Oftentimes whenever the penultimate week of the college football regular season roll around, it's a massive stretch to put ranked teams on upset alert. However, the 2023 season appears to be quite different. Yes, some highly-ranked teams are still playing a cupcake before a rivalry game. However, there are also several real potential upsets brewing, even for a couple of Top 5 teams in the country.
Upsets have been coming in wildly from all over the place over the past few weeks. Just last week, we saw UCF blow out then-No. 15 Oklahoma State. But we also saw Texas Tech clip Kansas while teams like Florida State and Louisville got legitimate scares from inferior competition. It's a long season and staying perfect (or even close to perfect) is a monumental challenge. That's something teams in Week 12 should be keeping in mind.
No, we aren't going to put teams like Alabama on upset alert as they play Chattanooga. Nor are we crazy enough to think that Minnesota is going to upset Ohio State or that Arizona State has a chance against Oregon. But the Red Flags are waving elsewhere in the country, and you can be that we see them.
So with that, let's get into our college football upset picks for Week 12 with four teams still alive for the College Football Playoff being put on upset alert along with with one of the hottest teams in the country. We'll start with the latter.
2023 Upset Picks Record: 17-38
Note: All lines are courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook. For more college football odds, picks and predictions, visit BetSided.
5. Arizona Wildcats
Opponent: 22 Utah | Time: Saturday, Nov. 18, 2:30 p.m. ET (PAC12) | Spread: UTAH -1.5
Arizona has been one of the fastest rising teams in college football since the start of October. The Wildcats started off the month with a narrow double-overtime loss at USC, but followed that up by blowing out Washington State, upsetting Oregon State, upsetting UCLA, and then fighting past Colorado in a game that was probably closer than it should've been a week ago.
With their recent winning streak and elevation of performance spurned on by quarterback Noah Fifita taking over the offense and a high-end defense coming into its own, Arizona has now reached No. 17 in the latest CFP rankings, the fourth-highest ranked team in the Pac-12. On Saturday, though, they welcome the fifth ranked team in the conference in Utah to town.
The biggest benefit for Jedd Fisch's Wildcats is that they don't have to go on the road to play in Rice-Eccles. However, Kyle Whittingham's Utah team has proven to be a thorn in the side of many conference opponents this year and historically as well.
While Bryson Barnes and the offense may not scare an Arizona defense that has been nails for the majority of the 2023 season, the Utes have proven the ability to be streaky and get hot. When you complement that with their defensive prowess, it's even more of a tricky spot, which is why Utah has the edge on the point spread for this one.
In terms of the Top 25 rankings, though, the upset potential is clearly there with the Wildcats being the higher-ranked home underdog. If nothing else, it's certainly a trouble spot for Arizona and a hurdle they must clear.