Last Updated: 2019-11-12
As we head into Week 12, I have to put a few qualifiers on the situational betting tips article for college football. Most of the games could be included here. Teams are vying for bowl eligibility. Some teams have already picked up a seventh loss. Some teams know they are going to a bowl, but probably not one of the ones that they wanted.
In a lot of ways, every game at this time of the year has some sort of situational element to it. We’ve got interim coaches now at Florida State and Arkansas and there are other coaches that are very likely to get fired, so their players may show up or may not. Even with the extra bye week, it has been a long season, so a lot of teams may be in bad travel or rest spots.
There are so many things to factor into the equation as the holidays get closer. So, I have to prioritize, otherwise this article would feature every game on the card in some way, shape, or form. I’m really looking for the most notable spots. Revenge spots. Letdowns. Look-aheads. Really unique travel spots. These can’t just be run-of-the-mill scenarios to get included from here on out.
With that in mind, here are the CFB situational spots for Week 12:
Eastern Michigan at Akron – The Zips haven’t scored a touchdown since September 28. Time is running out to get a win and it doesn’t look like this will be the week, as Eastern Michigan is laying 17 on the road. This is the first MACtion game for the two teams in 2019, so it is a little bit of a weird situation. Both teams are on extra rest given that they didn’t play in Week 11.
Western Michigan at Ohio – Ohio is at home on short rest here against Western Michigan. The loss to Miami of Ohio is certainly problematic in terms of the MAC East Division. This amounts to virtually a must-win for the Bobcats. In fact, with the RedHawks playing Bowling Green this week and Akron next week, Ohio also needs a ton of help. I’d actually be worried about Ohio as such a long shot for the division and with Western Michigan in a tie atop the West.
West Virginia at Kansas State – Is this the flat spot game for Kansas State? After beating Oklahoma, blowing out rival Kansas, and hanging tough with Texas, it’s completely fair to wonder how many times Kansas State can keep stepping up. This week, the Wildcats take on a battered and bruised WVU team that just got rocked at home off extra rest. This seems like a really bad spot for K-State, in that they’ve played a lot of emotional games lately and are now a huge favorite against a bad team.
Indiana at Penn State – Does Penn State have a hangover from that loss at Minnesota? What about Indiana, who is ranked in the top 25 for the first time since 1994. Yes. 25 years. This is such a fascinating game all the way around. Penn State also has Ohio State on deck and a chance to get control of its own destiny in the Big Ten East. Will the Nittany Lions overlook the Hoosiers? Will Indiana be fat and happy with a number next to its name? This is really an interesting handicap.
Ohio State at Rutgers – Ohio State’s two biggest games of the regular season are next week against Penn State and in two weeks against Michigan. Will the Buckeyes be motivated enough to cover the 51-point spread. This is the second biggest road favorite role in college football history. Oklahoma was a 54-point favorite against Kansas in 1987. The last FBS game with a road favorite in the 40s was October 10, 2015 when Baylor faced Kansas. Baylor won 66-7 as a 45.5-point favorite. Ohio State can hang 100 here if they want. Do they want to?
Minnesota at Iowa – After one of the biggest wins in program history, Minnesota faces a potential landmine this week against Iowa. Iowa has not really looked the part this season, but the fact that the Hawkeyes are -3 tells you everything you need to know about this matchup. It is clearly a bad spot for Minnesota. That does seem baked into the line to a degree here.
Wake Forest at Clemson – Wake Forest dropped out of the College Football Playoff rankings with the loss to Virginia Tech. Now Wake Forest faces a Clemson team on the warpath. The Demon Deacons have been viewed as a fraudulent team most of the year by respected bettors. Is this a circle the wagons spot for a talented offense or is this a spot where Clemson runs up style points again?
UMass at Northwestern – Isn’t this an interesting line? Northwestern has scored a total of 100 points this season. The Wildcats have averaged nine points per game in conference play. They are a 38-point favorite this week against UMass. Is this a spot for Northwestern to let out some frustration? On the other hand, is this a bad spot for Northwestern as a 1-8 team without a whole lot of cares the rest of the way? It is a big number if that is the case.
