Getting down to that time when the games will separate the contenders from the pretenders. Plus, Mother Nature is starting to become a critical factor as we saw in loses by Green Bay to Chicago in the NFL as well as Baylor to TCU in the Big XII.

Still in the playoff hunt with Leo’s Lock advancing to 11-1. Vanderbilt losing to Texas A&M was a gift and I accepted if joyfully. Followed that with a 4-1 log with Leo’s Losers.

Alas, it went downhill in a hurry from there with a sad 2-8 showing in Leo’s Others. The arithmetic from Week 11 is a negative $125. Still playing with $750 of house money so it’s not all gloom and doom.

Let’s see what Week 12 brings. Enjoy.

LEO’S LOCK

NCAA

PURDUE (+6 1/2) loses to Indiana

Indiana, yes the 5-6 Hoosiers, can become bowl eligible with a win at West Lafayette against the 2-9 Boilermakers. As McGarrett said on Hawaii 5-0 at the end of almost every episode, “Book ’em, Dan-O”. Take this one to the bank. IU big over Purdue.

LEO’S LOSERS

NCAA

VIRGINIA (+3) loses to Virginia Tech

Is there anyone out there who really thinks the Hokies will lose the last game coached by Frank Beamer? And, if VA Tech wins in Charlottesville against the Cavaliers, they become bowl eligible and extend the Beamer legacy in Blacksburg for one more game. Two big reasons for a convincing Virginia Tech victory over UVA.

ILLINOIS (+3 1/2) loses to Northwestern

Illinois can become bowl eligible with an in-state rivalry win over the Wildcats. The Purple and White can get to 10 wins and lock up a New Years Day bowl invite with a victory over the Illini. I’m banking on Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald to have the Cats primed and ready so look for the guys from Evanston to come up big in Champaign.

MINNESOTA (+2 1/2) loses to Wisconsin

A lot is riding on the outcome of this contest in Minneapolis. Gophers need a win to be bowl eligible. Badgers need win to keep their hopes of another season of double-digit victories alive. And, to top it off, Paul Bunyon’s Axe is on the line as well. Wisconsin wins in a close one on the shores of the Mississippi River.

STANFORD (-4) loses to Notre Dame

Must win for both teams but more so for the Irish. Stanford playing for a 10 win season and a New Years Bowl spot. ND still has a shot at making the Final Four with their only loss to Clemson in a deluge at Death Valley. Will that be enough? Won’t matter if the Golden Domers come up short. Notre Dame with a late field goal beats the Cardinal in Palo Alto and gives the Committee another sleepless night.

NFL

St. Louis (+8 1/2) loses to CINCINNATI

Rams can’t find a QB that’s productive. Doesn’t bode well going outdoors to play in Cincy with their D. Plus, this isn’t your Daddy’s Bengals on offense. Andy Dalton has finally got it and there’s enough talent in Black and Orange to make some serious noise in late January. Cincinnati big over St. Louis.

LEO’S OTHERS

NCAA

FLORIDA (+2 1/2) loses to Florida State
LSU (-5 1/2) loses to Texas A&M
Oklahoma (-7) loses to OKLAHOMA STATE
MISSISSIPPI STATE (+1) loses to Mississippi
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (-3) loses to University of California-Los Angeles
MICHIGAN (-3) loses to Ohio State

NFL

INDIANAPOLIS (-3) loses to Tampa Bay
Oakland (-1) loses to TENNESSEE
Jacksonville (-3 1/2) loses to SAN DIEGO
New England (-3) loses to DENVER

LEO’S SPECIALS

NCAA

Alabama at AUBURN (+14)

That’s a lot of points to give the Tigers at home. Yeah, I know it’s Alabama coming to town but the last time the Crimson Tide made the trip to Jordan-Hare Stadium there was a matter of a missed field goal run back for a TD. Auburn keeps it close and could pull it out if Head Coach Nick Sabin doesn’t have his troops ready to play 60 minutes. Take the points.

North Carolina (-5) at NORTH CAROLINA STATE

Tar Heels have a legitimate shot at making the Final Four and winning in Raleigh is the first step. It won’t be easy but North Carolina finds a way to beat the Wolfpack by a touchdown. Lay the points.

NFL

Pittsburgh at SEATTLE (-3)

Twelfth Man worth at least a field goal. Seahawk defense worth at least another three points. That’s more than the Steelers are getting. Lay the points.

New Orleans at HOUSTON (-3)

I know Saints are still playing indoors but it’s the Texans dome and their defense is starting to really play well. DL J.J. Watt will spend a lot of the afternoon at NRG Stadium harassing QB Drew Brees. Plus, Houston wide out DeAndre Hopkins is having an MVP year. Lay the points.