I went 8-12 against the number last week, dropping me to one under .500 vs. the number this year. The good: picking Kansas State to knock off Texas. The bad: picking Ohio State to handle Penn State. The ugly: picking Southern Miss to hammer UAB. Here are this week's guesses:
Nebraska 28, Iowa 17: The Hawkeyes have struggled on the road, going 1-3. They have the Big Ten's 11th-ranked rushing attack and are only seventh in the league stopping the run, which figures to be a problem against Taylor Martinez and Co. Nebraska is averaging 36 ppg at home.
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Houston 42, Tulsa 31: Lost in the stir about Kevin Sumlin's offense averaging over 53 points per game is that the Cougars defense has played very well in the past month, limiting its past three opponents to 12 ppg. Tulsa is the best team they've faced though. TU's three losses are against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Boise, teams with a combined record of 27-4. G.J. Kinne is a very good QB, but Tulsa's D doesn't have enough to stay with UH.
LSU 27, Arkansas 23: I think Tyler Wilson and his array of outstanding receivers can do some of the things to LSU that Geno Smith and WVU did earlier this season. But I'm not going against Les Miles and his team to find a way to survive and advance. Pregame: Arkansas-LSU
Georgia 21, Georgia Tech 20: Mark Richt's D is No. 2 in the nation against the run and No. 9 in TFLs, and they should be ready for Paul Johnson's scheme. Then again, it's no secret what Tech does and the Yellow Jackets are still No. 2 in the country in rushing. But Tech isn't good at getting into the other team's backfield (No. 75 in sacks and 96 in TFLs). Look for Aaron Murray to burn the Jackets late. Pregame: Georgia-Georgia Tech
Michigan 27, Ohio State 17: I like how Braxton Miller is blossoming, but the Wolverines D is so much more solid this year than the past two seasons. Ohio State's D struggled against Penn State and I expect a pumped-up Michigan team to try and be the more physical team and grind out a win. Pregame: Ohio State Michigan
Michigan State 27, Northwestern 23: I was tempted to pick the upset since the Wildcats have gotten hot in the past month, winning four in a row, but MSU has by far the best defense they'll have faced in a few months. Northwestern also is too shaky on D, ranking 94th against the run and 83rd against the pass, which won't hold up against a very balanced team with a seasoned QB and two dangerous wideouts.
Oklahoma 48, Iowa State 17: The Sooners beat K-State by 41 the week after getting upset by Texas Tech and I look for them to do something similar to the Cyclones, who will try and get dialed back in after their huge win over Oklahoma State. Tough spot for ISU though. They've lost two of their past three road games.
Boise State 52, Wyoming 28: Brett Smith, the freshman QB at Wyoming, is playing very well. But BSU's offense is too potent for the Cowboys (No. 96 in total defense) to keep up on the road. The Broncos get to begin a new home win streak on the blue turf.
Virginia Tech 23, Virginia 20: Mike London's team has had a very nice season, winning four in a row. They're 4-0 in games decided by a field goal or less but my hunch is that changes in the rivalry game where David Wilson will be the difference. Pregame: Virginia Tech-Virginia
Alabama 27, Auburn 10: Gene Chizik's team would love nothing more than to spoil 'Bama's BCS title hopes, but I don't see the young Tigers being able to cope with the pressure that Nick Saban's bunch will bring for four quarters. Look for Trent Richardson to wear down and maul the nation's No. 98 rush defense. Pregame: Alabama-Auburn
Wisconsin 24, Penn State 7: The Nittany Lions had a very impressive performance at OSU last week, but I'm skeptical they can do it on the road in back-to-back weeks, especially since now they're facing a much more balanced offense. Montee Ball will face a stiff test in Devon Still and Co., but even if he doesn't pile up huge stats, he should find the end zone again. Pregame: Penn State-Wisconsin
Oregon 45, Oregon State 20: After a crushing last-second home loss to USC, the Ducks get a visit from arch-rival OSU, whose offense finally woke up last week, drilling Washington. The Beavers should move the ball through the air some, but their D, No. 83 against the run, will surrender gobs of big plays. Pregame: Oregon State-Oregon
Baylor 54, Texas Tech 48: RG3 and Seth Doege are headed for a shootout as two potent offenses will overwhelm the No. 111 (Baylor) and No. 113 (Texas Tech) scoring Ds in the nation. Tech, which did show some signs of life last week at Mizzou, has enough firepower to keep it interesting as they're playing to avoid the school's first losing season in almost 20 years.
South Carolina 24, Clemson 21: Steve Spurrier's team has lost to the only good team it has played since mid-October (Arkansas, 44-28) but I think he'll have them ready. I also think if Clemson struggled last week with NC State's pressure, the Tigers really could have problems with the Gamecocks' D-line. Pregame: Clemson-South Carolina
Stanford 28, Notre Dame 20: The Irish defense has played pretty well this year and they've won eight of nine even though they did really struggle against a woeful BC team last week. The Cardinal are still pretty banged up, but I just don't see them losing in what is almost definitely Andrew Luck's final home game. Pregame: Notre Dame-Stanford
Southern California 42, UCLA 13: Lane Kiffin's team is rolling and will be looking to finish off the 2011 season with a bang. They will as Kiffin tries to punctuate things by cranking up the heat even further on Rick Neuheisel. Matt Barkley and his terrific cast of young receivers will light up the country's No. 81 defense. Pregame:USC-UCLA