College football and especially the Big 12 like to save the best for last, and we're getting close to the finish line on another crazy season. So even though we don't yet have a line for the huge TCU game at Oklahoma, I can still pick five games exclusively featuring ranked teams. Wisconsin shouldn't be ranked, but let's ignore that for now.
Four conferences are featured as well, and I'm pleased to report none of them are the SEC. In fact, that league's best game this weekend is LSU at Ole Miss, since six SEC teams are facing FCS or terrible FBS teams this week. Ugh. Keep in mind all these picks are for entertainment purposes only.
Jon was on point last week, going 7-3 and correctly predicting every game in which we disagreed. Sadly, there were quite a few of those, as I went an excruciating 2-8 for the second straight week to drop to 50-58-2, two games behind Jon's 52-56-2.
|Saturday, 11 a.m. Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia|
LT: The AAC avoided disaster and figures to still have one undefeated team left heading into Thanksgiving. But it won’t be the Tigers or the Owls, both of whom have whom should consider themselves lucky for not dropping out of relevance entirely after two losses in the last three weeks. Houston should have no trouble with UConn before another tough hurdle in Navy next week. This game, though, features the AAC’s best passing offense (Memphis) against its best pass defense (Temple) and the potential for a very interesting matchup. But it’s very concerning to me that the Owls gave up 44 points in a loss to South Florida a week ago. Memphis is a little too good. Tigers cover.
JM: I think, sadly, that despite what the loss actually meant for their national reputation -- they earned a ton of respect for keeping it a close game for the entire 60 minutes -- the loss to Notre Dame took the wind out of Temple's sails. They just haven't looked right since, also giving up 40 to SMU two weeks ago. Memphis, on the other hand, responded to losing to Navy by fighting Houston to a near-draw. Tigers cover.
|Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT|
LT: UCLA suffered an embarrassing loss last week at home against Washington State, and Utah effectively ended the Pac-12’s chances of making the Playoff with a loss at Arizona. I just don’t know what to do with this game, but my gut tells me to take UCLA. Therefore, Utes cover.
JM: I find the characterization of a loss whose ultimate result was to leave both teams sporting the same record as "embarrassing" a little strange, but okay. I mean, for it to be an embarrassment, you'd actually have to be better than the other team, and I'm not sure UCLA is. Maybe next year after Rosen's had more time to work on his game. For now, my gut tells me Utah covers, so I'm going with that instead of ignoring myself.
|Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Ohio Stadium, Columbus OH|
LT: If you’re looking for proof of why the Cowboys close calls will eventually catch up to them, look no further than the Spartans. Sure, the loss to Nebraska was a shock, but this team just wasn’t consistently good enough to go undefeated. Now they’re headed to Columbus to face the conference’s best team, but the Buckeyes aren’t really good at blowouts. Michigan State loses, but cover.
JM: It's interesting to me that all the focus has been on the Big 12 getting real this month, and there's been very little ink wasted on the Big 10 East getting real, too. There's only three teams really involved here, and only one is undefeated, but in terms of a conference race it's still compelling. (And the TCU analogue here is Penn State, I guess.) Sparty's had its issues, but this will be Ohio State's second real test of the season. They passed the first with flying colors, but this one's a bit trickier. I agree with Luke; Buckeyes win, but Sparty covers.
|Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Camp Randall Stadium, Madison WI|
LT: This one fit the theme, but to be honest, it’s really not a compelling game at all. We’re talking about two fairly dismal offensively teams who have made a habit of winning by small margins. Luckily, that made this one easy. Wildcats cover.
JM: Oh, so look who's picking two Big 10 games now. This game is stupid. The second-best journalism school in the country covers.
|Saturday, 6:30 p.m. Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater OK|
LT: I've been doubting Oklahoma State basically all season, and the win against TCU showed me I should probably stop. But then the Cowboys went out and nearly got beat by Iowa State, so here I am again wondering how they're the Big 12's last undefeated team. Oklahoma's defense stopped the Bears in the rain, but the Sooners have much better athletes and it's supposed to be sunny (but cold with a high of 45) in Stillwater on Saturday. Mason Rudolph might be the best quarterback in this game, but it's time for this offense to falter. Baylor wins.
JM: I have no faith on OSU's ability to stop Baylor. I don't really have any faith in Baylor's ability to stop the Cowboys, either, but this is like saying "I don't have any faith in Bob's ability to stop a 44-caliber slug, and I also don't have any faith in Dave's ability to stop a .38 round." Baylor wins.
Everything is terrible. We might have TCU-Oklahoma, if the line gets posted in time. But probably not. What we will have is a bunch of games that sound really important and aren't at all.