There's no place like Saturday...

November 19, 2011

College Football Report - Saturday Picks - Week 12

#5 Oklahoma (9-1) @ #22 Baylor (6-3)


8:00 ET ABC, Sat. Nov. 18, Floyd Casey Stadium, Waco, TX

Expect an offensive shootout with two of the better passers in the country in Landry Jones and Robert Griffin III at the helm for the Sooners and Bears respectively. Jones will miss receiver Ryan Broyles, who was lost for the season last week, but the Sooners still have a stock pile of talent at the position. Apart from the Horned Frogs in the first week of the season, the Bears have yet to beat a ranked opponent on the year, and there’s really no reason to expect anything different against one of the better teams in the country. The No. 89 rated pass defense of the Bears was torched against A&M and Oklahoma State, so I would expect Jones and the Sooners to have a field day in Waco. Pick: Oklahoma 51 – Baylor 32

(Give me a ticket to see…)

#16 Nebraska (8-2) @ #18 Michigan (8-2)


12:00 PM ET, ESPN, Sat. Nov. 18, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI

Two of the most storied programs in the history of college football meeting is a big enough reason to watch this weekend’s matchup between the Wolverines and the Cornhuskers. The other reason to watch is the fact both need a win to stay alive for a shot at a Big Ten title. Like they did last season, the Cornhuskers have struggled to put points on the board down the stretch. The Wolverines have had their offensive struggles of their own lately, most coming from the two quarterback system and Denard Robinson. The defense of Big Blue, however, has made the difference. With Taylor Martinez and the Huskers struggling, the Michigan ground game, led by Fitz Toussaint, pulls one out at home. Pick: Michigan 27 – Nebraska 23

(Game of the week…)

USC (7-2) @ #4 Oregon (9-1)


8:00 PM ET, ABC, Sat. Nov. 18, Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR

With the majority of the PAC-12 South division in shambles and the ban against USC’s postseason play, this matchup between the Trojans and Ducks pretty much works out as the De facto PAC-12 title game. Apart from the LSU Tigers defense, Oregon’s ground game has torched everyone and everything within tackling distance. Proof comes in the 232 yards rushing the Ducks placed on a physical Stanford defense last week. USC quarterback Matt Barkley has played as good as anyone in the country this season, but should be without his top target Robert Woods. Either way, Oregon is more than just a speedy offense; they’ve got playmakers on the offensive side of the ball who rake in turnovers all game long. Pick: Oregon 48 – USC 28

(Upset pick…)

Virginia (7-3) @ #25 Florida State (7-3)


7:30 PM ET, ESPN2, Sat. Nov. 18, Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL

In just his second season, Virginia head coach Mike London has a chance to pull in an ACC Coastal division win and shot at the title game with wins in their final two games. Getting past the Seminoles won’t be an easy task. The ‘Noles bring one of the better defenses in the country, ranking fourth against the run. Virginia’s offensive line should be one of the more physical lines they’ve faced, however. All of FSU’s victories this season have come against lesser opponents as well. Out coaching at physical play the Seminoles haven’t seen since their Oklahoma loss early in the season, will drop Florida State at home. Pick: Virginia 23 – Florida State 19

#13 Kansas State (8-2) @ #23 Texas (6-3)


8:00 PM ET, FX, Sat. Nov. 18, Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX

The new Texas story is the same as the old Texas story – circa 2010: What Longhorn team is going to show up? The Longhorns rolled over Texas Tech, 52-20, the same team that beat then No. 2 Oklahoma. Then, last week, lost to a 5-5 Missouri team 17-5. The offense accounted for just 247 total yards. This week, in comes one of the best coached teams and offenses in the country in Kansas State. The Horns have lost twice already at home this season, and will be playing at Texas Memorial for the last time this season. Kansas State quarterback Colin Klein continues to be one of the best players in the country and least recognized. The junior accounted for six touchdowns last week. Unfortunately for the Longhorns seniors, they’ll drop their third game of the year at home. Pick: Kansas State 36 – Texas 28

#21 Penn State (8-2) @ Ohio State (6-4)


3:30 PM ET, ESPN/ABC, Sat. Nov. 18, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH

