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Fearless predictions: Week 12
No. 16 Nebraska at No. 18 Michigan (-3.5), 12 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Nebraska needs this game in the worse way. With a win over Michigan State under their belt, a Cornhuskers victory over the Wolverines will keep it one game behind the Spartans. The key for Nebraska is keeping its offense diversified. Cornhuskers quarterback Taylor Martinez threw for 143 yards and ran for 56 in last Saturday’s win over Penn State. Michigan’s defense is just as tough as Penn State’s, so it won’t be easy. As for Michigan, which is coming off after a solid win at Illinois, the inconsistent play of the offense has been its downfall. The Wolverines managed just 14 points in a loss at Michigan State and 16 in a loss at Iowa on Nov. 5. The problem is Michigan needs more than Denard Robinson to bring something to the table. Nebraska 24, Michigan 16
Rose’s pick: Nebraska and Michigan (4-2) both trail Michigan State by a game in the Legends Division. Michigan needs to shut down quarterback Taylor Martinez (768 yards and nine touchdowns) and running back Rex Burkhead (1,072 yards and 14 touchdowns). The same goes for Nebraska, which cannot let quarterback Denard Robinson (864 yards, 12 touchdowns) and running back Fitzgerald Toussaint (673 yards and five touchdowns) get going on the ground. So the game could be decided by the throwing success of the quarterbacks. I’m giving the slight edge to Robinson at home. Michigan 20, Nebraska 17
Virginia at No. 25 Florida State (-17.5), 7:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Florida State has rebounded nicely since dropping three in a row earlier in the season. The key for the Seminoles has been their rock-solid defense. Florida State has given up an average of 11.6 points per game over its last five contests, including a shutout in a 34-0 drubbing of N.C. State. Seminoles quarterback E.J. Manuel has also been lights out. The junior has completed 74 percent of his passes over his last three games with four touchdowns and one interception. Virginia comes into the game needing a win to stay within one game of Virginia Tech in the ACC Coastal division. The Cavaliers’ two-headed rushing attack of Perry Jones and Kevin Parks have combined for 510 yards on the ground the last three games, but they won’t go off against the Seminoles. Florida State 27, Virginia 16
Rose’s pick: Florida State has won five straight. Virginia has won five of six games and is still alive for the ACC’s Coastal Division title. Virginia is averaging 188 rushing yards per game, with Perry Jones getting 856 yards and five touchdowns. Florida State, however, has the fourth-best rush defense in the nation (85 yards per game). The Cavaliers have certainly been a hot team lately. But the Seminoles have been hotter and quarterback E.J. Manuel has played well over the past month. Florida State’s defense is the difference this week. Florida State 24, Virginia 14
USC at No. 4 Oregon (-14.5), 8 p.m.
Henry’s pick: USC is playing for pride in this one, making this a classic trap game. But Oregon’s offense is like a tank. Just ask Stanford. LaMichael James torched the Cardinal defense for 146 yards and three touchdowns, while Darron Thomas completed 11 of 17 passes for 155 yards and three scores. If Thomas is anywhere near that efficient, it will be a long day for the USC defense. USC’s offense has been pretty impressive, too. Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley, a future NFL first-round pick, has been all but unstoppable lately with 29 touchdown passes, including 19 over his last six games. This will be a high-scoring affair with Oregon outscoring the Trojans. Oregon 47, USC 41
Rose’s pick: Oregon was very impressive in its win over Stanford. The Ducks can clinch the Pac-12 North Division title with a win. But, more importantly, Oregon is up to No. 4 in the BCS standings and back in the national title race. Oregon is averaging 292 rushing yards per game. USC is averaging just 100 rushing yards per game. The Trojans gave up over 500 yards of total offense against Stanford and lost in triple overtime. USC will need to do a much better job of defending Oregon and its speed, especially running back LaMichael James (1,207 yards and 12 touchdowns). USC quarterback Matt Barkley has been very good (2,782 yards and 29 touchdowns), but might be without leading receiver Robert Woods on Saturday. Oregon did a nice job pressuring Andrew Luck and will need to get pressure on Barkley. Oregon 44, USC 34
No. 5 Oklahoma at No. 22 Baylor (+15.5), 8 p.m.
