Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cram Session - Week 12

Thursday, November 17

New York Jets (5-4) at Denver (4-5), New York Jets favored by 6

The Denver Broncos beat the Kansas City Chiefs even though Tim Tebow completed just two passes the entire game. One of those passes was a long bomb to Eric Decker, but that stat line will probably remain the most mystifying stat line of a winning quarterback in the history of the NFL. I'm not hating on Tebow though, Denver is 3-1 since he became the starter and at the end of the day, the quarterback gets the blame when the team loses, so he deserves the credit if they win. That being said, there is not a chance in hell the Broncos can beat the New York Jets by only completing two passes. I think the Broncos can have success running the ball but they will need to find some semblance of balance. I happen to think that they will. Everyone is so sure that the Jets can destroy Denver, but the Jets are coming off a very quick turnaround, playing a Sunday night game, to a Thursday night game. Not to mention that Sunday night game was a demoralizing loss to the New England Patriots. The Jets have been up and down all season, and after everyone was feeling good during their three game winning streak, Jets fans are back on the ledge now. Mark Sanchez is not showing the type of improvement in year three that the Jets would have liked, and the Jets remain a team that has to effectively run the ball to win. Shonn Greene will get the carries tonight, with LaDainian Tomlinson out with an injury. People think this game could be a blowout, but I expect the Broncos to hang around and keep it interesting, just can't see Tebow beating this defense.

Prediction: New York Jets 19, Denver 13

Games That Matter to Me

#16 Nebraska (8-2, 4-2) at #18 Michigan (8-2, 4-2)

Nebraska was in a tough spot last week, taking on Penn State in a highly emotional atmosphere, and was able to come away with the win. As I predicted the Nittany Lions came out flat, then battled back but the Husker showed poise in holding on to the victory. Now they travel to Michigan Stadium. The Huskers likely won't play for the Big Ten championship but if they win out they would likely be able to earn an at-large BCS bid. The Wolverines have had one of their better seasons in years and a lot of that has to do with the vastly improved play of their defense. Michigan is 5th in the country in points allowed per game, giving up just 15 points per contest. The only time their defense has looked vulnerable this season is when they gave up 31 points to Notre Dame in Week 2. QB Denard Robinson isn't quite as electrifying as he was last season, and his passing numbers are down considerably from last season. He is only completing 52% of his passes and has thrown 13 INTs. However, he still remains a threat running the ball, as he has racked up 12 rushing TDs. That being said, the last four weeks his yardage has been way down and he has struggled with injuries. Sophomore Fitzgerald Touissant is the Wolverines other rushing option, and he is coming off a monster game against Illinois. Touissant rushed for 192 yards and a touchdown in the Wolverines 31-14 victory over the Illini. The story remains the same for the Huskers, if Rex Burkhead can rush the ball effectively, Nebraska will likely win. He was able to do that against a stout Penn State defense, so I think he can against Michigan. The difference will be, whereas Penn State has no offense, the Wolverines can actually score. Plus, I think its a lot to ask of the Huskers to win at Penn State and at Michigan in back to back weeks.

Prediction: Michigan 24, Nebraska 17

Boston College (3-7) at Notre Dame (7-3)

In recent history Senior Day hasn't always been kind to the Irish. With Boston College's poor record this game reminds me of when Syracuse came to South Bend a few years ago and stunned Notre Dame. However, I believe this Irish squad is much better than that flawed team. The Irish looked fantastic in person last weekend, although the ineptness of the Twerps helped their cause. The only chance Boston College has in this game is if the Irish revert back to their bumbling, turnover prone form they have shown far too often this season. The Eagles are atrocious on offense and not much better on defense. The Eagles have no real play makers on offense so they will count on their best player, the nation's leading tackler LB Luke Kuechly. The Irish will say goodbye to Michael Floyd, probably the best wide receiver in Notre Dame history. Floyd will end up being a great pro I believe, and not a bust as Golden Tate appears to be. QB Dayne Crist might also see some action if the game get's hand out of hand, as he is also a senior.

Prediction: Notre Dame 48, Boston College 17

Top 10 - Thursday, November 17

North Carolina (6-4, 2-4) at #8 Virginia Tech (9-1, 5-1)

The Hokies are a hard team to figure out. They scratched and clawed their way to an impressive road win over Georgia Tech and are in the driver's seat for another ACC Championship game. Their rivals, the Virginia Cavaliers are still lurking, and the Hokies can't look past the Tar Heels tonight. Carolina is stumbling coming into this game, losing three of four and suffered an embarrassing shut out against NC State in their last game. Hokies win on Senior Night, and with Virginia having to play Florida State this weekend, may even end up clinching the Coastal division this weekend.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 24, North Carolina 13

Friday, November 18

#2 Oklahoma State (10-0, 7-0) at Iowa State (5-4, 2-4)

This has trap game written all over it. The Cowboys have almost taken care of business leading into their Bedlam battle with Oklahoma. Because of that I think the Cowboys may come out a little flat for this one, but the road has proven to be no issue for Oklahoma State all season. That was never more evident than the complete destruction they put on Texas Tech in Lubbock last weekend, in a 66-6 rout. A slow start won't be enough for the Cyclones to spring the huge upset, but it may allow them to cover the spread.

