Last Week : 14-4 (missed on North Carolina, Ole Miss, Clemson, and Georgia Tech. I DO NOT LIKE YOU, RANKED ACC TEAMS.)
After having what many would call an off week of college football last week because there was only one game between two ranked teams, there are five (five) of those this week.
We'll go through all nine games involving ranked teams as well as some other college football-related stuff.
Thursday, Dec. 3
#13 Oregon State (8-3, 6-2) vs. #7 Oregon (9-2, 7-1), 9:00 PM ET/8:00 PM CT, ESPN (HD)
Point Spread: Oregon -9.5
Even though it's just something the Pac-10 seemingly can't stand, this is the de facto Pac-10 championship game. Whoever wins this game goes to the Rose Bowl as the Pacific Ten Conference champion.
Last year, Oregon State came into the 112th Civil War with a Rose Bowl bid on the line if they defeated Oregon at home. They were demolished by Oregon, 65-38, in a game in which Oregon racked up 697 yards on the seemingly overmatched Beavers defense.
Everyone knows that Oregon State wants to steal the Rose Bowl bid from a surprising Ducks team that has taken over the Pac-10 from USC.
After last year's embarrassment for the Beavers, they'll come close to taking the 113rd meeting between these two teams, but Oregon will prevail in the end.
Prediction: Oregon 41, Oregon State 34
Saturday, Dec. 5
Conference USA Football Championship: No. 18 Houston (10-2, 6-2) vs. East Carolina (8-4, 7-1), Noon ET/11:00 AM CT, ESPN2 (HD)
Point Spread: Houston -2.5
In the fifth annual Conference USA Football Championship game, two of the conference's newer heavyweights do battle. It's a matchup of this year's early-season mid-major heartthrob (Houston) and last year's early-season heartthrob (East Carolina).
Last year, East Carolina started off the year with two incredible wins, which were a 27-22 victory against #17 Virginia Tech and a 24-3 domination of #8 West Virginia at home.
The Pirates lost the next week to NC State, 30-24 in overtime, and somewhat meandered to a 9-5 season, winning the C-USA championship game, but also losing to Virginia and Southern Miss.
This year, Houston started the year off like the Pirates had in 2008, like a red-hot rocket. They went on the road to defeat then-#5 Oklahoma State, 45-35, and came back home to win over Texas Tech, 29-28.
All was going well for Houston until they inexplicably lost on the road to UTEP, 58-41.
The team that wins earns a trip to the Liberty Bowl in Memphis on Jan. 2 to play 7-5 SEC opponent Arkansas. The loser still gets a good bowl game in the Armed Forces Bowl on New Year's Eve against Air Force.
After the horrendous loss to Central Florida, Houston's offense has been unstoppable, racking up 128 points in the two games since. Believe me when I say they won't be stopping here.
Prediction: Houston 45, East Carolina 34
#24 West Virginia (8-3, 4-2) at Rutgers (8-3, 3-3), Noon ET/11:00 AM CT, ESPN (HD)
Point Spread: Rutgers -1
Even though this game obviously doesn't have near the amount of hype that the other Big East game does, this game still has quite a bit at stake for both West Virginia and Rutgers.
For the Mountaineers, it means getting the second-place tiebreaker if Pittsburgh loses to #5 Cincinnati and clinching a bid to the Gator Bowl.
For the Scarlet Knights, it would mean earning the third-place tiebreaker with a win over WVU, moving up from the St. Petersburg Bowl to the Meineke Car Care Bowl, and earning a probable Top 25 ranking before bowl season.
With basically nothing to lose for Rutgers (even if they do lose, they have the tiebreaker over both current Big East #5 South Florida and #6 Connecticut due to wins over both teams), I think they'll beat the Mountaineers for the first time since 1994.
Prediction: Rutgers 24, West Virginia 20
#5 Cincinnati (11-0, 6-0) at #14 Pittsburgh (9-2, 5-1), Noon ET/11:00 AM CT, ABC (HD)
Point Spread: Cincinnati -1
If this had been a game held on pretty much any other week this season, this would have been our Game of the Week. The winner of this game earns a trip to the Orange Bowl as the Big East's regular season champion.
Cincinnati certainly does not want to come out on the losing end in this one, as they possibly would be relegated to the Meineke Car Care Bowl at 11-1.
The Bearcats have had a dream season with their 11-0 start, but their defense has been suspect in a 47-45 victory over Connecticut and a 49-36 win over Illinois.
Pittsburgh's defensive line has been the success story of their season, earning forty-three sacks, which is first in the nation.
