November 19, 2009

Huguenin's Primer: Lost luster in Week 12

It's Week 12, meaning the season has zoomed by.

This is the final week of conference play in the Big Ten, but the Michigan-Ohio State game is almost an afterthought this season if you're not a fan of either team.

Kansas State plays at Nebraska, with the winner taking home the Big 12 North title. There's a big game in the SEC, with LSU playing at Ole Miss, but it's big in terms of who finishes second in the West.

Clemson can clinch a division title in the ACC. Oregon travels to Arizona in a game that will have a direct bearing on the Pac-10 title.

Here's a look at each game this weekend involving a FBS team.

SATURDAY'S GAMES

Ohio State (9-2) at Michigan (5-6), noon, ABC
THE BUZZ: Outside of Michigan and Ohio, there's not a lot of hype for this annual bloodletting. Ohio State already has clinched the Big Ten's spot in the Rose Bowl. Michigan still needs one more win to become bowl eligible, and upsetting the Buckeyes would put something of a happy face on what has become another lost season.
THE LINE: Ohio State by 12.5. THE PICK: Ohio State 31-21.

Minnesota (6-5) at Iowa (9-2), noon, ESPN
THE BUZZ: Not only is the "Floyd of Rosedale" trophy - a bronze pig 21 inches long and 15 inches high - up for grabs, Iowa knows that if it wins it has a legit shot at a BCS at-large bid.
THE LINE: Iowa by 10. THE PICK: Iowa 20-13.

North Carolina (7-3) at Boston College (7-3), noon, ESPN2
THE BUZZ: To earn a third consecutive trip to the ACC championship game, BC must beat North Carolina this week and Maryland next week and have Clemson lose to Virginia. UNC has won three in a row and four of its past five; in those four victories, the Heels have forced 14 turnovers.
THE LINE: BC by 3.5. THE PICK: North Carolina 23-17.

Maryland (2-8) at Florida State (5-5), noon, ACC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: FSU needs one more win for bowl eligibility and should get it against a Maryland team that has lost five in a row. FSU's defense has had issues, but the Terps have played six games this season where they've failed to gain 300 yards of offense - including each of the past four.
THE LINE: Florida State by 19. THE PICK: Florida State 41-24.

Duke (5-5) at Miami (7-3), noon, ESPNU
THE BUZZ: Duke senior QB Thaddeus Lewis - a Miami native - has a chance to finish as the second-leading passer in ACC history. Miami is playing for bowl positioning.
THE LINE: Miami by 19.5. THE PICK: Miami 35-17.

Louisville (4-6) at USF (6-3), noon, Big East syndication/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Louisville is 0-5 on the road this season. USF began the season 5-0, but once again has undergone a second-half swoon.
THE LINE: USF by 11. THE PICK: USF 27-14.

Mississippi State (4-6) at Arkansas (6-4), 12:20 p.m., SEC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Arkansas has won 13 of the past 15 in the series. If the Hogs can win this and the regular-season finale against LSU, they could end up in a New Year's Day bowl.
THE LINE: Arkansas by 10. THE PICK: Arkansas 37-24.

Chattanooga (6-4) at Alabama (10-0), 12:20 p.m., SEC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: The only mystery to this one is how many carries RB Mark Ingram will get.
THE LINE: No line. THE PICK: Alabama 45-0.

Florida International (3-7) at Florida (10-0), 12:30 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: And the only mystery to this one is how long QB Tim Tebow plays.
THE LINE: Florida by 45. THE PICK: Florida 48-7.

Oklahoma (6-4) at Texas Tech (6-4), 12:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: Though neither is going to win the Big 12 South, this is a big one in terms of bowl positioning. The Red Raiders are 0-3 against Big 12 South opponents this season.
THE LINE: Oklahoma by 6.5. THE PICK: Oklahoma 27-17.

Memphis (2-8) at Houston (8-2), 1 p.m., Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast
THE BUZZ: Houston is having a solid season, but the Cougars' fate in the C-USA West race is out of their hands. They need to win out and get some help. Memphis, meanwhile, already has fired coach Tommy West, which means it is not having a solid season.
THE LINE: Houston by 23.5. THE PICK: Houston 56-24.

Kent State (5-5) at Temple (8-2), 1 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Temple has won eight in a row and clinches at least a tie for the MAC East crown with a win. But the Golden Flashes remain alive in the division race. Their run defense is the key to any upset hopes.
THE LINE: Temple by 12.5. THE PICK: Temple 31-20.

