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Wilson: My Projected Odds for Every Week 12 College Football Game

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Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Pictured: Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Ian Book.

The most anticlimactic week of college football came in Week 11, with 13 games canceled due to COVID-19 issues and no Top 25 matchups on the slate.

Notre Dame now ranks second in the country after beating Clemson and avoiding the hangover spot against Boston College. The Irish never punted against the Eagles, with each drive ending in a score or turnover.

Miami’s chances for an ACC Championship game remained alive after its fourth-quarter comeback against Virginia Tech. USC also kept its conference championship chances alive in yet another last-minute comeback, this time at the expense of Arizona. Even with a new defensive coordinator, USC’s defense allowed 5 different Wildcats receivers to catch a pass of more than 15 yards.

Northwestern, Wisconsin and Indiana all remained undefeated through Week 11. Those teams, plus Ohio State, play in what will be a semifinal game for the Big Ten Championship in Week 12. As for the College Football Playoff landscape, nothing changed with Alabama, Ohio State and Notre Dame as the presumed top three seeds.

The biggest question for the committee is if BYU and Cincinnati will get consideration if the Pac 12 and Big 12 cannibalize themselves in conference play. Thanks to Oregon’s 22 points in the fourth quarter, the Ducks remain in the discussion for the playoff.

Every Sunday, The Action Network publishes updated Power Ratings — now including all 127 teams playing FBS football this fall.

Look here to identify early betting value when opening lines are released, and follow me in The Action Network App to see when I bet those lines on Sunday afternoon.

Here are the projections for Week 12:

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Projected College Football Odds, Week 12

A negative number indicates the home team is favored by that many points; a positive number means the home team is an underdog.


Check out our free NCAAF odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.


Week 12 Notes

  • Coastal Carolina, Troy, Georgia, Missouri, North Texas, UAB, ULM, Arkansas State, Memphis, Navy, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Rice, Louisiana Tech, Auburn, Mississippi State, Alabama, LSU, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Arizona State and Utah all come off COVID-19 disruptions.
  • Ohio State, Wisconsin and Oregon are the leaders in offensive success rate.
  • After a two-game sample, Buffalo ranks in the top 5 for most explosive offense in the nation.

  • Wisconsin has the highest ranking unit in defensive success rate.
  • The Eastern Michigan defense is the best in the nation against the explosive pass, while New Mexico is the best defense against the explosive run.
  • Wisconsin, Florida and Western Michigan are the top-ranked team in points per opportunity, also known as finishing drives.
  • Wisconsin, Cincinnati and Western Michigan are the best defenses in the nation in opponent scoring opportunities.

Week 12 Situational Spots to Play

  • Western Michigan was out-gained by Toledo and never led in the football game until 17 seconds were left in the 4th quarter.

  • Akron finished with a 78% postgame win expectancy in a loss to Ohio.  The Zips had more total yards than the Bobcats, but averaged 1.8 points per trip inside the 40-yard line.
  • North Carolina needed 28 points in the fourth quarter to escape an upset against Wake Forest. Demon Deacons quarterback Sam Hartman threw for 429 yards and four touchdowns against the Tar Heels.
  • Texas travels to Kansas in a lookahead spot, with Iowa State scheduled for a November 27 showdown.
  • There is overlook to the Iron Bowl for Auburn, which hosts Tennessee, and Alabama welcomes Kentucky to Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Week 12 Injury Report

  • Appalachian State quarterback Zac Thomas was carted off the field with a leg injury. His status for Coastal Carolina is unknown.

  • Texas State quarterback Tyler Vitt exited the game with a hand injury. His status for Arkansas State is unknown.
  • UTSA Sincere McCormick did not play due to an unspecified injury. His status is unknown for Southern Miss.

Terms to Know

Postgame Win Expectancy is a calculation of all variables in a box score that dictate who would win the game if it was played a high number of times. Turnover luck, success rate and yards per play are notable components of this calculation and can influence a single game. But over a large sample, the team that moved the ball better would win more often than not.

There have been plenty of box scores in which a team wins as an underdog, but a negative value is applied to that team’s power rating because the result was fluky rather than systematic.

Coach scheme changes can adjust a power rating quickly. For example, Oregon will undergo a change from Marcus Arroyo’s conservative play-calling to new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead’s system. Moorhead’s offense features a heavy dose of 11 personnel, west coast spread concepts and modern RPOs.

That offensive philosophy has led to more explosiveness and higher rates of success on standard downs at each of Moorhead’s previous stops at Penn State and Mississippi State. In a situation like this, a power rating can be useful to quickly adjust a team’s forecast for future games. In the case of Mike Leach, an adjustment of totals is coming with an increase in plays per game.

Success Rate, Finishing Drives and Explosiveness were first defined in Bill Connelly’s Five Factors and are strong indicators for future box scores. While EPA (Expected Points Added) and IsoPPP (Isolated Points Per Play) can be highly variable from season to season, Success Rate is a stable data point for handicappers to use for projections.

Simply put, if a team consistently achieves the desired amount of yards — determined by down and distance — then this is a “play-on” team with your bankroll. Texas A&M ranked 17th in offensive success rate last season and returns 80% of its offensive production for 2020; that combination makes the Aggies a play-on team.

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