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2014 NCAA College Football Week Twelve Picks
Last week's 8-3 mark against the spread improved my record for the year to 67-51-4, including a record of 15-0-1 in picking Mountain West games . This weekend's lineup is highlighted by four games involving ranked teams (#1 Mississippi State @ #4 Alabama, #13 Nebraska @ #25 Wisconsin, #3 Auburn @ #20 Georgia, #21 Clemson @ #24 Georgia Tech) and three ranked teams facing tough match ups on the road (#2 Florida State @ Miami, #16 LSU @ Arkansas and #17 Utah @ Stanford). This week I'll be picking eight versus the line, but before getting into this week's selections, here is a quick rundown of how I managed to go 8-3 last week.
LAST WEEK's PICKS
Northern Illinois - 3 Ball State
Cameron Stingily runs for 148 yards and three touchdowns, leading Northern Illinois to a 35-21 win. (W)
Utah State -6 Wyoming
Sparked by Jojo Watson’s two first quarter touchdowns, one on a 80 yard punt return the other a 66 yard touchdown run, Utah State cruises to an easy 20-3 win in Wyoming. (W)
Louisiana Tech -6 UAB
Kenneth Dixon scores three times in the first quarter as Louisiana Tech takes control of the game early and goes on to a 40-24 road victory at UAB. (W)
Duke -3 Syracuse
Duke breaks the game open with seventeen fourth quarter points and wins in the Carrier Dome, 27-10. (W)
Georgia Tech -4 NC State
Two defensive touchdowns just over two minutes apart in the second quarter spark Georgia Tech en route to a 56-23 win at NC State. (W)
UConn -3 Army
Driving to tie the game with seconds left, Connecticut throws an interception in the end zone that's returned 99 yards for a touchdown, losing to Army, 35-21. (L)
Air Force -6 UNLV
The Air Force offense piles up 386 yards and five touchdown on the crowd as they beat down Mountain West rival UNLV 48-21. (W)
Georgia Southern -10 Texas State
Georgia Southern wins their seventh straight game, but calls off the dogs in the fourth quarter and allow a last minute back door cover, winning only 28-25. (L)
Louisville -3 Boston College
The Louisville defense causes four turnovers, helping the Cardinals to an easy 38-19 win at Chestnut Hill. (W)
Alabama -6 LSU
LSU scores with under a minute left to take the lead, but a kickoff out of bounds gives Alabama enough field position to move down and kick a tying field goal to send it into overtime, where they eventually win and cover in Death Valley, 20-13. (W)
Michigan State -3 Ohio State
JT Barrett dominates, throwing three touchdowns and running for two more, leading Ohio State to a 49-37 win and setting them up for a playoff berth if they can finish out their season undefeated. (L)
THIS WEEK'S PICKS
Duke (-5) vs. Virginia Tech Saturday 12:00 PM
The 8-1 Blue Devils enter the game on a four game winning streak after suffering their only loss of the season at Miami in a rain drenched game in early October. Their opponent Virginia Tech has been ravaged by injuries in recent weeks, namely to their backfield and defensive line, and the Hokies have also struggled significantly on the road, going 4-12 in their last 16 games away from Blacksburg, and against quality opponents, 0-4 against the spread in their last four games against teams with a winning record. Duke ended a twelve game losing streak to Virginia Tech last year and shouldn’t have much of an issue beating them again this year in Durham.
PICK Duke -5
Pittsburgh (+2) at North Carolina Saturday 12:30 PM
North Carolina continues to experience fall out from the wide spread cheating scandal that recently surfaced, as former football player Michael McAdoo is now suing the school for failing to give him a proper education. McAdoo was ruled ineligible in 2010 after making his cheating too obvious when he was caught plagiarizing an essay FROM 1911 for one his classes. So essentially, he is suing them because he was too stupid to pass a sham class. On the field, the Tar Heels are in trouble as well, as they are 110th in the nation against the run and now have to face James Conner of Pittsburgh, the third leading rusher in the NCAA with 1,342 rushing yards on the season. The Tar Heels could come out with an ‘us against the world’ mentality, but I think the recent turmoil and distractions along with the dominant running of Conner lead to an upset win for Pittsburgh on the road in Carolina.
PICK Pittsburgh +2
Mississippi State (+10) at Alabama Saturday 3:30 PM
In a battle of the two states that have more state holidays devoted to honoring the Civil War losing Confederacy (a mind blowing three each) than any other states, #1 Mississippi State travels to Tuscaloosa to take on #4 Alabama. The Bulldogs come in as the number one team in the country, are 8-2 against the spread in their last ten games vs teams with winning records and have also covered in seven of their last nine SEC games, while Alabama has only covered three times in their last thirteen games overall. The double digit head start is too much to pass up, take the points and Mississippi State in this southern clash of klans.
PICK Mississippi State +10
Georgia Southern (+3) at Navy Saturday 3:30 PM
The top two rushing teams in the country battle each other in Annapolis this weekend, and for the fourth straight week I’ll be taking Georgia Southern. The Eagles have covered in eight of their last ten road games, 12 of their last 14 games overall and unlike Navy, who is only 1-4 in their last five non-conference games, Georgia Southern is 7-0 against the spread in their last seven against non-conference opponents. In a game that might not have more than ten pass attempts combined between the two teams, go with the better defense and take the Eagles of Georgia Southern.
PICK Georgia Southern +3
Louisiana-Lafayette (-6.5) at Louisiana-Monroe Saturday 7:00 PM
Two hyphenated Sun Belt Rivals clash this weekend in a game of two teams going in the opposite direction. Since the beginning of October, the UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns have gone 5-0 while UL Monroe has been the exact opposite at 0-5. Lafayette has also covered in their last four games, while Monroe has only beaten the spread twice in their last eight games. Rage on with Cajuns.
PICK UL Lafayette -6.5
Texas (-2) at Oklahoma State Saturday 7:30 PM
After building a five game winning streak in the beginning of the season, the Oklahoma State Cowboys have fallen hard times of late, losing their last three games by a combined score of 124-33. On the other side of the field are the Texas Longhorns, who seems to have found their stride after initially struggling to find an identity when they lost starting quarterback David Ash for the year against BYU in week two. The road team in this series has covered the last seven games and the favorite has covered in the last five. The trends continue.
PICK Texas -2
Florida State (-3) at Miami Saturday 8:00 PM
This year’s sunshine state skirmish between the Seminoles and Hurricanes should be a good, and while I was hoping to avoid taking them all season, I like Florida State in this one. They have won the last four games between the two teams by an average of 18 points per game and are taking on a Miami team that has covered just three times in their last ten games against teams with a winning record. Despite multiple allegations of rape, stealing, gun play, receiving illegal money and now point shaving, it appears Jameis Winston reign of terror in Tallahassee will continue as no logical suspension appears to be at any point in his future. As long as he plays, go with ‘Noles.
PICK Florida State -3
Q: If a Florida State player and a Miami player go shopping together, who drives home?
A: The cop
UTEP (-6) vs. North Texas Saturday 10:00 PM
If you’re looking to bail yourself out of a bad day of gaming, go with the Miners of UTEP late Saturday night against the Mean Green of North Texas. At 5-4, UTEP needs a win to gain bowl eligibility and this is the ideal week to do so, as they are playing at home where they have covered their last five games and are playing against a North Texas team that hasn’t covered in a road game since last season. Go spelunking and pick the Miners.
PICK UTEP -6
As this article is being written on Veteran's Day, a special thanks goes out to all the brave men and women who have served or continue to serve for our great country, you are all heroes.