This Weekend in College Football: Week 12

Before we begin: what the heck, Oklahoma State? With that out of the way…

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Noon:

  • Nebraska @ Michigan (ESPN): This could well be the most interesting game of the weekend, in terms of competitiveness. I think, however, Michigan’s ability to play some semblance of a defense (imagine saying that any of the past three years) will allow them to prevail in the end.
  • Wisconsin @ Illinois (ESPN2): Dusting themselves off after two straight losses knocked them out of the nation title picture, the Badgers have got their offense rolling again. Meanwhile, Ron Zook is walking out of press conferences. I like the Badgers.
  • Kansas @ Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (FSN): If there’s one team TAMU probably won’t blow a double-digit second half lead to, it’s Kansas.
  • Cincinnati @ Rutgers (ESPNU): Speaking of walking out of press conferences, that’s what I’m tempting to do anytime anyone asks me to make sense of the Big East. I’ll take the Bearcats out of a sense of hope and desperation.
  • Indiana @ Michigan State (BTN): Three low-level Big Ten games! Sparty looks to preserve its lead in the Legends division, which they should do easily.
  • Minnesota @ Northwestern (BTN): Minnesota’s shown flashes of maybe not being a complete doormat these last few weeks, but Northwestern should still win in the end.
  • Iowa @ Purdue (BTN): Outside of their shocking win over Ohio State, Purdue hasn’t really shown they can score any points. Iowa doesn’t score a lot but it should be enough.
  • Kentucky @ Georgia (SEC): Will the dogs suffer a letdown against the SEC’s second worst team? No, probably not. Unfortunately.

12:30: Georgia Tech @ Duke (ACC): Well, what can I say about the Virginia Tech game that hasn’t been said? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
This will be the 79th meeting of the Yellow Jackets and Blue Devils. Duke is actually Tech’s third most-often played team, behind Auburn (92 games) and Georgia (105). The only other teams Tech has met even more than 50 times are Clemson (76) and Alabama (52). Somewhat surprisingly, the Jackets still sport a better winning percentage against Clemson (65.8%) than Duke (60.9%). However, while the Clemson series has been mostly even since the early 70’s, the Duke series has not been. After Georgia Tech’s low-point in the 70’s and early-80’s, the series has been all Tech – Duke has only won twice since 1990.
Duke is not the ACC’s most awful team this year – that honor lies with Boston College. However, that doesn’t mean the Jackets can overlook them. One need look no further than Ames, Iowa after the events of last night to remember that anything can happen on any day in college football. Virginia Tech came out against the Blue Devils and, were it not for 3 missed FGs, could have nearly lost the game. It will be critical for Tech to be on their game and press their advantage against one of the few teams they will are physically superior than. Other than special teams, Tech’s Achilles’s heel this year has been pass defense. After a heroic effort in the Clemson game, Virginia Tech continually got behind our secondary and was able to stretch the defense. Duke is 27th in the country in passing yards, which is partially due to necessity. However, Sean Renfree is a decent quarterback who can burn us pretty easily if the secondary allows him to.

3:00:

  • Tulsa @ Texas-El Paso (CBSS): UTEP is up to its old tricks again – lose to Rice one week, beat East Carolina the next. That said, Tulsa should have little trouble dissecting them.
  • Maryland @ Wake Forest (ACC/FSN): I think we can pretty safely call Maryland awful at this point. Wake Forest should get their sixth win here.
  • Mississippi State @ Arkansas (CBS): Miss State should be able to score, but they just… can’t. One of my favorite football writers said on Twitter last weekend that he thinks Dan Mullen tries to get too “cute” with the Urban Meyer-style spread offense, and I’m inclined to agree. Arkansas, meanwhile, fields one of the few actual offenses in the SEC and should win easily as long as they’re not looking forward their huge showdown with LSU next Friday.
  • Texas Tech @ Missouri (ABC): As everyone on the Internet is saying, Texas Tech’s victory over Oklahoma is becoming more and more inexplicable by the week. In their three games since then, they have been outscored 159-33. It wasn’t just Oklahoma State, either – Iowa State put up 41, and Texas’s moribund offense managed 52. Mizzou should win easily, even without Gary Pinkel on the sidelines due to his extremely ill-advised trip to Chili’s.
  • Clemson @ North Carolina State (ABC/ESPN): What better way to follow up a loss to the worst team in the ACC than by an explicable upset over Clemson? Yeah.. I’m not seeing it either. Though after Wake the Tigers are almost just begging to lose again, aren’t they?
  • Pennsylvania State @ Ohio State (ABC/ESPN): Okay yes Ohio State may have just lost to Purdue but still it’s hard to imagine Penn State winning any more games this year.
  • Southern Methodist @ Houston (FSN): Well, based on the number of times I’ve said “win easily” so far it’s not hard to see why Gameday decided to make its annual mid-major trip out to Houston this weekend. And that was before Houston because the last remaining undefeated mid-major last weekend, and before the events last night that made them one of the only two remaining undefeated teams in the country. Meanwhile, SMU has lost to the other two decent C-USA teams it has played by pretty wide margins and just lost to Navy last week. So… this may end up being a blowout too.
  • Miami @ South Florida (ESPNU): One of these schools is actually in a geographic region I would call “south Florida” and it’s not the one named “South Florida”. With that out of the way, USF did nothing between its upset of Notre Dame the first weekend of the year and beating Syracuse last weekend. I would expect them to get right back on the losing side of the ledger in this one, though.
  • Colorado State @ Texas Christian (Versus): The Missed Field Goal Heard ‘Round College football resonated and wide (… right) last weekend, but now TCU has to keep up their 5 game winning streak against the less notable segments of the Mountain West in order to clinch their last mid-major conference title.

