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MC&J: Week 12’s national slate will see Oregon State try to spoil Washington’s perfect season

Plus predictions for seven other interesting games outside the Big Ten on Saturday.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Oregon State Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Last week ATS: 7-7 (2-5 National, 5-2 B1G)

Season ATS: 89-87-1 (40-51-1 National, 49-37 B1G)

Last week we were back to normal, missing on a bunch of national games while hitting on most of our Big Ten picks. The good news is we broke even for the week, still giving us a couple game cushion on .500 ahead of the last couple weeks of the regular season.

National games

No. 10 Louisville (-1.5) v. Miami (FL) - 12:00 p.m. ET - ABC

Louisville has to be really kicking themselves for dropping a game at Pitt last month. Had it not been for the setback to the Panthers, the Cardinals would be undefeated and could possibly be battling Florida State in the ACC Championship Game for a spot in the College Football Playoff. Even with the loss, Jeff Brohm has had a phenomenal first season as head coach of his alma mater.

While Louisville is soaring right now, the same can’t be said for Miami. The Hurricanes have lost their last two games, and even though they hung with Florida State last week, quarterback Emory Williams was injured late in the loss. With Williams not available to play, Mario Cristobal will turn back to Tyler Van Dyke, who has thrown 12 interceptions this season.

I’m not impressed by Cristobal and the Hurricanes. I know this could be a redemption game for Van Dyke after a tough season, but I think Louisville is going to come out on top on Saturday. The Cardinals are angling for a New Year’s Six bowl bid, and they are better on both sides of the football. Louisville continues their strong play heading into the ACC Championship Game in a few weeks.

Louisville 34, Miami (FL) 21

No. 22 Utah (-1.5) v. No. 17 Arizona - 2:30 p.m. ET - Pac-12 Network

Arizona continued their recent roll, beating Colorado last week 34-31 in Boulder to extend their winning streak to four games. Even though he didn’t see significant playing time until the end of September, Noah Fifita has been one of the best quarterbacks in the country this year, throwing 16 touchdowns and just four interceptions. What makes what Fifita has done on the field so impressive is he has been playing against some of the best teams in the country. In the six games where he has attempted at least 10 passes, five of those contests were against teams that were ranked at the time.

If the College Football Playoff rankings were based on effort, Utah would be tops in the country. Even though they have had to play such a tough schedule without quarterback Cam Rising this year, the Utes enter this game with a 7-3 record. Utah is coming off a 35-28 loss at Washington, where Bryson Barnes threw for a career-high 267 yards against the Huskies.

Even though I know Utah is going to give Arizona all they can handle in Tucson, I still like the Wildcats in this one. Arizona is playing with a ton of confidence with Fifita at quarterback during their four-game winning streak, and they have a couple of outstanding receivers in Jacob Cowing and Tetairoa McMillan. The Wildcats keep the pressure on Oregon in the Pac-12 standings with a win over the Utes.

Arizona 31, Utah 27

No. 1 Georgia (-10.5) v. No. 18 Tennessee - 3:30 p.m. ET - CBS

I apparently am never going to learn when it comes to Georgia. One week the Bulldogs will struggle a bit and then I think their next opponent can hang with them. Then Kirby Smart’s team blows that team off the map and I think their next opponent has no chance to stay within the spread. It feels like it has been that way all season.

Tennessee is coming off a 36-7 loss at Missouri last week. Joe Milton definitely isn’t it at quarterback for the Vols. While he’s serviceable behind center, he isn’t a game-changer. Milton has played college football for like 26 years, so it’s not like he hasn’t been underachieving for quite a while.

Sorry Tennessee, Hendon Hooker ain’t walking through that door. Last week the Bulldogs put up over 600 yards on Ole Miss, while the Volunteers gave up over 500 yards to Missouri. Even if Brock Bowers isn’t able to play, Georgia has too much firepower for Milton and the inconsistent Tennessee offense to keep pace with. While Dolly Parton is going to be at the game on Saturday, it isn’t going to be able to help the Vols in this one.

