Miscellany

College Football 2012 Picks: Week Nine

Last week was brutal. We, perhaps, got distracted by our mini-vacation. A 1-5 mark dropped us to 24-23-1 ATS on the season. Refreshed and focused, here is where we bounce back.

Washington (+4) vs. Oregon State: Washington is better than you think. The Huskies have faced one of the nation’s toughest schedules (five of the SRS top 18, three of them on the road). They have been a different team at home, outlasting Stanford and losing to USC by 10 after the Trojans returned a blocked punt for a touchdown. Oregon State has been winning close games, but not assassinating teams. The Beavers have a one dimensional passing offense. It’s going to be rainy and cold in a night game. We like the Beavers. We’ll pass on the juice this week.

Arizona (+6.5) vs. USC: Arizona, also, is better than you think. Yeah, Rich Rod’s team lost three Pac 12 games in a row. That was two road games at Oregon and at Stanford with undefeated Oregon State as the home sandwich game. They lost to the Beavers by three and took the Cardinal to overtime. The Wildcats came back off a bye week and drilled Washington at home by 35. We’re not buying USC’s defensive resurgence. The one top 60 yards per play offense they’ve faced is Syracuse. This is the first legit offense they’ve faced and the first functional spread attack. The Trojans are 0-4 against the spread on the road, with narrow wins against Utah, Washington and Syracuse and a loss to Stanford. This is also a trap game, with USC facing Oregon on Nov. 3.

Michigan (+2) at Nebraska: On defense, Michigan has been dominant, allowing two offensive touchdowns in their past five games. They contained Nebraska’s rushing attack last year. Taylor Martinez has looked pedestrian against viable pass defenses and Michigan’s will be the best he has faced. On offense, Michigan reformatted after the bye week into a conservative, run heavy attack. Denard Robinson has thrown one pick in three games since and that was a speculative heave down field at the end of a half against MSU. The Wolverines looked poor against Alabama, Notre Dame and Michigan State. Those three teams have physical front sevens that can collapse the pocket. Nebraska is a soft 87th against the run vs. FBS teams. Against Ohio State, they gave up 326 yards and five touchdowns on 44 carries to Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde. This may be the game Michigan turns backup running back Thomas Rawls loose.

Iowa (+6) at Northwestern: Iowa is no juggernaut, but neither is Northwestern, despite a 6-2 record and a close loss to Nebraska. Northwestern has a solid running game. That should be countered by an equally solid Iowa defense that ranks No. 25 nationally in yards per play vs. FBS and is especially good against the run. The Hawkeyes have had let downs as a favorite at home, but put in a gritty effort at Michigan State to edge a win in overtime. Even Kirk Ferentz’ bad teams do just well enough to keep it painful for Iowa fans. This has low-scoring 17-13 type game all over it. We’ll take the points.

Wyoming (+16.5) vs. Boise State: Kellen Moore is not walking out of that tunnel. The Broncos don’t move the ball, ranking 67th in yards per play. When they do move the ball, they don’t capitalize on it, ranking just 117th in red zone touchdown percentage. Wyoming is just 1-6, but they have been deceptively competitive. They took Nevada to overtime on the road. They also have three losses by a field goal or less, including to Toledo and Air Force at home. Yeah, Boise State is 6-1, but they have played one team with a winning record in FBS, Fresno State. The defense looks great. They have faced two offenses inside the Top 95 in FBS. Wyoming is decent enough to keep it within 17 at home.

Florida (-6.5) vs. Georgia: There are two disturbing trends for Georgia heading into this one. The Dawgs have not run the ball well, just 2.8 yards per carry and one touchdown the past two weeks. They have not stopped the run. Kentucky ran 43 times for 206 yards agains them last week. The Wildcats are not a running team. They adjusted their gameplan because they felt they could exploit Georgia on the ground. We’re not optimistic about them handling Florida’s seven-offensive linemen formation. Georgia has NFL talent to rival just about anyone. They have not put it together. That’s not to mention the “Mark Richt in a big game” factor. The Bulldogs are 1-9 against teams ranked in the Top 15 since 2009. That one win was 30-24 against Georgia Tech in 2009.

[Photo via Presswire]

 

 

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