"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 28, 2015

COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 13 SATURDAY PICKS: STILL A LOT OF BIG GAMES LEFT



I had a tough day on Friday, but I did correctly pick TCU over Baylor and Houston over Navy. After today, the playoff picture should come more into focus... or not. 

(8) Ohio State (10 - 1) 17 @ (10) Michigan (9 - 2) 20:  The key to the game will be the ability of Ohio State to run the ball. Michigan’s rush defense is fourth in the nation and it will be absolutely critical for the Buckeyes’ Ezekiel Elliott to run for more than the 34 yards he managed against Michigan State. I don’t think Ohio State will show up, so I’m going with Mchigan.

(1) Clemson (11 - 0) 34 @ South Carolina (3 - 8) 13: A lackluster South Carolina effort got them upset by The Citadel last week. There is very little chance, even in a big rivalry game, that the Gamecocks have enough to challenge the top-ranked Tigers. Clemson is just too balanced on both sides of the ball.

Colorado (4 - 8) 17 @ (23) Utah (8 - 3 28): Utah has had a tough November, but should be able to rebound nicely to position themselves for a top tier bowl game. Colorado just hasn’t risen to the level of the rest of the Pac-12.

Penn State (7 - 4) 16 @ (5) Michigan State (10 - 1 20): Can the Nittany Lions end the hopes of Michigan State to make the playoffs? I think they’re good enough to pull the upset, but they’ll need  some turnovers and a couple of big plays. Penn State just doesn’t have much offense, but defensively they have what it takes to stop the Spartans if Michigan State stumbles on offense.

(16) Northwestern (9 - 2) 23 @ Illinois (5 - 6) 17: If Illinois had a better offense, I’d give them a shot in this one. But Northwestern’s defense is very good and the Wildcats should be able to run the ball just well enough to finish off a nice season.

(14) North Carolina (10 - 1) 30 @ NC State (7 - 4) 24: The Tar Heels have their sights set on Clemson in the ACC championship game, but they can’t overlook the Wolfpack. UNC turned the ball over twice late against Va. Tech last week and it almost cost them the game. This should be a very competitive game, but I’ll give the nod to the Heels’ offense.

(2) Alabama (10 - 1) 27 @ Auburn (6 - 5) 17: The only hope Auburn has is that it’s a rivalry game and perhaps that emotion can carry the Tigers. Based on the prior eleven games, it’s very unlikely Auburn can contend with the Tide. Alabama’s defense is too good and Auburn is just too inconsistent.

(22) UCLA (8 - 3) 34 @ USC (7 - 4) 27: These two teams are pretty evenly matched, except that both teams like to pass and USC’s passing defense is susceptible to giving up the big play. Freshman Josh Rosen for UCLA will have a chance to put up some impressive numbers in this cross-town rivalry, with the Pac-12 South title on the line.

Connecticut (6 - 5) 14 @ (25) Temple (9 - 2) 23: Connecticut’s win over Houston last week ranks up there with Texas’ inexplicable upset of Oklahoma earlier in the season. Neither of these teams has much off an offense,  but Temple’s is better and should be good enough to win the game.

(18) Ole Miss (8 - 3) 34 @ (21) Mississippi State (8 - 3) 37: Mississippi State was fortunate to rally from a turnover marred stretch against Arkansas. Ole Miss has a pass defense that allows a lot of yardage. I look for Dak Prescott to run around and make it a long day for the Rebels and spoil any chance that Ole Miss has for an SEC West crown.

(13) Florida State (9 - 2) 24 @ (12) Florida (10 - 1) 16: As good as their defense is, Florida still struggles to score points. But Florida State isn’t impressive offensively either, so this could come down to turnovers and special team. I just have a hard time going with the Gators, especially since I think ‘Noles running back Dalvin Cook will be able to break some big runs.

(6) Notre Dame (10 - 1) 23 @ (9) Stanford (9 - 2) 27: These teams are statistically similar overall, but I like the way Stanford’s Christian McCaffery can run the ball, particularly against the Irish’s sixty-ninth ranked run defense. Notre Dame had to go coast to coast for consecutive games and it could take its toll physically. They also were fairly unimpressive against Boston College. This will probably be the end of the Irish’s playoff hopes.

(3) Oklahoma (10 - 1) 38@ (11) Oklahoma State (10 - 1) 27: Following Baylor’s loss Friday night, the Bedlam game winner will take the Big 12 title. Oklahoma is clearly the most balanced team in the Big 12 and except that this is a rivalry game on the road for the Sooners, they should be rather substantial favorites. Their loss to Texas and last week’s late meltdown against TCU tends to distract from the dominance they’ve displayed at times. I liked Oklahoma at the beginning of the season and I still do.

Georgia (8 - 3) 27 @ Georgia Tech (3 - 8) 20: If Ga. Tech hadn’t gotten the touchdown against Florida State on a blocked kick, they would most likely be 2 - 8. Georgia, while disappointed with their season, can still get a ten win season. The Yellow Jackets built an end zone section just for this game and there will be a lot of happy Bulldog fans filling it today.

Virginia Tech (5 - 6) 30 @ Virginia (4 - 7) 21: The host Cavaliers would like  nothing better than to spoil Frank Beamer’s final season by knocking the Hokies out of bowl consideration (unless the NCAA allows 5 - 7 teams to fill some slots). Mike London is on the hot seat at Virginia. His team has played well at time, but they’ve had some tough losses to Notre Dame, Pitt, Miami and Louisville. But I’m a Hokie through and through and I think the Tech pass defense will be the difference in the game.

Arizona State (6 - 5) 28 @ California (6 - 5) 35: Cal QB Jared Goff should be able to have his way with a Sun Devil defense that’s ranked 123rd in the nation. Cal’s defense isn’t great either, but Todd Graham’s offense hasn’t been up to Arizona State standards this season.

Texas A&M (8 - 3) 27 @ LSU (7 - 3) 34: LSU coach Les Miles is reported to be out of Baton Rouge following tonight’s game. I understand the fans’ and boosters’ frustrations, but the Tigers have won a national championship and played for another under Miles. ESPN’s Mark May put it very well, telling the LSU faithful and administration to be “careful for what you ask for”. But let’s get back to the game. Texas A&M has a porous rush defense, and after three top 25 running defenses, Leonard Fournette should be able to get back on track.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel" and my first, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel", available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and Smashwords. The third installment, "Offsetting Penalties" is due out in the fall.