College Football Week 12: Predictions Against the Spread
The college football season is quickly coming to a close, and there is only so many games left to boost my Pick 'Em record.
An 11-11 tally last week did not allow me to make up ground on this season’s crumby record and it is either now or never to make my move towards that .500 mark.
Although three of the AP’s Top 5 teams are on a bye this week, there are four exciting games that pit Top 25 teams against each other. Add two games played in baseball stadiums and we should have another excellent weekend of college football.
Let’s take a look at this week’s picks and pray that we come out on top.
Last Week’s Record: 11-11
Season Record: 101-109-5
No. 3 Boise State (-30.5) vs. Fresno State
Boise State continues to obliterate opponents, racking up its fourth 50-point game this season last week against Idaho.
Fresno State came within a needle’s eye of beating No. 21 Nevada and might believe it can keep this one against the Broncos close.
The Bulldogs will lose, but their offense could cover this spread.
Pick: Fresno State +30.5
No. 5 LSU (-16.5) vs. Mississippi
Ole Miss possesses the 107th ranked defense (34.8 p/g), and after their laughable performance against Tennessee last week, this game against the Tigers could get ugly.
This season, LSU has failed to beat a non-ranked opponent by at least 20 points only once. A complete decapitation of the Rebels should be in order.
Pick: LSU -16.5
No. 6 Wisconsin (-4.5) at Michigan
Last Week, Wisconsin hung 83 points against Indiana, and a repeat performance again Michigan isn’t completely out of the question.
Michigan’s defense has been nothing short of a Saw movie and Wisconsin should take full advantage.
Denard Robinson could keep this game close, but don’t expect the Wolverines to leave this one happy.
Pick: Wisconsin -4.5
No. 7 Stanford (-7) at California
Andrew Luck’s only "Big Game" start ended in tragedy last season, throwing a red-zone interception during the waning seconds to solidify the win for Cal.
A close loss to Oregon leads many to believe that California has life left and could create problems for Stanford.
Revenge is a funny thing, though. Look for Luck to rectify last year’s error with a huge win.
Pick: Stanford -7
No. 8 Ohio State (-3) at No. 21 Iowa
A slow start against Penn State highlights some concerns with Ohio State. Luckily for the Buckeyes, their next game is against rather inconsistent Iowa.
The Hawkeyes, once thought to have the easiest path to the Big Ten title, have completely lost their wheels.
Two straight sub-par offensive performances by Iowa are certainly worrisome, and this is definitely Ohio State’s game for the taking.
Pick: Ohio State -3
No. 9 Nebraska (-2.5) at No. 18 Texas A&M
The last time Texas A&M squared off against a Top 10 team, the Aggies rolled over Oklahoma 33-19.
Things might play out differently this weekend when Ryan Tannehill faces the Black Shirts.
However, Nebraska has had trouble finding its offense as of late. Another poor performance could be the Huskers' demise in this one.
Pick: Nebraska -2.5
No.11 Michigan State (-20) vs. Purdue
Purdue is riding a terrible four-game losing streak, and things won’t get better against Michigan State.
While the Spartans have won three straight in this rivalry, a 22-point spread could be a bit too much.
The past seven games between these teams have been decided by 14 points or less. Expect more of the same.
Pick: Purdue +20
No. 12 Oklahoma State (-24) at Kansas
Kansas found a way to stay within the spread against Nebraska, but its defense could be in a load of trouble against Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys' second-ranked passing game (359.1 y/d) and third-ranked scoring offense (45.0 p/g) has the potential to put up enormous numbers on Kansas’ struggling defense (33.0 p/g).
Pick: Oklahoma State -24
No. 13 Arkansas (-3) at No. 22 Mississippi State
Arkansas has been on a tear recently, winning four straight and scoring 38 points or more in its past five games.
Mississippi State’s latest stumble against Alabama continues a disturbing trend for the Bulldogs against ranked teams (1-3). Keeping up with Ryan Mallet might be too much to ask.
Pick: Arkansas -3
No. 14 Virginia Tech (-2.5) at No. 24 Miami
With Jacory Harris doubtful for Miami, Virginia Tech has an excellent chance of owning this game from kickoff to final whistle.
