Who will win, Ohio State or Michigan State? Plus predictions for all FBS games in week 12.


11/15/2021  8:58a.m.

revised 11/18/2021  10:01 a.m.

I don’t suppose it is a surprise to many college football fans that Jimmy Lake was fired as head coach at the University of Washington after he coached just 13 games. We saw bad signs from the beginning with his curious hiring of coordinators and it only got worse as the Huskies dropped sharply in recruiting, on-field performance, and coaching repute as reports of alleged abusive behavior surfaced.

It seemed like only a matter of time until Lake would be gone and having watched it progress now makes me feel somewhat like Mark Twain who once said, “I didn’t attend the funeral but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”

This week, there are sixty-six games on tap for FBS teams and the best of them will occur in Columbus, Ohio as the #4 Ohio State Buckeyes (9-1) host #18 Michigan State (9-1).

Although MSU has national rushing leader Kenneth Walker III (1473 yards; 6.49 ypc), the Spartan defense is dead last in America for giving up passing yardage (329 ypg). That works well for Ohio State because the Buckeyes are not only sixth in the nation for passing yardage (353 per game) but they’ve also scored an astounding 32 touchdowns through the air.

Our system (savvygameline.com) favors Ohio State 39-24.

This past Sunday, I was surprised to see our system vault Notre Dame (9-1) all the way to #2 in the rankings. Indeed after an unimpressive start to the season, the Fighting Irish have been building championship trend lines in our Index the past several weeks. The Irish are 40-14 favorites over struggling Georgia Tech (3-7).

Top ranked Georgia (10-0) is a 49-0 favorite over FCS Charleston Southern (4-5). Although the game will be a yawner because CSU is physically just too small to compete, it will be fun to watch quarterback Jack Chambers who led the Buccaneers in both passing and rushing in the 2021 spring FCS season. He’s also likely to throw enough interceptions to roust fans from time to time.

Next week, Georgia will be heavily favored at Georgia Tech so any chance we will have of seeing the Bulldogs in their customary late-season crash will just have to wait until the SEC championship game.

Arkansas (7-3) visits #3 Alabama (9-1) but will fall again to a ranked opponent. The Razorbacks can beat the little guys but can’t seem to muster themselves enough to beat anyone who actually matters. They run the football 65% of the time and that is among the highest rush ratios in college football. Alabama likes teams that run the ball a lot because the Crimson Tide is third in the nation for cutting runs short (2.6 ypc).

Our index favors Alabama, 39-20.

We agree with most betting lines on which teams will win but we go against the experts to make the following predictions:  

#11 Louisiana over Liberty by 1 (lines say Liberty by 4.5)

#16 Wake Forest over Clemson by 1 (lines say Clemson by 3.5)

Central Michigan over Ball State by 3 (lines say Ball State by 2)

Florida State over Boston College by 3 (lines say Boston College by 3)

Last week, we bucked the oddsmakers eight times and won four. We were 4% better in projecting which teams would win. Over the season, we’re behind oddsmakers in predicting over/under point spreads but we’re an amazing 60 games better in predicting over/under total game points.

In the PAC-12 . . .

I am surprised to see the oddsmakers and Savvy both projecting a win by #20 Utah (7-3) over visiting #9 Oregon (9-1). Oregon has been in the rankings all season and on a noticeable up tick in November whereas Utah has only recently become a resident of the rankings. Oregon has proven to be better in big games as the Ducks beat powerhouse Ohio State on the road while Utah lost twice to ranked opponents (BYU and San Diego State).

Neither of these teams are in the top 70 of the nation’s passing attacks so this one will be decided on the ground. Both have top-20 offensive lines and both are in the top 10 for yards-per-rush. In my opinion, the winner will be decided by Oregon having the better offensive coordinator. At least, those are my thoughts.

And that reminds me: if it’s a penny for my thoughts and I just gave my two-cents worth, then who got the other penny?

The last time the Washington Huskies (4-6) traveled to Colorado (3-7), they lost. This week, the travel to the Rockies again only this time, they don’t have Chris Petersen as their head coach. In fact, they don’t have an actual head coach at all. Despite that and a two-game losing streak, our system sees the Huskies as a 28-20 favorite.

Although nearly everyone is favoring Arizona State (7-3) over Oregon State (6-4) by about one possession, I personally think Oregon State’s unstoppable ground game and much better team discipline will result in a win for the Beavers.

Arizona State has played two other elite rushing teams in BYU and Utah and lost to both.

California (3-6) is a one point favorite over Stanford (3-7) in our Index based mostly on Stanford getting only 3.4 yards per rushing attempt and its inability to settle either on a primary quarterback or a discernible offensive game plan.

Since firing head coach Clay Helton (now at Georgia Southern), USC has lost more games than it has won and dreams of a PAC-12 South title vanished long ago. The Trojans are up against UCLA (6-4) this week and the Bruins have yet to lose to any opponent that is not a contender in its conference.

