Thursday, November 8, 2012
Cram Session - Week 11
Indianapolis (5-3) at Jacksonville (1-7), Indianapolis favored by 3
Another lame Thursday night game, although this one could maybe be entertaining since the Jaguars only victory came against the Colts. The Colts are the talk of the football world after their surprising start to the season, and the story of their coach Chuck Pagano fighting leukemia. I am sure you saw Pagano's post game speech last week, which was really touching stuff, that even non-football fans could appreciate. As for this game, the short week could pose some problems for the Colts, as well as being on the road, where they have struggled. For those reasons I expect it to be close, but I like the Colts to get revenge for their earlier loss to Jacksonville.
Prediction: Indianapolis 24, Jacksonville 20
Games That Matter To Me
Penn State (6-3, 4-1) at #16 Nebraska (7-2, 4-1)
People seem to have it in pen that the Huskers will represent the Legends division in the Big Ten championship but there is still a good amount of season left. They have had some close calls, and had to pull off another come from behind victory last weekend in East Lansing. They will have their work cut out for them Saturday when they host surprisingly good, Penn State. The Nittany Lions have won six of their last seven games and coach Bill O'Brien has turned Matt McGloin into a good quarterback. McGloin has thrown 18 TDs and just 3 INTs, numbers that are far superior to the paltry effort he put up last year. Allen Robinson has been McGloin's favorite target and someone that the Huskers defense will need to blanket all day. Last weekend, Nebraska had all kinds of problems slowing down the Spartans run game, and this week they will need to stop Zach Zwinak. Zwinak had a strong game last weekend, and if he gets going makes the Nittany Lions offense incredibly difficult to stop. On the offensive side of the ball for Nebraska, they hope to be getting back RB Rex Burkhead. Burkhead has been injured most of the year but been highly effective when he has been healthy, and would be a huge lift for Nebraska. The defense will really need to step up in this game and prove they can slow down a pretty potent offense. Taylor Martinez will need to limit the turnovers, something he struggled with last weekend. This will be a tough task for Nebraska but I think they are better than Penn State and will win the game, leading into their final two games which should be much easier, against Minnesota and Iowa.
Prediction: Nebraska 28, Penn State 24
Thursday, November 8
#10 Florida State (8-1, 5-1) at Virginia Tech (4-5, 2-3)
My oh my how the Hokies have fallen. As a Hokie hater I used to enjoy when they would inevitably blow that one game they shouldn't blow and fall out of the national title race. But this season, they are so terrible that hating them isn't even worth the effort. One place they have played well is at home in Lane Stadium, where they are 4-0. That is the only reason they might have a snowball's chance in hell of knocking off the Seminoles. The home crowd will keep this game close for a half, but in the second half the talent advantage for Florida State will shine through and help them cruise to victory.
Prediction: Florida State 35, Virginia Tech 21
Saturday, November 10
#15 Texas A&M (7-2, 4-2) at #1 Alabama (9-0, 6-0)
In a weekend lacking of big time matchups, this one probably is the best of the worst. Johnny Manziel has become a hot name in college football, and based on some pictures that hit the Internet this past week, he is parlaying his accomplishments into success off the field too. The Crimson Tide are lucky to still be undefeated after they squeaked past LSU last weekend. That game proved that Alabama is mortal and can be beat, especially their defense which was surprisingly gashed by Tigers mediocre QB Zach Mettenberger. I am sure that Nick Saban will have his defense working extra hard in practice this week, so that could be bad news for Manziel. The Aggies offense is high powered, but has been slowed before, such as when they lost to Florida earlier in the season. If the Aggies had a bit more defense I would consider this game as the potential for an upset, but the Aggies just aren't as good as Bama to win a tough game in Tuscaloosa.
Prediction: Alabama 31, Texas A&M 17
#2 Kansas State (9-0, 6-0) at TCU (6-3, 3-3)
This is a game that I am very tempted to call the upset. It seems inevitable that late in the college football season, when all the hand wringing begins about their being too many undefeated teams, that one of the unbeatens falls to a team you never would have expected. Based on performance this season, there is no reason to pick TCU, but sports doesn't always fall within reason. Adding to my case is that Wildcats QB Colin Klein had a concussion last week and is questionable for this game. I expect Klein will play, but will he be the same guy coming off his injury? A late night game, national TV audience, yep I like the Horned Frogs.
