Week 12 Picks

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Stop the presses!  We broke even against the spread last week.  5-5!  We also had a winning record straight up at 6-4, and nailed the upset of the week.  Good times.

We have finally reached that point of the season.  It’s the SEC’s annual November bye week, where most of the teams play FCS or weak FBS foes.  If there is one team that should be on the look out, I would say it would be Georgia.  They play Georgia Southern who is one of the best rushing teams in the nation.  That means limited possessions for the Bulldogs and they haven’t exactly been lighting up the scoreboard the past month.

This past week saw another coaching position open up.  Unfortunately, Missouri’s Gary Pinkel had to resign to due health reasons.  You never want to see that.  Minnesota’s Jerry Kill had to resign for health reasons too.  There are numerous openings already for next year and we haven’t even entered the offseason firing period.  Are there going to be enough good candidates to fill all the spots?  There are going to be schools with an opening this year that are going to have another opening within 2 years I am going to guess just because not everyone is going to be able to get someone that will produce the results they want.

The latest rankings came out again and nothing really to note.  The top 4 stayed the same and the Big 12 is getting some momentum.  Nothing to see, move along.

It somehow is week 12!  Most teams only have 2 games left in the regular season.  These seasons seem to just fly by.

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Teams on bye:  Nebraska, Texas, Texas Tech, Marshall, E. Michigan, Wyoming, Appalachian St., Arkansas St., Troy

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Temple (+1.5)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Two stunning losses between these teams last week.  Memphis lost a 20 point, 4th quarter lead.  And Temple just got dominated by South Florida.  The AAC is starting to lose a little bit of its luster the past couple weeks.  Navy has climbed all the way up to #16 and Houston is up to #19, but the Temple loss dropped them from the rankings and Memphis is barely hanging on.  Memphis’ defense has been their undoing this year.  They allow over 430 ypg.  Temple needs to win this game or they could miss out on the AAC championship game.  They seemed a lock a couple weeks ago.  South Florida is only one game behind in the loss column and owns the tiebreaker now.  Temple is at home playing with desperation and Memphis continues their late season swoon.  We will go with the home ‘dog on this one.  PICK: Temple 35, Memphis 28

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Penn St. (+4)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

This game has a bit of a weird feel to it.  Usually this is always a night game.  Penn St. is doing the white out for this game, but it will be in the middle of the day.  I don’t know if it has quite the same effect.  Both of these teams have top 15 defenses.  Although Michigan’s reputation took a little bit of a hit against Indiana last week.  Michigan QB Jake Rudock has improved as the season has gone along.  This allows Michigan to at least have the threat of the pass available to open up their running game a little bit.  Penn St. QB Christian Hackenberg has been terrible this year.  It can’t all be blamed on the line.  He just does not make decisions quick enough.  Some of those sacks are on him.  Penn St. is allowing 3.3 sacks per game (120th nationally).  Those are just drive killers.  This should be a defensive battle (or maybe an offensive struggle?)  This is a dangerous look ahead spot for Michigan, and they have barely escaped Minnesota and Indiana the past couple weeks.  I think Penn St. wins at home and destroys another one of those fun hypotheticals everyone likes to play where Michigan wins the Big 10 with 2 losses and leaves Ohio St. with 1 loss.  PICK: Penn State 22, Michigan 19

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#22 Ole Miss (-4)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

LSU lost to Arkansas for the second year in a row last week.  Now there are rumors floating that Les Miles is coaching for his job the last 2 weeks of the season.  How absurd is that?  They were just #2 in the playoff rankings and they win double digit games just about every year.  The expectations are just out of control for some fans.  Do they really think things would be better than they have under Miles?  Ask Nebraska fans if they want their coach back that “only” got them 9-10 wins every year.  No doubt LSU has hit a rough patch, but they are still a good team.  Ole Miss is also coming off a loss to Arkansas. They’ve had a bye week to think about it.  Ole Miss is getting hit hard by injuries on the defensive side of the ball.  That’s not what you want heading into a game against Leonard Fournette.  Fournette is no longer the flavor of the week, but he is still a force to be reckoned with.  I like LSU’s chances to rebound better than Ole Miss for that reason.  Lots of underdog picks this week.  PICK: LSU 27, Ole Miss 22