Hats really have to go off to the performance the Nittany Lions put on last week in a loss to Nebraska. With all the controversy facing the PSU program, the Lions were able to focus long enough on football to give one of the better Big Ten teams more than just a headache. The Lions have yet to find an offense on the season, much like the Buckeyes. Freshman OSU quarterback Braxton Miller has gotten better as the season’s gone on, but he’s yet to face a defense as good as the Lions bring. The Bucks will also welcome back wideout DeVier Posey, back from suspension. Getting away from Happy Valley will be a good thing for the Nittany Lions, the results of it may not show however, as the Bucks should continue to roll behind a defense that has been one of the top amongst the Big Ten. Pick: Ohio State 20 – Penn State 16

Last Week: 4-3 – Overall: 48-27– Upset Pick: 5-3

November 12, 2011

College Football Report - Saturday Picks - Week 11

(Game of the week…)

#7 Oregon (8-1) @ #4 Stanford (9-0)


8:00 ET ABC, Sat. Nov. 12, Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA

Who’s going to win the second half? Last season it was all Stanford to start the game. The end, however, was all Ducks in a 52-31 blowout that had the feel of a much closer affair. This season it’s about consistency once again, and speed. Consistency for the fact that both teams average over 45 points a game, but who can consistently move the ball, doing so without turnovers? The game is about speed for the fact that Oregon plays fast, maybe faster than anyone in the country. How will the Cardinal work sideline to sideline slowing that speed? The answer to both can be summed up with the play of quarterback Andrew Luck and the physicality of the Stanford defense. We saw what Auburns physical play did to the Ducks last season, now its Stanford’s turn. Ranked No. 3 in the nation in rush defense, the Cardinal have the strength to get past the Ducks. Pick: Stanford 37 – Oregon 32

#20 Auburn (6-3) @ #15 Georgia (7-2)


3:30 PM ET, CBS, Sat. Nov. 12, Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA

Remember last season when Bulldog nation was calling for dismantlement of the Dawg’s coaching staff, longtime head coach Mark Richt included? Where’s that chatter now? The Bulldogs have pulled off seven straight wins, including a 5-0 mark in SEC play in that stretch. They’ve yet to beat a ranked team, however. Quarterback Aaron Murray is playing lights out for Georgia, throwing 23 scores in nine games this season. Auburn heads into the game off its bye week, but still with a quarterback situation that shouldn’t instill confidence in consistent play. The defense is good, for the Tigers, but with Murray leading the way through the air, and freshman running back Isaiah Corwell back, the Dawg’s continue their push for an SEC East title spot. Pick: Georgia 29 – Auburn 16

#24 Michigan (7-2) @ Illinois (6-3)


3:30 PM ET, ESPN/ABC, Sat. Nov. 12, Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL

I don’t honestly want to believe that this Michigan team is like that of the last four years. Believing players were once again walking the sand bar early in the season, only to meet the drop-off with a sudden and uncontrollable fall like they have in the last three weeks. One reason I can believe its past is its defense. The Wolverines have held opponents to under 30 points in every game this season apart from Notre Dame. A key stat when looking at last year’s game against Illinois, when the Wolverines gave up an alarming 65 points. Denard Robinson will need to keep the mistakes at bay once again – which hasn’t been easy lately – but the Wolverines are, believe it or not, playing far better than the Illini, who have lost three straight. Pick: Michigan 31 – Illinois 17

(Upset pick…)

#19 Nebraska (7-2) @ #12 Penn State (8-1)


12:00 PM ET, ESPN, Sat. Nov. 12, Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA

Amid the chaos surrounding the University and the football program, a game will be played in Beaver Stadium Saturday, and rightfully so. The seniors have earned the right to a final goodbye to their football careers at Penn State, even with the controversy about. Not only will it be hard for the players on Penn State’s sidelines, but for Nebraska as well, walking into such situation as in Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions have won their last seven games, most in part to the credit of their defense, and sit at first place in the Leaders division. Nebraska will need to rebound from last week’s upset loss to Northwestern. They’ve done so once already this season against Ohio State and will do so Saturday. Too much surrounds the Penn State program for the Lions to walk away from a good, and physical, Big Ten opponent. They’ll still control their own destiny in the coming weeks, however. Pick: Nebraska 24 – Penn State 20

(Give me a ticket to see…)

TCU (7-2) @ #5 Boise State (8-0)