TCU (10-0) at Wyoming (5-5), 2 p.m., The mtn.
THE BUZZ: Wyoming still has a good shot at becoming bowl eligible. TCU has a great shot at finishing unbeaten and getting a BCS bid. We'd say TCU's incentive trumps Wyoming's.
THE LINE: TCU by 31. THE PICK: TCU 44-10.

Iowa State (6-5) at Missouri (6-4), 2 p.m.
THE BUZZ: The winner has a chance to tie for second in the Big 12 North. This also is important in terms of bowl positioning. Both are bowl eligible, but getting to seven wins basically would guarantee a berth - while a six-win team could be left out.
THE LINE: Missouri by 15. THE PICK: Missouri 27-16.

Northern Illinois (7-3) at Ohio (7-3), 2 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This has become one of the biggest games of the season in the MAC. Ohio still is very much alive for the East Division title; NIU still is very much alive for the West Division crown. A loss would put those title hopes in jeopardy.
THE LINE: Pick 'em. THE PICK: Northern Illinois 23-20.

Tulane (3-7) at UCF (6-4), 2 p.m.
THE BUZZ: UCF has a legit shot at an eight-win season, which has taken some heat off coach George O'Leary. The Knights are trying to finish 6-1 at home this season (the only loss is to Miami).
THE LINE: UCF by 19. THE PICK: UCF 38-16.

Connecticut (4-5) at Notre Dame (6-4), 2:30 p.m., NBC
THE BUZZ: Big East teams have won three in a row over the Fighting Irish (Pittsburgh and Syracuse last season and Pitt again last week). UConn's five losses are by a combined 15 points, and the Huskies held fourth-quarter leads in four of those games. The Irish also are used to playing close games, with eight being decided by seven or fewer points.
THE LINE: Notre Dame by 6. THE PICK: Notre Dame 28-23.

LSU (8-2) at Ole Miss (7-3), 3:30 p.m., CBS
THE BUZZ: LSU has won seven of the past nine in the series, including four in row in Oxford. This has been a disappointing season for Ole Miss, but the Rebels can regain some luster by beating the Tigers for the second season in a row. And as with numerous games this weekend, this is important in terms of bowl positioning.
THE LINE: Ole Miss by 4. THE PICK: Ole Miss 20-17.

Penn State (9-2) at Michigan State (6-5), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN
THE BUZZ: Penn State needs to win to keep alive its BCS at-large hopes. This is just the fourth road game of the season for the Nittany Lions. Michigan State's five losses have come by a combined 23 points.
THE LINE: Penn State by 3. THE PICK: Penn State 27-20.

Virginia (3-7) at Clemson (7-3), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN
THE BUZZ: A Clemson win gives the Tigers the ACC Atlantic Division title. Clemson has won five in a row, and Virginia has lost four in a row. Clemson leads the series 36-8-1, but all eight of the wins have come since 1990. The Tigers won their first 29 games against the Cavaliers.
THE LINE: Clemson by 20.5. THE PICK: Clemson 34-10.

Air Force (7-4) at BYU (8-2), 3:30 p.m., CBS College Sports
THE BUZZ: BYU has won five in a row in the series, and in each one of those games, the Cougars have scored at least 31 points and won by at least 14 points. BYU is in the top 20, and Air Force has lost 13 consecutive road games to ranked opponents.
THE LINE: BYU by 10. THE PICK: BYU 21-13.

Purdue (4-7) at Indiana (4-7), 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: The in-state rivals get together for the 112th time, and the "Old Oaken Bucket" is on the line. Purdue won by 52 last season in West Lafayette.
THE LINE: Purdue by 3. THE PICK: Purdue 33-28.

Wisconsin (8-2) at Northwestern (7-4), 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: Wisconsin finishes up its regular season with two road games - this one and a trip to Hawaii next week. The Badgers are looking good for a New Year's Day bowl bid. Northwestern can move itself up the Big Ten's bowl pecking order with a victory.
THE LINE: Wisconsin by 7. THE PICK: Wisconsin 29-24.

