Week 13 Picks: A&M pays LSU back; Tide, Noles take care of business
LSU faces a different Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M comes out with a better result. In the BCS title chase, leaders Alabama and Florida State roll overmatched foes.
I'm coming off a decent week, going 11-7 against the spread, moving me to 109-111 against the number for the season. The Good: Picking Southern California to give Stanford problems. The Bad: Picking South Carolina to cruise past Florida. The Ugly: Picking Texas Tech to keep it close against Baylor. Here are this week's guesses:
UCF Knights 30, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 10: Rutgers is backsliding, having lost three of its past four and averaging just 16 ppg in those four games. Go with the better team, which should ride the home-crowd energy that gets perked up by the national Thursday night stage to an easy victory.
Kansas State Wildcats 14, Oklahoma Sooners 10: Bob Stoops' team leaves Norman for the fifth time this season (OU is 2-2 away from home). And RB Damien Williams and WR Lacoltan Bester, two of the Sooners' more dangerous weapons, are suspended for this game. That doesn't bode well against a Wildcats team surging with four straight wins.
Michigan State Spartans 17, Northwestern Wildcats 3: The Wildcats have been free-falling, having dropped six in a row, including the past four by eight points or less. I doubt they have enough juice to overcome the fierce MSU D and an improving Spartans ground attack behind Jeremy Langford, who has five consecutive 100-yard rushing games.
Louisville Cardinals 30, Memphis Tigers 14: Even though the Tigers have won two straight, the Cardinals are too talented for Memphis to win at Louisville.
Clemson Tigers 59, The Citadel 7: The Tigers have averaged over 51 ppg since getting blasted by Florida State a month ago. All three of those opponents were a lot more talented than a 5-6 FCS team.
South Carolina Gamecocks 35, Coastal Carolina 14: Steve Spurrier's squad had all it could handle against a struggling Florida program. While I'm not picking a huge upset here, expect Joe Moglia's 10-1 team to hang around and be competitive for the first half.
Alabama Crimson Tide 55, Chattanooga 3: Don't expect any letup from the Tide against a pretty good FCS team.
Ohio State Buckeyes 63, Indiana Hoosiers 14: No one is scoring more points in the first quarter than the Buckeyes (19.2 ppg). Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde shouldn't have any trouble this week as they face the Big Ten's worst D (39 ppg).
Wisconsin Badgers 44, Minnesota Golden Gophers 27: As well as the Gophers are playing, Wisconsin still runs the ball better and is playing even better on defense.
Oregon Ducks 38, Arizona Wildcats 27: B.J. Denker is coming off a shaky performance in last week's loss to Washington State and I doubt he can do enough to offset the explosive Ducks offense.
Texas A&M Aggies 41, LSU Tigers 38: John Chavis' D gave some Johnny Manziel some problems in the second half last season, relying more on a three-man front. Look for an improved Johnny Football and Mike Evans to have answers in a shootout in some sloppy conditions in Baton Rouge.
Florida State Seminoles 68, Idaho 3: Despite all the attention around Jameis Winston, the Noles still won't have any trouble dealing with the undermanned Vandals.
Fresno State Bulldogs 38 New Mexico Lobos 14: UNM runs the ball well, but Bob Davie's team doesn't have enough speed to handle Derek Carr and the Bulldogs' receivers.
Arizona State Sun Devils 24, UCLA Bruins 17: For as big a spark as Myles Jack has provided the Bruins, the tempo ASU uses along with Marion Grice and the Sun Devils' offensive talent could wear UCLA down late.
Missouri Tigers 27, Ole Miss Rebels 21: James Franklin is back in the lineup after being out for since Oct. 12. That will help on the road against a Rebels team quietly having a nice season. I'm tempted to go with the home team, but think the Tigers' huge wideouts will be the difference.
Baylor Bears 42, Oklahoma State Cowboys 28: The Bears are banged up on offense, but I'm going with Bryce Petty and the more explosive scheme. This figures to be the Bears' toughest test of the regular season.
Southern California Trojans 28, Colorado Buffaloes 21: Ed Orgeron's team is coming off a huge high and is mindful not to get caught in a trap game at CU. It's still likely that the Trojans will come out flatter than they have been and the Buffs are improving.
Stanford Cardinal 48, California Golden Bears 3: A huge rivalry game will be more than enough for Stanford to get back locked in and ready to maul an overmatched Bears D that has been abysmal.
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