Friday, November 7, 2008

Week 11 College Picks

#9 Oklahoma State @ #2 Texas Tech - A year ago, in Stillwater, Red Raider freshman wideout Michael Crabtree dropped a would-be winning touchdown pass. And after the game, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy sounded off to the media, proclaiming that he is indeed a man, and that he is also 40. But this year, Crabtree already has a game-winning catch with his magical, miraculous, tackle-breaking touchdown at the end of the Texas game. So, a rare drop last year has turned into motivation this year. Also in that game last year, quarterback Graham Harrell threw for 646 yards and 5 TDs. To put that in perspective, the NFL record for passing yards is 554. Harrell had almost a hundred more yards than the NFL's passing record. Wow. And while it may be a strecth to call for a Harrell repeat, it is not outlandish to expect a great performance out of him. On the other side of the ball, Oklahoma State is led by QB Zac Robinson, RB Kendall Hunter and WR Dez Bryant. On offense, these two teams are very similar with a standout quarterback (Harrell and Robinson), change-of-pace running games and gamebreaking wide receivers (Crabtree and Bryant). Oklahoma State's offense is good but not good enough to keep up with the Red Raiders' high-octane offense. The Cowboys defense was able to get pressure on Missouri QB Chase Daniel with their speed rushers on the defensive line. And yes, Missouri's and Texas Tech's offenses are similar, but the Red Raiders were able to handle Texas' speed rushers and protect Harrell. This week shouldn't be any different. And, this time, Crabtree will make the catch.

Texas Tech, 52-49

#1 Alabama @ #16 LSU - The return of Alabama head coach Nick Saban to LSU brings emotions and harsh feelings to Baton Rouge. Saban has been the center of attention for the past week and it is a good a storyline but there is actually a football game being played. The Crimson Tide rolls into Louisiana undefeated and now atop the BCS Rankings. They are one of the most balanced teams with John Parker Wilson at QB and Roy Upchurch and Glen Coffee in the backfield. Also, on defense, the defensive line is one of the most dominant in the nation. The LSU Tigers have been lit up in big losses to Florida and Georgia, allowing over 50 points each game. And on offense, they are sputtering under QB Jarrett Lee. While emotions can help win a game, emotion alone will not pull the Tigers past the #1 Tide.

Alabama, 28-17

#11 Ohio State @ #24 Northwestern - Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor has had two weeks to discard the memory of the Penn State fumble from his mind and now focuses on Northwestern. The Ohio State offense should get back on track against a battered Wildcat team. The Northwestern offense is also banged up, down to their third string running back. The Buckeye defense (allowing 13 points per game) should be able to stop the Wildcat offense, keying an OSU win.

Ohio State, 30-10

#21 California @ #7 USC - Cal got a big win last week against then #24 Oregon and now face the class of the Pac-10, the USC Trojans. Southern Cal's defense enters the game as the top ranked scoring defense as well as top ranked yardage defense. The Golden Bears should put on a respectable performance but still lose by double-digits.

USC, 45-23

#20 Georgia Tech @ #19 North Carolina - Yellow Jackets come off last-second win against Florida State thanks to Seminole fumble in the last minute inside the 5. But the most important thing to come out of the game might have been QB Josh Nesbitt's injury. Nesbitt got hurt and after, Jonathan Dwyer was less effective as the feature back in the triple option. North Carolina is playing the best football of the year and this week is playing at home. The injury to Nesbitt will hinder Georgia Tech's triple option, relegating them to a loss.

North Carolina, 24-20

#3 Penn State @ Iowa - Nittany Lions travel to Iowa to take on Shonn Greene and the sneaky Hawkeyes. Greene is one of the top rushers in the country, even garnering some Heisman Trophy talk. But Daryll Clark and the Lion defense will be too much for Iowa. Hawkeyes will keep it close, but PSU will pull it out.

Penn State, 34-24

Last Week: 4-4. A few last second wins, a few last second losses.

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