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NCAA College Football 2011-12 Week 13 Picks

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Fearless Rick's 2011-12 College Football Week 13 Picks - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | November 23-26, 2011

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Tuesday, November 22

7:00 pm Miami (Ohio) at Ohio (-9, 53) - The Ohio Bobcats have won four straight to clinch the MAC East division and head for the conference championship and probably a decent bowl invitation.

Having won the previous five times they've played the Redhawks and covering the line each time, this looks like a safe play if Ohio doesn't become complacent about the outcome of this somewhat meaningless game.

Getting to the championship with a 9-3 record and 6-2 in the MAC should settle whether or not Ohio will be motivated. There's more on the line than meets they eye, so lay the points and watch the Bobcats run wild over the Redhawks, as they usually do (34-13 in 2010, 28-7 in 2009).

Prediction: Bobcats 37 Redhawks 21

Thursday, November 24

8:00 pm Texas at Texas A&M (-7 1/2, 53 1/2) - Both teams are bowl eligible (Texas, 6-4; A&M, 6-5), but the similarities end there. The Aggies possess a much more experienced, potent offense, and what points the Longhorns are able to put on the board against A&M's off-and-on defense (28.8 ppg allowed) is probably not going to be enough to offset the production of QB Ryan Tannehill (26 TDs, 11 INTs) and RBs Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael 195 combined rushing yards per game).

Texas is destined for a bowl, but Texas A&M, which won last year's annual meeting, 24-17, at Texas, has home field and will go to a better bowl.

Prediction: Aggies 42 Longhorns 27

Friday, November 25

12:00 pm Houston (-3 1/2, 75) at Tulsa - This is a major match-up in Conference USA, as both teams have 7-0 records within the conference and the winner will go to the championship game without a loss.

8-3 Tulsa's only losses were in September, to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Boise State, three powerhouse programs, so there's reason to believe that the Golden Hurricane have Houston QB Case Keenum and his teammates a little nervous about their perfect 11-0 record.

By contrast, Houston's only solid out-of-conference game was their season-opening, 38-34, win over UCLA. They also had a close call, winning 35-34, at WAC leader Louisiana Tech, so maybe those skeptics who keep suggesting that the Cougars haven't played anyone might be right.

However, Tulsa doesn't defend the pass very well (272.5 ypg) and Houston leads the nation in passing yards and points (53.1 ppg). The Cougars should emerge victorious.

Prediction: Cougars 48 Golden Hurricane 24

12:00 pm Iowa at Nebraska (-9 1/2, 53 1/2) - The Hawkeyes had their day in the sun on November 5th, when they upset the Wolverines, 24-16, but that game was at home, and playing at Nebraska presents its own problems.

The Cornhuskers have gone from a top contender to an also run in the course of the past three weeks, losing to Northwestern, 28-25, barely winning at Penn State, 17-14, and then being blow out at Michigan last weekend, 45-17. It's obvious that neither the offense nor the defense has been doing its job since their chances for winning the Big Ten were dashed.

At 7-4, Iowa matches up well with 8-3 Nebraska and that makes for a close call and possible upset. Smart money will take the points and hope the Hawkeyes get off to a fast start.

Prediction: Hawkeyes 27 Cornhuskers 24

2:30 pm Arkansas at LSU (-12, 52) - Undeniably the biggest game of the week, as LSU seeks to defend its unbeaten, 11-0 record against the 10-1 Razorbacks.

Looking back through the season, only two teams - Mississippi State and Alabama - got to within 13 points of the Tigers, but both lost at home. LSU's average margin of victory is a whopping 27.9 per game, and even though Arkansas scores a heady 39.3 ppg clip, LSU can put up the points with their defense as well as their offense.

The Tigers are the class of the SEC and the nation. An Arkansas win would blow up the BCS permanently, but it doesn't look like that's about to happen because the Razorbacks love to throw the ball, but they'll be doing so into the teeth of the nation's second best defense, which includes maybe two future first round draft picks in the secondary.

