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2023 College Football Week 12 Odds, Overview & Picks

By Hank Blaine

While the Top 4 of the new College Football Playoff rankings remained the same overall this week, Georgia overtook Ohio State for the top spot with the Buckeyes now second, Michigan third and Florida State fourth. None of them should lose on Saturday, although UGA has a bit of a challenge. Here’s a look at that game and two others with picks.

Top 2023 College Football Week 12 Games to Bet

READ MORE: 2023 College Football Week 12 Sleeper Picks

Georgia Bulldogs vs. Tennessee Volunteers

Why did UGA move back to No. 1 in the CFP rankings? Due to a very impressive 52-17 rout last week of No. 9 Ole Miss: “[Georgia] showed their dominance on offense and on defense against a really strong Mississippi offense,” CFP chair Boo Corrigan said on ESPN’s rankings release show Tuesday night. “So in looking at it and the résumé and everything combined, we thought Georgia was the No. 1 team this week.” Georgia takes aim at an SEC regular season three-peat, that is to go 8-0 in three consecutive seasons, something that no other program has done since the league went to an eight-game schedule in 1992. The Bulldogs have an average margin of victory in SEC games this year of 19.9. UGA is one of only three teams in the country who are ranked in the top 10 in both Scoring Offense and Scoring Defense. The Bulldogs rank sixth in Scoring Defense at 15.6 ppg and sixth in Scoring Offense at 40.6 ppg. The other two teams are Michigan (10-0) and SMU (8-2). One of the keys to Georgia’s success is its third down defense. The Bulldogs are ranked seventh nationally with opponents converting just 28 percent of the time.

Tennessee has won 14 straight home games, which is the third longest active streak at home behind Georgia (25) and Michigan (21) but is coming off a 36-7 road loss to No. 12 Missouri as the Tigers tallied 531 yards of total offense, the most allowed by the Vols this year. Coach Josh Heupel has lost back-to-back games only twice as a head coach in his six seasons. He owns a 12-2 record following a loss in the same season, including a 7-1 mark at Tennessee and 5-1 record at UCF. The only time it occurred at UT was in his first year of 2021 as the Vols dropped back-to-back games to No. 13 Ole Miss and No. 4 Alabama. UT has responded with wins the following week after a loss now six straight times under Heupel with four of those victories coming on the road. Georgia leads the all-time series, 27-23-2, and it’s 32nd consecutive season they face off. UGA has won six in row and this is the latest in a year they meet since a scoreless tie on Nov. 21, 1906. This is the third straight meeting where Tennessee will face Georgia when it is ranked No. 1.

2023 College Football Week 12 Pick: Tennessee

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Iowa Hawkeyes

  • When: Saturday, November 18th, 2023. 3:30pm EST
  • Where: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
  • College Football Odds: Illinois (+3) // Iowa (-3)

Iowa wins the Big Ten West with a victory and still could with a loss. Iowa’s defense ranks third nationally, giving up 12.3 yards per game. The Hawkeyes have allowed one touchdown over their last 16 quarters and three touchdowns over the past 24 periods. Iowa’s rushing defense has allowed just one touchdown on the ground in 2023, which is tops in the nation. The Hawkeyes are the only team nationally to surrender one rushing touchdown. Iowa’s defense has allowed fewer than 400 yards in 24 consecutive games – the longest active streak nationally. Iowa gave up 127 yards against Rutgers last week, the fewest in a Big Ten game since 2019. The Hawkeyes have allowed 14 or fewer points in 16 of their last 23 games and the defense has held nine teams without a touchdown since the start of the 2022 season. The unit has allowed one touchdown or less in eight of the first 10 games of 2023 and in 17 of the last 23 games. Iowa has won 16 of its last 17 games in the month of November, dating back to 2019.

The Illini will get starting QB Luke Altmeyer back from injury. Coach Bret Bielema said Altmyer, a transfer from Ole Miss, was nearly cleared last week against Indiana but held out as a precaution. Altmyer has 1,883 passing yards with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions for the Illini this season, while completing 64.8 percent of his attempts. He has 10 touchdowns and only three interceptions in his previous six games. Four of Illinois’ five wins this season have come in the final minute or overtime. Caleb Griffin has game-winning field goals to beat Toledo (0:05) and Maryland (0:00), and Isaiah Williams has game-winning touchdown receptions from John Paddock at Minnesota (0:50) and against Indiana (OT) in each of the last two weeks. Illinois head coach Bret Bielema will make his first trip to his alma mater, Iowa, as Illinois’ head coach. Bielema missed the 2021 game due to COVID protocols. Illinois leads the all-time series 39-37-2, but trails 18-20-2 in Iowa City. Last season, Illinois took down Iowa, 9-6, at Memorial Stadium, the program’s first win over the Hawkeyes since 2008.

2023 College Football Week 12 Pick: Iowa

Utah Utes vs. Arizona Wildcats

  • When: Saturday, November 18th, 2023. 2:30pm EST
  • Where: Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ
  • College Football Odds: Utah (+1) // Arizona (-1)

Last meeting between these programs as Pac-12 rivals as both (and others) head to the Big 12 next year. Arizona is still alive to reach the Pac-12 title game. The Wildcats need multiple scenarios to fall into place, starting with winning their final two games against Utah and Arizona State. Arizona lost quarterback Jayden de Laura to an ankle injury early in the season, but Noah Fifita played so well in his absence he kept the starting job when de Laura was healthy again. Fifita has thrown for 1,735 yards and 16 touchdowns with four interceptions in nine games, and the Wildcats have one of the nation’s best pass catching duos in Tetairoa McMillan and Jacob Cowing. Arizona’s 34-31 victory over Colorado last week was its first win as a ranked team since defeating Northern Arizona, 77-13, in the third week of the 2015 season. The Wildcats played 96 games between wins while ranked. They have won four straight games for the first time since 2018.

Utah has had a good season considering a massive injury list includes quarterback Cam Rising, tight ends Brant Kuithe and Thomas Yassmin, running backs Micah Bernard and Chris Curry, wide receiver Mycah Pittman, linebacker Lander Barton and defensive end Logan Fano along with a host of others who missed at least a couple games this season. Rising and Kuithe haven’t played at all. Utah ranks in the top-20 in the FBS in first down and third down defense, rushing defense, scoring defense and total defense. Utah is averaging 3.0 sacks per game, which ranks 14th in the FBS. The Utes have only committed eight turnovers this season, which ranks 11th in the FBS and third in the Pac-12. Utah leads the all-time series 26-19-2 and has won six in a row which is the longest win streak for the Utes in it.

2023 College Football Week 12 Pick: Arizona

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READ MORE: 2023 College Football Week 11 Winners and Losers