Commentary

Top upset chances for Week 12

Ohio State, Clemson on upset alert as we pick winners for the week's big games

Updated: November 17, 2011, 10:36 AM ET
By Will Harris | ESPN Insider
Braxton Miller/Tajh BoydUS Presswire/Getty ImagesBraxton Miller and Tajh Boyd are both favored this weekend and candidates for upsets.

Every week during the season, Will Harris will conspire with the computers (using TeamRankings' game predictor) and the wiseguys to evaluate the upset possibilities in college football's most compelling games and give his picks for who'll come out on top.

Week 11 saw the Stanford Cardinal, Boise State Broncos and Cincinnati Bearcats lose as ranked favorites, while the Penn State Nittany Lions, Texas Longhorns, Auburn Tigers and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets all went down as underdogs. Upset Picks continued to successfully back the Arkansas Razorbacks and fade the Texas A&M Aggies, though we mistakenly believed that the Illinois Fighting Illini had a chance and the TCU Horned Frogs didn't. A 4-4 week against the number keeps us a game under .500 for the season at 42-43.

This week we endorse several live dogs getting too much weight, along with two offensive juggernauts that are worth looks as two-touchdown chalk.

Clemson Tigers at North Carolina State Wolfpack

Clemson is favored by 7.5 points
TeamRankings win odds for NC State: 38 percent

Clemson clinched the ACC Atlantic Division with last week's comeback win against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, rendering this week's tilt at NC State more meaningful for the Wolfpack than for the Tigers. Clemson could be short-handed for this one, as the Tigers' best offensive lineman is out and superstar freshman receiver Sammy Watkins is so banged up he'll be a game-time decision. Quarterback Tajh Boyd and the Tigers have been turnover-prone lately, committing seven in the past two games to go along with a handful of near interceptions that opponents couldn't quite pull down. That's bad news against an aggressive Wolfpack outfit that leads the nation in picks.

NC State's defense doesn't just force turnovers; it's been playing total shutdown ball lately, blanking the North Carolina Tar Heels two weeks ago and then holding the Boston College Eagles to negative total yardage in the second half of last week's loss. This defense had high expectations coming into the year, but it endured an injury-plagued first half of the season. With several of those key players back on the field, the Wolfpack are playing the best defense of the Tom O'Brien era.