"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 13 PICKS



Last week:            18 - 5
Overall:                173 - 52

(16) Northern Illinois (10 - 0) 31 @ Toledo (7 - 3) 28: (This pick was included in a previous blog, prior to  the game.) Northern Illinois needs to win tonight to clinch the MAC West title. A loss would throw the Huskies into a tie with Ball State and Toledo with one game remaining. All three teams will be heavily favored next week, so this should be a very hard fought game. On paper, Northern Illinois scores more points and gives up less than Toledo. But Toledo's playing at home and they do score enough points to give Northern Illinois a fight. I'm tempted to pick the upset here, but I think the visitors have just enough to stay unbeaten and get a berth in the MAC championship game. However, I wouldn't necessarily count out the Rockets if they can get a turnover or two and an early lead. 

Rutgers (5 -4) 20  @ (18) UCF (8 - 1) 29: (This pick was included in a previous blog, prior to  the game.) The Golden Knights are still in the hunt for a BCS bowl berth, but Rutgers poses a viable threat to get in the way of UCF's run to an American Athletic Conference title. Even with a loss, UCF still controls their own destiny, owning the tie breaker against Louisville and Cincinnati.  A month ago, Rutgers would have looked a lot better to pull the upset, but they've lost three of their last four games, the last one a blowout 52 - 17 loss to Cincinnati at home. Those three losses are to the second, third and fourth place teams in the conference, so it's not like they were beaten by poor clubs. The other loss was in overtime to fifteenth ranked Fresno State and the Scarlet Knights also own a win over Arkansas from the SEC. They're  giving up over 31 points a game and scoring less than 30 heading into a game with a pretty potent defense whose only loss was by three points to twelfth rated South Carolina. This shapes up to be a fairly good ball game, but the home team should come out on top, thanks to that tough defense.

Chattanooga (8 - 3) 13 @ (1) Alabama (10 - 0) 38: Not exactly the test you would expect for a top-ranked team from the SEC this late in the season. But maybe the Crimson Tide can use a break before next week's game with Auburn for the SEC South title.

Idaho (1 - 9) 6 @ (2) Florida State (10 - 0) 72: The only thing that can possibly defeat the Seminoles this week would be distractions from the Jameis Winston investigation. Florida State will be able to put up 100 on the Vandals if they want to, with or without Winston at QB.

Indiana (4 - 6) 17 @ (3) Ohio State (10 - 0) 58: The Hoosiers are in for a long afternoon, as Ohio State needs to be impressive to keep their number three spot in the BCS. Indiana's coming off a 51 - 3 loss to Wisconsin, so this one should be ugly.

(4) Baylor (9 - 0) 38 @ (10) Oklahoma State (9 - 1) 31: This is without a doubt the game of the weekend. Baylor's recent history against the Cowboys hasn't been very good, but they've been almost impossible to stop this season, averaging over 60 points a game. Meanwhile, OSU has rebounded from a loss to West Virginia to stay in control of their destiny in the Big 12. I look for Baylor to win in Stillwater for the first time since 1939.

(5) Oregon (9 - 1) 37 @ Arizona (6 - 4) 23: The Ducks are trying to stay in the hunt for the BCS championship game, hoping for some strange events to help them out. But history is on their side. Just keep winning and they still have a shot.

The Citadel (5 - 6) 20 @ (7) Clemson (9 -1) 35: Another late season breather for a top ten team. The long season has made for some interesting matchups in November.  It might be a little closer than expected, but Clemson should still win easily.

(8) Missouri (9 - 1) 23 @ (24) Ole Miss (7 - 3) 24: This is a tough pick. Ole Miss has three losses, all to the top three teams in the SEC West. They have wins over Texas and LSU.  Missouri's record has been produced against a much easier schedule, especially considering that the SEC East is down a bit this season. I'll take the hoe team in a nail biter.

California (1 - 10) 10 @ (9) Stanford (8 - 2) 31:  Stanford finally gets a breather against an overmatched Cal team in the Big Game.

Coastal Carolina (9 - 1) 17 @ (11) South Carolina (8 - 2) 38: The Gamecocks don't have quite as easy a game as one would think against a team ranked eleventh in the FCS. True, the Chanticleers haven't faced an  team from the FBS this season and they've lost to the only other quality team on their schedule. But South Carolina better not be looking ahead to next week's showdown with Clemson or trying to get ready to watch Missouri take on Ole Miss, or they could be in for a surprise.

(12) Texas A&M (8 - 2) 37 @ (22) LSU (7 - 3) 31: Neither of these teams remains in contention for the SEC West crown, but it's a big game nonetheless. LSU's defense hasn't been quite as formidable this season and no one has slowed Johnnie Football. Even in their losses, the Aggies have put up 42 and 41 points. At night, I might go with the Tigers, but I just don't think LSU can keep up with A&M.

(13) Michigan State (9 - 1) 27 @ Northwestern (4 - 6) 24: The Spartans are the surprise team of the season, assuming someone puts a loss on Baylor. Northwestern hasn't won since hosting ESPN's Game Day and Ohio State back in October. I expect that string to continue today.

(17) Arizona State (8 - 2) 30 @ (14) UCLA (8 - 2) 31: This is a very compelling matchup. UCLA hasn't lost to a Pac-12 team under coach Jim Mora. But the Sun Devils are playing very well themselves. This is a tossup for me. I'll stick with the home team in a very close game.

New Mexico (3 - 7) 14 @ (15) Fresno State (9 - 0) 34: Another easy game for my pick for most overrated team.

(19) Wisconsin (8 - 2) 27 @ (25) Minnesota (8 - 2) 24: The Golden Gophers have been a pretty big surprise, and remain in contention for the Big Ten Legends crown. They'll need a win today against Wisconsin, a loss by Michigan State and then knock off the Spartans next week. Unfortunately, I think the Badgers have too much for them.

(20) Oklahoma (8 - 2) 28 @ Kansas State (6 - 4) 27: The host Wildcats have won four in a row and are the only team that's been able to contain high scoring Baylor. Oklahoma was shellacked by the Bears a couple of weeks ago. Another close call, but I'll take Oklahoma.

Memphis (3 - 6) 20 @ (20) Louisville (9 - 1) 31: Memphis may hang tough for three quarters, but I see the Cardinals wearing them down late.

(23) USC (8 - 3) 38 @ Colorado (4 - 6) 20: The Trojans have UCLA next week and shouldn't be challenged by the Buffs.

Duke (8 - 2) 34 @ Wake Forest (4 - 6) 23: Duke needs to win out to take the ACC Coastal crown. Wake could probably give them a battle, but the Blue Devils are playing very well right now.

Mississippi State (4 - 6) 27 vs. Arkansas (3 - 7) 30 (at Little Rock): This is the best chance for the Hogs to get a win in a while. I think they'll finally get their first SEC win for Bret Bielema.

Nebraska (7 - 3) 27 @ Penn State (6 - 4) 21: Nebraska should be able to get the win on the road.

BYU (7 - 3) 26 @ Notre Dame (7 - 3) 28: BYU has had a good run since losing at woeful Virginia in the first game of the season. This is another tight contest, but I'll take Notre Dame at home.

Washington (6 - 4) 30  Oregon State (6 - 4) 34: The home standing Beavers are coming off three losses in a row to Stanford, USC and at Arizona State. Nothing to be ashamed of there. The Huskies four losses are to Stanford, Oregon, Arizona State and UCLA. I'll take Oregon St.