Last week’s record: 2-4
As soon as Oklahoma State lost on Friday night, I knew that I was in serious trouble on Saturday. Sure enough, the great theater that is college football provided a show that left previously worthy teams in a nasty heap of two-loss casualties. This week, I have lined up historic rivalries and games with championship implications. Here’s to hoping that Week 13 is kind to me…
Upset Pick: #8 Houston at Tulsa
(Friday @ 12 p.m. ET)
- Houston is in the middle of a non-automatic qualifier’s nightmare. In order to secure a BCS bid and further expose the injustice done to Conference USA and others like it, Houston needs two more wins over conference foes. Those foes however will have their game plans finely tuned and primed for an upset, further continuing the vicious cycle of good team left behind. Tulsa is 8-3 this year with all of those losses against top ten opponents. They have a balanced offensive attack that will pressure the Cougars to keep up with the tempo instead of dictating it. This will be an absolute shootout that will be decided by a single flash of defensive brilliance. Tulsa will be the one returning a Case Keenum interception to seal a 56-45 victory.
Marquee Pick: #3 Arkansas at #1 LSU
(Saturday @ 2:30 p.m. ET on CBS)
- This is where things might get crazy. Like I said two months ago, LSU will be in the national title game if they continue to play the way they have. If they lose, then Arkansas needs Alabama to lose to Auburn in order to punch their title game ticket. Just reading that last sentence should make you ask one question: how is it fair for a team to hold the national championship without dually owning its conference’s championship? This scenario could very likely play out, barring a loss from both the Razorbacks and the Crimson Tide this weekend. How can Arkansas tip the Tigers? Their defense has to play out of its mind and give the offense a manageable number to work with. I think that the magic number is nine. While I think that LSU is capable of misfiring with Jordan Jefferson at the helm, I don’t see Arkansas cutting its points against average (21.1) in half against #1. With an early kickoff on a Friday, the Tigers will appear to struggle mightily until the end of the first half. LSU doesn’t dominate, but old Les Miles pulls out all of the stops to do their part in silencing the BCS critics. Tigers win convincingly, 34-10.
3rd Pick: Ohio State at #15 Michigan
(Saturday @ 12 p.m. ET on ABC)
- To put it lightly, this match up has been absolutely dominated by the Buckeyes over the last 10 years. With Michigan coming off of an impressive home win, they are the clear choice in this year’s edition (I am sure it will doom me once again in the Big Ten). I actually like the Buckeyes this year because of their resolve and great defense. It is their sluggish offense, however, that will be the catalyst for the Wolverines’ reversal of their current trend…losing to the Buckeyes. I would pick Ohio State if this game were taking place in Columbus, but I don’t see them scoring more than 10 points in the Big House. The Wolverines don’t make me look stupid for once and win easily, 38-10.
4th Pick: #5 Virginia Tech at Virginia
(Saturday @ 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN2)
- The Hokies come into the weekend under the radar only to face an opponent that no one realizes is so close to playing for a conference championship. The Virginia Cavaliers have won four in a row under coach Mike London and are looking to knock off the ACC’s perennial frontrunner en route to a date with Clemson next week. Do not watch this game if you want to see amazing offense. Virginia Tech lives to control the tempo with their defense while an average Virginia score is 25-20. I really want to pick the upset here with the Cavs being at home with such a big game on the line, but Virginia Tech is in this situation almost every year. Frank Beamer will have his team riled up and prepared to win their division once again, this time by the score of 17-13.
5th Pick: #2 Alabama at #24 Auburn
(Saturday @ 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS)
- One of the nastiest rivalries in America turns another page as the last two national champions square off with yet another title appearance in the balance. Auburn has been inconsistent, alternating wins and losses over the last six games while the Tide has patiently awaited this last stumbling block. The Tigers get their hated rival on their own turf and they need all the help they can get from their fans. Auburn’s only chance to win is for their passing attack to solve the Bama D early. Nick Saban is a proven winner that gets paid more and more for winning these important games down the stretch. The Crimson Tide will pound the run game until the Auburn defense throws up the white flag and seals the all-important 42-13 win for the first spot clinched in the title game.
Leaders Pick: #19 Penn State at #16 Wisconsin
(Saturday @ 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN)
- Both of these teams have their grooves back and it sets up a great contest for the right to play Michigan State in the Big Ten’s inaugural championship game. The Nittany Lions’ journey has been well documented as the Badgers have slowly clawed their way back into contention after two disappointing losses. Penn State is hoping for the coldest weather possible in order to slow Wisconsin’s offensive pace to a near halt. If the weather doesn’t permit, Penn State has to find a way to keep Montee Ball from nearing Barry Sanders’ touchdown record for a non-quarterback. The Badgers’ feature back has had Heisman-worthy stats (1,700 total yards, 30 total TDs) without the recognition from the voters that he deserves. While he is a Doak Walker finalist, expect Ball to go for four touchdowns on Saturday in a late push for an invitation to New York. Wisconsin wins convincingly, 35-24, to set up the anticipated rematch with the Michigan State Spartans.