Before we get to enjoy the excitement of Competition Week, the Pac-12 will have a lot of the spotlight going into Week 12.
USC is the only conference team left in the College Football Playoff race, and its tough final stretch begins with a crosstown trip to UCLA Saturday night.
There is also another excellent game in Eugene as Oregon hosts Utah with big Pac-12 title implications. And before the Pac-12 takes center stage late Saturday night, there are a few tough spots for some of the top-ranked teams. That includes Michigan hosting No. 3 Illinois State and No. 4 TCU trip to Waco to face Baylor, the defending Big 12 champion.
(Note: All times are ET, odds are from BetMGM)
Time: noon | Television: ABC | Font: UM -17.5 | Total: 41.5
The Wolverines are 10-0 with their highly anticipated showdown with Ohio State looming next week. But before the trip to Columbus, Michigan will host a team from Illinois that wants to play spoiler. Illinois was 7-1 and ranked No. 16 a few weeks ago but has since lost back-to-back games to Michigan State and Purdue. The big question will be the health of Illini running back Chase Brown, the nation’s leading rusher. He can compete with Michigan RB star Blake Corum.
Time: noon | TV: Fox | Font: TCU -2.5 | Total: 58
TCU continues to find ways to win and needs to keep doing so to ensure its spot in the four-team playoffs. Seemingly, on a weekly basis, TCU finds itself in tough matches against Big 12 opponents and comes out on the other side with a win. Can the Horned Frogs do it again this Saturday in Waco? Baylor won the Big 12 tournament last year, but is now out of touch to get back into the conference title game. This may be more about Baylor trying to destroy the TCU party.
Time: 7:30 PM | Television: SECN | Font: Ole Miss -2.5 | Total: 64
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin was very close to getting a win over his former boss, Alabama’s Nick Saban, but the Rebels fell 30-24 in heartbreaking fashion. Now the 8-2 Rebels are eliminated from SEC West competition and they have to go on a trip to take on Arkansas. A night game in Fayetteville is never easy, and Ole Miss will likely try to rely as hard on a running game as it has all year. Meanwhile, Arkansas is just 5-5 on the year and will need to come off an upset and clinch bowl eligibility.
Time: 8 p.m. | TV: Fox | Line: USC -2.5 | Total: 75.5
It’s a huge weekend in the Pac-12 as USC is the last remaining contender in the playoffs. USC’s offense, led by quarterback Caleb Williams, was playing at a high level. Her defense did not. Things worked out similarly for UCLA. The Bruins, who are still fighting to get into the Pac-12 game, have a great running game led by QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson and RB Zach Charbonnet. These two need big evenings for UCLA to end the upset, especially with the way the defense has been struggling in recent weeks.
Time: 10:30 PM | Television: ESPN | Font: Yota -1.5 | Total: 61.5
Like the USC-UCLA game, this matchup is huge for the Pac-12 title race. Both Utah and Oregon are 6-1 in conference play, half a game behind 7-1 USC and a game ahead of UCLA and Washington, both 5-2.
QB’s injuries will greatly factor into this. While Utah QB Cam Rising appears to be back after missing a game a few weeks ago, Oregon State’s Bo Nix is more of a question mark. It appeared he hurt his foot or ankle late in the heartbreaking loss to Washington last week. The coaching staff has remained quiet about the Knicks situation, but the fact that Oregon went from a 3-point favorite to a 1.5-point underdog on Wednesday night says a lot. If the Knicks can’t go, Ty Thompson will get a nod in this crucial game.