College football picks, schedule: Predictions for key top 25 games today during Week 12

The 2018 regular season is coming to a close, and Saturday's slate of college football games may not provide too much in the way of excitement for the penultimate week of the campaign. Still, if there is one thing we know about college football, madness can hit at any given time, especially when you're not expecting it. There are a few games on Saturday's slate that are almost guaranteed to have some sort of impact on the College Football Playoff race, while other top contending teams should be looking to fight off complacency.

Alabama was tested early in the noon slate but ultimately blew past The Citadel. Ohio State, a two-touchdown favorite over Maryland, needed OT to earn a one-point win on a missed two-point conversion. Florida dominated Idaho, too. In the afternoon slate, Notre Dame is up big on Syracuse, while West Virginia looks to hold off a tough Oklahoma State team that has already pulled off a few upsets this season.

With action beginning early in the day and continuing late into the evening, let's take a look at the biggest games on the schedule Saturday along with our predictions for what will transpire in those contests. Our CBS Sports college football experts have picked every game both straight up and against the spread, giving you ample opportunity to decide how to make your picks ahead of kickoff.

All times Eastern

No. 10 Ohio State (-14) at Maryland -- noon on ABC: Ohio State's biggest game of the season is next week against Michigan, but I feel like this is the time for the Buckeyes to put up or shut up. If they don't take care of business against this Terrapins team and dominate, then they aren't going to have a chance against the Wolverines. I think that's what's going to happen, but I don't make this pick with a lot of confidence. How could anybody be confident about Ohio State right now? Pick: Ohio State -14 -- Tom Fornelli

No. 12 Syracuse vs. No. 3 Notre Dame (-9.5) -- 2:30 p.m. on NBC, fuboTV (Try for free): Ian Book may be historically great in terms of accuracy, but in his six starts he hasn't faced a defensive front as tenacious as the one he'll see on the other side of the ball on Saturday afternoon. Alton Robinson leads a group that ranks No. 10 nationally in sacks per game and put a hurting on Trevor Lawrence earlier this year. Because of that, I'm expecting this to be a big game for running back Dexter Williams and a score that could be lower than you might expect given the potency of the two quarterbacks. Notre Dame will win and continue its playoff march, but Syracuse finishes inside the number.  Pick: Syracuse +9.5 -- Chip Patterson

No. 9 West Virginia (-5.5) at Oklahoma State -- 3:30 p.m. on ABC: This one could go a number of ways. Oklahoma State has athletes on offense, but the defense is unreliable. Are they still drained from the Oklahoma loss, or are they ready to get back up? West Virginia has the advantage at quarterback, but is it able to make the plays defensively to keep Oklahoma State at a distance? Either way, the line here is interesting with so many big-time implications. Pick: Oklahoma State +5.5 -- Ben Kercheval

So which teams should you back in Week 12 of the college football season? And what playoff contender will get its title hopes crushed? Visit SportsLine now to see the projected score for every single FBS matchup , all from the model that has returned over $4,000 in profit to $100 bettors over the last three seasons.

No. 24 Cincinnati at No. 11 UCF (-7.5) -- 8 p.m. on ABC: The second edition of the UCF dream season will continue Saturday night in the "Bounce House," but it won't be easy. The Bearcats will do a solid job of playing old-school football against the porous Knights defense, but it won't be good enough. This season's UCF team isn't complete as last year's squad, but has that killer instinct. If there's an opening, the Knights routinely take advantage. The defense will get a few key stops in the second half and allow Milton and the offense to pull away late. Pick: UCF (-7.5) -- Barrett Sallee

No. 16 Iowa State at No. 15 Texas (-3.5) -- 8 p.m. on LHN: Texas isn't a good favorite under Tom Herman, while Iowa State has been a solid underdog pick. In any case, Texas' average point differential in the aforementioned last six games is +2.8. Couple that with Iowa State's reputation as a dog, and the Cyclones plus the points seems like a safe pick. Pick: Iowa State +3.5 -- Ben Kercheval

CBS Sports Writer

Ben Kercheval joined CBS Sports in 2016 and has been covering college football since 2010. Before CBS, Ben worked at Bleacher Report, UPROXX Sports and NBC Sports. As a long-suffering North Texas graduate,... Full Bio

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