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The Big E College Football Picks: Week Thirteen

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Last week was a quality effort, buoyed by Notre Dame’s thrashing of Army. Although, I did get off to a fast start and then limped to the finish line with some losses in the late games on Saturday.

That’s probably the third time this year where it looked like I was bringing home a huge weekend of picks, only to be let down in the end.

Let’s take a look back at week twelve.

Losses

*Fresno State had no chance as Boise State put on another clinic for the entire nation to witness. The Broncos won 51-0, limited Fresno to 125 yards and 1.8 yards per rush. Boise State is legitimately the best team in the land.

Oregon or Auburn would win something like 55-20 against Fresno State, but still some aren’t giving Boise State the credit they deserve for completely demoralizing teams.

*It appeared Michigan State’s dream season was coming to a grinding halt as they were down by a good margin in the fourth quarter to Purdue. Cue a turnover and a quick score and the Spartans were able to mount a miraculous comeback.

Will there be anything better the year before the Big Ten expands, than to see a three-way tie atop the standings? You have to love conference expansion!

*Miami was playing pretty well against Virginia Tech until the Hokies ran away with it in the second half. Virginia Tech is so stealthily avoiding the ACC death spell, good for them.

*LSU just skipped by Ole Miss in a wildly entertaining game in Death Valley. That’s not really a big resume booster for the Tigers, but at least they keep on winning.

Is there any way we could see a one-loss LSU team play a Big East team in a BCS game? How ugly would that game get?

*Rutgers gave up 69 points and 661 yards to Cincinnati…true story. And if you haven’t realized, the Scarlet Knights have an atrocious running game.

Rutgers gained -9 yards against Cincinnati and is currently averaging a woeful 2.7 yards per carry. You can bet the Rutgers coaching staff is pleading with New Jersey prep player Savon Huggins, "You can carry the ball from day one!!"

*Baylor got destroyed by Oklahoma, which was mildly surprising because a lot of people, including me, thought that would be a competitive game.

*In a flag-filled game, Nebraska was downed 9-6 by Texas A&M in a field-goal fest. Are we really going to see Nebraska in a BCS game this year? That doesn’t get me terribly excited.

*Just in time for them to play Notre Dame, the USC Trojans got embarrassed big time by Oregon State. They also lost quarterback Matt Barkley to a high-ankle sprain, we’ll see if he plays this weekend but it doesn’t look good.

Wins

The "November" Fighting Irish soundly defeated Army. Let’s hope the momentum continues through the weekend and into bowl season.

*Pitt snuck by USF with a fourth quarter touchdown. Both teams stand at 6-4, yet only one of them is likely to go to a BCS bowl. Welcome to the Big East, baby!

*NC State rallied past North Carolina for their eighth win of the season. The Wolfpack were badly out-gained but remain in the ACC championship race. A win over Maryland this weekend and they are in to face Virginia Tech.

*Wisconsin blew out Michigan behind 357 rushing yards. The Badgers could have scored 60 points and really gone for the throat stomp if they wanted to, but they decided to not throw the ball at all in the second half.

*Stanford continues to make its case as the best one-loss team in the country with a 48-14 clubbing of California. The Andrew Luck "best pro QB prospect" train is really picking up steam. No Irish fans will be sad if he leaves, although I think he stays at least another season in Palo Alto.

*In my intriguing game of the week, Connecticut took care of business against Syracuse. Even with Akron, Maine and Colgate on their schedule, you didn’t really think the Orange would win nine games this year, right?

*In a back and forth battle, Arkansas outlasted Mississippi State in double overtime. Even after back-to-back losses and a 3-4 record in the SEC, Mississippi State is still ranked. Good for them.

*Florida State got past Maryland with a late second-half surge, but it just wasn’t that impressive of a victory for the Seminoles. Christian Ponder continues to disappoint this year.

*And finally, Utah got back to their winning ways with a razor thin victory over pesky San Diego State, keeping hope alive that Notre Dame will have beaten a ten-win team this year.

Now to this week’s picks.

Last Week: 9-8

Overall: 70-77

Notre Dame (+4) at USC

Pick: Notre Dame

See Wednesday’s post Avoiding the Notorious Number Nine.

West Virginia (+2.5) at Pittsburgh

Pick: West Virginia

The sloppy turf at Heinz Field will probably slow down the Mountaineers spread offense, but Pitt has lost some defensive difference makers and that could be crucial.

All signs point to this being a very close game and under those circumstances I’ll take the underdog. If Pitt loses the Big East BCS picture gets even uglier.

Auburn (+4.5) at Alabama

Pick: Auburn

It would be nice if this Auburn team with Cam Newton could have played last year’s Alabama defense, because I don’t think this year’s Tide incarnation is quite as good.

