College Football's Top Underdogs - Week 12 of Upset Possibilities
by Doug Upstone Scores & Statson
After a down week, we hopped right back up and went 3-1-1 ATS with our favorite pooches, taking our record to 30-24-1 ATS.
This week we start you off with three home underdogs who have no shortage of motivation against road favorites who have nothing to play for. Next, we have two dogs, one that is involved in a premier Week 12 confrontation and the other is very likely the worst college football game of the week.
#329 Northwestern at #330 Minnesota (+2.5) Northwestern is 0-4 outside the Big Ten, yet won the West Division with two weeks to play. Not exactly sure what that means but if we follow the Wildcats we will learn. While coach Pat Fitzgerald will preach continual improvement for his Northwestern team, the players know they are playing for the Big Ten championship regardless of how they play at Minnesota. The Golden Gophers are another strange Big Ten squad. One week after losing to Illinois and giving up 55 points, which led to firing defensive coordinator, Minnesota inexplicably holds Purdue to 10 points in 48-10 rout, crushing any chance for them to win their division. It's Senior Day for the Gophers and a victory means a bowl game, thus, motivation is a key component in this clash. Yes, we realize the Wildcats are 11-3 ATS on the road and we also realize Minnesota is s 10-1 ATS off an upset win over a conference rival as a double-digit underdog. Minny outright.
#343 Georgia Southern at #344 Coastal Carolina (+7) Georgia Southern was sailing along at 7-1 and had just beaten Appalachian State. They came up flat the following week and were hammered by UL-Monroe 44-25. Back home the Eagles had a massive game with Troy and jumped off to 14-3 first quarter lead. But that was where Georgia Southern's dreams died, as Troy outpointed them 32-7 over the final three quarters and all hopes of the Eagles of playing in the inaugural Sun Belt title game ended. Coastal Carolina is 5-5 and has to win at least one of their final two games to be bowl eligible. Playing before the home folks will be a positive as will the desire of earning a bowl bid in just their second year of FBS football. The Chanticleers come up just short and win next week, but they cover against the disinterested Eagles.
#345 Missouri at #346 Tennessee (+6) Tennessee fans are still acting like it's 1996 to 2006 when they still mattered nationally. Four head coaches later (one interim), Vols fans were ready to cut bait on new head coach Jeremy Pruitt after a 3-5 start and four blowout losses to superior teams talent-wise. While defeating Charlotte and Kentucky is not going to raise an eyebrow in Knoxville, if they upset a solid Missouri club, that means extra practices and a bowl game, which is what coach Pruitt wants as he starts building his program. This would also be a great way for the Tennessee senior's to go out after nothing but tumultuous season's. Missouri got their bowl berth last week against Vanderbilt at home and has more natural rivalry game next week with Arkansas to get the juices flowing. The Vols bring the passion and send the home fans happy at least for one night.
#353 Cincinnati (+7) at #354 Central Florida Central Florida has not lost in almost two complete seasons. During the regular season, the Knights have only played teams that had to score to challenge them or those they were completely superior to. Though UCF played Cincinnati last year and blasted them 51-23, the comparison is in name only. This Bearcats team is 9-1 with their only loss in OT at Temple. This Cincinnati squad is physical on both sides of the ball and has more than enough speed to keep up with the Knights. ESPN GameDay is going to Orlando and this is the featured ABC telecast. Do not expect the Bearcats to have any sort of stage fright, as Cincy is 12-6 ATS as conference road dogs. All the pressure is on UCF and keep in mind they beat USF and Memphis by only seven points apiece to close last season. This is a three-point game either way.
#413 UTEP (+7.5) at #414 Western Kentucky This is a football bettor's special, because since these teams are both 1-9, not sure even the players' parents care about their son's unless they are on full scholarship. While UTEP has long been a college football doormat, this is a recent development for Western Kentucky, who was a 1-AA power before moving up to FBS football. Western Kentucky had enjoyed six straight winning seasons (C-USA champs in 2015-16) before Mike Sanford took over as head coach last year. Since Sanford's arrival, the Hilltoppers are 1-10 ATS as a favorite and 0-7 ATS as a favorite of 3.5 to 10 points. Hold your nose and take the Miners with the hook.
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