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The Big E College Football Picks: Week Fourteen

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Well this is it, one more full week of regular season play and the 2010 year is finished. After this weekend all we have is the Army-Navy game and then the bowl season.

Depending on how this last week goes, I might have to make a final charge during bowl season to finish with a winning record.

Was this the quickest season in recent memory? It seems like yesterday that the Irish were running out of the tunnel against Purdue.

We’re still waiting to see who Notre Dame’s bowl opponent will be, so we have that to look forward to.

And now, let’s take a look back at last week’s picks.

Losses

*Boise State just went through one of the most emotionally draining games in the history of college football, losing to Nevada by missing a field goal at the end of regulation and then again in overtime. I don’t have any attachment to Boise, other than I wanted to see them crash the title game, and I still feel sick to my stomach for their kicker.

*Somehow BC beat Syracuse and finished the season 7-5. I still can’t believe they ended up with that good of a record. You could legitimately make the case that they were the third worst team Notre Dame played this year.

*A week after blasting Rutgers, the Bearcats of Cincinnati were roughed up by UCONN. Thanks to Pitt’s misfortune, the Huskies are now in the driver’s seat for the Big East title and a BCS bid. Yes, they were shutout by Louisville and beaten by 14 points by Temple.

*Last year Michigan put in a good fight against Ohio State and kept the game close, but this year the Wolverines rolled over and died really quickly. It’s year three of Rich Rodriguez everybody!!

*Utah didn’t score any points until the fourth quarter against BYU, but rallied and snuck by the Cougars by one point. I don’t think they have recovered from the raping by TCU and butt-whoopin’ by Notre Dame yet.

*NC State choked away an opportunity to play in the ACC title game by losing to Maryland. The Terps aren’t really that good right? We might find out if they are matched up against Notre Dame in a bowl game.

*With a chance to kind of save their season, Florida was instead blitzed by in-state rival Florida State, making the ACC title game slightly more interesting, but the season in Gainesville truly puzzling. How could Meyer have Florida so poorly unprepared for post-Tebow life?

*LSU’s struggles continued at Arkansas as they were beaten and couldn’t mount a comeback against the frisky Razorbacks. Unfortunately for the Tigers, their BCS dreams are all over…although I’m not sure I’d want to play them in a bowl game right now if I’m some middling 8-4 or 7-5 team.

Wins

*Remember when Notre Dame went into the Coliseum and broke the losing streak against USC? Yeah, me too.

*West Virginia beat down Pittsburgh on a sloppy and disgusting turf at Heinz Field. The Mountaineers still have a shot at winning the Big East, but are still on the outside looking in.

*Auburn mounted a miraculous comeback against an Alabama team that very easily could have sported a 35 point lead at halftime. Instead, it was only 17 points and the Tigers owned the second half and won the Iron Bowl.

*Without T-Magic, Nebraska was able to trounce Colorado and punch a ticket to the Big 12 title game. The Cornhuskers will fight to try and go to their first BCS game in a while with a victory over Oklahoma this weekend.

*Arizona was able to JUST hang in there and not allow Oregon to cover the spread. These are the kinds of games I needed to nail all year long…they mean a lot in the end!

*Michigan State was able to hold on and beat Penn State on the road for the first time since 1894. That’s an exaggeration, but it’s been a really long time since the Spartans did that. They end up 11-1 with no Rose Bowl, and maybe no BCS game.

*Mississippi State beat Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl, the SEC’s most boring big rivalry. I just can’t watch that football game…I just can’t.

*Stanford continued its season of dominance and beat Oregon State so badly that the Cardinal might have automatically defeated the Beavers for Oregon this weekend. Stanford is so close to a title game, yet so far away.

*Georgia Tech tried like hell to come back and beat Georgia, but just came up short. The Yellow Jackets didn’t let the Bulldogs cover though. Congratulations to both teams for ending with identical 6-6 records.

*In a wildly fantastic and entertaining game, Oklahoma dashed Oklahoma State’s Big 12 title dreams. The teams were tied after three quarters, combined to score 40 points in the fourth, but the Sooners took the game by six points. It was great stuff.

And now to this week’s picks!

Last Week: 10-8

Overall: 80-85

Illinois (-5.5) at Fresno State

Pick: Fresno State

This is an interesting late season matchup between an Illinois team that hasn’t played since killing Northwestern at Wrigley Field and a Fresno team that isn’t getting a ton of respect. Both teams have played pretty well this year, but I like Fresno at home and I usually don’t trust one-dimensional attacks like Illinois.