3:30 PM ET, Versus, Sat. Nov. 12, Bronco Stadium, Boise, ID

Everyone’s favorite underdog takes on everyone's other favorite underdog, this time with more than reputation on the line. The Broncos and Horned Frogs face off for the third time in four years, but for the first time ever as conference opponents. The Broncos have been business as usual this season, rolling through Mountain West opponents much like they did in the WAC. The defense has been on par, but it will be tested against a TCU offense that hasn’t skipped a beat with quarterback Casey Pachall at the helm, still averaging over 40 points an outing. Hanging with the Broncos offense and Kellen Moore is a different story, though. It’s the Horned Frogs first visit to the blue tundra of Bronco Stadium, as well. The Frogs may have ruled the Mountain West over the last decade, but this one goes to the new guys. Pick: Boise State 38 – TCU 31

Miami Fla. (5-4) @ Florida State (6-3)


3:30 PM ET, ESPN/ABC, Sat. Nov. 12, Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL

There was once a time, when it really didn’t get any bigger than the Miami vs. FSU rivalry. It was just less than a decade ago when these two used to go toe-to-toe for a chance at a National Title. The only thing they’ve both been fighting for lately is bowl eligibility, though. Miami’s Jacory Harris ranks No. 6 in the nation in passing efficiency, throwing 18 touchdowns to just four interceptions this season. The Seminoles rank fourth in nation in total defense, holding opponents to just over 260 yards a game. Since their early season three game skid, the Noles have racked off four in a row over ACC opponents. A closer look at the Seminoles wins this season shows a combined record of 14-94 for their opponents, though. FSU’s defense is good, but Miami’s offense has begun to click over the last couple of weeks. Pick: Miami Fla. 27 – Florida State 23

#17 Michigan State (7-2) @ Iowa (6-3)


12:00 PM ET, ESPN2, Sat. Nov. 12, Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA

The Hawkeyes ruined a chance at an undefeated season for the Spartans. Nightmares of last season’s 37-6 debacle for the Spartans still rings in the heads of coaches, players and Spartan nation. State was held to just 31 yards rushing on a 1.6 average. Quarterback Kirk Cousins threw three interceptions, two of which turned into 13 points for Iowa. The Hawkeyes don’t bring along the defense they had last season, but the offense has begun to click late in the season. Running back Marcus Coker has turned in six 100 yard rushing performances on the season. State, which controls their own destiny to the Big Ten championship game, has played inconsistent football over the last couple of weeks. Cousins will need to find room to air things out on a good secondary, but I look for him to rebound from last season’s miserable performance. State pulls it out in a tight knit battle. Pick: Michigan State 28 – Iowa 24

Last Week: 7-1 – Overall: 44-24– Upset Pick: 4-3

November 4, 2011

College Football Report - Saturday Picks - Week 10

(Game of the week…)

#1 LSU (8-0) @ #2 Alabama (8-0)


8:00 ET CBS, Sat. Nov. 5, Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL

This one’s got quite the hype to live up to. Maybe not as much as Andrew Luck’s path to the NFL, but the showdown between 'Bama and LSU is being tagged as the game of the century by many. The Tide were handed a loss at Tiger Stadium last season, in a game that saw five lead changes. As much as this one is about whose got the better offense or defense, it’s about the coaches. Both head into the game off bye weeks, giving plenty of time for LSU’s Les Miles and 'Bama’s Nick Saban to scheme the perfect game. The teams are nearly dead even talent wise on both sides of the ball, but I like what the Tigers have done against heavier competition this season. They’ll play the Tide physical, a lot like the Nittany Lions did, and force young 'Bama quarterback AJ McCarron into tight windows. The Tigers rank second nationally in turnover margin, so they won’t beat themselves. A big play out of an underrated offense should be the difference. Pick: LSU 24 – Alabama 20

#14 Kansas State (7-1) @ #3 Oklahoma State (8-0)


8:00 PM ET, ABC/ESPN, Sat. Nov. 5, Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK

How’s this for luck of the draw? A week after pulling an aggravated Oklahoma Sooner team, which resulted in a 58-17 beat down, the Wildcats head to Stillwater to take on third ranked Oklahoma State, who’s done nothing but embarrass opponents all season long. The Cowboys hold the nation’s fourth ranked total offense and number two scoring offense, but are also getting things done defensively, ranking first in turnover margin in the country. For K-State to have a chance, they’ll have to get running back John Hubert involved in the game plan. The Wildcats No. 103 ranked pass defense will be the deciding factor in the end however. Pick: Oklahoma State 44 – Kansas State 28

(Upset pick…)

#15 Michigan (7-1) @ Iowa (5-3)


12:00 PM ET, ESPN, Sat. Nov. 5, Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA

