There's no place like Saturday...

November 9, 2012

College Football Report - Saturday Picks - Week 11:

(Give me a ticket to see...)

#11 Oregon State (7-1) @ #14 Stanford (7-2)
3:00 ET, FOX, Sat. Nov. 10, Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA
A lot of people are putting the Beavers on upset alert this week, as they face off against one of the better defensive teams in the country. I’m here to throw a “not so fast my friend,” out to the nation, however. Stanford’s defensive proficiency is skewed this season. The Cardinal rank first in the nation in rush defense and rightfully so, are good at shutting down the run. BUT, of the nine teams they’ve faced, five rank within the 25 worst rushing teams in the country. Three within the bottom 10. The Cardinal pass defense is ranked No. 104 in the country, yet they’ve faced just one quarterback, USC’s Matt Barkley, who ranks within the top 50 in the country in passing efficiency. The competition just hasn’t been there for the Cardinal. With Oregon State receivers Brandon Cooks and Marcus Wheaten, one of the nation’s best wideout tandems, in town this week, expect more big numbers and a smooth ride for the Beavers. Pick: Oregon State 31 – Stanford 23
 (Game of the week…)
#15 Texas A&M (7-2) @ #1 Alabama (9-0)
3:30 ET, CBS, Sat. Nov. 10, Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL
Just went Johnny Football gets his groove back, he has to face off against one of the nation’s best. Johnny Football, AKA Johnny Manziel, A&M’s do everything quarterback, has gone on a two game terror through SEC country, all in recovery of his three interception, 27 rush yard disaster against LSU . Alabama shouldn’t go much smoother for Mr. Football. It took last minute heroics to take down the Tigers in Death Valley last week, but the Tide is who we thought they were. A balanced offense and hard hitting, disciplined defense. We just now know they’re a resilient group, as well. Bama has faced only one other rushing quarterback this season, that being Michigan’s Denard Robinson, who was held to just 27 yards. The same amount LSU held Manziel. I’ll give Johnny Football the benefit of the doubt, though. He’ll have 45 yards here; he’s in a groove after all. Pick: Alabama 30 – Texas A&M 18
#21 Mississippi State (7-2) @ #7 LSU (7-2)
7:00 ET, ESPN, Sat. Nov. 10, Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
It’s salvage the season time for the Bulldogs and Tigers. Neither carries your normal salvage the season record, but can attest it’s warranted here. LSU is in jeopardy of losing their third game of their last five, while the Bulldogs could fall for the third straight week after opening the season on a 7-0 mark. Defense has carried both teams to this point, and it was the Tigers defense that nearly had them back in National Title talks last week in a near upset of No. 1 Alabama. They won’t be able to let the Tide beat them twice, though, against a good Mississippi State team. After just 42 yards rushing against the Gators, LSU has gotten back to its rushing roots, averaging 205 yards over their last three games. All three against top 20 teams. The Bulldogs don’t necessarily slow anyone down on the ground, giving up 168.2 yards a game. LSU will let Jeremy Hill work out their frustrations this week. Pick: LSU 27 – Mississippi State 16
(Upset pick…)
Penn State (6-3) @ #16 Nebraska (7-2)
3:30 ET, ABC, Sat. Nov. 10, Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
Sooner or later Nebraska’s mistakes are bound to catch up with them. That time may just be this week. The Huskers, who sit in the driver’s seat of the Legends division, have been playing far from mistake free football as of late, or all season for that matter. They rank No. 106 in the country in turnover margin and No. 80 in fewest penalties a game. Over the last four weeks, they’ve averaged 8.5 penalties for 78 yards a game, and three turnovers. That much negative yardage a game can’t be game planned for and can be crippling in itself. PSU on the other hand, knows how to play mistake free football, ranking No. 14 in the country in turnover margin. Running back Zach Zwinak has three 100 yard games in his last five and faces a Nebraska defense giving up 183 yards a game. Its Lions quarterback Matt McGloin’s game management that gives Penn State the upset, though. Pick: Penn State 24 – Nebraska 20
#2 Kansas State (9-0) @ TCU (6-3)
7:00 ET, FOX, Sat. Nov. 10, Amon Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX
There haven't been a whole lot of problems as of late for the Wilcats. They’ve jogged through the toughest three game stretch of their schedule, against three ranked conference opponents, like Usain Bolt at a freshman track meet. They haven’t had a hiccup since their road trip to Iowa State. But even then, they were still up 24-21 late in the fourth. A trip to Forth Worth may be just the game everyone around the country, and the Wildcats themselves, don’t see coming. The Horned Frogs assemble the nation’s No. 8 ranked rush defense, holding opponents to 96 yards a game on the ground. The Frogs have fallen apart through their Big 12 schedule, however, dropping three of their last five. The Wildcats are too complete of a team and too well coached to let the Horned Frogs get the best of them in an unsuspecting time. Colin Klein has his best passing day yet. Pick: Kansas State 37 – TCU 20
West Virginia (5-3) @ Oklahoma State (5-3)
3:30 ET, ABC, Sat. Nov. 10, Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK
Someone’s got to win here. Whether they like it, or want to. It’s going to happen. Not exactly models for consistency this season, the Cowboys and Mountaineers have teased experts, fans and themselves with lofty expectations to start the season. The Mountaineers have dropped three straight and seem to be fading faster than the coal industry in their own state. The Cowboys have had letdowns in their three biggest games of the season thus far, coming away winless in all three.  They’re game last week against Kansas State wasn’t even as close as the score would illustrate. The Mountaineers have played just two road games all season and need to get something going before their home stint with Oklahoma. Don’t expect a lot of defense, but Dana Holgorsen knows this OK State team. They break their three game slide in Stillwater. Pick: West Virginia 45 – Oklahoma State 42
#24 Northwestern (7-2) @ Michigan (6-3)
12:00 ET, ESPN, Sat. Nov. 10, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
There’s still no word on whether or not Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson will suit up, or like last week, suit up and not play. Head coach Brady Hoke has been mum on the situation all week. Wideout Devin Gardner, who had caught 16 passes for 266 yards and four scores heading into last week, stepped in at quarterback against the Golden Gophers, passing for 234 yards and two scores. Gardner was one of the more sought after quarterbacks out of high school, though. Northwestern has played better than expected this season, thanks much in part to their ability to play disciplined football. Defense will be the key here though, and the Wildcats 107 ranked pass defense looks good for whoever is behind center for Michigan. An ugly game, but Michigan gets it done at home. Pick: Michigan 29 – Northwestern 21
Miami (FL) (5-4) @ Virginia (3-6)
12:00 ET, ABC, Sat. Nov. 10, Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA
A win here for Miami moves them one game closer to clinching the ACC Coastal and first trip to the ACC Championship game, setting up a potential rematch with rival FSU. Or does it? The Miami athletic department and president are thinking of disqualifying themselves from postseason play once again, in hopes of a lesser penalty once the NCAA decides. Virginia dropped six straight before their 33-6 beatdown of NC State last week, in which they held the Wolfpack to just 216 total yards and forced five turnovers. The Cavaliers have held the ‘Canes number as of late, but freshman running back Duke Johnson, who had yet another 200+ all purpose yard game last week, want a trip to the ACC title game, even if the administration doesn’t. The skill position players get it done for Miami, as they find out their fate once bowl eligible. Pick: Miami 28 – Virginia 23
Vanderbilt (5-4) @ Ole Miss (5-4)
7:00 ET, ESPNU, Sat. Nov. 10, Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS
Picked to once again be the bottom dwellers of the SEC, the Commodores and Rebels both find themselves one win away from bowl eligibility and far from last place finishes in their respective conference divisions. The Rebels need a win here more, with slim chance of making a bowl in their final two games against ranked LSU and Mississippi State. With a loss Saturday, Vandy has opportunities against both Tennessee and Wake Forest. Vandy has won four of their last five against the Rebels and bring the better defense to Oxford, including the nation’s No. 3 ranked pass defense. The Commodores have other chances for bowl eligibility, but they won’t need them. Senior running back Zac Stacy has his second straight 150+ yard game against Ole Miss. Pick: Vanderbilt 27 – Ole Miss 19
Last Week: 6-3 – Overall: 42-25

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