College Football Pigskin Pick’Em: Week 12
While the talking heads are dismissing this week’s slate as being weak, there are 3 games featuring matchups between teams in the BCS top 25. Really should be 4 games, to be fair (way to go USC…). For those of you who want to complain about a watered down schedule, feel free to blame the SEC Commissioner’s Office for giving several schools a late-season non-conference date. The result of this decision is the inaugural SEC-Southern Conference Challenge. The subs for Bama, South Carolina, Florida, and Auburn should all be able to cover 40+ in those laughers. Don’t worry SEC fanboys, the SEC has the best football in the country, I just find this scheduling quirk humorous. On the bright side, since we are picking against the spread, these numbers reflect what Vegas thinks is a fair bet, and it is fun picking games with big numbers attached. Often, they aren’t big enough (spoiler alert).
But first, you know the drill by now: Dick Perry's picks from over at Total Frat Move.
Without further adieu, here are this week’s picks.
12 PM – #16 Nebraska (+3.5) over #18 MICHIGAN
Although I like my chances with this week’s slate, the opener is probably the toughest call. Both teams feature strong running games, anchored by an explosive QB. Both offenses have also struggled throwing the ball this year. Although the Michigan defense has been more consistent over the course of the season, the Cornhuskers have the more realistic shot of winning their division in the Big Ten (a Michigan win here, coupled with a likely win by Michigan State over Indiana sends the Spartans to Indy). This slight shot at winning the division crown (Nebraska would still need to beat Iowa and have Northwestern upset MSU next week) will give the Cornhuskers just enough to get over the hump in this battle at the Big House.
Final Score: Nebraska Cornhuskers 31, Michigan Wolverines 28
12:21 PM – #14 GEORGIA (-31) over Kentucky
Way back in Week 6, I predicted 3-2 UGA to win the SEC East. The only thing keeping this prediction from coming to fruition is a pretty bad Kentucky team. I will make no bones about it, the Bulldogs definitely benefitted from the SEC schedule makers, but you can only play whomever they put in front of you. The Georgia offense has been humming for several weeks. They are also coming off their most complete team performance of the year last week against Auburn. It should be a comfortable cover to clinch the SEC East against the woeful Wildcats.
Final Score: Georgia Bulldogs 48, Kentucky Wildcats 7
3:30 PM – Mississippi State (+13) over #6 ARKANSAS
The Bulldogs make the trip to Little Rock coming off a truly inept offense performance last week against Alabama, totaling a measly 131 yards. I foresee an interesting game here, as each team’s respective strength (Razorbacks’ offense vs. MSU’s defense) and liability (Bulldogs’ offense vs. Arkansas’ defense) will lineup against each other. When the dust settles on this game, I expect to see a fair number of points scored by both teams, and although Arkansas will do enough to win to set up their huge matchup with LSU next week, the Bulldogs will safely cover the spread.
Final Score: Arkansas Razorbacks 41, Mississippi State Bulldogs 33
3:30 PM – #11 HOUSTON (-20) over Southern Methodist
ESPN’s College Gameday is trekking down to the Space City for the first time this Saturday. The reason for this trip is two-fold: 1. the Cougs are still undefeated; 2. It is the last home game for UH’s record-setting QB, Case Keenum. Yours truly has been an outspoken fan of Keenum since he willed Houston to a win over a then top-5 Oklahoma State team in Stillwater back in 2009. This year’s Cougars are undefeated, yet largely untested due to a Kleenex soft schedule and their residence in Conference USA. The Mustangs present them their toughest test so far, on paper anyway. This year’s SMU squad appears to be a poor man’s version of Houston in just about every facet. As a result of this, expect the Cougs to roll in this one and make sure Case Keenum goes out in style in his final game at Robertson Stadium.
Final Score: Houston Cougars 55, Southern Methodist Mustangs 24
3:30 PM – #21 Penn State (+6.5) over OHIO STATE
I am not going to sugar coat this one. Even though Joe Paterno and Jim Tressel are no longer coaching these two teams, you would not know it given what you are going to see in this game. It is going to be all about field position, ball control, and avoiding turnovers offensively or giving up the big play defensively. This game will resemble a chess match. If it were not for television timeouts, this one could be done in a shade over two hours. The return of DeVier Posey should provide the Buckeyes with a spark to their near non-existent passing game. This added weapon should be just enough to put the Buckeyes over the hump in this clash with the Nittany Lions, one which will make the football traditionalists swell with pride.
