Your Week 13 College Football Picks

November 25, 2009 – 5:00 am by McD

boise

Record after week 12: 129-66, 90-103-2 AS

I suck against the number again. 2008 was my version of Luis Gonzalez’s 51 home runs.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

8 pm ET

Lone Star Showdown

(3) Texas (11-0) at Texas A&M (6-5) (+21)

The one college football game on Thanksgiving actually has more riding on it that one might expect at first glance. A&M could do us all a huge favor and beat Texas so we’re not guaranteed a BCS-fixed SEC/Big XII matchup in the title game for the second straight year. Remember how the last one turned out in January? Yeah, not so entertaining.

However, should Texas drop this one on the road, in Colt McCoy’s final Lone Star Showdown, TCU could very well jump into the BCS title game. And that, friends, would be worth every penny that the BCS witholds from the non-automatic qualifiers.

I’m telling you now that TCU could beat Florida, so Texas really needs to do us all a favor and lose. This isn’t a great Longhorns team and it’s completely one-dimensional. Florida might shut them out entirely and Alabama would destroy Colt McCoy. We deserve a better championship game than that! Gig ‘em, Aggies!

Pick: Texas

Friday, November 27, 2009

12 pm ET

Illinois (3-7) at (5) Cincinnati (10-0) (-20)

Don’t screw it up now, Cincy. You’re way too close to a Big East Apocalypse game against Pitt next week. Illinois is f*cking terrible too. They lost to Indiana, for God’s sake (and yet the Hoosiers finished behind them in the Big Ten standings…sigh).

Pick: Cincinnati

1 pm ET

Northern Illinois (7-4) at Central Michigan (9-2) (-13)

Goodbye, Dan LeFevour, I will miss you. LeFevour is without doubt the best MAC quarterback since Ben Roethlisberger tore it up a few years back, and I really hope he’s good enough to make the NFL. I’m worried about mechanics and arm strength more than anything, but he was so effective throwing in CMU’s offense, it’s got me pretty convinced he can run most NFL systems.

So I picked this game because it’s his last, and that’s pretty much the only reason. I’m a little worried about CMU’s defense stopping NIU consistently, but I think the Chippewas are going to come away with this one and move on into the MAC championship game next Saturday.

Pick: Central Michigan

2:30 pm ET

Iron Bowl

(2) Alabama (11-0) at Auburn (7-4) (+10)

Again, Alabama could help us all out and lose to Auburn, but I’d really like it if they beat Florida in two weeks whether they were undefeated or not. Whatever team TCU could potentially play in the title game is pretty immaterial. I’m actually hoping TCU plays Florida, so the upset when the Horned Frogs win is even greater.

So while this game could be pretty entertaining, it’s actually somewhat meaningless for Alabama. They’re already in the SEC title game and they’re probably going to lose to Florida anyway. Plus, Auburn’s defense is pretty bad, so the biggest story coming in this game is how much Mark Ingram is going to help his Heisman campaign in a huge rivalry game.

I love Gus Malzahn’s offense, but ‘Bama is going to blitz the hell out of them and I seriously doubt Chris Todd is going to be able to handle the pressure well enough to get the Tigers a win. And I don’t know whether Auburn will get a real quarterback or Malzahn will get a head coaching gig first, but either way, this guy deserves a shot at running his offense with some real playmakers at his disposal.

Pick: Alabama

3:30 pm ET

Nebraska (8-3) at Colorado (3-8) (+10)

There is really no reason for me to pick this game since Nebraska is already in the Big XII championship game, but obviously the Big XII title game is very important to me. The Huskers really aren’t very good, but I really need them to have a fantastic game next week, especially on defense. And this is probably Dan Hawkins’ last game at CU, so Nebraska should make it an extra painful one.

So please, Nebraska, no major injuries, get a win, and come back next week with the greatest defensive effort in your school’s history and win a conference championship, damn it!

Pick: Nebraska wins but doesn’t cover

7 pm ET

The Backyard Brawl

(9) Pittsburgh (9-1) at West Virginia (7-3) (+10)

I was impressed with Pitt in their win against Notre Dame, but I still have no idea if this team is legit or not. They do all the right things and make a ton of plays, plus they have Dion somethingorother who is a real stud back even though he’s only a freshman. But Pitt still smacks of being more like a Big Ten team than a real power. There’s just something so…Wannstedt-ish about their play. I don’t know.

Pick: Pitt wins but doesn’t cover

10 pm ET

Nevada (8-3) at (6) Boise State (11-0) (-12)

Last year, this was a fantastic shootout and showcase for Colin Kaepernick. This year, Boise is every bit the juggernaut they seemed to be turning into last year. There’s every reason to believe Boise’s defense can limit the Wolfpack offense and run a completely balanced offensive attack of their own.