UAB (5-5) at East Carolina (6-4), 3:30 p.m., Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
THE BUZZ: ECU owns a one-game lead in the C-USA East Division race, and UAB is one of three teams tied for second. UAB must win either this one or the regular-season finale at home next week against UCF to become bowl eligible. UAB QB Joe Webb has accounted for 26 TDs - 10 rushing and 16 via the air.
THE LINE: ECU by 12. THE PICK: ECU 35-20.

N.C. State (4-6) at Virginia Tech (7-3), 3:30 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: This should feature a nice game within a game. N.C. State QB Russell Wilson has thrown 26 TD passes, second-most in a season in school history behind Philip Rivers' 34 in 2003. But Virginia Tech is fifth nationally in pass defense and has allowed just seven TD passes.
THE LINE: Virginia Tech by 21. THE PICK: Virginia Tech 47-24.

Baylor (4-6) at Texas A&M (5-5), 3:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Texas A&M still needs one more win to become bowl eligible. Given that the regular-season finale is against Texas, it would behoove the Aggies to win this. A&M has won 11 of the past 13 in the series, but Baylor won by 20 last season.
THE LINE: Texas A&M by 7.5. THE PICK: Texas A&M 34-23.

UTEP (3-7) at Rice (1-9), 3:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: UTEP RB Donald Buckram has had back-to-back 200-yard games - and Rice struggles to stop the run. Rice has the worst offense in C-USA, but UTEP's defense ranks 11th in the league.
THE LINE: UTEP by 6.5. THE PICK: UTEP 37-28.

Rutgers (7-2) at Syracuse (3-7), 3:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Rutgers beat USF last week, its first victory this season over a team that has a winning record. The Scarlet Knights' turnover margin in their victories is a phenomenal plus-23.
THE LINE: Rutgers by 8. THE PICK: Rutgers 33-17.

Arizona State (4-6) at UCLA (5-5), 4 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: A win and UCLA becomes bowl eligible. This is the 250th career game for Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson. Arizona State leads the Pac-10 in total defense but is ninth in total offense.
THE LINE: UCLA by 4.5. THE PICK: UCLA 19-17.

San Diego State (4-6) at Utah (8-2), 4 p.m., Versus
THE BUZZ: Utah is coming off a big loss to TCU, but the Utes have won eight of the past 10 against the Aztecs. SDSU must win to keep its bowl hopes alive; if it can get to six wins, it almost certainly will go bowling.
THE LINE: Utah by 20. THE PICK: Utah 34-17.

Army (4-6) at North Texas (2-8), 4 p.m.
THE BUZZ: A victory in this one would up the stakes for Army in the annual showdown with Navy - the Black Knights could go into that one knowing that a win would send them to the EagleBank Bowl. North Texas has allowed at least 31 points in each of the past nine games.
THE LINE: North Texas by 2. THE PICK: Army 29-25.

Florida Atlantic (3-6) at Troy (7-3), 4:15 p.m., Sun Belt syndication/Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast
THE BUZZ: Troy wins at least a portion of its fourth consecutive Sun Belt Conference title with a victory over the Owls.
THE LINE: Troy by 16.5. THE PICK: Troy 42-23.

Arkansas State (2-7) at Middle Tennessee (7-3), 4:30 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: MTSU has a good shot at receiving a bowl bid if it can get to eight or even nine wins. Arkansas State, meanwhile, has been the most disappointing team in the Sun Belt.
THE LINE: MTSU by 11. THE PICK: MTSU 38-20.

SMU (6-4) at Marshall (5-5), 4:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Marshall, which has lost three of its past four, still needs one more win for bowl eligibility. SMU controls its destiny in the C-USA West race; given that next week's game is against a bad Tulane team, a victory in this one would go a long way toward nailing down the division title.
THE LINE: Marshall by 4. THE PICK: SMU 31-27.

Oregon State (7-3) at Washington State (1-9), 5 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Oregon State has won five of its past six overall and seven of its past nine Pac-10 road games. How bad has it been for Washington State? The Cougars are last in the league in rush offense, total offense, scoring offense, rush defense, pass defense, total defense and scoring defense.
THE LINE: Oregon State by 31. THE PICK: Oregon State 44-10.

Louisiana Tech (3-7) at Fresno State (6-4), 5 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Fresno's four losses have come to teams that have lost just five combined games. The flipside: Fresno's six wins have come over teams with a combined 14 FBS wins.
THE LINE: Fresno State by 9.5. THE PICK: Fresno State 30-24.