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#23 Oregon (-4.5)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Look who’s back in the top 25.  It’s USC and Oregon!  USC is starting to play a little bit more consistent, although they did barely beat Colorado.  Oregon has been playing much better – on offense at least – since Vernon Adams has come back from injury.  Oregon has rolled off 4 straight victories, including on the road against then-#7 Stanford.  During their winning streak, they are averaging 42 ppg.  They are looking like the old explosive Oregon.  On the other hand, their 4 game winning streak has also seen them give up 35 ppg.  So clearly they are going to have to rack up a lot of points again to beat USC.  USC is fully capable of putting up some points on the Oregon defense, but USC is starting to lose some key players on the defensive side of the ball.  I don’t think they will be able to keep up the scoring pace with Oregon.  Oregon wins at home in a shootout. #PAC12intheAfternoon.   PICK: Oregon 48, USC 42

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#13 Utah (-2)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

This game almost feels too easy to pick.  This just screams typical UCLA.  They lose at home to a double digit underdog, and then they go on the road against a tough opponent.  Don’t they always win in that scenario?  Both of these teams were involved in the fun #PAC12AfterDark last week.  UCLA’s double digit loss was to Washington St. in the last seconds, and Utah lost to Arizona in double OT.  Coupled with Stanford’s loss earlier in the night, everyone seems to think Utah’s loss effectively killed the PAC 12’s playoff chances.  Utah also does not control their path to the PAC 12 south title anymore. (I won’t say control their own destiny because by definition, destiny cannot be controlled.)  But amazingly, UCLA still controls their path to a PAC 12 championship game berth.  If they beat Utah and USC, they will win the south with 3 conference losses.  What a mess the PAC 12 south is.  Before the season we thought that the south would beat up on each other, but not like this.  UCLA wins in typical UCLA narrative form.   PICK: UCLA 31, Utah 27

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 #25 Wisconsin (-10)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Who wants to be bored to death?  Watch this game for the full 60 minutes if that’s your thing.  Nothing but running the ball and stout defense will be played this Saturday in Wisconsin.  Somehow both of these teams are ranked.  I can see why Northwestern should be ranked.  They lost to legit teams and they beat Stanford.  But how in the hell is Wisconsin ranked at this point?  They lost to two top 5 teams…for now.  I’m looking at you Iowa.  After that their best win is against Nebraska by 2 measly points.  There are plenty of teams better than Wisconsin this year, but that’s just my opinion.  Anywho, on to the game…Wisconsin is tough to beat at home, no matter what team is out there.  This should be a low scoring game all the way with maybe one pass over 15 yards completed.  Badgers QB Stave, as we all know, cannot light up a defense at all.  So expect N’western to stack the box and bring the house most of the time.  The big X factor will be the offense of the Wildcats.  Can they throw the ball any worse than Wisconsin?  The less awful passing game here wins.  This game is going to be ugly, so I suggest you wait for the highlights.  In that case I’m taking Wisconsin to win out right, but not cover.  PICK: Wisconsin 17, Northwestern 13

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#3 Ohio St. (-13)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Michigan St. vs Ohio St.  Remember when this was supposed to be the match up of the century at the beginning of the season?  Now we’re looking at a Michigan St. team that is really beat up and looks to be on its last leg.  On the other side, we have an OSU team that can’t seem to figure out how good they are.  I think if Barrett wasn’t suspended then you would see a different story here…one that would read like this, “Those Buckeyes are starting to kick it in gear now that we are getting down to the important games”.  I do think OSU is a top 5 team thus far, but they just haven’t played anyone with quality that we can measure against the other big boys.  They almost seem like Florida State from last year.  Once they play a good team (not in the Big 10) then you are going to see their lunch handed to them.  Vegas has OSU favored by 13.5 pts.  I can only assume that line is that large because QB Connor Cook is injured.  Sounds like he’ll play but won’t be at 100%.  If this game was held at the beginning of the season I would pick Michigan St.  Now that ½ of Michigan St is hurt, I’m going to have to go with the Buckeyes here.  Another one where I’ll take the winner but not the points.  PICK: OSU 34, Michigan St. 24

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#6 Oklahoma St. (PK)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Baylor gets the chance to play spoiler this time instead of the spoilee?  OSU is somehow still undefeated up to this point after close games with Texas, K-State, Iowa State, Texas Tech, and West Virginia.  How they didn’t lose just one of those games is beyond me at this point.  Baylor had their hopes of reaching the Playoff dashed by the Sooners last week.  You have to go undefeated if you are going to play a trashy schedule like the Bears.  I imagine that Baylor is going to come out swinging in the 1st quarter and try to put up a ton of points in the 1st half to grab a lead and outscore the Pokes from there.  The Pokes defense has been surprisingly good (relative to the Big 12) against the run.  As we saw last week against Baylor, once you stop the Baylor run offense and make them one dimensional they can be beat on the scoreboard.  Expect the run defense to be a point of emphasis for the Pokes’ defense.  If that doesn’t work then I would fully expect Baylor to run away with this game.  Vegas has this game as a PICK EM, and I completely agree that this game is a toss up.  I am leaning towards Baylor here with a good bounce back game after OSU had to fight back against ISU last week.  Baylor wins by a late FG.  PICK: Baylor 52, OK State 49

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#7 Oklahoma (NL)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Another game that would have been fun a few weeks ago, but now we get a lame duck TCU that might be without their 2 best players – Boykin and Doctson.  Currently there isn’t a line from Vegas on this game for the simple fact of those injuries to Boykin and Doctson.  If they aren’t expected to be in the lineup then you can expect a huge line in favor of Oklahoma.  OU absolutely looks the part for the Playoff.  If anyone is going to get in from the Big 12, it will be the Sooners.  They pass the “eye” test to go up against the Bama’s of the world.  QB Mayfield has been the huge lift that the Sooners have been looking for since Landry Jones graduated.  They have the RBs, they have the WRs, the O-line is solid…not great, but solid.  The defense is much improved since last year led by LB Stryker, who gives them attitude and a chip on their shoulder to go after teams.  Lets talk briefly on TCU – they have been banged up on defense all year long and now their only 2 playmakers on offense are likely out for this game.  TCU has lost all hope to play in the Playoff.  Now they get to play spoiler….without their top players.  I am fully expecting a rout here if Doctson and Boykin are out.  If Boykin makes it back it might be within 10 points.  OU takes this one easily.  PICK: Oklahoma 48, TCU 28

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Virginia Tech (+6.5)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

For the upset pick of the week we are going to go with our heart here.  VA Tech coach Frank Beamer will be coaching his last game at home for this one (29 years of coaching VA Tech).  I can only imagine how loud that place is going to be when UNC is on offense.  I know that UNC has a fantastic offense and a much, much improved defense after Gene Chizik took over the reigns on that side of the ball, and that UNC should be undefeated up to this point.  But I’m playing the “win one for the gipper” card here.  VA Tech still has a nasty front 7 that will pressure QB Williams all night long.  All signs point to UNC winning this game by putting way too many point on the board for the VA Tech offense to conjure up.  If UNC scores in the 30’s for this game, then you should just give them the W.  VA Tech will do their best to control the clock with the run game and screen passes to keep UNC’s best asset off the field as much as possible.  Good thing for VA Tech is that UNC sucks against the run, but they sure can stop the passing game.  So VA Tech’s formula here will be control the clock, run the ball a million times, and NO turnovers.  That’s how you beat UNC at home and carry Beamer off the field for his last game.  This one will be fun to watch, if for nothing else than all of the emotions that will be left out on that field.  PICK: VA Tech 27, UNC 24

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Season Record – Straight Up: 69-41

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Season Record – Versus Spread: 40-66-4

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Upset of the Week: 4-6


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