I like watching Nevada’s offense a lot. They are, after all, the leading rushing offense in the country. Indiana borrowed their scheme this year to pretty good success, but you could tell it wasn’t the way it was supposed to be run. Nevada is a run-first team, but Indiana threw it a ton, though not for huge statistics, which isn’t exactly a shock when you consider they hardly ever threw downfield. Sure, IU’s best players are at wide receiver, but the pistol works best when it is at least 50/50 run/pass.  Next year, IU needs to add more of a running threat to the offense or it’ll be more good stats and low point production.

Pick: Boise State

Saturday, November 28, 2009

12 pm ET

Battle of the Palmetto State

(18) Clemson (8-3) at South Carolina (6-5) (+3)

Clemson is already into the ACC title game to face Georgia Tech, and I think I’ve made it pretty clear how big a fan of Paul Johnson and Georgia Tech I am. But this is a rivalry game and it would be great to see Spurrier get some kind of good win while he’s at USC. He can’t get much more stuck at that job. They’ll never be great there, but he’s really trying to at least be good, but it’s just not happening. He needs a quality quarterback there and they absolutely have not had one yet. One day, maybe.

CJ Spiller is a great back, but I just can’t get behind Clemson. Dabo Swinney has done a nice job, but this is still a mediocre finesse team working its way through a crappy ACC. South Carolina’s defense ought to be able to stop the Clemson attack, but I reall wonder if USC will be able to score enough points. This smells like a 16-13 win for some one.

Pick: South Carolina

12:21 pm ET

Egg Bowl

(25) Mississippi (8-3) at Mississippi State (4-7) (+8)

I’ve been thinking about taking State in this year’s Egg Bowl now that Ole Miss took LSU down last week. It’s a letdown game, though that doesn’t always apply in rivalry games. Mississippi was so bad for most of 2009 that nine wins for this team seems unfair to the other nine-win teams. They would definitely not have beaten LSU last week if Les Miles hadn’t gone Andy Reid during the last drive. But, to paraphrase Dr. Saturday, he earned every bit of his $3.75 million salary with that awesome game management decision.

Though I think we all knew Les Miles wouldn’t be able to stay in his shoes in a big game for this whole season, I can’t think of a more overrated coach than Houston Nutt. He can win eight or nine games, but let’s face it, his team’s aren’t doing much better than that no matter where he’s coaching. His style just isn’t that of a team that’s a consistent double-digit winner. That said, he recruited Felix Jones and Darren McFadden, so what the f*ck do I know?

Pick: Ole Miss

12:30 pm ET

Bedlam Bell

(12) Oklahoma State (9-2) at Oklahoma (6-5) (-9)

The Bedlam series is one of those state-school rivalries that isn’t really a rivalry. OU has been so dominant that OSU’s little-brother status is pretty much permanent no matter what happens this year. And this year, OSU should be favored, and is definitely the better team. That is, if Zac Robinson is good to go.

Five bucks says the Cowboys choke and Landry Jones throws for 300 4 TD and 3 INT. It’s just in the cards. That’s how cursed the Cowboys are in this rivalry. Not even on OU’s worst year since Bob Stoops’ first year will they win…if Zac Robinson doesn’t play, that is.

Pick: Oklahoma State wins but doesn’t cover

1 pm ET

New Mexico (1-10) at (4) Texas Christian (11-0) (-44)

Gotta love ending the season against a one-win team that JUST won their first game. Please, God, help Texas to see that this isn’t the year and help them to lose this weekend or next. Or both. Amen.

Pick: TCU wins but doesn’t cover

3:30 pm ET

Duel in the Desert

Arizona (6-4) at Arizona State (4-7) (+3)

No idea what to think about this game now that Arizona went down against Oregon. They’re not playing for the school’s first-ever Rose Bowl berth anymore. Now it’s just a rivalry game again, meaning there’s little chance of them choking.

And wait a minute, wasn’t ASU supposed to be good? Dennis Erickson was fixing them, wasn’t he? What happened?

Anyway, if this wasn’t the in-state rivalry game, I would assume Arizona was mentally crushed by the overtime loss to Oregon at home. But games like this are easy to get up for even after the most depressing losses. I’m still not sure exactly what it is Arizona does on offense, but they really should win this game easily.

Pick: Arizona

Sunshine Showdown

Florida State (6-5) at (1) Florida (11-0) (-24)

Well isn’t it fortunate for the Gators that their one possibly challenging out-of-conference game is now going to be an easy blowout? Thanks, football Gods! Apparently, they really want to anoint the Gators already because there’s no way they wouldn’t have punished a schedule this pathetically easy by now. I smell an SEC championship loss coming next week. Even Tim Tebow can’t fight the football gods off forever.

