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Senior College Football Columnist

This week's picks: Alabama stays unbeaten; LSU bounces back; Stanford wins

Can Josh Boyce and TCU pull the upset over Kansas State? (US Presswire)

I'm coming off a mediocre week where I went 9-10 against the spread, putting me three over .500 versus the number for the year. Actually, at the time I'm posting this since I whiffed on Toledo-Ball State, I'm only two-over. The good: picking Texas A&M to handle Mississippi State. The bad: picking Texas Tech to beat Texas. The ugly: picking Michigan State to beat Nebraska. Here are this week's guesses:

Toledo 28, Ball State 17: Yes, this was a great pick. I did almost get Toledo's point total right, but obviously I undersold BSU's offense.

Florida State 23, Virginia Tech 13: The Hokies are coming off back-to-back ugly losses and now face the ACC's best team that has more rest. FSU's defense is much better than Clemson and Miami's, which held the Hokies to 29 points combined the past two weeks.

Rutgers 27, Army 7: RU hasn't played since getting knocked off by Kent State in late October. The Scarlet Knights should be ready for the Army offensive scheme.

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South Carolina 27, Arkansas 17: Steve Spurrier's team is coming off a bye week while John L. Smith's team has won three out of four. Still, I don't like the Hogs chances on the road where they're 1-2 this season and making their first trip out in over a month.

Texas 31, Iowa State 20: The Longhorns seem to have regained their footing and should be able to keep it going as they return home after two consecutive road games.

Texas Tech 49, Kansas 14: Charlie Weis' team hasn't scored more than 17 points in a game since late September and I don't see KU eclipsing that on the road in Lubbock. Expect Tech to have no trouble picking apart the country's No. 97 defense either.

Clemson 45, Maryland 9: We all know how banged up the Terps are. They've lost three in a row and to teams that are a lot less explosive than the Tigers.

Notre Dame 30, Boston College 6: The Irish were fortunate to survive against Pitt. BC has less firepower and ND won't be as flat two weeks in a row.

Louisville 24, Syracuse 17: Teddy Bridgewater has played well but the Cuse should be tough for four quarters in its final home game of the season. Still, I'll go with the Cards' young standout QB winning the game late.

Florida 28, Louisiana-Lafayette 10: The Gators have scored 23 points combined in the past two games but now they get a visit from the No. 89 D in the country.

Alabama 27, Texas A&M 17: Johnny Football has caused LSU and UF some problems but Bama will challenge him even more by giving him varied looks. The other big problem for the Aggies is those other games were at home. This one isn't. Expect the Tide's power running game to wear down the smaller Aggies' front.

LSU 24, Mississippi State 7: Zach Mettenberger shined pretty well against a salty Bama D and he'll be tested again by a good MSU secondary. The big issue, though, for the visiting Bulldogs will be scoring against LSU. MSU is averaging 10 ppg in the past two games as the schedule finally stiffened.

Stanford 24, Oregon State 17: The Beavers lost on their last road trip and that was against a less physical team (Washington) than the Cardinal. OSU also has had problems protecting its passer (No. 87 in sacks allowed). Bad news against a Stanford D that leads the nation in sacks.

Kansas State 28, TCU 24: Collin Klein's condition makes this one especially tricky, but I'm not going against Bill Snyder this season in Big 12 play. His teams don't beat themselves and TCU is still pretty young.

Oklahoma 45, Baylor 24: Baylor really hasn't beaten anyone of note this season. The Bears have been dreadful on D and they're 1-3 on the road this fall.

Oregon 48, Cal 14: Jeff Tedford's team has hung with the dynamic Ducks before in recent years, but this Oregon team is more complete than those other squads and these Bears are a mess. Cal has only scored 16 points in its past two home games.

USC 34, Arizona State 20: Deflated balls or not, the Trojans should come out inspired after consecutive losses. Then again, ASU has lost three in a row as the Sun Devils D has fallen apart. I'll go with the USC firepower here and the Trojans get after an offense that is No. 100 in sacks allowed.

Nebraska 23, Penn State 14: I've picked against the Huskers too many times in close games. I've learned my lesson.

Georgia 30, Auburn 9: The Tigers' dismal run of SEC showings will continue against a Dawgs team that is playing tough D now.

Louisiana Tech 51, Texas State 17: Tech's been held under 44 points one time all season. TSU, meanwhile, has given up at least 31 to everyone except Idaho since its opener. Sonny Dykes' bunch keeps rolling.

UCLA 49, Washington State 23: Based on results of last week, you'd think the Bruins would beat Wazzu 136-6. I suspect it'll be closer than that and we'll see how UCLA does in what is expected to be temperatures in the 20s.

 
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