Colorado State (3-7) at New Mexico (0-10), 6 p.m., The mtn.
THE BUZZ: These teams have lost a combined 17 in a row. Is there any doubt where the hounds will be this weekend? This is the dog of the week.
THE LINE: Colorado State by 4.5. THE PICK: Colorado State 26-20.

Vanderbilt (2-9) at Tennessee (5-5), 7 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: These in-state rivals began playing in 1892. The Vols are 35-10-1 against the Commodores in Knoxville. Vandy is 0-7 in the SEC this season and has scored 55 points in those seven games.
THE LINE: Tennessee by 16.5. THE PICK: Tennessee 27-7.

Louisiana-Monroe (6-4) at Louisiana-Lafayette (5-5), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Turn up the Clifton Chenier, get the Dixie beer on ice and get ready for some boudin and gumbo. It's time to have big fun down on the bayou.
THE LINE: Louisiana-Monroe by 2.5. THE PICK: Louisiana-Monroe 23-17.

California (7-3) at Stanford (7-3), 7:30 p.m., Versus
THE BUZZ: "The Big Game" indeed is big this season. Stanford is bowl eligible for the first time since 2001, and the Cardinal still are in the running for the Pac-10 title. This is the 100th career game for Cal coach Jeff Tedford. Cal is 3-1 on the road this season, but Stanford is 5-0 at home this season and 9-1 at home since the start of the '08 season.
THE LINE: Stanford by 7.5. THE PICK: Stanford 38-28.

Tulsa (4-6) at Southern Miss (6-4), 7:30 p.m., CBS College Sports
THE BUZZ: Tulsa has lost five in a row and must win out over Southern Miss and Memphis to become bowl eligible. Southern Miss still has a shot at the C-USA East title and closes the season against division front-runner East Carolina.
THE LINE: Southern Miss by 8. THE PICK: Southern Miss 30-24.

Kansas State (6-5) at Nebraska (7-3), 7:45 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: This is for the Big 12 North title. In addition, K-State must win to become bowl eligible. Thus, it's simple for K-State: Win the Big 12 North and you go to a bowl. Finish anywhere else in the division and stay home for the holidays. The Huskers lead the series 76-15-2.
THE LINE: Nebraska by 16.5. THE PICK: Nebraska 20-7.

Kentucky (6-4) at Georgia (6-4), 7:45 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: The Bulldogs are 25-3-2 against the Wildcats in Athens, and UK's last win between the hedges came in 1977. Georgia comes in having won three of its past four, and UK comes in having won four of its past five.
THE LINE: Georgia by 8.5. THE PICK: Georgia 31-21.

Kansas (5-5) at Texas (10-0), 8 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Texas is steaming toward a berth in the national championship game, while KU has been roiled by some off-field issues this week. Texas has scored 10 non-offensive TDs this season, the most in the nation.
THE LINE: Texas by 27.5. THE PICK: Texas 44-21.

Oregon (8-2) at Arizona (6-3), 8 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Oregon is in the driver's seat in the Pac-10 race, but Arizona still has a shot at the title - and its first Rose Bowl appearance. Arizona is 5-0 at home this season and has won 12 of its past 14 home games. Oregon RB LaMichael James has rushed for 1,193 yards; he is the first Ducks freshman to reach the 1,000-yard plateau.
THE LINE: Oregon by 6. THE PICK: Oregon 33-24.

Hawaii (4-6) at San Jose State (1-8), 8 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Hawaii is 12-1 in November since 2006. San Jose State coach Dick Tomey - who used to coach Hawaii - announced this week that he will retire at the end of the season.
THE LINE: Hawaii by 3. THE PICK: Hawaii 35-27.

Nevada (7-3) at New Mexico State (3-7), 10:30 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: Nevada has won seven in a row and leads the nation in rushing offense and is second in total offense. New Mexico State struggles to stop the run and is last in the nation in total offense.
THE LINE: Nevada by 30.5. THE PICK: Nevada 49-16.

TUESDAY'S GAME

Ball State (1-10) at Western Michigan (5-6), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This will be the second consecutive midweek game for Ball State, which played Central Michigan on Wednesday. Western has been a disappointment, but at least a .500 finish is within reach.
THE LINE: Western Michigan by 10. THE PICK: Western Michigan 33-20.

LAST WEEK

50-10 straight up, 34-22-1 against the spread.

YEAR TO DATE

502-153 straight up, 270-284-6 against the spread.

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.




 

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