Week 12 college football picks against the spread recap with Jason McIntyre | WHAT DID YOU LEARN?

I learn this lesson time and time again watching college football: Expect the unexpected. No matter what the team … nothing is ever guaranteed, no deficit is too large to overcome and every second on that field counts.

There is no fool proof strategy – no sure fire way to know what will happen on any given week. Vegas has it down pretty well, but of course, they’re still never 100%. That’s what makes it so challenging and so fun … also extremely disappointing. Some teams I was extremely confident in failed me this week – but I guess that’s the name of the game. Even if the expert (Vegas) isn’t right 100% of the time, I sure as certain won’t be.

If you’ve got a playmaker at quarterback even the biggest of margins can be overcome

The next time a team you care about goes up 28-3 … just remember all the other guys who bet on these teams and felt on top of the world up by that margin:

New England 3, Atlanta 28 in the Super Bowl (Patriots won in overtime)

Illinois 3, Michigan State 28 last week (Illinois rallied to win)

Oklahoma 3, Baylor 28 (Oklahoma dominated in the second half for the victory)

Jalen Hurts was tremendous (297 passing yards, 114 rushing yards and four touchdowns) … Baylor turned the ball over twice in the second half, and Oklahoma completed the biggest comeback in school history. It’s even more impressive when you consider Oklahoma pulled it off without the help of star receiver Ceedee Lamb. Matt Rhule has proved himself to be a coach – expect to see him in the NFL one day … but this was a collapse that won’t soon be forgotten.

I’m still not convinced Clemson is the real deal

You’re going to hear some people talk about Clemson being “back”  because they blew out a Wake Forest team that was previously ranked this season … but the reality is we still don’t know how good the they really are. Sure, Clemson has topped 50 points four games in a row, and they’ve scored 40+ in each game since the escape in Chapel Hill  … but they’ve played just one ranked team this year … and that was a slightly above-average Texas A&M team – in September. South Carolina isn’t the test you’re looking for: It has lost four of five including a defeat last week to Appalachia State. Clemson has won 26 straight games and improved to 8-3 ATS this season.

Call me crazy, but I’m still betting on Minnesota

If you didn’t watch this game and just saw the final score, you’d think the underdog missed an extra point … and oh – that must be a bad beat. But boy, would you be wrong. Iowa was clearly the right side, as they jumped to a 13-0 first quarter lead and never let Minnesota within three points. The Gophers outgained the Hawkeyes 431-290 – especially dominating in the second half, but a failed fourth down conversion in the red zone was brutal … as was a missed field goal and having to punt from the Iowa 33-yard line.

The “spot” favored Iowa – as did playing at home – but I came away from this game thinking Minnesota was the slightly better team … and there’s a tiny, infinitesimal chance that Minnesota is able to hang with Ohio State for the first half in the Big Ten title game.

All good things must eventually come to an end

The greatest streak in college football has ended: Ohio State had covered in every first half of every game this season … and that ended against lowly Rutgers, which is weird because OSU led 21-0 after just nine minutes – Rutgers even had turnovers in the first quarter. Then, it was 28-7 after just 15:06 … but OSU made a rare mistake, unable to score on 4th and goal from the 1-yard line – which prevented them from covering 31 in the first half. They were able to finish with a touchdown for a score of the 35-7 at half … but playing reserves for the final 25 minutes, they were also unable to cover the 50-point spread.

Be careful of a second half slump … or better yet, a fourth quarter let down

If you’ve ever heard me talk about the movie “No Country for Old Men” … it also sums up my feelings about this game. For three quarters, Georgia was wiping the floor with Auburn. It was 21-0 and completely one-sided just like the first three quarters of “No Country for Old Men,” the pacing and action were tremendous – the acting brilliant and menacing.

And then the Coen Brothers botched it: They killed the hero, Llewelyn, without even showing his final minutes … I couldn’t stomach the rest. In the SEC, Georgia went into a shell in the 4th quarter – it tallied just two yards of offense – as Auburn mounted a furious rally. I had the under 40, which looked incredible for three quarters, but had some close calls in the fourth quarter.