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October 12, 2012

College Football Report - Saturday Picks - Week 7

#10 Oregon State (4-0) @ BYU (4-2)

3:30 ET, ABC, Sat. Oct. 13, LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, UT
It’s battle of the backups in Provo this weekend. Both Oregon State and BYU lost their respective starting quarterbacks last week. BYU may be down to their third quarterback of the season, if previous starter Riley Nelson can’t go. The Beavers lost starter Sean Mannion to a knee injury last week and will be forced to go with junior Cody Vaz to continue their undefeated streak. There’s little to expect from Vaz, who has not thrown a pass in a game since 2010 and has never started a collegiate game. The strength of this OSU team, however, has been its defense, which has allowed just eight offensive touchdowns all season. Provo isn’t exactly a walk in the park to play in – BYU is 4-0 at home this season – but the Beavers have taken down both UCLA and Arizona on the road. Vaz’ new job will be easy to handle with big play wideouts Marcus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks on his side. Pick: Oregon State 21 – BYU 14
#17 Stanford (4-1) @ 7 Notre Dame (5-0)
3:30 ET, NBC, Sat. Oct. 13, Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, IN
There are still few Irish supporters to come by this season. Even at 5-0 and with take downs of Michigan, Michigan State and Miami (FL), believing in the Irish still feels a bit like believing in an American golfer to sink a put. A win Saturday can change that, though, and instill even more confidence in Kelly’s group. Quarterback Everett Golson came off the bench last week playing far beyond anything he’s shown this season. Stanford’s defense is far from the 118th ranked unit Miami puts on the field, though. Keep a close eye on the tight ends matched up against the linebackers. Both teams bring in who may be the best tight ends and linebackers in the country in the Irish’s Tyler Eifert and Stanford’s Zach Ertz. They’ll be matched up against Cardinal linebacker Chase Thomas and Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o. In a defensive battle, led by Te’o, the Irish will be too tough to beat at home. Pick: Notre Dame 18 – Stanford 9
#15 Texas (4-1) VS #13 Oklahoma (3-1)
12:00 ET, ABC, Sat. Oct. 13, Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX
Finally, a big game in the state of Texas that’s not at Cowboys Stadium. Turnovers killed the Longhorns last season, as Texas turned the ball over five times, leading to 31 Oklahoma points. The 55 points given up by the Longhorns was the second most ever in this matchup. This isn’t last year’s Longhorn team, however. The Longhorns sit ranked No. 13 in the country with a +1.4 turnover margin. Starting quarterback David Ash has thrown just one interception all season, to 11 touchdowns. The Sooners are once again sound defensively, but it’s surprisingly their offense that looks to need work. Quarterback Landry Jones has few options apart from wideout Kenny Stills. Like last season, big plays can be the difference maker in a rivalry like the Red River Rivalry. I question if Oklahoma has enough in the tank to hang with a Texas team averaging 46.8 points an outing. Pick: Texas 38 – Oklahoma 23
(Game of the week…)
#3 South Carolina (6-0) @ #9 LSU (5-1)
South Carolina Gamecocks Vs.
8:00 ET, ESPN, Sat. Oct. 13, Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
Heading in opposite ends of the SEC spectrum, Carolina played one of their best games yet under Spurrier last week, while LSU played one of the ugliest under Miles. Florida ran for 176 yards against what is suppose to be the best defensive front in football employed by the Tigers. LSU turned the ball over three times and ran for just 42 total yards. Carolina heads in fresh off of a 35-7 beatdown of then No. 5 ranked Georgia. Carolina’s defense has been its biggest reason for success this season, allowing just 10.5 points a game. Defensive end Jadaveon Clowney and the Gamecocks defense have terrorized quarterbacks, bringing in 25 sacks through their first six games. With Zach Mettenberger and the Tigers offense struggling to find an identity, the Gamecocks steal one on the road in Baton Rouge. Pick: South Carolina 17 – LSU 10 (OT)
#11 USC (4-1) @ Washington (3-2)
7:00 ET, FOX, Sat. Oct. 13, CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
