NCAAF Week 12 Weekend Preview

November 19, 2010

Since Oregon, Auburn, and TCU don’t play this weekend, and Boise State just got done wrapping up another easy victory over Fresno State, there is very little that could potentially send a shockwave through the world of college football this weekend. In other words, if there was a weekend to step away from the action and do something other than watch college football on a Saturday, this would be it. Of course, true fans don’t do that, right? Here are five games that should be interesting, even if they don’t have that much bearing on the national title.

5 Games to Pay Attention To

Pittsburgh at South Florida (Saturday, 12 PM EST)

Does the Big East really deserve an automatic bid to a BCS bowl? It is a very realistic possibility that the Big East representative in a BCS bowl game could have four or more losses. In fact, no one in the Big East has less than three losses, and Pittsburgh, the current leader, is 5-4. As much as it seems like Pitt has stumbled through their entire season, they have actually done relatively well in conference play. Other than a loss at Connecticut last Friday, the Panthers have rolled through their conference schedule. South Florida has been playing well as of late, too. After failing to score in the double-digits in two straight games (losing both), the Bulls have reeled off three straight wins. It’s really going to come down to which team shows up for both squads. Both have shown the ability to play well, but both have also had instances of looking completely flat in losses.

My Pick: 28-20 Pittsburgh

#14 Virginia Tech at #24 Miami (Saturday, 3:30 PM EST)

Both of these teams had national title aspirations at the beginning of the season. Although that is gone, they both have a considerable amount to play for. Virginia Tech, after dropping their opener against Boise State and then being embarrassed the next week against FCS opponent James Madison, has been on a tear, going undefeated since that point. Miami, who has had an up and down season and has experienced some issues at quarterback, are still in the hunt for the ACC Coastal Division title. The Hurricanes would have to beat Virginia Tech and then hope that the Hokies drop another one against Virginia in order to pull into a tie atop the standings (and thus receive the right to play for the ACC Championship game by way of the tie-breaker), but it isn’t completely out of reach. Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon could also feel the heat at the end of the season if the Hurricanes don’t pull off a big win.

My Pick: 30-17 Virginia Tech

#8 Ohio State at #21 Iowa (Saturday, 3:30 PM EST)

The Buckeyes have beaten Iowa in eleven of the last twelve meetings between the two teams, but this may be the most difficult game yet for Coach Tressel. Iowa is coming off of a loss against Northwestern, a game in which they should have won. Although their record is only 7-3, the Hawkeyes pummeled a good Michigan State team, came within one point of beating Wisconsin, and has really only looked out of it in one game this entire season, at Arizona back in September. The balanced Hawkeye offensive attack could be a handful for the Buckeye defense, which had trouble against Wisconsin’s heavy running attack. This game will probably end up coming down to two things; one, how motivated is Iowa? Two, will the Buckeyes make the necessary adjustments to stop Iowa’s balanced offensive attack, or will they get behind early and not be able to make up the difference in the second half?

My Pick: 28-24 Iowa

#16 Oklahoma at Baylor (Saturday, 8 PM EST)

For some reason, I seem to have taken a liking to Baylor. Oklahoma has looked inconsistent at times this year, which is why I am giving the Bears a chance in this one. With that being said, Baylor has also had their moments of inconsistency this season. This is a battle for third place in the Big 12 South, and the winner could potentially finish second in the South if Texas A&M loses their final two games. Baylor will need to find a way to stop Oklahoma’s offense, which has the ability to score at will on questionable defenses like Baylor’s. However, if Baylor can match the Sooners on the offensive end, then an offensive shootout with plenty of highlight worthy footage should ensue.

My Pick: 48-38 Oklahoma

#9 Nebraska at #18 Texas A&M (Saturday, 8 PM EST)

Texas A&M, after choosing to start quarterback Ryan Tannehill, has apparently taken my advice from the Week 7 Preview and turned their season around. However, they did it without Jerrod Johnson, which surprised me. Like the Oklahoma game two weekends ago, this is a game where Tannehill can continue to make a name for himself with a big performance. It will be a tough task, however. Nebraska has the second best pass defense in the nation, giving up just over 140 yards per game through the air. Aggies running back Cyrus Gray will also have to have a big game in order to open up the passing game if Texas A&M wants to have success on offense. On defense, Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez will be the main focus. I’m sure that the Aggies would love if they had an actual 12th Man on the field, because stopping Martinez with just eleven has been difficult for other teams this season.

My Pick: 35-24 Nebraska

5 More to Flip To

North Carolina State at North Carolina (Saturday, 12 PM EST)

It’s a little shocking that NC State is the one battling for an ACC Championship game berth…

#7 Stanford at Cal (Saturday, 3:30 PM EST)

I predict that Stanford will have far less trouble with Cal than Oregon did last weekend.

Illinois at Northwestern (Saturday, 3:30 PM EST)

Only because it’s being played at Wrigley Field. Without Dan Persa, the Wildcats aren’t that fun to watch…

Army at Notre Dame (Saturday, 7 PM EST)

This one isn’t just on the list because it’s being played at Yankee Stadium. I think some Notre Dame fans will be unpleasantly surprised at how much better Army football has gotten when this game is over.

#20 USC at Oregon State (Saturday, 8 PM EST)

Oregon State enters possibly one of the toughest late season stretches of any team in the country. They have the potential to pull off upsets in two of them…

– K. Becks

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