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Fearless Rick's 2011-12 College Football Week 12 - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | November 16-19, 2011

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Tuesday, November 15

8:00 pm Ball State at Northern Illinois (-17, 72) - Another Tuesday night means it's time for more gridiron action from the MAC, with the Huskies seeking to run their conference record to 6-1 and stay even with Toledo (over whom they hold the tie-breaker). This is also a big one for Ball State, which is a game back at 4-2 and can possibly earn a share of the West division lead with a win.

Northern Illinois has only a 48-41 loss at Central Michigan on their conference slate and one game remaining - against Eastern Michigan on Nov. 25 - to close out their season. They have an incredible offense that generates 41.6 points per game and speed that Ball State will be unable to match. The defenses are a toss-up, but the Huskies should prevail at home, where they are 4-1, the only loss a September 17, 49-7, thrashing by Wisconsin.

Prediction: Huskies 48 Cardinals 23

Wednesday, November 16

8:00 pm Western Michigan at Miami (OH) (-2, 58 1/2) - This game really has meaning only to Miami, 3-3 in the conference and still with a shot to win the MAC East and proceed to the championship game.

Even though the Redhawks are coming off a grueling 24-21 loss at Temple, the Broncos are too reeling from last week's 66-63 loss at Toledo. In the wide open MAC, offense usually wins, though Miami's defense has shown an ability to shut down most, and that will be the difference here.

Prediction: Redhawks 30 Broncos 24

8:00 pm Ohio (-7, 57 1/2) at Bowling Green - More MAC action, again with one team having much more at stake. Bowling Green is just 2-4 in the conference, while the Bobcats of Ohio are 4-3 and seeking to claim the East division.

Ohio has won the last two meetings, winning by seven at Bolwing Green in 2009, then hammering the Falcons, 49-25, last season.

Bowling Green has lost five of their last six, while the Bobcats have rung up wins in their last three. Looks like more of the same from a quality program.

Prediction: Bobcats 38 Falcons 20

Thursday, November 17

8:00 pm North Carolina at Virginia Tech (-10 1/2, 47) - The Hokies are in position to wrap up the ACC Coastal division with a win here and one more in their season finale against Virginia.

Tech figured out how to stop Georgia Tech's triple option offense last week, emerging with a 37-26 victory. North Carolina, which has had offensive issues all season, were shut out at NC State, 13-0 and has lost three of their last four while the 9-1 Hokies have won five straight since losing, 23-3, to Clemson.

A few more wins and the Hokies may get a rematch with the Tigers in the ACC title game. North Carolina doesn't appear ready to hang with this talented bunch.

Prediction: Hokies 28 Tar Heels 14

8:00 pm Southern Miss. (-23, 61 1/2) at UAB - The Golden Eagles were nearly grounded last week by UCF, eventually getting a 30-29 win to improve to 9-1 on the season and a win here would clinch the Conference USA East division and setting up a showdown with 10-0 Houston in the conference championship game.

Though Southern Miss holds an 8-2 edge over the past 10 seasons on the Blazers, this border war is usually well-contested, with Southern Miss winning by more than 13 points only twice.

Last year's game was a 50-49 shootout won by the Golden Eagles, and a result similar t that would not be a surprise.

Prediction: Golden Eagles 37 Blazers 31

Friday, November 18

8:00 pm Toledo (-14, 72) at Central Michigan - The Toledo Rockets have put up an incredible 129 points over their last two games, but won only one of them, last week's 66-63 shootout with Western Michigan, after losing 63-60 to Northern Illinois on November 1.

Obviously, the Rocket offense is in high gear, but the defenders can't seem to tackle anybody.

3-8 Central Michigan has dropped three of their last four and are not in contention for anything other than a holiday season free of a bowl game. The Chippewas used to own the MAC, but last season won, 42-31, for the first time these two have met in the last six years. The rivalry is keen, but the Rockets should turn on the after-burners and pull away late.

Prediction: Rockets 48 Chippewas 28

8:00 pm Oklahoma State (-27, 66 1/2) at Iowa State - No contest here as the 10-0 Cowboys look to lock up at least a share of the Big 12 title against the 5-4 Cyclones, winners of their last two, though those wins came against Texas Tech (41-7) and Kansas (13-10), two of the weaker teams in the conference.

Oklahoma is coming off a 66-6 pounding of the Red Raiders and is outscoring opponents by an average of 25 points per game. Their 51.7 point per game production is second in the nation behind Houston (54.7), and the defense has continued to improve.

This is Oklahoma State's last game until their December 3rd showdown with Oklahoma, so maximum effort will be applied on the Cyclones.

Prediction: Cowboys 56 Cyclones 24

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Saturday, November 19

12:00 pm Wisconsin (-14, 52) at Illinois - The Fighting Illini, once 6-0, have lost four straight and are hosting one of the top teams in the country in Wisconsin, winners of their last two after being upended by Michigan State and Ohio State in back-to-back losses.

Wisconsin has outscored opponents by nearly 31 points per game, and they put up 46.5 per outing, fourth-best in the nation.

Illinois does have a defense on par with the Badgers, and a couple of scores by their offense will keep them in this one and possibly hand 8-2 Wisconsin their third loss of the season. Both Wisconsin losses have been on the road.

Prediction: Fighting Illini 31 Badgers 30

12:00 pm Cincinnati (-3, 48) at Rutgers - The Big East title is on the line, with Cincinnati leading with a 3-1 record, followed by four teams - Louisville, West Virginia, Pitt and Rutgers - all at 3-2, so this early afternoon contest could go a long way toward determining the class of the conference.

Rutgers has done a good job with limited offense; at 7-3, they're already bowl eligible, but a win here would certainly bolster their credentials. The problem is that the Scarlett Knights have lost five in a row to the Bearcats, including a 47-15 rout at home in 2009 and a 69-38 beating at Cincinnati last season.

The Bearcats won six straight after a September loss at Tennessee before losing last week to West Virginia, 24-17, so they are not planning to lose again, even though their road wins in the Big East have both been by three points (South Florida, Pitt).

Cincy will also be without starting quarterback Zach Collaros, who fractured his right ankle last week. He will be replaced by Sophomore Munchie Legaux, who finished up last week. Rutgers should squeak by.

Prediction: Scarlet Knights 27 Bearcats 21

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12:00 pm Nebraska at Michigan (-3 1/2, 51) - Of the five teams in the Big Ten with 8-2 records, here are two of them, both 4-2 in the Legends division and seeking a trip to the first Big Ten championship game. They are both chasing Michigan State, whose 5-1 conference slate includes a win over Michigan and a 24-2 loss at Nebraska.

Noting that the Cornhuskers have the better of it against common opponents, even though the game is at Michigan, look for Nebraska to win their second straight road game here, after beating Penn State last week, 17-14.

Prediction: Cornhuskers 28 Wolverines 24

12:20 pm - Kentucky at Georgia (-31, 48 1/2) - The Bulldogs have been blasting through the SEC this fall, winning eight straight games - six in the conference - and now owning the top spot in the East division. A win here would wrap up a trip to the SEC championship against either LSU, Arkansas or Alabama, all of which are still battling it out in the West division.

4-6 Kentucky is just 1-5 in the conference, so it appears the Bulldogs will come out of this game with another win, and, after beating Auburn, 45-7, last week, another superb performance by both the offense and the defense is expected.

Kentucky's 0-3 road record in conference games includes a 35-7 beating by LSU, a 54-3 embarrassment at South Carolina and last week's 38-8 killer at Vandy. Good thing for Kentucky fans that basketball season has begun.

Prediction: Bulldogs 44 Wildcats 9

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2011, 2012, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.


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