LSU is the best defense I’ve seen this season, and Auburn put up over 500 yards on them and more or less dominated that game even though the score was close. Alabama might pull out this win, but this is a little too big of a spread for a dangerous Auburn team.

Colorado (+17.5) at Nebraska

Pick: Nebraska

A lot of people are probably bailing on the Corn after last week’s debacle, both on and off the field, especially now that Colorado has shown some life since Dan Hawkins was fired.

Still, I don’t think the Buffaloes are that good and Lincoln is a very tough place to play in. I see Nebraska putting up a big victory.

Arizona (+19.5) at Oregon

Pick: Arizona

Has Oregon come down to earth after their close win over California a couple weeks ago? The majority of betters are probably looking for a Duck blowout as they are coming off of a bye week and playing at home.

Not me though, I think Arizona has a frisky defense that could cause Oregon some problems and I don’t like this huge spread.

Boise State (-14) at Nevada

Pick: Boise State

Nevada moved the ball pretty well last year against Notre Dame, but they got shutout and looked generally inferior against a mediocre Irish team. Have the Wolf Pack really changed that much that they are going to keep this game close against powerhouse Boise State?

I don’t think so, the Broncos are going to win big…again.

Boston College (+2.5) at Syracuse

Pick: Syracuse

I thought for sure that BC was going to roll over and die this year after witnessing them play Notre Dame earlier in the year. Yet, they’ve persevered and are seeking their 7th win this week at Syracuse.

But, the Eagles are without Montel Harris, their biggest weapon on offense, and will find it really difficult to move the ball without their top runner. Syracuse finally dropped a game last week, but will pick up the victory in this one.

Cincinnati (+1.5) at Connecticut

Pick: Cincinnati

It’s hard not to be impressed with the Bearcats performance last week against Rutgers. The biggest thing in this game against UCONN is that the Cincinnati should be able to score a lot of points. I’m not so sure the Huskies have the firepower to keep up, although they do play extremely well at home.

Michigan State (-2) at Penn State

Pick: Michigan State

A lot of people are expecting the Spartans to struggle in Happy Valley and blow their trip to the Rose Bowl this weekend.

As a selfish Notre Dame fan I want to see MSU do well this year and take the Big Ten title, and I think they’ll do enough against Penn State to pick up their 11th victory.

Michigan (+17) at Ohio State

Pick: Michigan

This game was fairly close last year and although you could argue that Michigan’s defense is even worse, their offense is certainly a lot better than 2009.

The difference here is that I don’t think Pryor can take advantage of the UM secondary with his arm like a lot of other quarterbacks can. I am sure this will be a Buckeye victory but I don’t think OSU plays an explosive enough of an offensive game to really blow this open to a three score victory.

BYU (+9) at Utah

Pick: Utah

Aside from their beat down at the hands of TCU a few weeks ago, the Utah Utes have been dominant at home in the past.

BYU has come on strong in recent weeks roughing up some poor competition, but this isn’t the solid Cougar teams from years past…Utah rolls.

NC State (-2.5) at Maryland

Pick: NC State

This is NC State’s year to make the ACC title game. If they beat Maryland they will meet Virginia Tech for the BCS bowl bid.

I’ll bet on Russell Wilson anytime in this kind of situation.

Florida (+2.5) at Florida State

Pick: Florida

FSU lost two straight games but has now picked up two straight wins, but I’m not sold that they can keep up with Florida’s athleticism.

Also, I can’t see the Gators losing five games this year. Not with Urban Meyer and that amount of talent. FSU will drop this one late in the fourth quarter.

LSU (+3.5) at Arkansas

Pick: LSU

Damn, two of the top five or six teams I’m consistently betting on now face each other. What do I do??

I really like Ryan Mallett, but I really like that LSU defense even more. I think they are the difference as LSU picks up a huge road victory in the SEC.

Mississippi State (-3) at Ole Miss

Pick: Mississippi State

The Egg Bowl…a rivalry game like no other!

I’ll take the Bulldogs in a comfortable victory.

Oregon State (+14) at Stanford

Pick: Stanford

I think the Beavers win over USC was more of an aberration, otherwise this spread would be a lot larger.

Oregon State is not going to be able to stop Stanford on offense at all. Double this spread and I’d still probably take the Cardinal at home.

Georgia Tech (+12.5) at Georgia

Pick: Georgia Tech

Just a few too many points for my liking with a Georgia team that isn’t exactly a powerhouse this year. The Yellow Jackets have been limping to the finish this year but I think they’ll step up in a rivalry game.

Oklahoma (+2.5) at Oklahoma State

Pick: Oklahoma

Gundy just has to beat Stoops to get Okie State to their first Big 12 title game. I smell a meltdown from the Cowboys. Most like the matchup of Oklahoma State’s offense against this weak (for them) Oklahoma defense, but the dream comes to an end here.

Sooners win by ten.

Enjoy the weekend.