Navy at Notre Dame – The Middies have been one of college football’s biggest surprises this season. Notre Dame, with no playoff aspirations, rebounded from the disappointing effort against Virginia Tech with a blowout of Duke to silence some questions and concerns about the Fighting Irish. What happens this week against the Navy triple-option? Are the Irish going to be focused in preparation? Notre Dame regularly sees the option, so they should have no issues with that side of it, but this is still a big departure from the norm.
Georgia at Auburn – Georgia may have some College Football Playoff hopes after all. The loss to South Carolina seemed to eliminate the Bulldogs from contention, but a win here over Auburn would set the stage for a meeting with LSU in Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game. Alabama’s loss and the desire to have two SEC teams in the CFP will be a big storyline going forward, but Georgia would be eliminated from contention with a loss here, thus making this a must-win game. That’s a lot of pressure for the Bulldogs.
Texas at Iowa State – Man, how does Iowa State get off the mat this week? This is the preferred Tom Herman underdog role and Iowa State is coming off of that emotionally draining loss at Oklahoma. The right call was made to go for two after the fourth-quarter comeback, but how does Matt Campbell get his team back on track. The bowl eligibility carrot could be dangled, but Iowa State plays Kansas next week, so there’s the sixth win. This is a really terrible spot for Iowa State. It isn’t great for Texas off the Kansas State win, but the Longhorns are clearly in a better spot here.
Oklahoma at Baylor – This is one of the most interesting situational spots of the week. Baylor is off of a triple-overtime thriller against TCU (edited because I’m an idiot). Oklahoma is off of getting taken to the last half-minute by Iowa State. Oklahoma’s defense has been exposed multiple times over. This is such a huge game in the Big 12, in the College Football Playoff, and for both head coaches. No questions asked. College Gameday in Waco will make things all kinds of fun, but it’s hard to see a scenario in which this is a good spot for either team.
Kentucky at Vanderbilt – Rocky Top rang out loud and clear in Lexington last week as the Volunteers beat the Wildcats. It’s basketball season now on Kentucky’s campus. This road trip to Nashville to face an inferior team should be a good spot for Kentucky because Vanderbilt is a mess, but the loss to Tennessee had to sting. On the bright side for Kentucky, bowl eligibility needs to be secured, so that is a motivating factor here. Also, Vanderbilt could very well be mailing the rest of the season in. That’s what the loss to Florida looked like.
Michigan State at Michigan – It hasn’t been a good season for Michigan State. A win over Michigan would change that. It looks very unlikely, especially with Sparty’s unbelievable collapse against Illinois last week. This is the last stand for Michigan State for 2019 in a season of unfulfilled hopes and dreams. Michigan better come ready to play because whatever MSU has left, it will be left on the field here. As an aside, I’d fade Sparty as a favorite against Rutgers and Maryland the rest of the way, even with six wins hanging in the balance.
Alabama at Mississippi State – Now what for Alabama. Get Tua healthy? Let him save his legs for the NFL to a degree? Tua hobbled off the field after the loss to LSU. He shouldn’t be needed this week against Mississippi State, as it is a good chance for Nick Saban to take a look at Mac Jones. Will we get a pissed off and angry Alabama team that goes and hangs a big number on Mississippi State? We could. That’s what I would expect.
LSU at Ole Miss – Can Ed Orgeron keep his team from a letdown this week? LSU won’t lose to Ole Miss, but the spread of 21 is a tall ask after one of the program’s biggest wins in quite some time. This sure seems like an Ole Miss or nothing spot, even if the Rebels are very clearly the inferior team.
Stanford at Washington State – What are we going to get from Washington State this week and next week? The Cougars are 4-5 and may not be too interested in some crummy bowl game. It may just come down to getting up for the Apple Cup at the end of the season. Last week’s bad loss at Cal was pretty embarrassing, all things considered. Stanford had a dud of a performance in its own right. These are both fade teams, but somebody has to win and cover in this game.
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