pitt's key to the game: This is the best defense coach Pat Narduzzi has had at Pitt. Or, at the very least, it's the most Pat Narduzzi defense Narduzzi has had at Pitt. The Panthers are great against the pass, you just have to watch out for the big play.
Pick: This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy. UNC +159
When: Saturday, Noon ET | Where: Columbia, Missouri | Line: Florida -8.5
Missouri's key to the game: The Tigers are at their best when Bryant is connecting with tight end Albert Okwuegbunam. He has one touchdown in his last four games, so Missouri is going to need to get him more involved.
Florida's key to the game: Quarterback Kyle Trask has been playing well lately, and he has a lot of targets from which to choose. However, he faces what is statistically the SEC's top pass defense. Is he (and the passing offense) due for a regression? Or will this be the best group Mizzou has faced this year?
Pick: All signs say take Mizzou and the points. Against the spread, Florida is 1-3-1 on the road and 0-2 when the point total is this low (50.5). Think getting Bryant back makes a difference, but Trask and this pass-catching group will make enough plays. Tigers are in a tough stretch. ATS: Missouri, SU: Florida
When: Saturday, Noon ET | Where: Lincoln, Nebraska | Line: Wisconsin -13.5
Why it's listed: It's been a physical stretch for the Badgers: at Illinois (not terrible, as we now know), at No. 2 Ohio State (playoff-caliber) and Iowa (built to knock you down a couple of pegs). Now Wisconsin goes to Nebraska who, while not great, is coming off a bye.
Nebraska's key to the game: I don't trust the Huskers to stop Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor, but I do think their offense can keep up if quarterback Adrian Martinez comes out of his shell. Injuries and an overall sophomore slump have been tough to endure, but I'm wondering if the extra week has helped Martinez get back to what we've seen him do in the past.
Wisconsin's key to the game: Can the Badgers get back to suffocating opponents? In the recent three-game stretch, they've allowed opponents to average more than 5.5 yards per play, which is middle-of-the-road nationally. Illinois, Ohio State and even Iowa all scored at least 22 points on this team. Why? Seven turnovers ought to do it.
Pick: I'll fade the Badgers to cover since they have been a bit more pedestrian lately, but I just don't know that Nebraska's defense has an answer for Taylor. ATS: Nebraska, SU: Wisconsin
No. 23 Navy at No. 16 Notre Dame
When: Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET | Where: South Bend, Indiana | Moneyline: Notre Dame -322, Navy +264
Navy's key to the game: Yes, Navy is a road grader on offense. They are a top-20 team in time of possession and boast the FBS' top rushing offense. But they also are a top-five team in explosive run plays of 20 yards or more. You're going to need explosive plays here.
Notre Dame's key to the game: Here's why Navy's explosive plays are so important: they also have eight lost fumbles on the season. The longer you possess the ball, the more likely you are to give it away. The Irish defense probably need a couple of those on Saturday.
Pick: Home or away, give me an explosive triple-option team as a dog, and I'll give you an upset alert pick. Navy +264
When: Saturday, 4 p.m. ET | Where: Logan, Utah | Line: Utah State -6
Why it's listed: Wyoming nearly beat Boise State last week, and while back-to-back road trips are hard, Utah State hasn't shown much outside of quarterback Jordan Love, though the Aggies are healthier at running back.
Wyoming's key to the game: The Cowboys have to find a way to at least get Love into turnover situations. Wyoming has one of the better pass defenses in the Mountain West, though nobody in the conference has had to defend it more.
Utah State's key to the game: Having Jaylen Warren and Gerald Bright at full strength helped against Fresno State a week ago, so they'll need to show up again in a game that could be decided by some tough yards in key spots.
Pick: I don't love picking dogs two weeks in a row, but Wyoming has the defense to make this interesting. Just not sure they'll have an answer if Love makes a couple of big plays. ATS: Wyoming, SU: Utah State
So which picks can you make with confidence in Week 12? And which line is way off? Visit SportsLine to see which teams win and cover the spread, all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,000 in profit over the past four seasons.