Week Nine Predictions
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We are down to just five weekends to go, and the competition at the top of our Pick'em Contest is fierce. 24 players are above 75%, including Your's Truly at 76%. But everyone is trying to catch Pshaugh - who is unconscious! Dude checks in at 82%....Here are my picks for week nine:
Purdue (4-3, 2-1) at #18 Michigan (6-1, 2-1) - 12:00 - ESPN - The Wolverines have had two weeks to think about their loss to rival MSU. I am betting it was also an intense two weeks of practice. Purdue is not a very good squad, and I see UM bouncing back big. QB Denard Robinson's numbers so far: 1,155 yards passing with 11 scores, 716 yards rushing with nine scores. Michigan, 40-20.
Missouri (3-4, 1-3) at #16 Texas A&M (5-2, 3-1) - 12:00 - FX - Texas A&M will lose four games before this season is over, but this will not be one of them (the following two weeks they have road trips to Oklahoma and K-State). Mizzou just doesn't have what they have had in year's past, and A&M should take care of business at home this Saturday. Texas A&M, 35-21.
NC State (4-3, 1-2) at Florida State (4-3, 2-2) - 12:00 - ESPNU - After a dismal three-loss stretch, FSU has won two straight and can look to put together a seven-game winning streak to close the year. If so, their bowl would be for their tenth win. Their opponent in this one is thinking the exact same thing. They have won two straight and a seven-game winning streak would give them a nine-win regular season, as well. The Seminoles have a better D, so I will go with them at home. FSU, 35-24.
#11 Michigan State (6-1, 3-0) at #14 Nebraska (6-1, 2-1) - 12:00 - ESPN - Here is the main appetizer for the day as the Spartans could cement themselves as a legit BCS type of team with a win here. They are basing their success on defense, where they rank 7th nationally at 13.7 ppg allowed, which is usually Nebraska's specialty. But the Huskers are 54th there. Still, NU has won two straight, and I think the Memorial Stadium crowd will have them in the mood for a win. Nebraska, 33-26.
Washington State (3-4, 1-3) at #7 Oregon (6-1, 4-0) - 3:00 - As the season grows old, Oregon knows it better start showing off - and quickly - if they want to quack back into the BCSCG. In this one, I expect them to reach their 48.1 ppg average. WSU will have to fight to reach a bowl, as just one game (at Cal) seems to be a win to me. Oregon, 49-21.
#22 Georgia (5-2, 4-1) vs Florida (4-3, 2-3) - 3:30 - In this annual matchup in Jacksonville featuring smokin' hot coeds and plenty of cup tipping, UGA and UF butt heads for the 88.5th time. Yes, UGA says this is the 89th meeting, Florida says the 88th. What. Ever. As for 2011, I see UGA with more to play for right now, and a little better squad, as well. I am tempted to pick the Gators to wreck UGA's shot to win the East, but I think the Bulldogs get it done. UGA, 33-24.
Wake Forest (5-2, 4-1) at UNC (5-3, 1-3) - 3:30 - ESPNU - How am I supposed to pick games like this one?! Really. Both of these teams are as up and down as a see-saw, and you never know whether the up or the down is going to show up. UNC gave up 59 to Clemson last week. That isn't too good. Wake only managed to put 24 on Duke. That isn't too good, either. With no idea who to choose, I will pick the home team and see what happens. UNC, 28-27.
Illinois (6-2, 2-2) at #19 Penn State (7-1, 4-1) - 3:30 - ABC regional - A few weeks ago I caught grief for ranking PSU (before anyone else did, btw). And look where they are now...But a tough finish awaits. The Illini precede Nebraska at home, then trips to Wisconsin and Ohio State. I think they beat Illinois, setting up for a wild finish for the Nittany Lions in 2011. The defense is getting it done at 13.1 ppg. Penn State, 27-17.
Baylor (4-2, 1-2) at #3 Oklahoma State (7-0, 4-0) - 3:30 - ABC regional - For the last several seasons, I have seen OSU as a class program on the rise. Now, they are having their breakthrough year. I don't see Baylor - at home - being the team to put an end to all that. The Bears are better than normal, but I still think the Cowboys have more than enough for them. Oklahoma State, 48-26.
#9 Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1) at #8 Kansas State (7-0, 4-0) - 3:30 - ESPN - Are the Wildcats for real? That has to be the question being asked when predicting this game. So far in 2011, the answer has been "yes." But with virtually no passing game (110th nationally), I see OU pulling away eventually. KSU will try to run down the clock, and keep the score in the 20's. But I think the Sooners will light 'em up for a good bit more. Oklahoma, 34-28.
Ole Miss (2-5, 0-4) at Auburn (5-3, 3-2) - 7:00 - ESPNU - Finally, an easy one. The defending champs welcome in the worst team in the SEC. With two tough conference games to go against UGA and Bama following this game, this win will make Auburn bowl-eligible, which really is a big deal for so many reasons. The Rebels are hurting. Coach Houston Nutt has been a total disappointment in three and a half seasons in Oxford (10-18 in the SEC). Auburn, 37-17.
#13 South Carolina (6-1, 4-1) at Tennessee (3-4, 0-4) - 7:15 - ESPN2 - With Gamecock RB Marcus Lattimore out, it is tempting to take UT to win their first league game of the season. But I think I am going to take the visitors. Vol fans will have Neyland Stadium ready, but South Carolina will prove that they can win without their injured star. The key to me is USC's coaching staff finding creative ways for QB Connor Shaw to get the ball to Alshon Jeffery and crew. South Carolina, 29-20.
#5 Clemson (8-0, 5-0) at Georgia Tech (6-2, 3-2) - 8:00 - ABC regional - Tiger fans around the globe know the pain that GT, and the city of Atlanta in general, have caused this program over the last fifteen or so years. But if bad things are being laid to rest this season, this might as well be another one of them. The Jackets have lost two in a row, and their one time nation's best offense averaged just 14 points in those two losses. If Clemson can hold them to anywhere near that mark, they will win. Clemson, 40-30.
#6 Stanford (7-0, 5-0) at USC (6-1, 3-1) - 8:00 - ABC regional - I strongly doubt there has been a USC team in history that was 6-1 and unranked. If the Trojans can play with a chip on their shoulder because of that, this will be one helluva game. But in the end, I feel Stanford is just too strong, and that USC hasn't been challenged all that much in their six wins. The Cardinal will eventually get the main weapons going, and remain near the top of the polls. Stanford, 45-31.
#15 Wisconsin (6-1, 2-1) at Ohio State (4-3, 1-2) - 8:00 - ESPN - One can expect the Badgers to storm through the next four, setting up for a huge home finale with Penn State. OSU has a decent defense - 12th nationally - and they will need to seriously show up this week. All said, Wisconsin is going to score at least 30, and I don't think the Buckeyes can get to that number. Wisconsin, 37-21.
* All times Eastern, all rankings BCS
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