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Do you realize how close we are to the end of the regular season? I've spent the last few weeks watching leaves turn from green to red, orange and brown before covering my entire lawn. I've felt the air temperature slowly cool down and then suddenly dip into the 30s. I've seen the sun set at a much earlier hour. Hell, I've even seen snowflakes, yet at no point did it dawn on me that this passage of time was also occurring in the college football season.

We're almost finished! It feels like the season began a couple of weeks ago, but we've only got two weeks left before conference championship weekend. It's crazy how quickly it's all gone by, particularly in comparison to the slog that was the 2020 season.

So we don't have a lot of time left because I cannot stress this enough: the regular season is when you make money betting college football. Bowl season is when you lose it because nobody knows anything during bowl season. Don't get me wrong, it's still fun to bet on all the bowl games. You might even win money, but it'll be due to luck. So let's put our skills to use while there's still time. All odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.

Games of the Week

No. 7 Michigan State at No. 4 Ohio State: One of the more interesting parts of this week is the look-ahead factor. Not only is next week the final week of the regular season, but it's rivalry week. I don't know if you've heard about it, but Ohio State has a rather big rivalry with Michigan that's important to them. Perhaps this is why the Buckeyes have failed to cover a spread in their last seven games ahead of the Michigan rivalry (last year's game was canceled).

When you look at that trend and combine it with the fact that this spread seems pretty disrespectful of the Spartans, it's hard not to lean Sparty's way. I know we took Purdue and got burned by the Buckeyes last week, but head-to-head results aside -- it works both ways, Spartan fans -- Michigan State's a better team than Purdue. Plus, after watching Ohio State play with its food far too often, I'm not ready to buy the idea that it's suddenly flipped the switch because it pounded a Purdue team coming off a huge win. I mean, Purdue did still score 31 points in that game. 

While Michigan State's defense gives up a lot of yards, it tightens up in the red zone, which happens to be an area the Ohio State offense has struggled most of the season. The Buckeyes win, but not nearly as easily as the spread suggests. Ohio State 38, Michigan State 24 | Michigan State +19

No. 3 Oregon at No. 23 Utah: Every season during the College Football Playoff era, there's been that one playoff contender nobody believes in. The one that the world assumes is going to lose another game and knock itself out of contention. The first year of the playoff,, it was Florida State, which remained unbeaten until Oregon killed it in the semifinals. This year, it's the Ducks' turn to be doubted, and that doubt has become so prevalent that we can now find value on them. 

I like this Utah team a lot, but I'm not sure it should be favored by three points. Oregon is far from perfect and limited offensively. When it comes to playoff contenders, however, we tend to focus on their flaws as potential title winners. That can skew how we view them compared to teams they're better than. I think Oregon is a better team than Utah. Not to the level where I expect the Ducks to crush it. I won't be surprised at all if Utah wins, but I won't be surprised if the Ducks win, either. So the points seem pretty enticing. Oregon 27, Utah 24 | Oregon +3

Lock of the Week

UCLA at USC: I don't like a lot of what I've seen from USC lately, and how could I? The Trojans lost their best player (WR Drake London) to a season-ending injury and enter this game having lost three of their last four, with the lone win being a close call against 1-9 Arizona. That's been something of a theme with these Trojans. Their four wins have come against San Jose State, Washington State, Colorado and Arizona. Combined, those teams are 14-27. The Trojans have lost all four of their games against teams with winning records. There's a reason Clay Helton was fired!

Now, I can say some of the same things about UCLA. When going against the better teams of the Pac-12, it's come up short, though the 20-point loss at Utah was the only time it didn't look competitive. However, the Bruins have beaten the teams they're better than with relative ease. UCLA is a better football team than USC. Let's not overthink it. UCLA 38, USC 31 | UCLA -3

Underdog of the Week

Iowa State at No. 13 Oklahoma: Iowa State is back in the role it was born to play: spoiler. You put high expectations on Iowa State before a season and talk about how it's a Big 12 title contender and a possible playoff team, and it'll disappoint you. But when you put it away after some early-season losses and forget about it? That's when the Cyclones jump up and bite you, and I think we're going to see that this week.

I was disappointed with Oklahoma last week. Not because it didn't cover, but because I thought coming off a bye, it would look a lot more prepared to play a tough Baylor team. I keep waiting for this team to flip the switch, but I just don't think it's going to happen anymore. Oklahoma is what it is: a good team with plenty of flaws -- the kind of flaws that could prove costly against a well-coached team with something to prove. That's Iowa State. Plus, you know, coach Matt Campbell being 20-11 ATS as an underdog at Iowa State (17-7 in Big 12 play) doesn't hurt my confidence level, either. Oklahoma 30, Iowa State 28 | Iowa State +3.5

Under of the Week

Virginia Tech at Miami: You have to be on the lookout for teams on the precipice of packing it in at this point of the season. I have a suspicion that Virginia Tech might be one of those teams. The Hokies beat Duke on Senior Day last weekend and then fired Justin Fuente a few days later. I don't know what kind of message that sends through the locker room, but I don't imagine it's positive. Still, I'm not comfortable trusting Miami as this large of a favorite against any ACC team except Duke. Instead, I'm going to take the under.

Offensively, Virginia Tech's been a mess all season. It's a big reason why Fuente was fired. While the Hokies are 43rd nationally in offensive success rate, they rank 92nd in points per possession and 81st in offensive EPA. They're the kind of offense that Miami's defense could find some success against, and even if this game turns into a blowout where Tech doesn't show up, I still think we stay under the total. Miami 31, Virginia Tech 23 | Under 56

Over of the Week

No. 10 Wake Forest at Clemson: Have you watched Wake Forest lately? Clemson's offense has been a mess since the opening kick of the 2021 season, but the Tigers might have spent all season just waiting to get a crack at this Wake defense. Over their last six games, the Deacons have gone 5-1, but have allowed 2.73 points per drive. That would rank 116th nationally, and those numbers include a game against Duke in which the Blue Devils scored only seven points. Remove that game and Wake has allowed 3.14 points per possession since the start of October. That would rank 127th!

Wake has overcome those defensive struggles by scoring a bunch of points themselves. While I'm not expecting the typical Wake performance against a Clemson defense that has remained strong all season, I do expect enough fireworks to get us over the total. Clemson 35, Wake Forest 31 | Over 56.5

SportsLine Pick of the Week

No. 21 Arkansas at No. 2 Alabama: I've run out of room in The Six Pack, but I've got another play on the SEC On CBS Game of the Week between the Crimson Tide and Razorbacks. If you want to find out what it is, head over to my SportsLine page.


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Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 12, and which College Football Playoff contender will go down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $3,500 in profit over the past five-plus seasons -- and find out.