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NCAA College Football 2014-15 Week 12 Picks

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Fearless Rick's 2014-15 College Football Week 12 - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | November 13-15

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Thursday, November 13

7:00 pm East Carolina (-2 1/2, 68) at Cincinnati - If there ever was to be a significant game in the American Athletic conference, this would be the one, with both the Pirates and Bearcats sitting at 3-1 and in position to take the top spot, currnently in the possession of 4-1 Memphis.

The Pirates, 6-2 and one of the true surprises this season, come off a 20-10 loss at Temple and take to the road once more. The Bearcats already have a 41-14 loss to Memphis as a blemish on their 5-3 record, but have won three straight, games in which both the offense and defense displayed renewed vitality.

Home field, where the Bearcats are 3-1, can't hurt.

Prediction: Bearcats 33 Pirates 30

9:00 pm California at USC (-14 1/2, 72) - Despite a 5-3 mark, USC has only been narrowly beaten - by six points at BC, by four vs. Arizona State, and by three at Utah - and possess the kind of defense that should slow down the Golden Bears' #9 offense (41.9 ppg).

The Trojans show just one loss at home this season - Arizona St. - and should have few problems exploiting the weak Cal defenses, which allow an astonishing 39.9 points per game.

Prediction: Trojans 54 Golden Bears 21

Saturday, November 15

12:00 pm Clemson (-3, 60 1/2) at Georgia Tech - What is intriguing about this match-up is that the 8-2 Yellow Jackets have the dominant offense, putting up an average of 38.8 points per game, while Clemson has mainly gotten to 7-2 via a staunch defensive posture.

The Tigers are allowing opponents a mere 18.4 points per outing, 12th-best in the country but will be put to the test by Tech's pwerful triple option offense, which they often run to perfection. Clemson, however, is one of the best run-stoping teams in the nation, allowing 90.9 yards per game.

Putting that into perspective, only eight Division-1A hold opponents to under 100 yards rushing per game. Clemson has won six straight and took Florida State to overtime in a 23-17 loss, the last time the Tigers have tasted defeat (September 20).

Prediction: Tigers 31 Yellow Jackets 24

12:00 pm Virginia Tech at Duke (-4 1/2, 46) - 8-1 Blue Devils have won four straight and can continue to hold onto first place in the ACC Coastal division with a win. Last season, Duke travled to Virginia Tech and produced a 13-10 victory, and the Hokies may have been a better team in 2013 than what's expected to take to the field for this game.

The Hokies are just 1-4 in conference play. Duke should continue its inexorable march toward a meeting with Florida State in the ACC championship.

Prediction: Blue Devils 28 Hokies 14

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12:00 pm Ohio State (-12 1/2, 59) at Minnesota - It seems that the Golden Gophers do this every year: run up a nice mark early in the season, only to fall flat against serious opponents down the stretch.

This year it's no different, as the 7-2 Gophers travel to Nebraska and Wisconsin following what appears to be certain death at the hands of the Buckeyes, who are rolling after last week's 49-37 win at Michigan State.

Prediction: Buckeyes 56 Golden Gophers 20

3:30 pm Nebraska at Wisconsin (-6 1/2, 57 1/2) - Riding the crest of an 8-1 record with three straight wins and only a 27-22 defeat at Michigan State to mar their resume, the Cornhuskers can make their case for domination in the Big Ten West with a win. Both they and the Badgers are 4-1 in the conference, along with Minnesota, tie for the division lead.

Wisconsin has flown significantly under the radar this season after losses to LSY and Northwestern, but at 7-2 and with a four-game winning streak, the Badgers can claim success if they knock off Nebraska.

Defense will be the key, as Wisconsin boasts the third-stingiest in the nation, allowing just 14.3 points per game, but Nebraska is likewise begrudging, giving up an average of only 19.7 per meeting.

Prediction: Cornhuskers 26 Badgers 24

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3:30 pm Mississippi State at Alabama (-8 1/2, 52) - Obviously, the biggest game of the week, but also an expose on the futility of polls, as ostensibly, the #1 team in the nation by many measures, Mississippi State, comes to Alabama as an underdog of better than a touchdown.

Simply silly, though, if the Bulldogs are anywhere near as good as many believe, they'll take it to the Tide and come away with a win.

Who's kidding who? Alabama wins this one going away.

Prediction: Crimson Tide 30 Bulldogs 17

3:30 pm Northwestern at Notre Dame (-17 1/2, 49) - Even after being humbled in the desert by Arizona State, 55-31, the Irish are still a monster at home, where they have yet to be beaten.

What's troubling about the 7-2 Irish is that in their last four games, they've allowed 43, 31, 39 and 55 points, winning two and losing two, not what one would expect from a normally-sound Notre Dame defense.

However, Northwestern is a 3-6 team, losers of four straight, with an offense that produced just 40 points in those four losses. If the Wildcats can find a spark, an upset may be brewing.

Prediction: Wildcats 27 Fighting Irish 23

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2014, 2015, 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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