Week Ten Predictions
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Alabama and Oregon - two top five teams thinking national title - face what could be their toughest tasks of the regular season. Yes, LSU and USC, respectively, await, wanting nothing more than to make their impact on the 2012 college football season. Here are my picks for the games of week ten:
*All rankings BCS, all times EST
Missouri at #7 Florida - noon - ESPN2 - Mizzou better bring their A-game down to the Swamp because this one could get ugly. Coming off of a loss, and playing host to a much inferior team, Florida will be looking to take its frustrations out on someone. The Gators know that with some help from other teams they could still sneak into the national talks, possibly BCS or better. The Tigers of Missouri are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Florida, 44-3.
#16 Texas A&M at #15 Mississippi State - noon - ESPN - A&M comes into this game lighting up scoreboards. The Aggies are third nationally in points scored at 44.3 ppg. But they will be going up against a Bulldog defense that is a top 15 unit. They give up just over 17ppg and play with attitude. With this game in Starkville, and MSU on the verge of a very nice bowl in 2012 with a strong finish, I will pick the home guys. Mississippi State, 28-24.
Washington State at Utah - 3:00 - Pac-12 Network - The stats and records are bad in this one, but it is college football, and we love college football. Utah is 48th in points against at 24 ppg - that is by far the best ranking of either teams' offense or defense when it comes to scoring. I thought WSU would get better faster under Mike Leach, but it just hasn't happened yet. I will take Utah at home. Utah, 28-26.
TCU at #21 West Virginia - 3:00 - FOX - The 'Neers were preseason national title contenders, but a two-game stretch that saw nasty losses to Texas Tech and Kansas State has WVU fighting just to get their respect back. One way to do that is to beat respectable teams such as TCU. At home, and with a renewed sense of urgency and optimism, I think West Virginia gets back on track with a back-to-normal perfromance from QB Geno Smith. West Virginia, 40-24.
Ole Miss at #6 Georgia - 3:30 - CBS - UGA is on track for a big season, with quite possibly an at-large BCS trip looming ahead. With all of the ups and downs Head Coach Mark Richt has had in recent seasons, I don't think he is going to let Ole Miss come into Sanford Stadium and wreck what could be a very big season for his program. I know in college football anything can happen, and that the Dawgs could be caught in a lull following last week's big win over Florida. But I have to pick UGA in this one. Georgia, 38-13.
Pittsburgh at #3 Notre Dame - 3:30 - NBC - Don't look now folks, but the Irish are on a crash-course with destiny. Already ahead of Oregon in the rankings, all ND needs now to reach the BCS Championship Game is to win out and have Kansas State take a loss. And while the Irish could certainly hold up their end of the deal, the K-State loss might be more difficult to obtain. In this one, ND needs to play one game at a time or a banner season could come crashing to the ground. It won't happen. Notre Dame, 30-20.
#23 Texas at #18 Texas Tech - 3:30 - ABC regional - A battle of two 6-2 teams, both averaging 41 points scored per game, enter Jones AT&T Stadium in what should be a dandy! Texas is giving up an average of eight more points per contest, though. Put that stat with home-field for TTU and I, once again, will go with the home team. Besides all that, TTU is due for a win over UT, having lost 11 of the previous 13 games. Texas Tech, 38-35.
#20 Nebraska at Michigan State - 3:30 - ABC regional - Can Nebraska finally get some breathing room in the Top 25? It seems that each time the Huskers begin to climb the polls, they take a setback loss to boot themselves from the nationally rated. Here, it could very possibly happen again as MSU has a very strong defense and home support. But I am going to put my trust in the Cornhuskers and hope they don't let me down. The Spartans average just 19 points scored a game, and I think Nebraska can put up more than that - even on a solid defense. Nebraska, 23-17.
#13 Clemson at Duke - 7:00 - ESPN2 - Duke has been the feel good story in the ACC this season, winning six of their first eight games to become bowl-eligible for the first time in 17 years. But a brutal loss a week ago at Florida State brought the Devils back to the ground a bit. Clemson, also having a big season, cannot let a possible 10-win season and (maybe) an at-large BCS spot get away with a loss in Durham. To prevent that, the Tigers just need to be focused. They are far more talented, but a tricky Duke passing game could be annoying. In the end, CU wins, but it is stressful. Clemson, 39-23.
#4 Oregon at #17 USC - 7:00 - FOX - Oregon knows it must not only win its games, but win 'em big to impress both human and computer voters. While USC has home-field advantage and a decent team, Oregon is one of the nation's elite squads and will be playing with a chip on their shoulder. In this one, I see the Ducks having tremendous focus and picking up a big win to help state their case. QB Matt Barkley will get his yardage and TD's, but the Ducks pull away in the second half. Oregon, 46-27.
#24 Oklahoma State at #2 Kansas State - 8:00 - ABC - At first glance, this game seemed to have "upset special" written on it. I mean, the BCS chase is a mess right now, but it always seems to work itself out some before year's end, and this is one of those games where you can say, "yep, I told ya so about so and so."....Well, it is enticing, but I am sticking with K-State and their brilliant head coach (Bill Snyder), Heisman candidate QB (Collin Klein), and home-field advantage. Kansas State, 48-42.
#1 Alabama at #5 LSU - 8:00 - CBS - Here is "The Big One" - not just of the weekend, but of the regular season. The national champion has come out of the SEC West each of the last three seasons, and the winner of this game will once again have a huge impact on who is number one at season's end. I know that LSU has those crazy athletes and I know that LSU has that crazy Tiger Stadium at night and all of that. But Alabama has Nick Saban, and nothing can make me pick against Saban and what he has rolling right now for Bama. Alabama, 27-19.
Arizona State at #11 Oregon State - 10:30 - ESPN2 - Oregon State has been riding its defense to the strong record they have after nine weeks (6-1, one bye week, one game postponed). They are the twelfth best unit in America at 17 ppg allowed. But the Beaver offense is weak, ranking 85th nationally at just 24.9 ppg scored, making it hard to figure out if this team is for real. I am going to take a risk here since I am out of contention anyway in the Pick'em Contest. ASU has shown they can score (39 ppg), and so I will take a shot and hope they can penetrate that tough Beaver D. Arizona State, 37-31.
#22 Arizona at UCLA - 10:30 - Pac-12 Network - A tricky game to pick here, no doubt. I have been big on UCLA all season and what first-year coach Jim Mora has done so far. In this one, I think he picks up another nice win. Arizona is good on offense under Rich Rod, but the Wildcat defense can stink up a desert. UCLA is more balanced, at home, and each win from here on gets them into a better and better bowl game. UCLA, 39-33.
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