Georgia 41, Tennessee 20

No. 20 North Carolina v. Clemson (-6.5) - 3:30 p.m. ET - ESPN

There was a little bit of truth to what Dabo Swinney said after the Notre Dame game when he said Clemson’s stock was on the rise. Last week the Tigers built off their win over the Fighting Irish by beating Georgia Tech 42-21. Clemson has a strong rushing attack with Will Shipley and Phil Mafah, while quarterback Cade Klubnik had one of his best games last week, throwing for four touchdowns against the Yellow Jackets.

North Carolina may be ranked entering this week’s game, but I’m not all that impressed by the Tar Heels. With their weak schedule so far this year, North Carolina should be entering this game undefeated. Clemson is going to be the toughest opponent this year, and I just don’t think Mack Brown’s team is good enough to beat a Clemson team that is playing their best football of the season right now.

Clemson 38, North Carolina 28

No. 21 Kansas State (-8.5) v. No. 25 Kansas - 7:00 p.m. ET - FS1

Kansas State has dominated the “Sunflower Showdown” recently, winning the last 14 meetings with the Jayhawks. This isn’t the same Kansas team we have become accustomed to, though. Earlier this year the Jayhawks beat Oklahoma, and another win this year would give Kansas their first eight-win season since 2008.

The good news for Kansas is head coach Lance Leipold is optimistic Jason Bean will be able to play on Saturday night after suffering a head injury in last week’s loss to Texas Tech. Right now Kansas State is playing great football, having no issues in four of their last five games, with the only loss during that span being an overtime setback to Texas. I like Kansas State to win, but Kansas to cover in this one.

Kansas State 34, Kansas 30

No. 5 Washington v. No. 11 Oregon State (-2.5) - 7:30 p.m. ET - ABC

Oregon State has a chance to truly bury the Pac-12 in the final season of the conference. If the Beavers beat the Huskies on Saturday night, it will be the first loss of the season for Washington and eliminate them from the College Football Playoff race. It’s already concerning that the Huskies aren’t in the top-four right now even though they’re undefeated. A loss to Oregon State would be something Washington wouldn’t be able to overcome in their drive to make the playoff for a second time.

Lately Washington has been testing the limits. Each of the last six wins by the Huskies have come by 10 points or less. The inability of Washington to truly put opponents away could really come back to bite them on the road against a team like Oregon State. Last week the Beavers throttled Stanford 62-17 in Corvallis. Damien Martinez ran for 146 yards and four touchdowns in the blowout of the Cardinal.

The Pac-12 loves to cannibalize itself, and a win by Oregon State would be extremely on brand. Just imagine if the Beavers not only beat Washington this year, but if they win next week against Oregon. While I’m not so sure if Oregon State can win their final rivalry battle with the Ducks next week, I do like their chances on Saturday against the Huskies.

Oregon State 31, Washington 24

Florida v. No. 9 Missouri (-11.5) - 7:30 p.m. ET - ESPN

I’m definitely rooting for Florida to lose their final two games so they’ll finish the regular season 5-7. I’m not going to spend a ton of time on this game since I think it’s a mismatch. Missouri is playing at a high level right now, while the Gators have lost three straight games. Now you want me to believe that Florida can come to Missouri and keep the score within two touchdowns? I’m not buying it. Brady Cook and the Tigers roll in this one.

Missouri 38, Florida 17

No. 7 Texas (-7.5) v. Iowa State - 8:00 p.m. ET - FOX

In a way you have to feel for Texas a little bit. After getting quarterback Quinn Ewers back from injury, the Longhorns lost running back Jonathon Brooks for the rest of the season. Even with the injury, Texas is still on track to make the Big 12 Championship Game in their final season in the conference, and has an outside shot at making the College Football Playoff.

Iowa State is a team that has gotten better as the year has gone on. The Cyclones have won four of their last five games, with the only loss during that span coming to Kansas. Last week Iowa State went out to Provo and demolished BYU 45-13. Matt Campbell’s team ran all over the Cougars, piling up 234 yards rushing in the blowout.

Texas is the better team, there’s no question about that. Strange things happen in Ames, though. I’m not ready to predict an Iowa State upset here, but I do feel comfortable enough to call for the Cyclones to keep this game within a touchdown. This game has the feel of a one that will have a similar scoreline to the Kansas/Iowa State game a couple weeks ago.

Texas 27, Iowa State 20