College football lookahead is the essential grab bag of numbers, trends, reads and concepts each Monday throughout the season.
In Week 12, we trace the decline of a longtime Big 12 contender to a postgame press conference two years ago, advise against thinking that a team that's known for its ability to circle the wagons will do so in its typical rally spot and explore some historically large spreads, including one being laid by a historically bad offense.
All lines and totals from Circa Sportsbook as of Sunday.
First impressions from the schedule and opening lines.
UMass Minutemen at Northwestern Wildcats (-40, 55.5)
Noon ET, Saturday (Big Ten Network)
How bad is UMass? Well, the Minutemen have been outgained by 911 yards the past two games versus independents Army and Liberty, allowing 63 points in each. They've been outgained by 300-plus yards in five of the past seven games and have allowed 50-plus points in six of the past eight.
We'll never tell you that you have to back this sad bunch, and we do think there's some wisdom in the idea that a team can be so bad that it's untouchable at (almost) any price. But at 40 points versus a 1-9 team with a historically bad offense, it's at least time to think about it. Who would have thought that the biggest favorite in Northwestern history would be the worst team ever fielded by the program's greatest coach? But that's what's happening, and laying the weight is not an option.