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Week 12 College Football Picks: Challenge the Athlon Sports Experts in 2016


A shocking weekend filled with upsets has thrown the playoff picture into chaos, adding extra importance to this week's slate.

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Here are this week’s top picks from Athlon Sports senior editor Rob Doster:

Ohio State at Michigan State

Ohio State has posted back-to-back 62–3 wins in Big Ten play. Needless to say, the Bucks are peaking at the right time. Michigan State got its first conference win against Rutgers; the Spartans will have to wait for the second.

Doster's pick: Ohio State 41–14

Florida at LSU

LSU’s dreams of an SEC West title are dead, but interim coach Ed Orgeron’s dream of earning the permanent job remain alive, and a win over the Gators would help his cause considerably. The SEC has produced some titanic defensive battles this season, and this could be another one. 

Doster’s pick: LSU 21–17

Kansas State at Baylor

The wheels have come off a bit for Baylor, which has lost three straight after a 6–0 start and lost quarterback Seth Russell for the season with an injury against Oklahoma. A well-coached Kansas State team is more than capable of extending the misery. 

Doster’s pick: Kansas State 24–23

Maryland at Nebraska

Maryland has lost five of six, and in the last two weeks, the Terps have been outscored 121–6 by Michigan and Ohio State. It won't be that bad against the Huskers, but another shelling is in store for the Terps.

Doster’s pick: Nebraska 31–17

Oklahoma State at TCU

Oklahoma State is squarely in the Big 12 title picture, but the Cowboys can't afford a loss before the Bedlam matchup with Oklahoma. They'll be tested in Fort Worth, but OSU coach Mike Gundy has won 11 of his last 12 games decided by one score.  

Doster's pick: Oklahoma State 35–31

Wisconsin at Purdue

The Badgers' playoff hopes remain alive, and they're on the verge of clinching a Big Ten West title. This game against bottom-feeding Purdue will get them a little closer.

Doster’s pick: Wisconsin 31–14

Miami at NC State

The Canes have righted the ship after a four-game losing streak. The Wolfpack snapped a four-game skid of their own last Saturday against Syracuse and need one more win for bowl eligibility. 

Doster's pick: Miami 24–21

Oregon at Utah

Oregon's nightmare season continues with a trip to Salt Lake City. The Utes have designs on a Pac-12 South title and are too fundamentally sound to slip up against a Ducks team that is playing out the string.  

Doster's pick: Utah 35–21

Virginia Tech at Notre Dame

Tech took it on the chin against Georgia Tech, but the Hokies have shown flashes of brilliance in Justin Fuente's first season. The worst season of the Brian Kelly era in South Bend crawls toward its merciful end. 

Doster's pick: Virginia Tech 28–21

San Diego State at Wyoming

San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey needs 347 yards to become the all-time leading rusher in FBS history. He won't get it all in this possible Mountain West championship game preview, but he'll give the Aztecs an edge against the surprising Cowboys.  

Doster's pick: San Diego State 41–24

Indiana at Michigan

The Hoosiers come in off a disheartening loss to Penn State that was largely caused by self-inflicted wounds. Jim Harbaugh's team is coming off a shocking loss of its own, and Harbaugh's team will play angry this week. Indiana won't like the Wolverines when they're angry.

Doster's pick: Michigan 48–24

Missouri at Tennessee

The Vols have been a disappointment, thanks in large part to a rash of injuries, but their hopes of making it to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game are still very much alive. Missouri snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over Vanderbilt, but the Tigers will revert to form this week.    

Doster's pick: Tennessee 31–21

Florida State at Syracuse

Florida State's season has been a bit of a disappointment, but nobody will want to play the Noles come bowl season. They simply have too much firepower for the Orange to handle. 

Doster’s pick: Florida State 45–14

Northwestern at Minnesota

The surprising Gophers likely saw their Big Ten West title hopes end with a loss to Nebraska, while Northwestern will be motivated by its quest for a sixth win. The ingredients for an upset are there, but look for the Gophers to hold serve at home.  

Doster's pick: Minnesota 28–21

Arkansas at Mississippi State

Arkansas is allowing a shocking 6.34 yards per rushing attempt. The Bulldogs will attempt to exploit that significant weakness as they scrap toward bowl eligibility.  

Doster's pick: Mississippi State 28–27

Clemson at Wake Forest

Like Saturday's other highly ranked upset victims, Clemson remains in the playoff conversation but can't afford another loss. Wake hung around against Louisville before the Cards' offensive firepower took over. Expect a virtual replay this week for the Deacons.

Doster’s pick: Clemson 38–17

Arizona State at Washington

Washington comes in smarting from an unexpected loss to USC, but the Huskies' playoff dreams remain alive. They'll get back on track against an Arizona State team that has lost four straight.

Doster’s pick: Washington 41–24

Ole Miss at Vanderbilt

The Shea Patterson era in Oxford got off to a rousing start with a 29–28 upset of Texas A&M. The Rebs should reach bowl eligibility this week while eliminating the Commodores from the bowl picture. 

Doster's pick: Ole Miss 27–21

Oklahoma at West Virginia

Contrary to the league’s well-deserved reputation for wide-open offense, the Mountaineers are challenging for their first Big 12 title largely on the strength of a stingy defense, a unit that will face a stern challenge against a weapons-grade Sooners offense. Quarterback Baker Mayfield, running back Joe Mixon and wide receiver Dede Westbrook may comprise the best set of offensive skill players this side of the NFL.

Doster's pick: Oklahoma 34–24


The battle for Los Angeles isn't shaping up how we expected at the start of the season. USC is surging and comes into this one off an impressive win over Washington. UCLA, a popular preseason pick to win the Pac-12, needs this one just to have a shot at bowl eligibility. They won't get it. 

Doster's pick: USC 28–17

Last Week: 12-8