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CBSSports.com Senior College Football Columnist

Week 12 picks: Cal's upswing will end with Stanford

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I went 9-10 against the number last week, dropping me to three over .500 vs. the number this year. The good: picking Oregon to beat Stanford. The bad: picking Illinois to beat Michigan. The ugly: picking Texas to handle Mizzou. Here are this week's guesses:

Southern Mississippi 48, UAB 10: Even though the Blazers return home after a road win, that win was only against a miserable Memphis team. Larry Fedora's squad should cruise against one of the worst defenses in college football.

Virginia Tech 31, North Carolina 17: After consecutive wins on the road, Frank Beamer's team comes back to Lane Stadium to face the Tar Heels who have dropped three of the past four games. UNC also has trouble protecting the passer (84th in sacks allowed) which Bud Foster should be able to exploit. Pregame: UNC-Virginia Tech

Oklahoma State 52, Iowa State 31: No one has been able to slow down Brandon Weeden and the OSU offense, and I don't see ISU doing it. The Cyclones, who at least have had a bye week to get ready, are one of the worst defensive teams in major college football, ranking 91st in total D and 81st in scoring D. They've also had problems holding on to the football. Not good when the country's No. 1 team in turnover margin is coming to town. Pregame: Oklahoma State-Iowa State

Nebraska 24, Michigan 17: I'm tempted to pick the Wolverines, especially since the Huskers are in the next half of back-to-back road games and the first time that happened, they got mauled at Wisconsin. But I'm going to stick with my initial instinct, thinking that Rex Burkhead can have some of the same kind of success Iowa's Marcus Coker had a few weeks ago running on Michigan. Pregame: Nebraska-Michigan

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Michigan State 34, Indiana 10: The Spartans haven't been held below 28 points at home all season and it won't happen against the 1-9 Hoosiers, who are No. 108 in scoring defense. IU's offense has started to show some flashes, but don't expect much fireworks from them against the Big Ten's leader in total defense.

South Carolina 38, The Citadel 3: Steve Spurrier's rugged defensive front should have its way with a 4-6 FCS team that is just 89th in total offense on its level and also has had issues slowing down the run game: 70th in FCS.

Wisconsin 41, Illinois 21: After the fast start, things have fallen apart for the Zooker, whose team has lost four in a row to drop to 6-4. Hot seat rumors have heated up. That's never a good thing. The Badgers have the most balanced and potent offense in the Big Ten and they also lead the conference in turnover margin, which doesn't bode well for the struggling Illini, whose 22 turnovers are worst in the league.

Georgia 48, Kentucky 13: Mark Richt's team has won eight in a row. On the other side, UK has lost five SEC games by an average of 32 ppg. The lone bright spot for Kentucky was against an Ole Miss program in disarray. The Dawgs run game, which had a field day against the shaky Auburn run D last week, now faces the No. 98 rushing defense. Worst still, UK also has major problems coping with the pass rush (109th in the country in sacks allowed) and will face the Dawgs who have the top pass-rush in the SEC.

Alabama 49, Georgia Southern 3: Trent Richardson faces the Southern Conference's top rushing defense, but the bruising Bama star and his O-line are just too talented for the FCS power. Expect him to go over 100 by halftime as the Tide rolls.

Clemson 28, North Carolina State 14: The Pack is coming off a dismal performance, losing to lowly BC, Tom O'Brien's former program. Clemson, meanwhile, had its hands full with Wake Forest as Tajh Boyd really struggled with the Demon Deacons sitting back in coverage rather than trying to bring heat. Even though the Pack is 4-1 at home, only one of those Ws came against a decent team (UNC). I expect their O-line to have too much trouble with the Tigers and Clemson's speed will give State fits. Pregame: Clemson-N.C. State

Ohio State 17, Penn State 7: Even though the Buckeyes D has struggled some with Indiana and Purdue, expect them to be very focused for Penn State. The Nittany Lions, however, have a bigger challenge trying to stay dialed in after a tumultuous two-week period that figures to fatigue the team emotionally, especially as it makes its first road trip. Pregame: Penn State-Ohio State

Arkansas 48, Mississippi State 27: Dan Mullen's problems against good teams continue as his team goes on the road after playing a very physical Alabama team. SEC teams are 2-5 the week after playing 'Bama. Pregame: Mississippi State-Arkansas

Houston 55, Southern Methodist 31: Case Keenum and his dynamic offense have been sizzling, averaging 61 points per game over the past seven games. The Mustangs, meanwhile, have been stumbling down the stretch, losing three of the last four. They've also been held to 17 or less in three of those four. They are just 2-3 on the road.

TCU 38, CSU 10: Don't expect too much of a letdown from the Horned Frogs after the big win at Boise. The young, high-powered passing game should feast on the nation's No. 88 defense. CSU has dropped five in a row.

Notre Dame 40, Boston College 10: Aside from the USC game, the Irish have averaged 53 points per game since October at home. The Irish have too many weapons for just Luke Kuechly to contain. BC's offense, which has only scored more than 19 points once in a game against an FBS opponent (Maryland, 28) isn't capable of keeping up with ND.

LSU 44, Mississippi 3: This had blowout written all over it before the Rebels QB and leading rusher were suspended midweek. The Tigers are nasty on D and the Rebels have seemingly been mailing it in all season, getting pushed around by teams such as Vandy, Kentucky and La. Tech. Pregame: LSU-Ole Miss

Florida State 31, Virginia 17: The 'Noles have won five in a row, sparked by some fierce defense, holding opponents to 12 points per game over that stretch. The Cavs have a nice little streak, though too, having won three in a row, including two of those on the road. But I'll go with the hunch and stick with the home team.

Oklahoma 48, Baylor 27: True, the Sooners have had some troubles when they leave the state's borders, but Landry Jones and Co. should be fine here even without their star WR Ryan Broyles. OU has played away from Oklahoma four times this year, three against ranked teams and won those by an average of 30 points per game. Baylor, which has won two in a row, albeit against lesser competition than OU, is 108th in the nation in scoring. Pregame: Oklahoma-Baylor

Kansas State 20, Texas 13: Collin Klein has quietly put together a superb season doing everything for K-State. Although I suspect Manny Diaz will be able to slow him down, but the Longhorns are still a little banged up. Look for the Wildcats, again, to find a way to win late.

Oregon 38, Southern California 28: The Trojans are better defensively than they have been the past two years but Oregon has even more speed this year than it did on offense last year thanks to freshman DeAnthony Thomas, although the Ducks do miss go-to WR Jeff Maehl. If Robert Woods were close to 100 percent I could see USC winning a shootout here, but he's questionable for the game and that, coupled with the Trojans history of struggling in unpleasant weather conditions, says go with Oregon. Pregame: USC-Oregon

Boise State 42, San Diego State 13: The Broncos won't need to rely on a field goal here. They'll jump all over the Aztecs who may be without standout RB Ronnie Hillman, which would be a devastating blow for the 6-3 team.

Stanford 49, California 21: Andrew Luck and the Cardinal bounce back against their arch-rivals, who have rallied in the past two weeks to hold their opponents to a combined 13 points. Then again, it's been over a month since Cal played any good QB and in that one, USC beat the Bears by three TDs in the Bay Area. Pregame: Cal-Stanford


Bruce Feldman is a senior writer for CBSSports.com 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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