NCAA Week 12 Picks and Preview
I have only picked eight games this week to pick and preview. Rivalry games are next weekend, so this weekend is where the great twelfth regular season game goes. Alabama has already demolished first year program Georgia State and this weekend we can also see Texas host Florida Atlantic. Every week truly does matter.
National Picks Against the Spread This Season: 80-58
National Picks Against the Spread Last Week: 7-5
Wisconsin (-4.5) at Michigan
Michigan’s defense has looked pretty bad so far this year, and that’s putting it nicely. Denard Robinson and the reliever Tate Forcier are the only two players keeping this team’s head above water. Many people in Ann Arbor want to get rid of Rich Rodriguez, but that would be the worst possible move. Remember how much fun it was during the rebuilding phase? Besides, the Wolverine defense lost a lot of starters before the season even began. When the team starts off with all their starters and potentially holds on to them throughout the season with a new defensive coordinator then this team can really start gelling.
However, that won’t help the Wolverines this week when they take on Wisconsin at home. The Badger team is fresh off an 83-point performance last week against Indiana. That score was also achieved without their number one rusher, John Clay.
North Carolina State (+3.5) at North Carolina
North Carolina State is one of my favorite ACC teams so far this year. Mostly because they are the only team where you know what they are going to give you on a Saturday. They may have lost a game against East Carolina, but at least they didn’t lose to James Madison. The Wolfpack quarterback, Russell Wilson, has been fantastic so far this season other than his tendency to throw one too many interceptions.
North Carolina, after being cleansed of their professional athletes are an average 6-4 team that has gone 3-3 in the conference. The funny thing is a lot of the athletes will still be drafted in the first round without having played for an entire season. Great way to take away incentives for those taking benefits from agents.
Ohio State (-3) at Iowa
Terrelle Pryor made the wrong football decision when deciding to go to Ohio State. This much is purely obvious. For academic or personal reasons it may have been right for him, but absolutely not for football. Jim Tressell barely uses him as much as Pryor should be used. Penn State or Oregon would have been much better programs. He hasn’t developed a lot as a quarterback yet people still say he’s fantastic. Pryor is like M. Night Shamylan who hit it big with The Sixth Sense and since then people have been hoping and praying for a similar product. For me though, whenever I see him advertised as the writer/director/producer I’m instantly turned off, everyone should be.
Rick Stanzi has plagued Iowa this year like he did last year. He throws picks at the worst possible moment. The difference between this year’s Iowa team and last year’s Iowa team is that this year’s team doesn’t come back from a deficit. The 2010 Hawkeyes need to play with a lead. The defensive line, which has two guys who are going to be playing on Sunday’s next year, has not met the incredibly high expectations, kind of like the whole team actually.
At this point I see Pryor making a few SportsCenter plays to keep himself relevant and eventually Ohio State will pull away at the beginning of the fourth quarter like the last three games they’ve played. If Iowa gets a good start I would expect to see a closer game where Stanzi throws a pick six.
Stanford (-7) at Cal
The big game is taking place in Strawberry Canyon this year. This is one of the most interesting rivalries in college sports which involves the greatest play ever, a marching band, mascots fighting each other, and a whole bunch of impassionate fans that cost their team big bowl bids.
The only thing that worries me about Stanford covering is that Cal is always good at home, even after Kevin Riley went down. Granted the Bears had the help of faked injuries but who hasn’t done that yet? USC is the only team to not fake injuries, and they’re coached by Lane Kiffin. Wow, didn’t see that one coming.
Stanford’s rushing attack led by Stepfan Taylor is just too good to not bounce back from last week’s rough performance. Good thing the Cardinal have NFL-ready quarterback Andrew Luck and speedy receiver Chris Owusu to keep safeties from creeping up.
Mississippi at LSU (-16)
Jeremiah Masoli has got to be kicking himself for the things that happened that caused him to leave Oregon. He’s the quarterback on a team that won’t make it to a bowl game while watching his old team make a national title run, and his former backup run the offense better than he did. He didn’t look great in last week’s performance but that could have been due to a concussion he suffered the previous week.
I’m convinced Les Miles sold his soul to the devil for football glory, or he’s the Joker and just making a mockery of the college football system. Either way, the Bayou Bengals are going to have a strong performance against a team that got trounced by Tennessee last week.
Notre Dame at Army (+8)
The first football game to be played in the abomination known as the new Yankee Stadium will be between Notre Dame and Army. Notre Dame-Army used to be the greatest college football matchup around the time of World War II. What Auburn-Alabama is going to be, what Michigan-OSU used to be, is what Notre Dame-Army was in the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. I will be watching this game, only to see the spectacle. Both of these teams are a long ways away from dominant. This game used to be played for the national title. With the changing landscape of college football, both teams have been phased out.
Nebraska (-3) at Texas A&M
Jerrod Johnson has been a disappointment this year to college football fans. He could have been fantastic and he’s only been good to great at best. A three game losing streak including losses to Oklahoma State, Arkansas, and Missouri, was a bad stretch. They lost almost all their games against teams they could have made a statement against. The Aggies beat Baylor last week and this week against Nebraska is their last shot to make a statement.
Nebraska is that much better than every other team. Taylor Martinez has recovered nicely since the loss against Texas, like I thought a 19 year old would. The loss to Texas is one of the weirdest parts about this season. Texas is looking like it won’t go bowling since the mid-90’s and they are the only team to beat Texas. It just baffles me.
USC (-3) at Oregon State
Oregon State has had a lot of success playing USC at home. Two years ago Pete Carroll lost his mind and deviated from Trojan football. He decided to get cute with his football plays and was running wildcat plays with Joe McKnight. The point of the wildcat formation is to get two running backs looks to get the ball in their hands every play. USC has a great quarterback and receiver, they don’t need to rely on their running backs. Matt Barkley and running back Marc Tyler are going to have a field day.
Oregon State is going to miss a bowl game this year because of one thing, lack of development. This team doesn’t look any better than when they played TCU or Boise State. They actually look worse. Teams get better as the season goes on. Washington State does, and that’s why they beat a stagnant Oregon State team. You almost have to wonder if Mike Riley is a Rich Brooks type coach, he’ll elevate the program, but he won’t take it to the next level like Mike Bellotti and Chip Kelly did with Oregon.
Oregon State doesn’t have anything to play for this game. It won’t get them to a bowl game, USC isn’t what it once was, and the Beavers have nothing to lose. That makes them very dangerous against Oregon in three weeks.
PAC-10 Picks SU This Year: 50-14
PAC-10 Picks SU Last Week: 2-2
Washington beats UCLA
USC beats Oregon State
Stanford beats Cal