Thursday, November 15, 2012
Cram Session - Week 12
Miami (4-5) at Buffalo (3-6), Buffalo favored by 1
These two are on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs. The Dolphins are currently two games out of the final spot and the Bills are three out. The loser of this game will pretty much see their slim hopes of making the playoffs this year completely disappear. The Dolphins were one of the surprises of the season two weeks ago, but a tough loss at Indianapolis followed by last week's embarrassing performance against Tennessee is what most fans expected to see this season. Ryan Tannehill stunk last week, throwing three interceptions, and RB Reggie Bush was benched for fumbling in the first half. Tbe Bills hung tough with the Patriots last week but once again couldn't find a way to pull out the victory. Both of these teams are evenly matched as far as mediocrity so this is a tough one to call. I will concede to the Bills homefield advantage and pick them, mostly because I expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to play a little better than Tannehill
Prediction: Buffalo 27, Miami 23
Games That Matter To Me
Minnesota (6-4, 2-4) at #14 Nebraska (8-2, 5-1)
The Cornhuskers thrive on making things interesting it would seem. Another week, another deficit overcome, this time a 20-6 halftime deficit to Penn State. They did get some help from the referees but either way the Huskers won their fourth straight game to remain in control of their destiny to reach the Big Ten title game. The schedule lightens up a bit for their final two games, starting with hosting Minnesota on Saturday. The Gophers are improved from last year but their six wins have come against pretty bad teams. The Gophers rely on their defense to keep them in games as their offense is pretty anemic. RB Donnell Kirkwood and WR A.J. Barker are their two best skill players but Barker hasn't played in two weeks and likely won't play in Saturday's game. For Nebraska, Taylor Martinez has shown great improvement as a passer this season and is completing over 60% of his passes for the first time in his career. Hopefully, RB Rex Burkhead can get in the game as it will be his final appearance at Memorial Stadium. As long as Nebraska doesn't come out flat, which shouldn't be an issue on Senior day, they should finally be able to coast to a victory.
Prediction: Nebraska 45, Minnesota 20
#1 Kansas State (10-0, 7-0) at Baylor (4-5, 1-5)
I figured one of the top four unbeatens would lose last weekend and went with Kansas State as my choice. However, the Wildcats proved me wrong and gutted out a tough win on the road against TCU. They face their final road test of the season on Saturday at high powered Baylor. More scary than that perhaps, they have to overcome the SI cover jinx after QB Colin Klein graced the cover this week. The Bears offense has remained potent despite having to replace RG3, but the defense has gotten even worse. The Bears QB Nick Florence can keep them in the game with his arm, but I don't have confidence that they will be able to slow down Klein enough for it to matter.
Prediction: Kansas State 40, Baylor 27
#13 Stanford (8-2, 6-1) at #2 Oregon (10-0, 7-0)
This is the game of the weekend as the Ducks look to continue to roll through their schedule. The Ducks haven't scored less than 40 points all season but that will be tested by the Cardinal defense which is 12th in the country in points allowed per game. With that being said, the Cardinal did allow another high powered attack, Arizona's to score 48 points on them earlier this season, so their defense has its flaws. The Ducks offense is so prolific that people overlook their defense. Their defense has played tough football for most of the season but injuries to their secondary are starting to take their toll. The Cardinal passing game has shown improvement since freshman Kevin Hogan took over the starting quarterback job. Still, I don't think it will be enough to outscore the Ducks.
Prediction: Oregon 41, Stanford 31
Wake Forest (5-5) at #3 Notre Dame (10-0)
Honestly, as an Irish fan this game against Wake Forest has me more nervous than the trip to USC next Saturday. The Irish have struggled to put anyone away at home this season and I have a feeling Saturday won't be any different. It really doesn't matter that Wake Forest isn't a good football team. Purdue and Pittsburgh are both awful and they nearly knocked off the Irish. The Demon Deacons will find it tough sledding trying to score on the Notre Dame defense. QB Tanner Price usually avoids the big mistakes, but he isn't very accurate, completing just 55% of his passes this year. When he is on the mark he likes to go to WR Michael Campanaro, who just two weeks ago against Boston College hauled in 16 catches. Irish LB Manti Te'o will be playing his final game at Notre Dame Stadium and is sure to be emotional and play with the fire and passion Irish fans have become accustomed to. It won't be pretty but the Irish will improve to 11-0.
Prediction: Notre Dame 27, Wake Forest 17
Western Carolina (1-9) at #4 Alabama (9-1)
The SEC is pretty much off from playing each other the rest of the season so you get a lot of games like this. Alabama went from unstoppable juggernaut two weeks ago to now having to hope some breaks fall their way for them to play for the national championship. I'd hate to be Western Carolina in this game.
Prediction: Alabama 52, Western Carolina 7
Georgia Southern (8-2) at #5 Georgia (9-1)
The Bulldogs reserved their spot in the SEC Championship game with last week's win over Auburn so their last two regular season games are mostly about staying healthy. They do still have slim hopes of reaching the national title game so that can serve as some motivation. Georgia Southern will probably be in shell shock facing this level of talent.
Prediction: Georgia 45, Georgia Southern 24
Jacksonville State (6-4) at #6 Florida (9-1)
The Gators came awfully close to an embarrassing homecoming loss to Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend. They did loss QB Jeff Driskell for this game and possibly for the huge rivalry game with Florida State next weekend. Jacoby Brissett becomes the starter and this should hopefully serve as a nice tune-up for him before potentially having to play the Seminoles. However, after last week's struggles this isn't a game the Gators can take for granted.
Prediction: Florida 30, Jacksonville State 17
Mississippi (5-5, 2-4) at #7 LSU (8-2, 4-2)
Not a ton on the line in this game. The Tigers still have very slim hopes of reaching the SEC Championship but there is no chance in hell Alabama loses to Auburn. For the Rebels they need tow in one of their final two games to become bowl eligible. Tigers QB Zach Mettenberger has played outstanding football the last two weeks, and Tigers fans are hopeful he can play more consistently next year in his senior season.
Prediction: LSU 34, Mississippi 17
Sam Houston State (8-2) at #8 Texas A&M (8-2)
The Aggies shocked the football world with their win at Tuscaloosa last weekend. He was already becoming well known in college football circles but now QB Johnny Manziel is a household name. That victory last weekend may have earned him a trip to New York for the Heisman trophy presentation. They may start a little slowly in this one after such an emotional win last weekend, but it won't be enough to cause them to fall on the upset spectrum this week.
Prediction: Texas A&M 38, Sam Houston State 21
Wofford (8-2) at #9 South Carolina (8-2)
Not a whole lot to say about this one, just expect the Cocks defense to stiffen, and the running game to penetrate Wofford's holes equaling an easy victory.
Prediction: South Carolina 41, Wofford 13
#10 Florida State (9-1, 6-1) at Maryland (4-6, 2-4)
Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher is miffed that his team is behind a bunch of 2 loss SEC teams. Apparently he wasn't watching his Seminoles nearly lose on the road to a horrible Virginia Tech team. The Terps had a nice start to the season but have lost so many quarterbacks to season ending injuries that they are now playing a LB under center. They will finally look good for a change with the Black Ops uniforms they are wearing Saturday, but the results will stay the same.
Prediction: Florida State 48, Maryland 14
Last Week: 7-3