Henry’s pick: The Sooners have a lot on the line in this one. Two more wins get them a date with Oklahoma State for the Big 12 title. Landry Jones has thrown for 412 or more yards four times this season. The junior threw for 505 yards in a 58-17 win over Kansas State on Oct. 29 and 255 yards against Texas A&M two weeks ago. Meanwhile, Baylor’s defense has been all but invisible. The Bears have given up 48 or more points three times, most recently in a 59-24 loss at Oklahoma State. Robert Griffin III is an effective quarterback, but he won’t be able to do enough to keep the Sooners offense off the field. Oklahoma 44, Baylor 20
Rose’s pick: Oklahoma’s surprising home loss to Texas Tech earlier in the season seemed to derail the Sooners’ quest for a national title shot. Oklahoma, however, has re-positioned itself and is back in the title race. The Sooners can really help their cause by beating Oklahoma State in a few weeks. But first it’s Baylor. Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III is certainly a concern for Oklahoma. Griffin III has thrown for 3,093 yards and 29 touchdowns. Oklahoma is allowing 233 passing yards per game. Baylor, however, is 110th nationally in total defense (458 yards per game) and 81st in pass defense (238 yards per game). Landry Jones and the Sooners should have a big day. Oklahoma 44, Baylor 27
No. 13 Kansas State at No. 23 Texas (-8.5), 8 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Kansas State’s defense has pulled more of a disappearing act than Baylor’s. The Wildcats have given up 160 points in their last three games. That’s not a misprint. Kansas State gave up 58, 52 and 50 points in games against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. As bad as Kansas State’s defense has been, Texas’ offense was worse. But not having its top three running backs – Malcom Brown, Joe Bergeron, Foswhitt Whittaker – cost the Longhorns big in a 17-5 loss to Missouri last week. Whittaker (ACL) is out for the season, while Bergeron and Brown are both questionable. It doesn’t look good for Texas. Kansas State 23, Texas 13
Rose’s pick: Texas is coming off a bad 17-5 loss against Missouri. This figures to be a defensive struggle, but the Longhorns will need to generate some offense against the Wildcats. Running backs Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeon, who have combined for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, both missed last week’s game with injuries and are questionable this week. Wide receiver Jaxon Shipley, who has 33 catches for 438 yards and three touchdowns, also missed last week’s game and could miss this week. Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein is healthy and will cause big problems. Klein has rushed for 1,009 yards and 24 touchdowns and has thrown for another 10 touchdowns. If Texas is missing players, the offense will struggle. Klein and the Wildcats will grind out a low-scoring victory. Kansas State 17, Texas 13
Mississippi State at No. 6 Arkansas, 3:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Arkansas 28, Mississippi State 16
Rose’s pick: Arkansas 30, Mississippi State 17
SMU at No. 11 Houston, 3:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Houston 37, SMU 24
Rose’s pick: Houston 41, SMU 23
No. 21 Penn State at Ohio State, 3:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Ohio State 17, Penn State 13
Rose’s pick: Ohio State 20, Penn State 16
Miami (Fla.) at South Florida, 3:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Miami 24, South Florida 22
Rose’s pick: Miami (Fla.) 27, South Florida 23
No. 10 Boise State at San Diego State, 8 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Boise State 41, San Diego State 27
Rose’s pick: Boise State 38, San Diego State 20
Tags: Nebraska , Michigan , Virginia , Florida State , USC , Oregon , Oklahoma , Baylor , Kansas State , Texas , Mississippi State , Arkansas , SMU , Houston , Penn State , Ohio State , Miami (Fla.) , South Florida , Boise State , San Diego State