Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams throws a pass against Colorado during the first ...

College football betting picks: Preview and predictions for Week 12

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One of the drawbacks of the contemporary college football schedule is the fracturing of Rivalry Week.

When teams played 11 games, the third Saturday in November was often reserved for the season finale against the in-state foe or maybe the unfriendly neighbor across the state line. Now, we get most of the best rivalry games after Thanksgiving.

Luckily, there are a few games this week to keep the spirit of the old Rivalry Week alive.

The battle of Los Angeles lost some of its luster when UCLA was upset at home last week by Arizona, but there still is plenty on the line.

The Bruins can reach the Pac-12 championship game at Allegiant Stadium if they win out and get some help in the conference’s complicated tiebreakers. They also can play spoiler against crosstown rival Southern California, which controls its own destiny and has an outside shot at reaching the College Football Playoff.

The Trojans feature a potent passing attack led by quarterback Caleb Williams, who has thrown 31 touchdowns with just two interceptions. UCLA’s secondary will need help from the pass rush or it could struggle to slow down USC’s talented receiving corps.

On the other side, the Bruins should be able to move the ball easily against USC’s defensive front with running back Zach Charbonnet.

When these teams met last season, UCLA walked off with a 62-33 victory. This game could resemble the 1990 classic QB duel between Tommy Maddox and Todd Marinovich that ended 45-42 in favor of USC.

It’s a big number, but take over 76.

Here are four more rivalry plays for Saturday:

Stanford-California U46½: This is the final Big Game for Golden Bears voice Joe Starkey, whose call of “The Play” remains legendary 40 years later. But these teams will be lucky to find the end zone, let alone any trombone players to smash. The Cardinal’s offense has been dreadful the past five weeks, while Cal’s is only marginally better.

Oklahoma State +7½ over Oklahoma: The Cowboys should get a psychological boost for Bedlam by the return of quarterback Spencer Sanders, who missed most of the past three games with a shoulder injury. The Sooners are 1-6 against the spread in their past seven games and are riding an 0-4 ATS skid at home.

Oklahoma State-Oklahoma O66: Sanders declared himself fit and he might not be at 100 percent, but the offense is different when he is taking snaps for the Cowboys. The Sooners feature one of the nation’s top ground games, and Oklahoma State struggles to stop the run, ranking 89th in the nation in rushing defense.

Colorado State-Air Force U43½: These teams battle for the Ram–Falcon Trophy, and the game traditionally features plenty of points. But this one should buck the trend. The under has gone 9-1 in Colorado State’s games, as the Rams have the worst offense in the country. Four of the past five Falcons games have stayed under, as well.

Last week: 3-2

Season: 27-27-1

Contact David Schoen at [email protected] or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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