With just two weeks left in the 2022 regular season and the Pac-12 seeking its first College Football Playoff appearance in six years, the conference finds itself in the spotlight. Playoff opportunities are dwindling with every Saturday that passes, and two of the biggest Pac-12 games of the season will go down Saturday night. They will go a long way to deciding which teams square off in the league’s title game and whether one in particular has a chance at breaking through into the CFP.
That team with remaining playoff aspirations is No. 7 USC, which faces No. 16 UCLA in a rivalry showdown that two years from now will take place in a different conference, the Big Ten. As the lone remaining one-loss Pac-12 program, the Trojans taking down the Bruins is their first step in making a legitimate CFP bid. No. 18 Notre Dame awaits next week, and USC would also need to get through the Pac-12 Championship Game with that “1” remaining in its loss column.
Though the second Pac-12 showdown lost some of its luster, and though it’s kicking off at 10:30 p.m. ET, No. 10 Utah at No. 17 Oregon features arguably the league’s top remaining programs once the aforementioned California schools depart for the Big Ten in 2024. It will certainly be one of the most notable late games played this season.
Elsewhere, No. 1 Georgia looks to remain unbeaten in its question to defend the national championship when it travels to Kentucky for an SEC East showdown that is similarly not as intriguing as once assumed. The Wildcats last week aided Vanderbilt in snapping its 26-game SEC losing streak, and Kentucky has fallen from every set of top 25 rankings after appearing in them throughout the season.
No. 4 TCU similarly seeks to stay undefeated at Baylor, the Big 12 preseason favorite, while Bedlam between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will only hold rivalry implications due to the diminished stature of both programs this season. Big Ten powers No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan are both in action this weekend, too, though the programs are both multi-touchdown favorites in those contests.
Be sure to stick with CBS Sports throughout the day for college football coverage from the opening kickoff onward. Let’s take a look at our expert picks for the best games in Week 12.
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern
Illinois at No. 3 Michigan
Featured Game | Michigan Wolverines vs. Illinois Fighting Illini
Noon | ABC, fuboTV (Try for free) — One of the reasons Michigan has blown out so many of its opponents is it starts games strong. The Wolverines have been one of the best first-half teams in the country, and they often take their foot off the gas pedal in the second half of games. With Ohio State looming, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a similar performance this week. Plus, Illinois has proven to be an excellent second-half team, particularly defensively. So, Michigan -9.5 1H should certainly be a play. I also have Michigan to cover the overall number, but for the purposes of this, let’s not overthink it. We’ve got two of the best defenses in the country going at it, and two offenses built on running the ball. That’s how unders were won thousands of years ago, and how they’re still won today. Prediction: Under 40.5 — Tom Fornelli
No. 4 TCU at Baylor
Featured Game | Baylor Bears vs. TCU Horned Frogs
Noon | Fox, fuboTV (Try for free) — The Bears were picked to win the Big 12 and have flashed the requisite level of talent to beat even elite teams. However, TCU won’t waste this opportunity against a hated rival. The Horned Frogs hit just one more chunk play than Baylor to emerge victorious in Waco, Texas, and keep their perfect season alive. Prediction: TCU -2.5 — Shehan Jeyarajah
No. 1 Georgia at Kentucky
Featured Game | Kentucky Wildcats vs. Georgia Bulldogs
3:30 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App — I’ll take the Bulldogs to not only win but cover the massive spread. The Wildcats have fallen off a cliff, quarterback Will Levis has thrown more interceptions (five) than touchdowns (four) over the last four games, and the loss to Vanderbilt last week has to be deflating for a team that once had high hopes. The Bulldogs will keep their foot on the gas more than they normally do in order to keep their first-teamers fresh for the stretch run. Prediction: Georgia -22.5 — Barrett Sallee
No. 22 Oklahoma State at Oklahoma
Featured Game | Oklahoma Sooners vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys
7:30 p.m. | ABC, fuboTV (Try for free) — Oklahoma has wins over Kansas (with a backup quarterback) and Iowa State, the only team with a worse record in conference play than the Sooners. OU has dominated Oklahoma State over the Mike Gundy era, but this is the worst Sooners team in 25 years. There’s no reason to give them the benefit of the doubt. Prediction: Oklahoma State +7.5 — Shehan Jeyarajah
No. 7 USC at No. 16 UCLA
Featured Game | UCLA Bruins vs. USC Trojans
8 p.m. | Fox, fuboTV (Try for free) — USC has looked great beating up on bad teams over the last month, but I’m not sure there is as much of a difference between these two teams as the rankings suggest. The Trojans also have some potential injury issues beyond the absence of running back Travis Dye, and while UCLA’s loss to Arizona is concerning, I do think it was also just the kind of defeat we see in potential lookahead spots late in the year. I think the Bruins bounce back in a big way and steal the win. Prediction: UCLA +2.5 — Chip Patterson
No. 10 Utah at No. 17 Oregon
Featured Game | Oregon Ducks vs. Utah Utes
10:30 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — Utah dominated Oregon in two meetings last season, and it’s not clear whether the gap has closed. While first-year Ducks coach Dan Lanning and offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham have quarterback Bo Nix playing at an elite level, the Utes will be the most physical team Oregon has faced since a Week 1 loss to Georgia. Nix’s status is also uncertain after he suffered an injury in the fourth quarter of last week’s loss to Washington. That defeat eliminated Oregon from the playoff conversation, and it will be interesting to see if the Ducks remain highly motivated to play for a Pac-12 title. Prediction: Utah -2 — David Cobb
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 12, and which top-20 teams 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 $3,000 in profit over the past six-plus seasons — and find out