Prediction: Tigers 38 Razorbacks 20

7:00 pm Pittsburgh at West Virginia (-6 1/2, 57) - Five teams in the Big East have two conference losses, and these are two of them, so, this game carries great significance (remember, the Big East winner gets an automatic BCS Bowl berth).

Unlike a lot of conferences, this is not the final weekend of the regular season, Both Pitt and the Mountaineers have one more game to play after this.

West Virginia has won the last two meetings, and are arguably better than they were last season, when they won at Pitt, 35-10. Getting the Panthers on Mountaineer soil is a big plus and the Thanksgiving tradition of burning couches and kicking some Pittsburgh butt in the "Backyard Brawl" is alive and well in Morgantown.

Prediction: Mountaineers 35 Panthers 24

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Saturday, November 26

12:00 pm Ohio State at Michigan (-7 1/2, 45) - The Buckeyes first season without coach Jim Tressel was not a total bust, as they've gone 6-5 and will be in a bowl game, but nothing fires up the Buckeyes like playing Michigan, an annual game that goes back decades, to the earliest days of college football, so the Ohio State faithful are expecting something special.

That's not going to be easy against the 9-2 Wolverines, who have possible the best all-around player in the conference, in Denard Robinson, the Wolverine QB who directed a 45-17 defeat of Nebraska last week and who is unbeaten at home this season (7-0).

Ohio State is coming off a pair of tough losses - 26-23 at Purdue and 20-14 last week against Penn State - but should have their improving defense ready to combat Robinson's all-around game. Ohio State's defense has been on the improve, but Michigan actually has better stats across the board, both defensively and on the offense. Mark Michigan down for a 10-win season.

Prediction: Wolverines 28 Buckeyes 16

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12:00 pm Rutgers (-3, 40) at Connecticut - Rutgers is another one of those two-conference-loss teams crowding the top of the standings in the Big East and they've been surging recently, having won three straight, including the convincing, 20-3, victory over Cincinnati last week.

Shutting down the Bearcats was a great feat, since Cincy leads the conference in points per game, at 33.7. UConn is only scoring at a 22.4 per game pace, so the Scarlet Knight defenders should have an easier time against that group.

The linemakers in Vegas have consistently underestimated Rutgers. They are a solid 8-3 ATS this season and are 12-5-1 ATS in their last 18 road games.

Prediction: Scarlet Knights 24 Huskies 10

12:00 pm Georgia (-6, 54 1/2) at Georgia Tech - The annual all-Georgia season-ender has no BCS implications, but both teams want to come out of this game with a win, and maybe more importantly, intact, especially the Bulldogs, who will be playing in the SEC championship game next week.

If the Bulldogs put all of their best players on the field, they should come out of this with a win, especially since they have one of the best run defenses in the country, allowing a mere 81.3 yards per game on the ground, perfectly suited to counter Tech's triple option offense.

Georgia Tech's three losses have all come within the past five weeks, as Virginia, Miami and Virginia Tech solved their offense and defeated the Yellow Jackets. Besides Georgia holding a 9-1 advantage in this annual clash over the last 10 years, Georgia Tech is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 games when playing at home against the Bulldogs.

Prediction: Bulldogs 27 Yellow Jackets 17

12:00 pm Michigan State (-6 1/2, 51 1/2) at Northwestern - 6-5 Northwestern has shown some grit, winning their last four straight, but the 9-2 Spartans are no easy pickings, having won their last three convincingly over Minnesota, Iowa and Indiana.

It's somewhat surprising that Michigan State only holds a 6-4 edge head-to-head in the last ten years, but they've won the last three in a row and the closest the Wildcats came was losing at home last season, 35-27.

Much has been said of the staunch Michigan State defense, and most of it is no joke. They should put the clamps down on the Wildcats early and roll to victory, ensuring themselves of a 7-1 conference record and a trip to the first Big Ten title game.

Prediction: Spartans 34 Wildcats 18

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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