Prediction: TCU 30, Kansas State 27
#3 Oregon (9-0, 6-0) at California (3-7, 2-5)
The Ducks offense obliterated the Trojans defense last weekend, as those two teams played what appeared to be an arena football league game. A lot of people are salivating over the possibility of an Alabama/Oregon national title game, which would be an extreme clash in styles. This Cal game is a prelude to the Ducks crucial final two weeks of the regular season, when they face ranked teams, Stanford and their rivals, Oregon State.
Prediction: Oregon 57, California 21
#4 Notre Dame (9-0) at Boston College (2-7)
I knew the game against Pitt wouldn't be a blowout, but never expected the Irish to fall behind two touchdowns, or have to resort to getting downright lucky to defeat the Panthers. People are counting the Irish out the National Championship game even if they go undefeated but that's fine with me. Their have been doubters and haters all season, and the Irish have proven them wrong. However, this weekend, if they struggle with a downright terrible Boston College team, that would be discouraging. Thankfully, the game is on the road where Notre Dame has played much better as a team. I hope that even if Everett Golson struggles in this game, Kelly rides with him for a bit. In the past I have been a proponent of tossing in Tommy Rees, but Golson has won some tough games, and Rees had a negative impact when he entered the game last week. The time has come to ride or die with Golson, as constantly yanking him stunts his growth and shakes his confidence. The Eagles are a bad team but their passing offense is dangerous. QB Chase Rettig has thrown 16 TDs this season, but is coming off a poor game against Wake Forest where he threw 3 INTs. Because he plays for a bad team no one knows who he is but Eagles WR Alex Amidon is having a great season. He has gone over 100 yards in his last three games and has 67 catches and 6 touchdowns on the season. The Eagles undoing has been their porous defense, which gives up over 30 points per game. I want to see an impressive Irish performance in this game, before they close their home schedule with Wake Forest next weekend in what will inexplicably probably be a close one. This is a good chance for the Irish to get their mojo back, hopefully they take advantage of it.
Prediction: Notre Dame 30, Boston College 16
#5 Georgia (8-1, 6-1) at Auburn (2-7, 0-6)
The Bulldogs can clinch the SEC East with a win against hapless Auburn. The Tigers have been dismal this season, especially in league play and there is nothing to suggest that will be any different on Saturday. Gators fans will be praying for a miracle but it's not going to happen.
Prediction: Georgia 42, Auburn 13
Louisiana-Lafayette (5-3) at #6 Florida (8-1)
Florida has two tune-up games before they close their season in Tallahassee.
Prediction: Florida 38, Louisiana-Lafayette 20
#21 Mississippi State (7-2, 3-2) at #7 LSU (7-2, 3-2)
These teams have the same records but the Bulldogs are not in the same class as LSU. Mississippi State has been exposed the last two weeks against tough competition. Their offense hasn't been able to move the ball and their defense can't stop anybody. Not the type of momentum that will lend itself to a victory or even being competitive in Baton Rouge.
Prediction: LSU 33, Mississippi State 16
Arkansas (4-5, 2-3) at #8 South Carolina (7-2, 5-2)
I know that Louisville's schedule has been a joke but there is no reason that 2-loss South Carolina should be ahead of them. The Gamecocks begin life without Marcus Lattimore for the rest of the season, while the Razorbacks inch closer to concluding a nightmare season. Feels like such a waste of talent in Tyler Wilson to have him playing for a team that probably won't even make a bowl game. The Cocks will be fired up as Lattimore will be honored before the game.
Prediction: South Carolina 35, Arkansas 21
#9 Louisville (9-0, 4-0) at Syracuse (4-5, 3-2)
I don't expect the Cardinals to end up undefeated but I think that defeat will come at the hands of Rutgers. The Orange will give them a battle on Saturday, but the Cardinals have been battle tested all season, so their quarterback with the cool name, Teddy Bridgewater will make the plays needed late to improve to 10-0.
Prediction: Louisville 27, Syracuse 24
Last Week: 8-0