Final Score: Ohio State Buckeyes 20, Penn State Nittany Lions 17
7 PM – #1 LSU (-30.5) over OLE MISS
Houston Nutt is coaching his final game in Oxford on Saturday. Needless to say, the faithful down on the Grove have made it clear that they are not going to miss him. Unfortunately for Nutt and his Rebels team, the visiting Bayou Bengals will not leave him with any parting gifts. Well, perhaps some of the Ole Miss players will be left with some hard bumps and bruises. LSU is going to make sure to keep its well-oiled machine running. A gross defense, seemingly unlimited options running the ball, and a few weapons in the passing game will permit the Tigers to cruise in this one and let them to start thinking about their big clash with Arkansas next Friday by the time the 2nd half of this one begins.
Final Score: LSU Tigers 47, Ole Miss Rebels 10
8 PM – USC (+14.5) over #4 OREGON
The writing is on the wall screaming that this will be the best game of the week. Both of these teams are playing their best football as the season is nearing its end. That’s really unfortunate for USC, as they are ineligible for the Pac-12 Championship Game and a bowl, so their season comes to an end next week. As for the Ducks, this game will likely be their last chance to make a major impression on the pollsters to position themselves as the best 1-loss team in the country. Even though the Trojans have a rivalry game with UCLA next week, I expect that Lane Kiffin will prepare his team as though they are playing this game for the National Championship. Oregon will find a way to pull this one out in the friendly confines of Autzen Stadium, but this one will be a track meet until the very end.
Final Score: Oregon Ducks 48, USC Trojans 42
8 PM – #5 Oklahoma (-15.5) over #22 BAYLOR
The Sooners inexplicable loss to Texas Tech a few weeks ago was definitely a wakeup call. In their two games since, OU has been utterly dominant. Although one might fear that the week off last week could stall this new momentum, it should allow the team to finally get healthy and give their defense an extra week to game plan against Baylor’s all-everything QB Robert Griffin III. Speaking of the Bears, they needed RG3 to fuel a furious fourth quarter comeback last week against lowly Kansas. That fact does not bode well for the hosts this week. The Sooners will storm into Waco this week and put together another complete performance.
Final Score: Oklahoma Sooners 45, Baylor Bears 26
8 PM – #13 Kansas State (+8.5) over #23 TEXAS
The Longhorns performance at Mizzou last week can only be described as pathetic. Perhaps you can blame the flat performance on the early kickoff. That excuse surly won’t fly on Saturday night. The Cardiac Cats (college version) come storming into Austin this week, fresh off a heart-stopping overtime win over Texas A&M. Save for Kansas State’s blowout loss against Oklahoma, they just don’t seem capable of playing a game against another quality opponent that isn’t an absolute barnburner. I fully expect this trend to continue this week. Although UT will emerge victorious, this one won’t be settled until the last whistle.
Final Score: Texas Longhorns 38, Kansas State Wildcats 34
10:15 PM – #9 STANFORD (-18) over Cal
The Cardinal got embarrassed at home last week against Oregon. Andrew Luck and company will come out guns blazing and taking no prisoners. They will enjoy it even more so since this is “The Big Game.” Stanford won’t need to employ the band to try to stop this group of Bears, as the usual stern Cardinal defense was thoroughly embarrassed in prime time last Saturday. Stanford will take care of business against another Pac-12 also ran, and will do so in convincing fashion to retain the Ax.
Final Score: Stanford Cardinal 51, Cal Golden Bears 20
Oklahoma State (-27) over IOWA STATE: Oklahoma State 56, Iowa State 18
PURDUE (+2.5) over Iowa: Purdue 28, Iowa 21
Tulsa (-13.5) over UTEP: Tulsa 40, UTEP 13
Clemson (-7.5) over NORTH CAROLINA STATE: Clemson 34, North Carolina State 17
Miami (+1) over SOUTH FLORIDA: Miami 27, South Florida 14
UCLA (-11) over Colorado: UCLA 41, Colorado 20
Boise State (-18) over SAN DIEGO STATE: Boise State 49, San Diego State 24
Arizona State (-10.5) over ARIZONA: Arizona State 35, Arizona 17