Houston (2 -10) 27 @ Jacksonville (3 - 9) 20:
The Jaguars have suddenly started playing good football, winning three of their last four games. The Texans have been through a difficult season and gave the Patriots all they could handle last week. Houston has lost nine games in a row, the last six by just 20 points. I think they're due for a win, despite having to go on the road on a short week. The Jags gave up over 400 yards against the Browns last week and still found a way to win. I believe the Texans offense will show up tonight and expose Jacksonville for what they are, basically an opportunistic team that eventually will give up too many points to overcome.
(19) Louisville (10 - 1) 21 @ Cincinnati (9 - 2) 23:
A scheduling quirk had American Athletic Conference leader UCF as the only team in the conference that Cincinnati didn't play this season. If the Bearcats win over Louisville, it will make for an interesting tiebreaker, but only if UCF stumbles against SMU on Saturday. In that case, Cincinnati would need to finish higher than UCF in the final BCS rankings, no guarantee given the strong season the Knights have had. But getting back to the game, both teams have tough defenses, with Louisville sporting the second rated defense in the FBS. Cincinnati has won six in a row after a disappointing and inexplicable loss to South Florida, a team Louisville handled easily. However, the Cardinals have struggled a little bit offensively the last couple of games. Heisman trophy candidate Teddy Bridgewater, in what could be his last regular season game, will need to click in order for his team to prevail. I like Cincinnati to pull the mild upset, then wait to see if SMU can pull one of their own.
MAC Championship Game, Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan: Bowling Green (9 - 3) 20 vs. (14) Northern Illinois (12 - 0) 24:
Northern Illinois has been led by senior QB Jordan Lynch, who wants his team to make amends for last year's 31 - 10 drubbing by Florida State in the Orange Bowl. The MAC Championship game is the next step in the process to do that. But Bowling Green stands in the way and poses a stout challenge. The Falcons have held their last four opponents to a total of 17 points and have not given up more than 14 points in any of their last seven wins. Their main weakness on defense is against the rush, and Northern Illinois can certainly run the football, especially Lynch, who leads the MAC in rushing with over 1,700 yards. If the Huskies don't get the running game going, however, Bowling Green will win this game. I'm a fan of the MAC, and despite Northern Illionois' loss to FSU last year, they play a pretty good brand of football in the conference. If I still have power, I'll definitely tune in to the game, which I think will be close. This is a tough pick given Bowling Green's recent performance, but I've watched Jordan Lynch make plays all season to keep NIU unbeaten. I'll take the Huskies.