Another trap game for Pac-12 supremacy? The Huskies are tough at home in their CenturyLink Field bubble, having taken down Stanford already this season. USC, although having lost to Stanford, heads to Seattle with far more firepower offensively than the Cardinal. Scoring hasn’t been an issue for the Trojans this season, with quarterback Matt Barkley having thrown 15 touchdowns already. For the Huskies, scoring has been their kryptonite. Averaging just 22.8 points a game – good for No. 97 in the country – quarterback Keith Price has had little time to set his feet, let alone get a pass off. To be fair, the Huskies have played LSU, Stanford and Oregon this season. The Trojans can’t afford another conference loss, though. Washington will make it closer than it should be, but Barkley will find a way. Pick: USC 27 – Washington 21
(Give me a ticket to see…)
#6 Kansas State (5-0) @ Iowa State (4-1)
12:00 ET, FX, Sat. Oct. 13, Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA
Pick a Klein on either side; they’ll most likely be the game changer. Iowa State linebacker A.J. Klein gives Kansas State’s Collin Klein (no relation) a run for his big play money. In his career, A.J. Klein has returned interceptions for touchdowns of 78, 69, 25 and this season, 87 yards, making him Iowa State’s all-time leader in defensive return touchdowns. Collin Klein has been as advertised this season, if not better than last year’s Heisman worthy season. The quarterback has led an offense that averages 43.6 points a game, with 15 total touchdowns to his credit. The two Klein’s will certainly clash heads Saturday, but I’d expect Collin, to get the best of A.J. Of all the games KSU has played so far, however, this one ends up as the closest. Pick: Kansas State 31 – Iowa State 28
North Carolina (4-2) @ Miami (FL) (4-2)
2:30 ET, ESPNU, Sat. Oct. 13, Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL
Notre Dame threw a FEMA blanket over the Hurricanes last week. Just when everything started heading in the ‘Canes direction. Miami says goodbye to their non conference BCS schedule, which left them 0-2 this season and hello to an ACC schedule in which they already sit at 3-0. UNC has pulled off three straight wins, including a 48-34 thrashing of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg last week. Averaging 44 points a game, the Heels are led by Gio Bernard and their ground attack. Miami has played at a high school level defensively this season, placing big pressure on their offense and quarterback Stephen Morris. Morris, however, has responded quite nice, particularly against the ACC. The ‘Canes have played UNC tough over the last few seasons, leaving me to expect they’ll rebound in the warmth of their ACC schedule. Pick: Miami 43 – North Carolina 37 (2OT)
(Upset pick…)
#22 Texas A&M (4-1) @ #23 Louisiana Tech (5-0)
9:00 ET, ESPNU, Sat. Oct. 13, Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA
Originally scheduled for the first week of the season, Hurricane Isaac pushed the meeting back to this weekend. Dating back to last season, there have been few teams on a hotter streak than the Bulldogs of Louisiana Tech. Tech has won 12 of their last 13 with their lone loss coming in the Poinsettia Bowl to TCU by one score. The Aggies have been led by the big play ability of freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, who’s leading A&M in both passing and rushing through their first five. He’ll go up against a defense ranked No. 109 in the country, giving up 35.8 points an outing. The Bulldogs can score, however, bringing in nearly 54 points a game. Quarterback Cody Cameron spreads the ball to multiple weapons and has yet to turn the ball over. In an upset that feels bigger than it looks on paper, Tech pulls off the nighttime thriller at home. Pick: Louisiana Tech 41 – Texas A&M 36
Iowa (3-2) @ Michigan State (4-2)
12:00 ET, ESPN, Sat. Oct. 13, Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
What happened to the Spartans? Preseason Big Ten favorites, MSU has been lucky to get by Eastern Michigan and Indiana this season. Just last week the Spartans were down 17-0 by the end of the first quarter to the Hoosiers and 27-14 at halftime. It won’t get any easier for them this week with a visit from Iowa. Le’Veon Bell remains questionable to play with an ankle injury and quarterback Andrew Maxwell’s favorite target, tight end Dion Sims, is doubtful. Luckily for the Spartans, this isn’t the same Iowa team of recent years. They’ll need to stop bruising tailback Mark Weisman, who’s brought in 515 yards and seven scores on the ground this season, to have a chance. They took a relapse last week, but the defense has been solid overall for MSU. If they stop the run, they’ll sneak by a frustrated Iowa team. Pick: Michigan State 23 – Iowa 16
Last Week: 7-1 – Overall: 16-9 – Upset Pick: 1-2

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