Last regular season slate, as I try to get above .500 prior to bowl season. Here’s to it.
USC (-32) at UCLA
Two years ago, UCLA pulled a shocker over a heavily-favored USC team in the Rose Bowl, denying the Trojans a shot at a BCS title game with a 13-9 win. While USC’s title chances are pretty slim, you know UCLA will want to mess with the Trojans again. USC, as you would expect, is coming in confident, even willing to forgo a timeout just so it can wear its home uniforms on the road. The Trojans want to make a statement against the Bruins and they will.
USC 42, UCLA 7
Arizona State (+10.5) at Arizona
This game very rarely means much of anything besides pride, as one team is usually very good while the other plays spoiler. Typically, the spoiler is Arizona, but the Wildcats have a chance to sew up their first winning season since 1998 with a win over the Sun Devils, who are playing for their bowl lives. ASU has won three in a row, but those were against the Washington schools and UCLA. I like Arizona big in this one.
Arizona 34, Arizona State 13
Washington (+35.5) at California
Is there any logical reason for this game to be played this week? Why not end the Washington season (which needs to end badly) by playing the Apple Cup and why not end Cal’s season with Stanford? This just upsets me. Anyway, as for the game, Washington is trying not to end winless. Whatever.
California 45, Washington 6
Buffalo (+16) vs. Ball State
The Battle for the MAC in the D should be a pretty solid one, as you have a Cardinals team looking for its first-ever undefeated season against a Buffalo team that has been resurrected from the dead, or wherever you consider San Diego State right now. As one would expect, the coaches for these teams (Turner Gill at Buffalo and Brady Hoke at Ball State) will be getting attention from bigger schools with coaching vacancies. I say Ball State wins, but Buffalo makes it uncomfortable for a while.
Ball State 41, Buffalo 30
Boston College (even) vs. Virginia Tech
The ACC title game is a rematch of last year, which Virginia Tech won in front of an embarrassing dearth of fans. With the game in Jacksonville and both schools separated by at least a day’s worth of driving, expect a bunch of empty seats for this one. It will be a pretty defensive game, as both of these teams have stout defenses and relatively feeble offenses. BC’s offense seems a little more competent, so I’ll pick the Eagles.
Boston College 19, Virginia Tech 14
Florida (-10) vs. Alabama
When was the last time an undefeated No. 1-ranked team was a double-digit dog against a team with a loss? I have no idea, and quite frankly, this could be the first. Alabama, despite going through the SEC unscathed, has been left for dead in this game, as the Tim Tebow-led Florida offense is expected to wreak havoc on the Tide, just as it has in every other game since losing to Ole Miss in September. While this screams a Crimson Tide cover, I think Florida is too hot for conventional wisdom.
Florida 38, Alabama 21
Missouri (+16.5) vs. Oklahoma
My views on Oklahoma’s place in this game have already been made, so I will step off of that. On the surface, this title game rematch looks like a mismatch, as the Sooners have rolled off at least 60 points in their last four games and Missouri is fresh off giving up 40 to Kansas. But I think the Sooners are due for a bit of a letdown. They rode the momentum of the Texas Tech win against Okie State, but will face a bit of a challenge. I’m not insane enough to pick a Missouri win, but a close loss that will get people complaining.
Oklahoma 39, Missouri 35
East Carolina (+12.5) at Tulsa
I keep going back and forth on this game. That probably makes me kind of lame, as most people don’t devote much brain power to the Conference USA championship game, but I could see Tulsa’s pass-happy spread going nuts and killing the Pirates by 30-something points. I could also see Skip Holtz and East Carolina keeping this game pretty close. I’ll go Tulsa because I don’t feel like writing about this anymore.
Tulsa 48, East Carolina 23
Pittsburgh (+2.5) at Connecticut
This would be an awesome men’s basketball game, as both the Panthers and Huskies are in the top 5 of the polls. It’s not a bad football game either, as Pittsburgh boasts one of the best running backs in LeSean McCoy while UConn has quietly built a solid, if not spectacular, football program. It will be cold and windy in Connecticut, so expect the Panthers to ride McCoy to victory.
Pittsburgh 21, Connecticut 16
Cincinnati (-7) at Hawaii
This game will have the opposite weather of the Pitt-UConn showdown, and quite frankly, the Bearcats deserve a day in paradise after winning a Big East title and Orange Bowl berth. This could be a tricky game for Cincy, as it could be tempted to luau and party, but Hawaii only beat Washington State by 14 last week. That result alone has me picking the Bearcats.
Cincinnati 34, Hawaii 17
Overall record: 101-39. Against the spread: 69-70-1