Week Twelve Predictions
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With just three weeks left, I find myself still in the hunt in the Fans25 Pick'em Contest, just three percentage points behind our leader. Picking up those three percentage points will be tough, but 45 games remain to give us the answer - including the 15 for this week. Here are my predictions for week twelve...
(All times EST, all rankings BCS)
UCLA at Washington - 8:00 - ESPN - UCLA has been an up and down mess this year. Washington is a bit better than normal, but still pretty bad. With this pick though, I'm going to go with a Husky team that will be fired up to play on national TV. If nothing else, the uniforms in this game will be nothing sort of grade-A. Washington, 30-20.
West Virginia at Louisville - 12:00 - ESPN3.com - The Mountaineers have the nation's third best defense when it comes to points allowed - just 13 per game. I am leaning on that as my key stat in picking WVU on the road. The Louisville D isnt bad, either, but I will stick with the 'Neers to get back into the Big East fight. West Virginia, 22-17.
#7 Wisconsin at Michigan - 12:00 - ESPN - These two teams have done some serious scoring of late! Wisconsin rolled out 83 last week and Michigan put up 67 (in 3 OTs) the week before. But a shoot-out is not what I would expect in this one. Instead, I expect a little defense - especially from the Badgers, who are top 20 in points allowed. Michigan, meanwhile, is 97th nationally in scoring defense, and that I feel will be the difference in this one. Wisconsin, 30-21.
NC State at North Carolina - 12:00 - ESPN3.com - Every time NC State has a good year going, they manage to let it fall apart. Here they are on the verge of a division title, yet have to travel to their cross-town bitter rival, UNC. The Heels have had a whacked out crazy kind of season, but I see them coming together to win this rivalry game at home. They have NFL talent galore, but are a dice roll. UNC, 31-23.
Clemson at Wake Forest - 2:00 - ESPN3.com - I have absolutely no reason to justify thinking Clemson can go on the road and win anywhere (0-4 in 2010). But I promised myself back in week six to pick Clemson from now on, and I will stick to that promise. The Tigers must finally play above their level of competition. Deeeeep breath. Clemson, 17-13.
Mississippi at #5 LSU - 3:30 - CBS - Looking over this list of games, there are very game few that jump out as easy picks. This one, however does. LSU should win this game going away as they are at home with a major bowl game on the line and surely lots of big-time recruits in the stands. LSU, 24-10.
#6 Stanford at Cal - 3:30 - TV tba - I have done well picking Stanford this year, and will stick to that trend. The Cardinal just come across as a very solid, focused team to me, with good leadership both on the sideline (Coach Harbaugh) and on the field (quarterback Andrew Luck). Stanford, 38-25,
#9 Ohio State at #20 Iowa - 3:30 - ABC - I am much more of an Iowa fan than an OSU fan, so I would rather be picking the Hawkeyes here. But they seem to have a case of the "find a way to lose the big game" syndrome going on here in 2010. Ohio State, meanwhile, is still trying to keep their national title hopes alive, and I feel is a better team. I wouldn't have said that back in week one. Ohio State, 30-24.
#16 Virginia Tech at #24 Miami - 3:30 - ESPN - Before I change my mind one more time, let me pencil in the Hokies. It is very tempting to take Miami at home after a big road win at Georgia Tech last week, but I think VT goes into the 305 and gets the W. The ACC Coastal can be VT's with a win, but Miami can get right back in it with a win, as well. This will be a fun game to watch! Virginia Tech, 27-20.
#13 Arkansas at #21 Mississippi State - 7:00 - ESPN - Although I am certainly a fan of what Dan Mullen has done so far in Starkville, I just really like this Arkansas team. Ryan Mallett has proved in 2010 that he is the real deal (2,967 yards and 24 scores). A home night crowd will keep MSU fired up, but I have to go with a team that can put up points in that kind of volume. Arkansas, 34-28.
Tennessee at Vanderbilt - 7:30 - ESPN3.com - The Vols have had an up and down year...mainly down. But they have fought hard and I like the new team attitude under Coach Dooley. Here, they get a little win streak going and set up a game next week to become bowl eligible while they're at it. Once again, Vandy is terrible, checking in at 110th nationally in points for (18ppg) , and 91st in points against (32 ppg). Tennessee, 30-21.
#14 Oklahoma at Baylor - 8:00 - ESPN2 - Baylor has made some noise this year, but in their four losses they have given up at least 42 points each time. Oklahoma is averaging 35 points per game - top 20 nationwide. I see OU in a battle here, but escaping with the win as they will find a way to score. Oklahoma, 41-27.
#8 Nebraska at #19 Texas A&M - 8:00 - ABC (regional) - I have said repeatedly that there is something about Nebraska holding me back this year. Here, they have a chance to prove me wrong. I am going to pick them on the road, but not without hesitation. I want to see them put offense and defense together in the same week. A&M is having a good year, but I have seen them fade down the stretch countless times. Huskers, don't let me down, I'm unsure on this one! Nebraska, 33-28.
#25 Florida State at Maryland - 8:00 - ABC (regional) - When you think of intimidating places to play, Maryland surely doesn't jump out at the top of the list. But when they have something meaningful to play for, those 55,000 fans can really get loud - anchored by their extremely large student section in one end zone. Saturday night, they will have a lot to cheer for as their Terps are still alive in the ACC Atlantic. It will be cold and difficult, but I think FSU can go into Byrd Stadium and win. Florida State, 29-26.
USC at Oregon State - 8:00 - ABC (regional) - The Beavers are defending home-field against a USC team that is ranked one week and unranked the next week. In these crazy Pac Ten games where picking a winner is like predicting the weather, I usually feel better when I go with the home team. Oregon State both allows and scores 26 ppg, while USC is averaging 35 points for and 28 points allowed. All that adds up to me picking Oregon State in an upset. Oregon State, 30-21.
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