Rutgers (+20.5) at West Virginia

Pick: Rutgers

Rutgers is limping into this game having lost five straight, while West Virginia has looked very good of late having won three straight.

Yet, there’s just something about this game that makes me think it won’t be as much of a blowout as the experts think. West Virginia wins, but I don’t think they will cover.

Pittsburgh (-2) at Cincinnati

Pick: Cincinnati

Both teams really need this game to try and salvage some of their terribly disappointing seasons. Cincinnati does not want to finish 4-8 and Pittsburgh does not want to end the year 6-6 after starting the season ranked.

Even though they were roughed up by UCONN last week, I like Zach Collaros and the Bearcat spread offense to wreak havoc on the injured Panther defense. I’ll take Cincinnati playing this game at home on turf.

Nevada (-9.5) at Louisiana Tech

Pick: Nevada

This game should come down to if Nevada will have a hangover from their victory over Boise State last week. I think they’ll be ready to play and Louisiana Tech will have a hard time stopping the pistol offense.

Utah State (+38) at Boise State

Pick: Boise State

Utah State is a tricky team because they aren’t as bad as most people would think they are. Also, what does Boise have to fight for in this game?

My gut feeling is that Boise won’t cover this enormous spread, but they somehow seem to conjure up a bit of magic playing on that blue turf. The Broncos might come out flat or they could be pissed off. I’m guessing the latter.

Oregon (-16.5) at Oregon State

Pick: Oregon

I think you have to look at it this way: Last year’s game was close and this is a heated rivalry, but Oregon is much better, and Oregon State has taken a step back in 2010.

Maybe there will be some bad weather or injuries that will keep this game close, but I think Oregon puts a big hurting on the Beavers and seals their title shot with an impressive victory.

Auburn (-5.5) at South Carolina

Pick: Auburn

Both of these teams have to be beat up and dog tired by now…that’s life in the SEC. I’m just not positive that South Carolina can step up in this big of a situation and make this a game.

I could see the first half being close as both teams feel each other out, but Auburn is going to shut down Marcus Lattimore and I don’t trust Stephen Garcia, even if he has played well this season.

The NCAA has ruled Cam Newton eligible and now Auburn is going to go to the title game and possibly win it all. The bed has been made.

Washington (-6) at Washington State

Pick: Washington

Did you know Wazzu has won two out of three in this rivalry?

Being the home team, it is tempting to pick the Cougars here, but Washington is going to be fighting extra hard to gain bowl eligibility and give Jake Locker some time to rest up and showcase his talents to the NFL.

Remember when some people thought the Huskies might be a player in the Pac-10 this year? Yikes!

Florida State (+4) at Virginia Tech

Pick: Virginia Tech

The Hokies really are just playing terrific football right now and their ground game is so potent and exciting. Taylor has settled down after a rough start to the season and is leading Virginia Tech very capably down the stretch.

Overall, I just think Virginia Tech is a little better in nearly every facet of this matchup. Florida State will probably need a big day from Christian Ponder, but I’ve stopped betting on him to come through for the Seminoles.

I think FSU is another year or two away from an ACC title.

Nebraska (+6.5) at Oklahoma

Pick: Oklahoma

I’m still not on Nebraska’s bandwagon. I think when it comes down to it that they are more like a 8-4 type of team than a national title contender that they were "supposed" to be this year.

You can’t really argue against Oklahoma’s past record in the Big 12 title game or that Nebraska is nursing an injury to their all-important quarterback.

I’m going to go with Bob Stoops and the powerful Oklahoma offense in a comfortable two score victory.

Connecticut (-1.5) at South Florida

Pick: South Florida

UCONN has struggled on the road this year (1-4, only win at Syracuse) and USF is riding high after beating in-state rival Miami last week

I’m basing this pick off of the fact that I can’t picture this UCONN team winning the Big East and going to a BCS bowl. I think the Huskies lose and West Virginia takes the league.

UNLV (+34.5) at Hawaii

Pick: Hawaii

Watch out now, because Hawaii is ranked in two out of the three polls!

The Warriors are going to score points, and plenty of them…just ask USC how the trip to the island went. UNLV will be destroyed I am sure.

USC (-6.5) at UCLA

Pick: USC

Speaking of USC, their season finale is this weekend against UCLA. Remember, no bowl game for the Trojans so this is it.

Is Barkley going to be 100 percent healthy? I can’t imagine he will be, but USC should do enough to dispatch what has been a rather bad UCLA team this year.

Enjoy the weekend!