Senior College Football Columnist

Week 9 picks: USCs will be on both sides of surprises


I had a bad week, going 7-12 against the line, dropping me to seven over .500 vs. the number this year. The good: picking Miami to handle Georgia Tech. The bad: picking Illinois to beat Purdue. The ugly: picking Clemson to struggle with UNC. This week's guesses:

Houston 49, Rice 14: Case Keenum continues to put up staggering numbers and will carve up a Rice defense that comes into the game 100th in scoring D. The Owls are 0-4 on the road and are allowing 41 ppg in those games.

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Michigan 31, Purdue 14: The Boilers come to Ann Arbor after a good win over Illinois, but Purdue is 0-2 on the road and the Wolverines have had a week off to stew over their loss at MSU. Danny Hope's team doesn't have enough offense to keep up with Denard Robinson and Co.

Nebraska 20, Michigan State 13: After a dramatic Hail Mary finish to knock off Wisconsin, the Spartans have to get refocused to play on the road against a Husker team that has won two in a row since their debacle in Madison. My hunch is the Huskers D, which has surrendered a lot of rush yards at Wisconsin (231) and against OSU (243), will rise up and play well in Lincoln and catch MSU a little down as it rides an emotional roller coaster. Pregame: Michigan State-Nebraska

Texas A&M 45, Missouri 31: Three of the Tigers four losses have come on the road, and Missouri's shaky pass defense (86th) is ripe to get exploited by Ryan Tannehill. I also expect A&M's solid run defense (fifth in the country) to be able to slow down Henry Josey, who is coming off a 25-carry game against Oklahoma State, and Tim DeRuyter's scheme will give James Franklin some headaches.

Arkansas 30, Vanderbilt 17: The Hogs struggled at Ole Miss last week and now visit a Vandy team that's lost three SEC games in a row. The Commodores defense has the talent in the secondary to hang with the Arkansas skill guys and should be able to slow down Tyler Wilson for awhile in the first half, but the slow-starting Hogs will take over later in the game.

Virginia Tech 24, Duke 14: Bud Foster's D should be able to get heat on the Blue Devils QB as Duke is just 75th in sacks allowed. David Cutcliffe's team has followed up its three-game win streak with back-to-back home losses, and don't look for Duke to pull the upset. Logan Thomas has played better in the past three games and VT's great RB David Wilson figures to have a big day sparking the Hokies' offense.

Oregon 52, Washington State 21: Bryan Bennett and Kenjon Barner have proven they're more than capable of dominating Pac-12 defenses, and the Ducks will be facing one of the conference's worst Ds, just 87th in scoring defense. Meanwhile, Paul Wulff's hot seat status certainly isn't being helped by QB Jeff Tuel being sidelined by a couple of injuries. Pregame: Washington State-Oregon

Penn State 24, Illinois 12: The wheels have come off the wagon for Ron Zook's team. Both teams have highly ranked defenses, but we'll find out how resilient the Illini are as they face PSU's emerging star, Silas Redd. I'll go with the hotter team, especially since it's the home team. Pregame: Illinois-Penn State

West Virginia 38, Rutgers 28: Both teams are coming off flat performances in Friday night losses. The Mountaineers struggled keeping heat off Geno Smith last week and now go on the road to face the country's No. 6 pass rush. But I expect Smith to bounce back with a big game and the WVU receivers, by far the best group RU has faced, to light up the Scarlet Knights secondary.

Oklahoma 38, Kansas State 21: The Sooners come to Manhattan in an ornery mood. Some of their weak spots in the secondary were attacked by Seth Doege, but I don't think the Wildcats passing game is at that level to burn OU. My hunch is Landry Jones and his receivers will be a lot sharper after some shaky moments in Norman last week. Pregame: Oklahoma-Kansas State

Southern California 41, Stanford 38: As impressive as the Cardinal have been blowing out inferior competition, they'll face a team that has the kind of receivers and passing game to exploit the weakness in the Stanford secondary. Andrew Luck will be able to attack the USC defense with his group of imposing tight ends, but the Trojans will get enough stops to pull the upset and take the shootout in the Coliseum. Pregame: Stanford-USC

Oklahoma State 42, Baylor 35: Two of the best offenses in the country meet in Stillwater. Edge here to the home team, which has a better pass rush and protects Brandon Weeden better than the Bears do Robert Griffin III. OSU also does a better job in the turnover margin. Pregame: Baylor-OKlahoma State

Georgia 23, Florida 14: After getting shelled by the SEC's two true heavyweights, LSU and 'Bama, the UF coaches have simplified their defense. Having a healthy Jeff Demps should give UF some spark on offense, but the Dawgs have gotten healthier too, getting Alec Ogletree, their best defender, back. That'll be a huge boost. Aaron Murray will be the star of this game and the Dawgs take control in the second half. Pregame: Georgia-Florida

Tennessee 23, South Carolina 20: True freshman QB Justin Worley gets his first start against a D that is No. 1 in the league in forced turnovers, but my hunch is that this could be the spot where Derek Dooley finally gets his first big win at UT. Worley, a South Carolina kid that Steve Spurrier didn't pursue, has impressed the Vols staff and gets a shot over Matt Simms. Take away a blowout victory over a miserable Kentucky team, and the Gamecocks are only averaging 18 ppg over their previous four games. Without Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina really struggled on offense at MSU. I think they struggle even more in Knoxville. Pregame: South Carolina-Tennessee

Texas Tech 42, Iowa State 21: Seth Doege and the Red Raiders are coming off a huge win at OU and shouldn't stumble at home against a Cyclones team in a big tailspin. ISU has not only lost four in a row, but those losses have come by an average of 24 ppg.

Arizona State 48, Colorado 13: The Buffs are brutal, and they're banged up. ASU has had more than its share of injuries too, but the Sun Devils have more talent, they get pass-rushing star Junior Onyeali back from a knee injury and they've had a bye week to get ready for CU coming to town having lost five in a row. They're allowed 48 ppg over the past three games.

Clemson 31, Georgia Tech 23: The Tigers go to Atlanta. They've averaged 58 ppg in the past two games as Tajh Boyd and the Tiger offense gets more comfortable in Chad Morris' new system. Tech is sputtering down the stretch and coming off an inept offensive showing at Miami, where it had 46 carries and none went for more than 11 yards. Bad sign against a team with such a high-powered and explosive offense. Pregame: Clemson-Georgia Tech

Wisconsin 28, Ohio State 24: Bret Bielema's team needs to bounce back from the huge emotional loss against Michigan State with a road trip to Columbus. The Badgers will face a tough OSU defense that is No. 12 in scoring D, but the Buckeyes are too one-dimensional on offense as their passing game continues to slowly develop. Pregame: Wisconsin-Ohio State

Bruce Feldman is a senior writer for and college football commentator for CBS Sports Network. He is a New York Times Bestselling author, who has written books including Swing Your Sword, Meat Market and Cane Mutiny. Prior to joining CBS, Feldman spent 17 years at ESPN.

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