The Hokies 19th-ranked rushing offense (208.5 y/d) should plummet the Hurricanes 77th-ranked rushing defense (166.4 y/g), allowing Virginia Tech to control the clock and the scoreboard.
Without Harris, keeping this one close might be wishful thinking.
Pick: Virginia Tech -2.5
No. 15 Missouri (-11.5) at Iowa State
Iowa State is only one win shy of becoming bowl eligible. But with Missouri heading into town this weekend, postseason play could be unreachable.
The Tigers have won six of the last seven games against the Cyclones. Barring a complete collapse, they should not have a problem continuing this winning trend.
Pick: Missouri -11.5
No. 16 Oklahoma (-7) at Baylor
Baylor proved for the second straight week that it is unable to keep up with a team that has offensive fire power.
This week, the Bears face another dangerous offense in Oklahoma. Landry Jones should have no problems taking advantage of Baylor 108th-ranked passing defense in route to dismantling these wounded Bears.
Pick: Oklahoma -7
No. 17 South Carolina (-22) vs. Troy
Last week, South Carolina marched into the Swamp and manhandled Florida, emerging with an incredible 36-14 victory.
Thinking that Troy will come close to covering this spread against the rejuvenated Gamecocks would be foolish.
The SEC Championship game looms for South Carolina, and the Gamecocks can’t afford to let their guard down against this weaker opponent.
Pick: South Carolina -22
No. 19 Nevada (-37.5) vs. New Mexico State
Recently, covering the spread has not been in the Wolf Pack’s playbook. Since October, Nevada has consistently come up short, failing to cover five of their last six lines.
New Mexico State, on the other hand, has covered four of their last five spreads and could very well do the same with this week’s lofty line.
Pick: New Mexico State +37.5
No. 20 USC (-3) at Oregon State
Oregon State reached a new low last week, allowing Washington State to snap a 16-game Pac-10 Conference losing streak at the Beavers' expense.
USC appears to be maturing at a rapid pace, which could mean even more trouble for the Beavers. Matt Barkley and USC’s plethora of offensive weapons should be enough for USC to leave Corvallis with a win.
Pick: USC -3
No. 25 Utah (-3) at San Diego State
Last week, Utah took one on the chin against Notre Dame (3-28), while San Diego State was oh-so-close to upsetting TCU (35-40).
The Utes appear to be sliding down a slippery slope, and things could get worse if their offense can’t get back on track.
Ryan Lindley is an exceptional quarterback, and if he can lead the Aztecs to another explosive performance, SDSU may be able to pull off the upset that eluded the team last week.
Pick: San Diego State +3
Florida State (-4.5) at Maryland
After last week’s anemic performance, Florida State will be anxious to have Christian Ponder back under center against Maryland.
Although Maryland has yet to lose a home game this season, the Seminoles are more talented than any other team that traveled to College Park.
Florida State should be able to handle this road trip and clinch the ACC Atlantic title in enemy territory.
Pick: Florida State -4.5
Northwestern vs. Illinois (-7)
Northwestern pulled off a shocker last week against Iowa, but at the cost of starting quarterback Dan Persa.
While Persa’s offensive leadership was the main reason for Northwestern landing 25th in the Coaches Poll, their offense will undoubtedly struggle this week against Illinois without him.
The Wildcats might not win, but they could keep this game in Wrigley Field close.
Pick: Northwestern +7
North Carolina (-2.5) vs. North Carolina State
The Wolfpack has won three straight in this series and could be in line to make it four.
Both teams have been far from consistent this season, and this game will most likely come down to which quarterback can shine brighter.
T.J Yates's latest meltdown leaves the door slightly open for Russell Wilson to steal this in-state show.
Pick: North Carolina State +2.5
Notre Dame (-8) vs. Army
In the first-ever football game played in the New Yankees Stadium, Notre Dame hopes to keep the ball rolling after last weekend’s surprising win over No. 14 Utah.
The Irish own a 13-game winning streak against Army and should be riding a pretty big high entering this game.
However, Army’s rushing attack is ranked 8th (272.8 y/g) in the FBS and could crash Notre Dame’s upset party.
Pick: Army +8