Prediction: Oklahoma State 47, Iowa State 24

Saturday, November 19

#1 LSU (10-0, 6-0) at Ole Miss (2-8, 0-6)

The Houston Nutt era is slowly, and pathetically coming to an end. As for LSU, they want to keep everyone healthy and be ready to host Arkansas next Friday.

Prediction: LSU 41, Ole Miss 3

Georgia Southern (9-1) at #3 Alabama (9-1)

This is titanic clash of 9-1 teams. Well, not quite. Georgia Southern has done pretty well in the FCS but this is their first test against an FBS team. I don't believe they will completely embarrass themselves and I even predict they will be able to score a touchdown on the vaunted Tide defense. Alabama will definitely be looking ahead to next Saturday when they have a chance to get revenge on Auburn for last season in the Iron Bowl.

Prediction: Alabama 38, Georgia Southern 7

USC (8-2, 5-2) at #4 Oregon (9-1, 7-0)

The Ducks continue to rule the Pac-10, now 12. I thought Stanford, especially being at home would be the the ones to knock Oregon off, but Oregon completely dominated the Cardinal. With that win they have entered themselves back into contention for the national championship. They have another test this weekend when they host USC. The Trojans have had a strong season but because of NCAA sanctions aren't eligible for a bowl, the Pac 12 championship or even to be ranked this season. USC QB Matt Barkley has been outstanding all season and figures to be leaving a year early for the pros. He may be without his favorite target for this game, WR Robert Woods. Woods has been dealing with several injuries and is highly questionable for the game. If he doesn't play that considerably hurts the Trojans chances. The presence and domination of LaMichael James will be the difference in this one.

Prediction: Oregon 41, USC 31

#5 Oklahoma (8-1, 5-1) at #22 Baylor (6-3, 3-3)

There are a couple intriguing subplots to this game. One is seeing Baylor QB Robert Griffin III go up against the Sooners defense, and the other is how the Sooners offense responds to losing WR Ryan Broyles for the season. It will be up to WR Kenny Stills to step up in Broyles absence. Despite what looks like a worse loss each passing week to Texas Tech, the Sooners are still very much in contention to play for the BCS Championship. Baylor barely eeked out a victory against awful Kansas, and will have to play out of their minds to have any chance in this game. I think Griffin can keep it interesting, but he can only do so much, and eventually the Sooners advantage in talent will carry them to a win.

Prediction: Oklahoma 42, Baylor 30

Mississippi (5-5, 1-5) at #6 Arkansas (9-1, 5-1)

The Razorbacks have remained under the radar most of the season and probably like it that way. They will have their chance to gain national recognition when they face #1 LSU next week. Until then, I expect they will just keep winning games.

Prediction: Arkansas 33, Mississippi State 19

#7 Clemson (9-1, 6-1) at NC State (5-5, 2-4)

Clemson clinched the Atlantic Division last week and is just playing out the string in this game. They still have very outside hopes of playing for the national championship, so maybe Dabo Swinney can use that to motivate his Tigers against NC State. He will need to do a lot to get them motivated as NC State just lost to an awful Boston College team. Clemson has had a pattern of starting slow as of late and finishing strong. I expect that to be the case in this game as well.

Prediction: Clemson 34, NC State 21

California (6-4, 3-4) at #9 Stanford (9-1, 7-1)

Stanford saw their Pac-12 title hopes and national title hopes go up in smoke last weekend. Andrew Luck's Heisman campaign also took a hit. I expect for Luck to get that back on track this weekend.

Prediction: Stanford 37, California 24

#10 Boise State (8-1, 3-1) at San Diego State (6-3, 3-2)

I was having a lot of success picking chalk for most of the season, but the upset bug has started creeping in. Boise fell victim to that last weekend, as they suffered a heartbreaking loss to TCU. While their national championship hopes are dashed, they still have a chance at a BCS bowl. They have to win their last three games though in order to have a chance to accomplish that. San Diego State is a decent team and Boise might have some struggles on the road. However, I can't see them losing two straight so I like them in a closer than the experts think result.

Prediction: Boise State 28, San Diego State 21

Last Week: 7-3
Overall: 96-12

No comments: