News, thoughts and more from the world of college sports across the nation and Long Island.
BloggersMarcus Henry Greg Logan Mike Rose
Fearless predictions: Saturday games
No. 13 Georgia at No. 23 Georgia Tech (+6), 12 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Georgia has won nine straight and has limited seven of those opponents to 16 points or less. The Bulldogs defense was especially great in their 45-7 win over Auburn. For Georgia Tech, which has lost three of its last five, do-everything quarterback Tevin Washington will be called upon to do everything. But it won’t be enough. Georgia 30, Georgia Tech 13
Rose’s pick: Georgia is riding a nine-game winning streak and has already locked up a spot in the SEC title game. The Bulldogs are fourth nationally in total defense (263.45 yards per game) and are allowing 18 points per game. Quarterback Aaron Murray has had a solid season with 2,446 yards and 28 touchdowns. Georgia Tech has been inconsistent after a 6-0 start. The Yellow Jackets are second nationally in rushing yards per game (324) and quarterback Tevin Washington has 24 total touchdowns this season, including 14 rushing. Georgia, however, is a hot team and will roll into the SEC title game with 10 wins. Georgia 31, Georgia Tech 21
Ohio State at No. 15 Michigan (-7), 12 p.m.
Henry’s pick: To say the buzz has been taken out of this game is an understatement. That said, quarterback Denard Robinson and company will do everything it can to destroy the Buckeyes. Ohio State will be playing for pride and a spot in a decent bowl game. The Buckeyes’ reeling offense will be no match for the Wolverines. Michigan 33, Ohio State 16
Rose’s pick: With reports swirling about Urban Meyer becoming Ohio State’s next head coach, the fierce rivalry between the Buckeyes and Wolverines hasn’t been too hyped this week. The game, however, will always be big and has huge implications this year. Michigan, which has a seven-game losing streak to Ohio State, is playing for a BCS at-large bid. With a win, the Wolverines would move to 10-2. Ohio State is 6-5 heading into the Big House and needs a win to assure a winning record. Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller is going to be a special player. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson has 29 total touchdowns this season. Miller will have his time. Michigan’s time is now. Michigan 27, Ohio State 17
No. 2 Alabama at No. 24 Auburn (+21), 3:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Alabama needs this win to stay in the national championship conversation. Auburn’s best bet for an upset is running back Michael Dyer, but he was limited to 48 yards against Georgia. Alabama’s top-ranked defense certainly has the goods on defense to slow him down. Offensively, Crimson Tide running back and Heisman hopeful Trent Richardson will have his way with the Tigers. Alabama 36, Auburn 17
Rose’s pick: Like any good rivalry, records usually don’t mean a thing. This season’s Iron Bowl, however, favors Alabama in a big way. It’s just hard to see Auburn’s offense, ranked 93rd in the nation, having much success against Alabama’s top-ranked defense, which is allowing just eight points per game. Plus, Alabama is still in good position to claim a spot in the BCS national title game. Watch for Alabama’s Trent Richardson, who has rushed for 1,380 yards and 20 touchdowns, to have a monster game. You can bet Alabama remembers last year’s game, when the Crimson Tide took a big lead and then watched Cam Newton and the Tigers storm back for the win. Alabama 38, Auburn 14
No. 5 Virginia Tech at Virginia (+4), 3:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Virginia’s defense has been the most important aspect of its five-game winning streak. The Cavaliers’ defense was rock solid in a 14-13 win at Florida State last week. That defense will be a real test for Virginia Tech, which hasn’t really faced a high caliber defense all season. Upset special of the week. Virginia 21, Virginia Tech 20
Rose’s pick: The stakes are high in this rivalry game. The winner claims the Coastal Division title and a spot in the ACC title game against Clemson. Virginia has been a bit of surprise this season as Mike London’s rebuilding job moves at a fast pace. The Cavaliers have won four straight and six of seven. Virginia, which has the 25th best defense in the nation, will have plenty to worry about. Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas has accounted for 25 touchdowns this season (16 passing and nine rushing). Virginia will need to keep him in check. Hokies running back David Wilson has rushed for 1,442 yards and seven touchdowns. Virginia Tech has won seven straight and 11 of the last 12 against Virginia. But the Cavaliers are hot and appear primed to pull the upset. Virginia went to Tallahassee last Saturday and beat Florida State to put it in this position. Virginia 24, Virginia Tech 23
Oregon State at No. 10 Oregon (-28), 3:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: These late-season rivalry games are tricky. Oregon losing to USC last week makes this one that much more tough to figure out. But LaMichael James will have the answer for the Ducks. Oregon State has two things going for it: quarterback Sean Mannion and its upset win over Washington last week. It won’t be enough. Oregon 44, Oregon State 26
Rose’s pick: The 115th Civil War is another rivalry game with big implications. Oregon, despite a home loss to USC last week, still has a lot to play for. With a win, the Ducks can clinch the North Division title and would host the inaugural Pac-12 championship game. That would put Oregon in position to earn the conference title and the BCS bid to the Rose Bowl. Oregon State is 3-8 and won’t play in a bowl game. The Civil War is Oregon State’s bowl game so expect the Beavers to come out loose and go after the Ducks. Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion has thrown for 3,029 yards, but has 16 interceptions. The Ducks should be able to force turnovers and get points. Oregon has the talent advantage, especially on offense with quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James. Oregon 48, Oregon State 24
No. 19 Penn State at No. 16 Wisconsin (-15), 3:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Penn State is shaky at quarterback, but has a big-time defense to lean on. Nittany Lions quarterback Matt McGloin will need to bring his ‘A’ game under center. Wisconsin, on the other hand, has a great defense and a quality quarterback in Russell Wilson. Add to that running back Montee Ball, who has run for 613 yards over his last three games, and you have the makings of a blow out. Wisconsin 36, Penn State 13
Rose’s pick: The winner claims the Leaders Division title and a spot in the inaugural Big Ten championship game against Michigan State. Penn State has won with plenty of defense, led by standout defensive tackle Devon Still, and just enough offense all season. Wisconsin, however, is ranked in the top 12 nationally in both total offense and defense. Defending quarterback Russell Wilson will be tough enough for Penn State. Wisconsin unning back Montee Ball, however, has 1,466 yards and 30 total touchdowns this season. The Badgers have too much for Penn State to handle. Wisconsin 31, Penn State 16
Florida State at Florida (+2.5), 7 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Outside of a 30-point performance in a 35-30 loss to Clemson in September, Florida State’s offense has been weak against good teams, which includes last week’s 14-13 home loss to Virginia. Florida finds itself in the same predicament offensively, which means this game will come down to the quarterbacks. Florida State’s E.J. Manuel gets the edge over Florida’s John Brantley in this one. Florida State 27, Florida 24
Rose’s pick: Both teams have been disappointments. Florida State was a preseason top 5 team, but is 7-4 heading into this game. Florida is 6-5 in Will Muschamp’s first season and its offense has struggled mightily this season (ranked 91st nationally). Florida has scored just 59 points in five games against ranked opponents. Both teams, however, have strong defenses. Florida State is seventh nationally (282.82 yards per game) and Florida is 17th (318.18 yards per game). Florida has won five of six games and quarterback E.J. Manuel has played well during that stretch. Florida State 20, Florida 14
No. 17 Clemson at No. 12 South Carolina (-4), 7:45 p.m.
Henry’s pick: This game won’t bring South Carolina any closer to a BCS Bowl berth, but it will give the Gamecocks a 10th win. South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw, who’s completed 38 of 55 passes over his last three games, has been very efficient since taking over the starting role. He’ll pick a part Clemson’s worn-down defense. South Carolina 31, Clemson 21
Rose’s pick: One of the biggest head-scratchers of last weekend was Clemson getting blown out at North Carolina State. In fact, Clemson has lost two of three games after an 8-0 start. So, what is the problem? Try turnovers. The Tigers have 11 turnovers in their last three games. Freshman star wide receiver Sammy Watkins missed last week’s loss to North Carolina, but is expected to play this week. That should help quarterback Tajh Boyd get back on track. South Carolina’s offense hasn’t been the same without quarterback Stephen Garcia, who was dismissed from the team, and running back Marcus Lattimore, who is out for the season with a knee injury. The Gamecocks, however, have the nation’s fifth-best defense (279.45 yards per game) and have forced 29 turnovers, which is tied for sixth nationally. South Carolina 23, Clemson 20
No. 22 Notre Dame at No. 6 Stanford (-7), 8 p.m.
Henry’s pick: This could be Andrew Luck’s last real chance to impress Heisman Trophy voters. He’s thrown 11 touchdowns passes to 5 interceptions over his last four games. Notre Dame’s defense has settled down recently, limiting three of its last four opponents to 17 points or less. But the Irish offense has left a lot to be desired. Stanford 35, Notre Dame 23
Rose’s pick: Stanford has plenty at stake. First, Stanford is very much alive for a BCS at-large bid and would be an attractive selection with an 11-1 record. Second, Stanford still has a chance to win the North Division title and play for the Pac-12 championship if Oregon loses to Oregon State. Third, quarterback Andrew Luck can make a huge Heisman statement with a strong game on national television. Notre Dame has won four straight and eight of nine. The Irish, however, won’t have running back Jonas Gray, who tore his ACL last week and had combined with Cierre Wood to form an effective rushing attack this season. That could put added pressure on quarterback Tommy Rees, who has thrown 11 interceptions. Stanford 31, Notre Dame 27
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