Friday, November 28, 2014

This Weekend in College Football: Week 14

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Michigan @ Ohio State (ABC): It's hard to see Michigan really doing anything to win this game. Their offense is simply too bad, and Ohio State is firing on all cylinders right now.
  • South Carolina @ Clemson (ESPN): This pick is basically conditional on Deshaun Watson's status. If he plays, and preferably, starts, then I think Clemson can snap their losing streak. Otherwise, the Gamecocks should prevail.
  • Kentucky @ Louisville (ESPN2): Louisville's had a good run so far this season. Up in Lexington, the good times were rolling, including two SEC wins and a narrow overtime loss to Florida, up until they got dismantled 41-3 by LSU back in mid-October. They've lost five straight since then, and none of them where close. Louisville will probably make it six.
  • West Virginia @ Iowa State (FS1): Really the only surprising result for the Fightin' Holgos in their current three game losing streak was the semi-bizarre loss to Texas. Other than that, they gave TCU and K-State way more than either wanted. They should get off the schnide against Iowa State.
  • Illinois @ Northwestern (ESPNU): In a battle for bowl eligibility, there can only be one winner. And that winner will probably not be Illinois.
  • Cincinnati @ Temple (ESPNEWS): Temple's surprised me before, but it's hard to see how they stack up against Cincy.
  • North Texas @ Texas-San Antonio (FSN): Absolutely no clue. I was going to go North Texas but F+ says UTSA has a 76% chance of winning, so...
  • Rice @ Louisiana Tech (CBSS): This is the vastly more interesting C-USA West fight than the one above, as the winner gets the right to face Marshall. That winner seems much more likely to be LaTech.
  • Georgia Tech @ Georgia (SEC): To Hell With Georgia.
  • Purdue @ Indiana (BTN): With two in-state teams with identical 3-8 records and 5+ game losing streaks, this is basically a tossup to me. Purdue, I guess?
  • North Carolina State @ North Carolina (ACC): UNC's offense figures to just be too much for NC State.
  • Syracuse @ Boston College (ACC/RSN): I think BC is a pretty solid team, and they figure to handle the 'Cuse pretty easily.
1:00: Utah @ Colorado (Pac12): The Pac-12's newest members face off, but as I've mentioned before, their trajectories since joining the conference are vastly different. This Colorado team, despite being 0-8, isn't as awful as it's been, but they're still pretty bad. The Utes should win easily.

  • Notre Dame @ Southern California (FOX): Notre Dame has been exposed a bit in their current three-game losing streak. While Southern Cal isn't great or anything, they do have the talent to compete and I don't think Notre Dame is good enough at this point to punish them for their lack of depth. I have the Trojans as a slight favorite.
  • Mississippi State @ Mississippi (CBS): Speaking of collapses, what happened to Ole Miss last weekend? Well, for starters, they managed to turn the ball over six times, which is a pretty good way to ensure that you'll lose 30-0. Miss State still only has the one blemish on their record, while the Rebels are playing only for pride now with three losses. This Egg Bowl doesn't look as appetizing as did two weeks ago, that's for sure. At any rate, I have the Bulldogs in this one.
  • Michigan State @ Pennsylvania State (ABC/ESPN2): One team not suffering a post-big-loss hangover is Michigan State. Since losing to Ohio State, they've pounded Maryland and Rutgers into a fine dust. They figure to do the same against Penn State.
  • Baylor vs. Texas Tech (@Arlington, TX; ABC/ESPN2): I'd say it's getting weird at Texas Tech vis-a-vis the situation with their former defensive coordinator, but weird stuff happens there a lot, so let's say it's getting downright ugly. Baylor should win easily.
  • Florida @ Florida State (ESPN): It's tempting to say that Florida will get up for this rivalry game the same way they did against Georgia, but let's face it: that one game is the only time all year Florida has displayed any sort of offensive competence. (Well, and against Eastern Kentucky last week, but that doesn't count.) Florida's defense is good enough to keep it close, but FSU will probably keep doing what they've been doing.
  • Rutgers @ Maryland (ESPNU): Maryland, probably.
  • San Jose State @ San Diego State (CBSS): I don't have any good reason to pick San Jose State here, so I won't. I do bet that Boise wishes any of the teams on this side of the MWC table were better going into next week's title game, though.
  • Minnesota @ Wisconsin (BTN): It's hard to see how Minnesota is going to be able to stand up to Wisconsin's brutal rushing attack.
  • Kansas @ Kansas State (FS1): It's hard to see how Kansas will put up a fight against K-State at all.
  • Connecticut @ Memphis (ESPNEWS): Given that they're favored to lose to Memphis, that Fiesta Bowl must seem like a distant memory to Husky fans.
  • Tennessee @ Vanderbilt (SEC): I continue to lack an explanation for how awful Vandy is this year, so I'll just stick to picking against them.
4:30: Brigham Young @ California (Pac12): I've been calling for Cal to win this one in the bowl predictions, mostly because that makes things slightly easier. In reality, this one projects to be pretty close. I'll stick my guns and lean toward Cal.

  • Pittsburgh @ Miami (ESPN2): Dear Miami: what the hell happened against Virginia last weekend? Obviously you're still favorites and still my pick in this one, but seriously.
  • Wake Forest @ Duke (ESPNU): At least what happened to Duke last week is somewhat explainable, and trust me, I'm quite happy it happened. Duke's been sliding a bit, but a game against Wake Forest is a decent way to right the ship, as it were.
7:45: Auburn @ Alabama (ESPN): Barring another crazy special teams play, as hilarious as it was, it's difficult to see Auburn getting a win here. Auburn's defense just isn't good enough to provide the resistance to Alabama's offense that they need to have a chance.

8:00: Oregon @ Oregon State (ABC): Weird things can always happen in this Civil War, but believe me that doesn't really project to be the case this year.

10:15: Utah State @ Boise State (ESPN2): Boise has improved as the season's gone on. Utah State has been putting on a pretty brave show for most the season in light of what happened to their all-everything quaterback, but the dream figures to end on the blue turf.

  • Washington @ Washington State (FS1): It's been a rough second year for Mike Leach out in Spokane, and UDub doesn't figure to make it any less so.
  • Nevada @ Nevada-Las Vegas (ESPNU): It's not often you can say a 6-5 team is obviously better than another, but when your opponent is 2-10, this is one of those times. Nevada.

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