College Football Week 12 Predictions: Picking Straight-Up Winners in Elite Games

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 10: Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans throws a pass against the Arizona State Sun Devils at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 10, 2012  in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

This week may not have the full arsenal of epic matchups that we've seen in weeks past, but that doesn't mean we're devoid of some truly huge college football games this Saturday.

We've got a meaningless rivalry in the Big Ten that remains one of the most intriguing matchups of the week, we've got two Pac-12 clashes that will determine how both the conference and national championship is won and we've got Heisman hopefuls all over the place.

Let's make some straight-up predictions for this week's most compelling games.


Ohio State at Wisconsin

I was this close to picking Ohio State, I really was. The Buckeyes have constantly made me pay for picking against them and I don't like betting against Braxton Miller.

However, I'm having a hard time looking past Wisconsin in this one. The Badgers' three losses (to Oregon State, Nebraska and Michigan State) have been by a combined nine points. They run the ball extremely well and are giving up just 17.2 points per game. They're at home, and they've already guaranteed a spot in the Big Ten championship game, so they'll be loose.

Oh, and Ohio State has Michigan next week, which is essentially the team's bowl game in a season in which the school is ineligible for all postseason play. Despite the rivalry between the Buckeyes and Badgers, I can't help but think that Ohio State might be overlooking this game with the hated Wolverines on tap.


No. 18 USC at No. 17 UCLA

Let's see.

USC has won 13 of the last 14 games between these two teams, last losing in 2006 to the Bruins. I believe USC has the three best players in this game in Matt Barkley, Marqise Lee and Robert Woods, while UCLA is a pretty young side.

Yeah, I'm definitely favoring USC in this one.

That's not to say UCLA should be overlooked—the Bruins are a good football team and have won four straight—but they have neither the talent nor the experience to keep up with USC in this one.


No. 13 Stanford at No. 2 Oregon

Until (potentially) the national championship game, I don't see this Oregon team losing. The Ducks simply have too much speed for Stanford to deal with, and I expect they'll run roughshod over the Cardinal defense.

Oregon rushes for the third-most yards in the nation (325.1 per game) and scores the most points (54.8). The team has a Heisman candidate in Kenjon Barner and a player behind him that might actually be even more dangerous with the ball in his hands in De'Anthony Thomas.

They play some solid defense, too. The Ducks allow just 22.3 points per game, 30th in the nation.

Given the proficiency with which each team runs the ball, this could be the fastest 45-42 game in history, but the Ducks will find a way to win.


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