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November 18, 2011
Week 12: Keep an eye on/upset picks
Each week, Rivals.com's college football experts give fans things to keep an eye on over the course of the weekend. Here are some key things to watch in Week 12.
Pac-12 South. I've become intrigued with the division race - kind of like how you can't look away from a crash. I'll be watching to see if Arizona State (vs. Arizona) and UCLA (vs. Colorado) can win games they should win, or if they will continue to underperform against inferior opponents. I also wonder if Utah, which once was 0-4 in the division, can continue its hot streak and somehow back into the league's championship game.
- OLIN BUCHANAN
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Oklahoma's receivers without Ryan Broyles. Oklahoma's rushing attack has been stable without starting TB Dominique Whaley the past three games. The Sooners have a bigger obstacle now without record-breaking WR Ryan Broyles. He has twice as many catches as anyone on the team and nearly twice as many yards. Without Broyles, Kenny Stills and Jaz Reynolds need to take on bigger roles, and Saturday's game with Baylor might be a key time to prove it. Baylor's defense isn't any good, but the Bears' offense should challenge Oklahoma. I want to see how Stills and Reynolds handle being Nos. 1 and 2 rather than Nos. 2 and 3 heading into the finale against Oklahoma State.
- DAVID FOX
The Big Ten. While I don't think the league has any team that belongs in the top 10, the first season of divisional play has led to a lot of late-season intrigue. Michigan State's win last week over Iowa gives the Spartans a huge advantage in the Legends Division, but the Michigan-Nebraska game at The Big House still deserves notice. If either the Huskers or Wolverines can finish 10-2, they will get heavy BCS at-large consideration. Wisconsin has to win at Illinois to keep its hopes for the Leaders Division title alive; can the Illini get off the mat and end their four-game winning streak? Penn State's game with Wisconsin next week will determine the division title (assuming the Badgers don't lose to Illinois), but the Nittany Lions' visit to Ohio State on Saturday bears watching. While it might sound mundane in light of the off-field goings-on at Penn State, Ohio State needs to win to improve its bowl positioning.
- MIKE HUGUENIN
How well does Houston adjust to the spotlight? While everyone was penciling in Boise State as the likely BCS team from outside the six major conferences, Houston's perfect season slipped under the radar. That won't be the case anymore. Now that Boise State has lost, Houston should earn a BCS bid as long as it remains unbeaten. Houston now finds itself getting plenty of attention just as it enters the toughest portion of its schedule. The ESPN "GameDay" crew will be in town Saturday as the Cougars play host to SMU and June Jones, a guy who knows a thing or two about taking an upstart program to a BCS game. Houston has won each of its past five games by at least 35 points, but the Cougars should face much more of a test this week. How will they perform now that more people are watching?
- STEVE MEGARGEE
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