In three of the past four games, USC has posted net-negative trends whereas UCLA has posted net-positive trends in three of its last four games. UCLA hasn’t defeated USC since 2018 but the Bruins will win this very close game.

Arizona (1-9) has among the best performance trends of any team in the Savvy system in recent weeks and much of that has come from the spectacular improvement of the Wildcat defense under former Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown. A year ago, Arizona’s defense was 117th in the nation in giving up yards per play. Today, it is not only 40-plus positions higher, but it ranks ahead of UCLA, Colorado, Stanford, USC, and even Oklahoma.

Although that won’t be enough to overcome Washington State (5-5) this weekend, it is enough to think the Wildcats can cut into a predicted margin of 31-14.

If you’re looking for more PAC-12 or northwest sports, please visit our friends at Oregon Sports News.

Here are all 66 of our predictions for week 12:


  Savvy Index   2021    
  predictions week 12    
  last week: 44-19        vs betting lines:          o/u total game points:  +10   o/u spreads: -5 Nov 20    
top 25 Season:    527-180    75% wins losses game rating final
  Washington 4 6 28 I was never high on Jimmy Lake’s hiring
  Colorado 3 7 20 at UW, but – wow! – that was fast.
  Arizona St. 7 3 31 OSU’s dominating rush attack makes this
  Oregon St. 6 4 27 a game with very high upset potential.
  California 3 6 24  
  Stanford 3 7 23  
  UCLA 6 4 31 UCLA still with a good shot at
  USC 4 5 30 2nd place in the PAC-12 South.
9 Oregon 9 1 28 Utah’s Devin Ross leads the nation
20 Utah 7 3 31 in tackles for loss (20). [revised 11/16/21]
  Arizona 1 9 17 Arizona no longer leads the nation in
  Washington St. 5 5 33 turnovers and is now ranked better than ASU.   rev 11 18 2021
  Kent St. 5 5 37 Betting lines say total points
  Akron 2 8 28 will be over 75 but that won’t happen.
  Arkansas 7 3 20 Arkansas’ Bumper Pool leads the
3 Alabama 9 1 39 nation in assisted tackles with 67.
  Massachusetts 1 9 12 We said in August, Army would
  Army 6 3 48 win 8 and the Cadets are right on schedule.
  C Michigan 6 4 30 Gambling line favors
  Ball St. 5 5 27 Ball State.
  New Mexico 3 7 7 Coach Avalos of Boise St. has been mentioned
  Boise St. 6 4 36 for UW job but that is unlikely.
  Florida St. 4 6 27 Upset prediction. Vegas
  Boston Col 6 4 24 sees BCol as a solid favorite.
  N Illinois 7 3 33 NIU has won six of its last seven.
  Buffalo 4 6 30 Buffalo…worst defense in past five years.
  Marshall 6 4 36 Rasheen Ali of Marshall has
  Charlotte 5 5 17 scored 114 points this season.
25 SMU 8 2 27 This is the game I’ve been pointing to
6 Cincinnati 10 0 35 for UC’s first loss of the season.
16 Wake Forest 9 1 28 Vegas favors Clemson by 3_
  Clemson 7 3 27 but Savvy disagrees.
  Texas St. 3 7 14 CCU will win but just hasn’t been
  Coastal Car 8 2 45 the same without qb Grayson McCall.  rev 11 18 2021
  Louisville 5 5 38 Duke quarterback Gunnar Holmberg
  Duke 3 7 20 is questionable this week.
  W Michigan 6 4 31 EMU’s defense has been really bad
  E Michigan 5 5 30 but much better in November.
  N Texas 4 6 37  
  Florida Intl. 1 9 21  
fcs Charleston S. 4 5 0 Charleston Southern’s front seven
1 Georgia 10 0 49 are really small.
14 BYU 8 2 38 Georgia Southern qbs have thrown 10
  Georgia So. 3 7 17 interceptions and only five tds.
  Arkansas St. 2 8 24 GSU started 1-4 but may win
  Georgia St. 5 5 37 six of its last seven plus a bowl game.
  Colorado St. 3 7 27 CSU’s Cayden Camper leads
  Hawai’i 5 6 26 the nation in FG attempts with 29.
  Memphis 5 5 28 Houston will finish the regular
21 Houston 9 1 33 season with 11 straight wins.
  Minnesota 6 4 26 Indiana hasn’t posted a positive trend
  Indiana 2 8 21 on Savvy since September 4th.
  Illinois 4 6 14 Iowa only gives up