The Hawkeyes have let the ball air out more so this season, rather than keeping it ground and pound. The Wolverines continue to let Denard Robinson run the show. So while this may not be the Iowa vs. Michigan of old, whichever team wins the battle upfront should walk away victorious. Iowa was upset last week against Minnesota, but found a ground game on Marcus Coker’s 252 yards. The only problem was waiting to get him the ball. In the Wolverines lone loss of the season, they were physically handled by Michigan State being outrushed 213-to-82. Last season, four turnovers drowned the Wolverines. In his last three games, Robinson has thrown five interceptions. It could be the same story for the Wolverines this season. Pick: Iowa 27 – Michigan 23

(Give me a ticket to see…)

#8 Oregon (7-1) @ Washington (6-2)


10:30 PM ET, Sat. Nov. 5, Husky Stadium, Seattle, WA

Get ready for some offense in Seattle. Two of the PAC-12’s best this season head into Saturday’s matchup averaging a combined 82 points a game. Led by All-Conference running back Chris Polk, who scored five of Washington’s six touchdowns last week, the Huskies have scored under 30 just once this season. The Ducks can afford to give up points to Washington, however, as they bring the nation’s No. 5 ranked offense. The three headed rushing attack of LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas form the fastest backfield in America. Husky stadium will be rocking, but like the Ducks always do, they’ll close out Washington late. Pick: Oregon 49 – Washington 31

#9 South Carolina (7-1) @ #7 Arkansas (7-1)


7:15 PM ET, ESPN, Sat. Nov. 5, Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, AR

Don’t expect a fast start from the Razorbacks. Since their week four loss to Alabama, the Razorbacks have trailed early in four straight wins, including 35-17 against Texas A&M, 17-0 against Ole Miss and 21-7 against Vanderbilt last week. On the other hand, don’t expect South Carolina to start at all. The Gamecocks have failed to score more than 14 points the last two weeks. On the plus side for the Gamecocks, speed rushers Melvin Ingram and Jadeveon Clowney will have plenty of time to get after Razorback quarterback Tyler Wilson, who’s averaging 35 drop-backs a game. Without an offense to add to the table, however, South Carolina will stumble. Pick: Arkansas 34 – South Carolina 13

Texas Tech (5-3) @ #21 Texas (5-2)


12:00 PM ET, FX, Sat. Nov. 5, Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin TX

Consistency hasn’t been a real strong point to either one of these teams this season, or last for that matter. A week after upsetting then No. 3 Oklahoma, Tech laid an egg against Iowa State in a 41-7 romping last week. Tech quarterback Seth Doege, who’s already passed for over 2,700 yards this season, threw for just 171 yards and two interceptions. The Longhorns got back on track last week with a convincing 43-0 win over Kansas. Tech will be looking to get their passing attack back in order, but the Longhorns have given up just six passing scores all season. Mistakes on the offensive side of the ball will need to be at a minimum for the Longhorns to pull off the win at home, however. Pick: Texas 38 – Texas Tech 35

Texas A&M (5-3) @ #6 Oklahoma (7-1)


3:30 PM ET, Sat. Nov. 5, Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, OK

Norman certainly hasn’t been a kind place to Texas A&M as of late. The Aggies last two trips to Norman have resulted in 42-14 and 65-10 losses. After last week’s showing against No. 7 Kansas State on the road, there’s not a whole lot of reason to expect anything different this season. Add payback to the equation – after last year’s loss by the Sooners – and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. The Aggies should be able to put up a few more points than in recent trips to Oklahoma, but the end result will be the same. Pick: Oklahoma 47 – Texas A&M 30

Vanderbilt (4-4) @ Florida (4-4)


12:21 PM ET, SEC Net, Sat. Nov. 5, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL

Who could have imagined, at this point in the season, the Vanderbilt – Florida matchup being one of the better SEC games of week 10? My guess is not many outside of Nashville. The loser of course will drop below 500 and find themselves fighting for bowl eligibility. Florida has lost four straight, including two at the Swamp. The offense in Gainesville has been horrendous over their last four, averaging just 213 total yards a game. Vandy started hot against both Arkansas and Georgia, but was unable to sustain the lead. Against a needy Florida team, they’ll walk away with their first win in Gainesville since 1945, leaving some questioning if Charlie Weis was really the answer for Florida’s offense. Pick: Vanderbilt 20 – Florida 13

Last Week: N/A – Overall: 37-23– Upset Pick: 3-3

All writing and views subject to © Drew P. Kochanny, All Rights Reserved. Photo's credited to rights owner.