bruces1g's Football Blog
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First an apology for the lateness of this blog. Unfortunately, I have been rather tied up with the day job. Also, sorry for not getting the weekly wrap up posted as well.

Since there wasn't the usually wrap up post, let me inform you that I did go 6-2 in last weeks' picks, to bring my total to 56-20. For those of you keeping track, Wade and I had the same picks last week, but I did dust him on the score prediction of the Bama-Miss St. game. Wade is taking a pass on predictions this week, as he has more pressing social engagements.

Now on to the picks.

Week 13 in the SEC doesn't have any real BCS shattering implications, but there are some important games for the teams involved.

As always, the oder of the picks are based on kickoff times.

TENNESSEE at VANDERBILT: The last thing the Vols need to top their disastrous season is to lose to cross-state rival Vandy. For years, Vandy has played the role of whipping boy to the Vols, but the times, they are a changing.  Vandy is coming off a big win against Kentucky and now have their bowl eligible 6 wins.  A win over the Vols would be a sweet icing on a very good Dores season, not to mention another win will get them an even better bowl game. Tennessee is a team that has quit. It doesn't even seem that they have any pride left.  And now they are facing a good Vandy in Nashville.  The Vols season will continue to play out like a bad country song and getting beat by Vandy is going to be just one more verse.

CITADEL at FLORIDA: The Cadets against the Gators.  In the Swamp. Gators trying to get to the BCS Championship. Urban Meyer has no problem running up the score. Slaughter. Enough said.

ARKANSAS at MISSISSIPPI STATE:  This is the match between the have-nots.  Neither team has been lighting up the SEC this season and certainly they are playing only for pride at this point. The Razorbacks have been playing better towards the end of the season and the Bulldogs' offense has continued its downward spiral.  I think that Miss State left what little it had left on the field against Bama last week and I look for the Hawgs to get the win.

OLE MISS at LSU:  LSU barely avoided a humiliating defeat last week at home to Troy. However, the Tigers did show a lot of heart in coming back and winning that game (even if the fans deserted them). I wonder how much that took out of that team? This week a better team in the Rebels come to visit, and while the Rebels have been playing well offensively but have really been playing well on the defensive side. This is not good for the Tigers considering that Lee has a streak of pick-6's going and the alternative is another freshman, Jordan Jefferson, who was not that much more impressive. If the Tigers start the first half of this game as flat as they did against Troy, Nutt will not let off the gas pedal till the game is done.  I think that the Rebels are playing well enough to win this game on the road.  I wonder if the Tiger fans will stay the whole game this week?

Now for the non-SEC games. Since I didn't get the wrap up posted this week, and didn't get the reader input, I will have to choose the games for myself. However, it shouldn't be too hard to pick the big matchups this week.

MICHIGAN STATE at PENN STATE:  Joe Paterno saw his NC hopes fall earlier this season, so now the Rose Bowl is the goal. To get there, the Lions are going to have to take care of the Spartans.  I don't think that they will have much trouble as the PSU defense should be able to throttle the Spartans. With Spartan QB Brian Hoyer passing for a dismal 46.2% completion rate at home, they will have to depend on Javon Ringer to carry the load. A one dimensional Spartan offense should be like fresh meat for the Lions. This probably won't be an offensive showcase for either team, but the Lions will win the defensive battle.

BYU at UTAH: The Holy War. This game will decide who will be the non-BCS conference team to crash the BCS frat party. If Utah gets the win, then they will almost certainly stay ahead of Boise State in the polls and have the inside track. A BYU win opens the door for Boise State (guess who they will be pulling for).  This game could have been a play-in for BYU as well, but TCU ruined that for them. The Utes will be facing a for-real gunslinger in Max Hall, with a 71.5% completion rate (4th best in the nation) and has 34 TD passes. Utah's defense crushed San Diego St. last week and early this year they slammed the door TCU - the same TCU that lit up BYU for 32 points this season. While the Cougars do have a potent offense and a great QB, their defensive play leads a lot to be desired. I think that the Utah attack will be enough against the Cougar's defense and that their D will muster enough to stop Hall and Company. Since the last 10 of 11 meetings between these teams has been decided by about 7 points, this will probably be a close one.

TEXAS TECH at OKLAHOMA:  The Red Raiders take a road trip to Norman this weekend to face the Sooners in what might be a BCS play-in for either team. This is a huge game for not only for the BCS championship potential, but also for the Big 12. A loss by TT would create turmoil for the South division and would lead to a three way tie - which would lead to a convoluted tie breaker to decide who goes to the conference championship game.

Since their loss to Texas in week 7, the Sooners have been rolling up big numbers on offense. However, in those wins some not-so-flattering facts jump out:
1. Those big wins have come against some fairly weak opponents - Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska and Texas A&M - four teams with a combined record of 21 - 23.
2. The national rankings of those four teams defenses are: 91, 115, 68, and 112 respectively.
3. In those same four games, the Sooners' defense has allowed an average of 30.5 points per game and a whopping 434.25 yards of net offense.
4. The toughest opponent that they have played, to date, is Texas. The Sooners lost that game.

To be honest, the Sooners just don't seem that impressive when viewed in light of whom they have played.  On the other hand, Texas Tech has wins over Texas and Oklahoma State.  Particularly impressive in those two wins is how the Red Raider defense managed minimize Colt McCoy and Zac Robinson with pressure and by taking away both team's running game.

Most of the sports pundits seem to think that Oklahoma is the best team in the Big 12. I hate to say it, but IMO, based on their body of work this season, that they are overrated. I think that the Texas Tech offense will take the Sooner defense to the woodshed with Harrell and Crabtree continuing their offensive clinic tour. Meanwhile the defense will keep Sam Bradford out of rhythm and hound him into making costly mistakes. It might not be a runaway, but I believe that the Red Raiders win this one comfortably.

That is it for this week. Please comment as you like, but respect  the rule of no cheap smack without something to back it up.  Bring some facts. Bring some substance to your position. Demonstrate your football knowledge rather than lack of class.

To all fans, of all teams: Enjoy the weekend. I wish your teams good luck. And let's all show some class and sportsmanship.

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