7 Iowa 8 2 30 16 points per game.
22
Baylor 8 2 26 revised 11 18 2021 … was formerly
Kansas St. 7 3 27 predicted in favor of Baylor.
  New Mexico St. 1 9 17  
  Kentucky 7 3 42  
11 Louisiana 9 1 28 Oddsmakers are calling this
  Liberty 7 3 27 for Liberty by 4+.
  S Miss 1 9 22 LaTech has been slowly getting
  LA Tech 3 7 31 better but still a disappointing season.
  LA Monroe 4 6 14 Kayshon Boutte of LSU is among natinoal
  LSU 4 6 37 leaders with 9 touchdown receptions.
5 Michigan 9 1 37 Maryland athletics are finally on a good track
  Maryland 5 5 17 since the Hiring of A.D. Damon Evans.  rev 11 18 2021
  Virginia Tech 5 5 25 Miami has 12 players who are
  Miami Fl 5 5 30 out for the season.
  Bowling Green 3 7 17 How is Miami 5-5 when qbs have
  Miami Oh 5 5 36 thrown 19 interceptions?   rev 11 18 2021
  Old Dominion 4 6 27 MidTennessee’s Quincy Riley has
  Middle Tenn 5 5 32 163 yards just in interception returns.
  Vanderbilt 1 8 12 Mississippi’s Matt Coral is one of the best
12 Mississippi 8 2 45 long ball qbs in the nation.  rev 11 18 2021
fcs Tennessee St. 5 5 10  
  Mississippi St. 6 4 43  rev 11 18 2021
  Florida 5 5 36 Everyone favors Florida but it looks to me
  Missouri 5 5 27 that Florida has given up.
  E Carolina 6 4 30 Navy won 11 games in 2018 but only
  Navy 2 7 21 five of 19 since.
  Air Force 7 3 25 Nevada’s Carson Strong has passed
  Nevada 7 3 29 for more than 3500 yards
fcs Wofford 1 9 7  
  N Carolina 5 5 48  
  Syracuse 5 5 20 N Carolina St. has intercepted
24 N Carolina St. 7 3 36 13 passes this season.
  Purdue 6 4 27 Both teams have significant up-trends
  Northwestern 3 7 20 on Savvy in November.
  Georgia Tech 3 7 14 Notre Dame’s November trends are
2 Notre Dame 9 1 40 among the best in the nation.
  Toledo 5 5 32 Toledo’s pass defense is its best in a decade.
  Ohio 3 7 23 Ohio has won its last 2 in a row.
18 Michigan St. 9 1 24 MSU is worst in FBS for giving up pass yards (329y[g).
4 Ohio St. 9 1 41 OSU’s kicker Noah Ruggles leads the nation with 16/16 fgs.  rev 11 18 2021
  Iowa St. 6 4 28 Despite four losses, Iowa State still
10 Oklahoma 9 1 32 has a tough, top 10 defense.
  Rutgers 5 5 13 Penn State’s Jahan Dotson has
17 Penn St. 6 4 31 80 receptions already.  rev 11 18 2021
  Virginia 6 4 24  
13 Pittsburgh 8 2 38  rev 11/18 2021
  Auburn 6 4 30 Auburn will probably have
  S Carolina 5 5 21 to finish the season without Bo Nix.
  Kansas 2 8 24 Kansas coach Lance Leopold is every
  TCU 4 6 37 bit as good as we thought he would be.  rev 11 18 2021
  S Alabama 5 6 21  
  Tennessee 5 5 36  
fcs Prairie Vw A&M 7 2 10  
  Texas A&M 7 3 44  revised 11 1/ 2021
8 Oklahoma St. 9 1 39 This is the first time in a decade that
  Texas Tech 6 4 24 we’ve had Ok St ranked above Oklahoma.
  App State 8 2 34 App State has won seven
  Troy 5 5 21 of its last eight.
  USF 2 8 30 Both programs have been regressing the
  Tulane 1 9 33 past couple of seasons. Time for some changes.
  Temple 3 7 14 Anthony Watkins of Tulsa leads the
  Tulsa 4 6 39 nation with 8.3 yards per rush.
  Connecticut 1 8 15  
  UCF 6 4 42  
23 San Diego St. 8 2 31  rev 11 18 2021
  UNLV 2 8 18  
  Wyoming 5 5 20 Vegas sets the spread at 6.5
  Utah St. 8 2 32 but it will be more.
  Rice 3 7 21 UTEP’S Jacob Cowling and Tyrin Smith
  UTEP 6 4 35 are both in the top 10 of the nation’s long ball receivers.
  UAB 7 3 21 UAB receiver Terry Shropshire leads the
19 UTSA 10 0 31 nation at 25.8 yards per reception.
  Nebraska 3 7 14 Wisconsin is now the top over all
15 Wisconsin 7 3 31 yards per game defense.
  Florida Atl. 5 5 27 WKU’s Bailey Zappe leads the nation’s
  W Kentucky 6 4 35 passers with 4195 yards.
  Texas 4 6 28 Texas with five straight losses.
  W Virginia 4 6 31 WVirginia is favored by Vegas and Savvy.
         

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