The Six Pack: Georgia-Auburn, Minnesota-Iowa among best Week 12 college football picks
The Process is still working its way toward an even season, but is heating up as we hit the home stretch
Don't look now, ladies and gentlemen, but after a 1-8 start to the season, The Lock of the Week has hit two straight. That's right, we're on a winning streak! The Six Pack is white-hot! Don't get too close to your screen, or you might burn yourself.
OK, so while The Lock of the Week hit, overall, it was a mediocre week. The Six Pack went 3-3 overall and wasn't able to carry the momentum of a 5-1 performance the week before. Still, The Process has been in a much better place over the last month than it had been early in the year, and we've nearly dug ourselves out of the hole. There's light at the end of this tunnel, and week by week, we're getting closer to it.
Games of the Week
No. 12 Auburn (+3) vs. No. 4 Georgia: My initial instinct when seeing this game posted was to take the under. The problem is that the total was posted on Monday, and as I write this, it has dropped from 45 to 40.5 points. All the value is gone, so hopefully, you got it early in the week. Still, the total isn't the only play here, as I like Auburn getting points at home as well. Auburn, as you no doubt remember, is an agent of chaos. It was two years ago when the Tigers had largely been written off before upsetting both Georgia and Alabama in the final weeks of the season. I don't know if we'll see a repeat of that, but I do think the Tigers are going to stick around and cover this spread at a minimum.
Georgia is an odd case. You know it's one of the best teams in the country, but it doesn't do much that impresses you offensively. In SEC play, the Bulldogs are averaging 27 points per game, which ranks sixth in the conference behind teams like Florida and Auburn, who nobody is accusing of being offensive juggernauts. Plus, we've seen Georgia struggle to put up points against strong defenses like Notre Dame and Florida. Well, Auburn's might be better than both of theirs. Georgia has a sack allowed rate of 1.68 percent, which is the best in the country, but this Auburn defensive front is too good to stop for an entire game. Jake Fromm will be under more pressure in this game than he has been at any other point this season. Now, will Bo Nix be able to put up points against this Georgia defense? That's the wild card in this game, but it should be pointed out that Nix has been much better at home than on the road. I'm taking Auburn to win, but I'm much more confident in it covering. Auburn 20, Georgia 17
No. 8 Minnesota (+3) at No. 20 Iowa: This spread is straight up disrespectful. I know that Iowa has had a lot of success against highly-ranked teams in Iowa City, but the Hawkeyes are usually the underdog in those spots. Now they're favored here for some reason. Now, I took Penn State against Minnesota in this very column last week, and Minnesota shut me up. I know it's on the road here, and there's a letdown factor at play, but there's no reason for the Gophers to be getting points.
Iowa is scoring 18.8 points per game against Big Ten teams this season. Its offense has been dreadful. The Hawkeyes are rushing for 2.96 yards per carry in conference play, and it's thrown only seven touchdowns to five interceptions in conference play. Now, the defense is stingy as hell, but so was Penn State's, and we saw what Minnesota was able to do to it last week. Give me the Gophers team that has covered in seven straight conference games. Minnesota 27, Iowa 20
Lock of the Week
Michigan State (+13.5) at No. 15 Michigan: Yes, taking Michigan State is terrifying. This is a team that blew a 28-3 lead at home to Illinois last week and has been mostly dreadful this season. Still, this is Michigan State's Super Bowl. This is the game that can wipe the bad taste out of Michigan State's mouth, and to be honest, I think last week's nightmare collapse against Illinois only motivates the Spartans further. Since Jim Harbaugh returned to Ann Arbor in 2015, these teams have split four meetings, with the road team winning each time. In those four games, the largest margin of victory for either side has been 14 points, and the average margin has been 7.75 points. Michigan State has covered in all four of those meetings. In fact, Michigan State has covered in 10 of the last 11 meetings, including five straight in Ann Arbor. It won't be fun, and you're going to hate yourself for at least 85 percent of this game, but the Spartans are the correct play. Michigan 27, Michigan State 17
Under of the Week
UMass at Northwestern (Under 56.5): What's amazing about this game is that a Northwestern team that has managed to score 100 points in its nine games (11.1 per) this season is favored by 40.5 points. When you see that your initial reaction is probably to take UMass, but friends, you can't spell UMass without the last three letters in its name. Still, you don't want to lay 40.5 points with Northwestern, so what do you do? Well, as bad as Northwestern's offense is, the defense has never been a problem for the Wildcats this season. UMass won't be able to score many points against it if it even scores any. All of that makes the under a more appealing play. Northwestern might have to score those 57 points on its own to go over. Northwestern 48, UMass 3
Principle Play of the Week
Arizona (+27) at No. 6 Oregon: Oregon is probably the best team in the Pac-12. At the very least, it's a lot better than Arizona is. You know that, I know that, we all know that. But I'm not taking Oregon as nearly a four-touchdown favorite. I'm sorry, I can't do that. I don't care if it just beat USC by 32 points the last time we saw it. Plus, the Ducks just have not been good against the spread in Autzen Stadium under Mario Cristobal. They're 4-8 ATS at home overall and only 3-7 ATS when they're favored at home. Oregon 45, Arizona 20
Wunder of the Week
No. 19 Texas at Iowa State (Under 66.5): I felt this total was too high when I first saw it, and then I saw the forecast for this game and loved it even more. As I write this, there are expected to be winds of 14 mph blowing across the field at Jack Trice Stadium, as well as temperatures in the low 40s. Those aren't the kind of conditions that are typically conducive to high-scoring, pass-friendly games. Iowa State 30, Texas 27
Games of the Week
Lock of the Week
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.
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