Pick: Florida wins but doesn’t cover

5 pm ET

Holy War

(21) Utah (9-2) at (19) Brigham Young (9-2) (-7.5)

TCU ran away with the Mountain West this year, but neither of these two teams sucks as bad as their collective results against the Horned Frogs. This game is going to be a true battle and might even be the game of the night. I like what Utah does on offense, but I don’t think they’re going to be able to score consistently enough to keep up with BYU if Max Hall is on.

I would imagine Utah is going to do everything they can to make sure Hall doesn’t get comfortable in the pocket. That’s their only chance to keep this from being a shootout. Otherwise, BYU is better in pretty much all phases, though it’s not like Utah is a joke. Just not quite as good. This is probably the best Holy War matchup ever, and it’s not going to get any easier in this rivalry if BYU can find another good quarterback after Max Hall graduates.

Pick: BYU wins but doesn’t cover

7 pm ET

Battle for the Golden Boot

Arkansas (7-4) at (15) Louisiana State (8-3) (-4)

Nice work last week there, Coach Miles. Norv Turner wants some tips.

And I want to ask Jordan Jefferson what it’ll be like when Russell Shepard learns to throw over the summer and is the starting quarterback next fall. Will it hurt? Will it eat at him? Will he realize he’s a dual-threat quarterback that isn’t great at either running or throwing? It’s gonna suck for him. That’s all I know.

Since the Tigers blew that game so egregiously already, and there’s no real meaning in this game for them, they might as well let Ryan Mallett pick them apart and set some more records. That kid is going to light the world on fire in 2010. He’s your Heisman front-runner coming into next year for sure. So don’t screw him up, Coach Petrino.

I think this game ends up being closer than LSU fan wants it to be. LSU’s pass rush hasn’t been great, and if Mallett gets time, he’s throwing for 300 yards easy. But will the Arkansas defense be able to stop the LSU offense? Okay, I just read that back and it’s hilarious. Of course they can stop the LSU offense. Only a few teams HAVEN’T stopped them. I really, really regret not buying FireGaryCrowton.com.

Pick: Arkansas

8 pm ET

Battle for the Legends Trophy

Notre Dame (6-5) at Stanford (7-4) (-10)

Goodbye, Charlie Weis. We got to know you a little too well, actually. That said, you did everything right except motivate your players. Recruiting was good, the scheming was actually pretty good, but there was never a time where the team came out excited and that alone carried them to victory. Good college defenses thrive on that shit, and guess what you never had in South Bend.

It’s very important for Stanford to win this game. A 7-5 record does not get remembered as an amazing season in which they beat USC badly. It’s a better record than what they had last time they beat the Trojans, but 7-5 isn’t great. 8-4, however, shows a ton of improvement in the program and probably gets Jim Harbaugh a hard look from Michigan. Plus, let’s face it, Notre Dame sucks and Stanford actually SHOULD beat them. How many times have you been able to say that during this rivalry?

Pick: Stanford wins but doesn’t cover

Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate

Georgia (6-5) at (7) Georgia Tech (10-1) (-7.5)

Listen, Georgia Tech, you beat the Bulldogs on their field last year, proving that Mark Richt hasn’t evolved since the late 90′s. But this game is a lot more meaningful than usual.

It’s a weird amount of pressure to (fake) put on a team, since I’m already counting on them beating Clemson in the ACC championship game, but I need them to beat Georgia, if only to validate the wild success that is Paul Johnson’s offense at the ACC level. I really, really love watching this team play. There’s no reason for teams to obsess about spread offenses and everything else when the perfect system exists and has existed in this basic form for 70 years. What’s old is still revolutionary when used correctly, and that’s what I love about Georgia Tech.

So they really need to beat Georgia and Clemson so I can talk them up big time in the Sugar Bowl, or whatever.

Pick: Georgia Tech

10 pm ET

Battle for the Victory Bell

UC,LA (6-5) at (20) Southern California (7-3) (-13)

It’s so weird this isn’t USC’s last game. They play Arizona December 5th instead of their usual season-ender. And that’s just one of the freaky things happening to the Trojans in 2009. From the time the decided to start a true freshman, to the time their original starter was truly awful against Washington, to the time they lost to Oregon and Stanford, this has not been a normal season for USC. I have no idea how that happened.

UC,LA is probably thrilled to be bowl-eligible, but I know they’ve seen a vulnerable USC team coming for a while now. The Sun Bowl just wouldn’t be as fun without beating USC first.

Wait, you didn’t think I was about to pick UC,LA, did you?

Pick: USC wins but doesn’t cover.

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