It will be very interesting to see how they match up with a Cincinnati offensive line that has allowed only nine sacks in 2009, good enough for third fewest in the nation.
Last Friday's devastating loss to West Virginia could have taken quite a bit of air from this team. I expect Cincinnati's offensive line to hold up well against the great Pitt defense and win in a shootout.
Prediction: Cincinnati 34, Pittsburgh 27
New Mexico State (3-9, 1-6) at #6 Boise State (12-0, 7-0), 3:00 PM ET/2:00 PM CT, ESPN-GP
Point Spread: Boise State -47
Because there's more important games to write about, I'll only spend about a paragraph on this.
Boise State is looking toward their fourth undefeated regular season in six years and the Aggies won't even get close to pulling the upset. This one will be over at halftime.
Prediction: Boise State 69, New Mexico State 10
Arizona (7-4, 5-3) at #20 Southern California (8-3, 5-3), 3:30 PM ET/2:30 PM CT, ABC (HD)
Point Spread: USC -7
Arizona is looking to continue their surprise season with what would be a massive regular season-ending victory over the disappointing Trojans. USC's just looking to close out their disappointing year with a Holiday Bowl bid.
While I don't expect USC to blow Arizona out, expect them to contain the strong Wildcats offense.
Prediction: USC 28, Arizona 17
2009 SEC Championship: #2 Alabama (12-0, 8-0) vs. #1 Florida (12-0, 8-0), 4:00 PM ET/3:00 PM CT (coverage starts at 3:00 PM ET), CBS (HD) (Game of the Week and Game of the Year)
Point Spread: Florida -5.5
If you haven't heard, this is the biggest game of the 2009 season. The winner earns a spot in the BCS National Championship Game; the loser takes a trip to the Sugar Bowl.
You know the story. #1 vs. #2. Meyer vs. Saban. Tebow vs. the Tide defense. Ingram vs. the Gators defense. The winner of Tebow vs. Ingram in this game has a great shot at the Heisman.
I'm not going to spend my entire article on this game because there's been previews of this game for around a month now. I fully expect the Florida defense to contain Ingram and go to the National Championship for the third time in four years.
Prediction: Florida 24, Alabama 17
#19 California (8-3, 5-3) vs. Washington (4-7, 3-5), 6:30 PM ET/5:30 PM CT, FOX Sports Net
Point Spread: California -7
For Cal, it's just the season finale; they have no shot at the Pac-10 title and they're looking at a Sun Bowl bid right now. For Washington, it's a great chance to build on 2010. I'll take the Huskies in a close one.
Prediction: Washington 27, Cal 24
2009 Big 12 Championship: #3 Texas (12-0, 8-0) vs. #21 Nebraska (9-3, 6-2), 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT, ABC (HD)
Point Spread: Texas -14
This game is exactly what it looks like: David vs. Goliath.
As much as I hate to use NFL examples in my college football articles, this game reminds me a ton of the 2008 Super Bowl between the undefeated, 18-0 New England Patriots and the unheralded 13-6 New York Giants.
We all know how that one turned out, as the Giants, a 14 -point underdog, won by holding down the incredibly powerful New England offense for a 17-14 win.
I've seen a lot of people giving this one to Texas before play has even started. Not many people think Nebraska can stop the powerful Longhorns defense. Not many thought the Giants could stop the Patriots, either. In a shocker, I'll take the Huskers.
Prediction: Nebraska 20, Texas 17
2009 ACC Championship: #12 Georgia Tech (10-2, 7-1) vs. #25 Clemson (8-4, 6-2), 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT, ESPN (HD)
Point Spread: Georgia Tech -1
This game certainly lost some luster after Tech and Clemson were beat by their SEC opponents last week, Georgia and South Carolina. The Ramblin' Wreck beat the Tigers way back on September 10th in a close 30-27 win. I foresee another field goal victory for the Yellow Jackets in this game.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 34, Clemson 31
Locks of the Week
- Case Keenum will throw for four touchdowns or more against East Carolina in a sure-to-be shootout.
- Taking the over in the Boise State-New Mexico State game (58).
- Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour will be responsible for at least three touchdowns against Ohio in the MAC Championship Game on Friday.
Upset of the Week
#21 Nebraska (+14) over #3 Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game.
Player of the Week
Case Keenum with a 380 yard, 4/5 TD performance against East Carolina in a C-USA Championship Game victory.
ACC Team That Will Wreck My Predictions This Week
Clemson, by the power of the ACC higher-ranked team curse, will somehow defeat Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship game.
Prediction Sure to be Wrong
Jim Harbaugh will be named Notre Dame's next head coach during the upcoming week.
Questions and comments are always welcome.