NCAA Football

5 Possible Week 12 College Football Upsets

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5 Possible Week 12 Upset Specials

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

My quest to pitch perfect game against the odds makers ended in the first inning of the first game last week when Air Force failed to cover a three-point spread in a 45-37 Friday night loss at New Mexico.

Since then, though, I finished 4-0 to complete Week 11. The 4-1 mark against the spread last week represented a tie for the best mark of the year and came on the heels of three 3-2 records against the spread in the prior four weeks. Those of you who play “for amusement purposes” only know how formidable a foe the Vegas odds makers can be so any week coming out with more than you had going in is a good week.

This is Week 12 of the college football season, and while perfection—a 5-0 record against the spread—is the goal, we’ll just settle for winning more than we lose. There is no single foolproof system, just a series of checklists. The first thing to look for is to go through the Monday or Tuesday newspapers and run your fingers down the line, looking for underdogs who in your mind don’t deserve to be underdogs. Then the next one is a skewed line, one that makes you think “there’s no way Team A is 7.5 points better than Team B” and the next one is matchups. Look for a team that runs the ball well against a team that doesn’t defend the run and a team that passes the ball well against a team that doesn’t defend the pass.

Doing that last week, we were rewarded by four wins: Outright wins by Vanderbilt over Florida and Virginia Tech over Miami and covers by Tulane over USTA and Houston over Central Florida.

We’ve found five good ones this week, including some great MACtion Wednesday night involving Ball State and Northern Illinois.

Mike Gibson, an Associated Press Sports Editors’ Association and Keystone Press Association award-winner for Best Sports Story and Best Sports Feature, is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @papreps , “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Ball State Over Northern Illinois

Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

There are a lot of good reasons to like Ball State in this game. The Cardinals have the better coach in Pete Lembo and the revenge factor going, having been defeated by the Huskies, 35-23, a year ago. While the MAC might want Northern Illinois to win this game to get the revenue of a BCS bowl appearance for the rest of the MAC schools, we'll take the revenge factor and the 10.5 points the Cardinals are getting on the road in the ESPN2 Wednesday night game of the week. Northern Illinois' 20-game regular-season winning streak comes to an end here.

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4. Duke Over Miami

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

If the two seasons were represented in a Bell Curve, the chart would show the Blue Devils' performance levels rising while the Hurricanes' falling. Duke holds a recent win over Virginia Tech while the Hurricanes are coming off a recent loss to the Hokies. That fact and the three points the Blue Devils are getting is enough to pick the upset here.

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3. Houston Over Louisville

Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

The Cougars have played well all season and this catch (above) nearly won the game last week against Central Florida. The 16 points they are getting against the Cardinals are just too good to pass up. They might not win, but they will almost certainly cover.

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2. Georgia Tech Over Clemson

Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers have been impressive at times this year and other times, such as in games against a mediocre Boston College team, not so impressive. Georgia Tech has a tricky triple-option offense that lends itself to long possessions and keeping explosive teams like Clemson at bay. The 10.5 points is way too high in this case and the Yellow Jackets cover that spread in a game that will end something like 32-24.

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1. South Florida Over Memphis

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Willie Taggart turned around the Western Kentucky program, and the performance of his team in the second half of the season has shown he is on the verge of doing the same at South Florida. The Bulls beat Cincinnati and gave Houston a good game. Memphis being a 1.5-point favorite in this one could change by the end of the week, so jump on that one now.