College Football Spoiler Alert; Week 12
A tradition unlike any other....November Cupcake Week!
Alabama-Charleston Southern! Florida-Florida Atlantic! Chattanooga-Florida State!
Unfortunately for my picks, I'm not taking the easy way out and instead testing my luck with the numerous games involving ranked teams. Hold on to your butts...
(All times EST, All ranking reflect College Football Playoff)
#21 Memphis (8-2, 4-2) @ Temple (8-2, 5-1)
Time to admit (again) what a stellar job The Artists Formerly Known as The Big East have done this season. This matchup sees two teams that, as little as three weeks ago, seemed like mortal locks to appear in the conference's inaugural title game. However, Memphis needed a mere 13 minutes to blow a 34-14 4th quarter lead to Houston, while Temple was blown out by a resurgent South Florida program. At this point, it becomes a question of which team is now more desperate. That team has to be the hometown Owls. While the Tigers are likely done for in terms of conference title consideration, the Owls own a mere half game lead on USF, who dismantled Cincinnati on Friday. Expect an inspired performance from the Owls to keep the Bulls at bay.
The Pick: Temple
#12 Michigan (8-2, 5-1) @ Penn State (7-3, 4-2)
The Wolverines just may be the best 2-loss team in the nation. I say "just may" because their past two road games have prompted concerns out of Ann Arbor. Sandwiching a blowout home win over Rutgers are close encounters with Minnesota and Indiana, who, unlike Penn State, will probably be sitting home come bowl time. However, it's the Harbaugh era, and he'll have these guys focused. Under a lesser coach, I could see the Wolverines looking ahead to the big game against Ohio State next week. But for now, Harbaugh has their focus in Happy Valley, where a convincing win can move them up the CFP rankings
The Pick: Michigan
#15 LSU (7-2, 4-2) @ #22 Ole Miss (7-3, 4-2)
3:30 PM, CBS
Thud. A few weeks ago, this looked like a potential matchup that could've decided the SEC West. However, tough losses have more or less conceded the division to Alabama, while these two slug it out for 2nd and perhaps a shot at a New Year's Six bowl. Unlike the once potent Tigers offense, which has been grounded with the struggles of Leonard Fournette, has lost its way. The Rebel offense, despite that nutty loss to Arkansas, has kept the offensive fireworks alive. LSU's defense has been porous during their recent losing streak, and with Ole Miss averaging 526 yards per game, the Tigers' blues will only continue.
The Pick: Ole Miss
#24 USC (7-3, 5-2) @ #23 Oregon (7-3, 5-2)
3:30 PM, ESPN
While the conference's new favorites have crashed and burned (Stanford, Utah, UCLA) these two familiar faces have risen to the occasion in the latter months of the regular season, and now each has a chance to play for the conference title game (though only USC controls their own destiny). The play of resurgent offenses has gotten each team back into contention, as Cody Kessler and Vernon Adams Jr. have quarterbacked their teams back into the Top 25. The PAC-12 may not be shipping off any teams to the CFP this year, but this one's going to be fun. Two teams left for dead in a high scoring showdown, I give the edge to the Trojans, if only because the control of their own destiny is enough to give them a certain edge.
The Pick: USC
UCLA (7-3, 4-3) @ #19 Utah (8-2, 5-2)
3:30 PM, FOX
It's hard to not consider this season a bit of a disappointment thus far for the Bruins. Entering this season with College Football Playoff aspirations, three losses, the latest coming in brutal last second fashion to Washington State at home last week, have ended that dream. Despite all that, they still somehow control their own destiny in the PAC-12 South race, as this and their annual matchup with USC remain. Quietly, Josh Rosen has thrown 185 passes without an interception, tops in the nation, an impressive feat for a true freshman QB. As long as they're not caught looking ahead to USC week, the Bruins can earn themselves a major W, and avenge last year's team that saw their undefeated season crushed by the Utes.
UPSET SPECIAL: UCLA
#20 Northwestern (8-2, 4-2) @ #25 Wisconsin (8-2, 5-1)
3:30 PM, BTN
Give credit to the Badgers, whom everyone considered dead after a dreary start. Following a sloppy 10-6 loss to Iowa, which probably will cost them a shot at the B1G title game, the Badgers have rattled off five consecutive wins. Give credit to the Wildcats as well, who recovered from two losses in a row with three Ws to follow. In front of the home crowd at Camp Randall, hard to see the Badgers' luck run out against a Northwestern team that's struggling on offense. Considering that the Badgers allows less than 200 yards per game in both passing and rushing, expect them to earn their sixth W in a row.
The Pick: Wisconsin
#9 Michigan State (9-1, 5-1) @ #3 Ohio State (10-0, 6-0)
3:30 PM, ABC
The Buckeyes are the defending national champions. They've won 23 games in a row. They've won their past five games by a 130 point margin. So why do we keep doubting them? Look, Ohio State, I admit, does have the feel of a team that could combust at any second (like last year's Florida State team). But that's not coming this week against MSU. Like the Buckeyes, the Spartans have had a few close calls in their schedule, but you've never gotten the impression that they're all "there" this year. They've had close calls against far less superior competition this year. Sure they win, but unlike OSU, they don't do it in convincing fashion. If they're not careful, this one could get ugly.
The Pick: Ohio State
#10 Baylor (8-1, 5-1) @ #6 Oklahoma State (10-0, 7-0)
7:30 PM, FOX
In addition to one of the coolest names in college football, RB Shock Linwood also has a pair of the fastest legs in the sport. The injury to Seth Russell has allowed Linwood to showcase his talents on a bigger stage and the Bears will need him to step up to the plate against the undefeated Cowboys. OSU has given up 393 yards per game, which is actually OK by Big 12 standards. In addition, Baylor is still stewing over seeing their undefeated season go up in smoke last week against Oklahoma. The Cowboys haven't gone undefeated since 1945. If Baylor keeps their offense up, they'll have to keep waiting.
The Pick: Baylor
#18 TCU (9-1, 6-1) @ #7 Oklahoma (9-1, 6-1)
8 PM, ABC
Everyone talks about quality wins when it comes to the College Football Playoff, but for Oklahoma, it's a LOSS everyone's talking about. That Red River Shootout defeat to Texas may be too much for the playoff committee to look over. To change their minds, OU will have to beat their remaining elite competition and beat them badly. They can get a good start to that by beating a deflated Horned Frogs team that's already fallen to Oklahoma State and barely squeaked by Kansas last week. Combine that with poor freshman QB Foster Sutton making his first career start against a strong OU defense for the injured Trevone Boykin, and the Sooners might be able to impress to committee yet.
The Pick: Oklahoma
Cal (6-4, 3-4) @ #11 Stanford (8-2, 7-1)
10:30 PM, ESPN
Likewise, Stanford is going to have to kiss some major committee butt to make sure the PAC-12 has a representative. They'll have lay down a big defeat on an old rival, but fortunately, there will be no band on the field this week. The Cardinal are going to come out angry following a heartbreaking loss to Oregon last week, and will look to crush the Golden Bears as badly as they can. Besides, hopefully this can finally end all the Jared Goff-Aaron Rodgers comparisons once and for all.
The Pick: Stanford
Last Week: 5-5
Upset Specials: 3-8
Geoff Magliocchetti has five big games to watch at 3:30 PM and only one TV. Keep him updated on Twitter @GeoffMags5490
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