4:00: Boston College @ Notre Dame (NBC): I would say that BC is probably the single worst team on Notre Dame’s schedule this year, and keep in mind this is a schedule that includes Purdue, Navy, and Maryland. They should win easily.

7:00:

  • Louisiana State @ Mississippi (ESPN): The SEC’s two most colorful coaching personalities clash in what should be a LSU rout, but does Houston Nutt have one last trick up his sleeve? (I.e., “lose to Louisiana Tech and then suspend 3 of your offensive skill position starters for the game and win”.) Well, no, probably not, but if Ole Miss does win the final score will be something like 9-8.
  • Central Florida @ East Carolina (FSN): This is been a down year for both teams, but at least ECU managed to beat UAB. (Yes, I know they just upset Southern Miss.)
  • Vanderbilt @ Tennessee (ESPNU): Let this sink in: Vanderbilt is favored to beat Tennessee. But I still don’t know if I can pick the ‘Dores because the last time Vandy was supposed to win this game they didn’t. My heart says Vandy but my brain says Vols, so let’s go with the latter.

7:30:

  • Virginia @ Florida State (ESPN2): Both of these teams have beaten Miami, which says something but I’m not entirely sure what. Nonetheless, FSU has their offensive mojo back and Virginia is not Wake Forest so the Seminoles should come out with a win.
  • Colorado @ California-Los Angeles (Versus): Note: even with a 25-point loss to Utah last weekend, the Bruins still have a shot to win the Pac-12 South. That said, Utah is better than Colorado, I’m pretty sure. This will be a terrible, sloppy, “defensive struggle” sort of a game but UCLA should still win and Rick Neuheisel will probably still get fired.

 8:00:

  • Southern California @ Oregon (ABC): Oregon established pretty firmly last weekend that they are, in fact, still the team to beat in the Pac-12. USC has the talent to compete, but not the depth to stay with the Ducks. Expect the usual Oregon blueprint against good teams: a close first half followed by the Ducks simply wearing out the opposing defenses in the second half.
  • Oklahoma @ Baylor (ABC): Welcome back to the BCS title hunt, Sooners! Okay, yes, now beating Oklahoma State won’t have the cachet it used to. Anyway, Baylor’s all-everything QB Robert Griffin III will try his best to singlehandedly keep the Bears in this one but I just don’t see how it can be enough against the Sooners.
  • Kansas State @ Texas (FX): Okay yes they didn’t play in 2008 and 2009 but Kansas State has won three straight against Texas. I’m not sure if it’s an upset at this point, but K-State has shown they can at least run with TAMU and Oklahoma State, and unlike Texas, those teams actually can play offense! So I’m taking the Wildcats.
  • Boise State @ San Diego State (CBSS): Boise once again finds itself picking up the pieces after a game gone horribly wrong, made even more painful by Oklahoma State’s loss last night. San Diego State is not exactly chopped liver, but this is not last year’s fiesty version either. I suspect the Broncos are once again the sort of team that picks up the pieces by laying waste to their next opponent, so I’ll take them here.

10:15:

  • California @ Stanford (ESPN): The Big Game! Stanford Stadium is about 5 miles from my apartment out here, but by the time you read this I’ll be more like 2000 miles away. Anyway, speaking of picking up the pieces from a bad loss, you really have to like Andrew Luck and company in this one, right?
  • New Mexico State @ Brigham Young (ESPNU): I’ll confess I don’t know that much about BYU, but they don’t have one of the worst defense in the country, in stark contrast to Fresno State will let these Aggies put up 48 last weekend. So, yeah, I’ll the Stormin’ Mormons here.

And that’s that. Bowl predictions may be delayed this weekend due to chaos. 

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