Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Non-AQ picks, Week 13
By Graham Watson
It’s the last week of the season for many teams and, for several, the last chance to wrap up division and conference titles. It’s hard to pick which matchup I’m most looking forward to seeing -- probably East Carolina and Southern Miss -- but Friday's game between Boise State and Nevada should be interesting as well. And don't forget the MAC East game between Temple and Ohio, which should be a doozy.
I went 7-3 last week to bring my season record to 86-36. That’s a 70 percent average for those scoring at home. I’m hoping to bring it up to 71 percent after this week. Lucky for me, I’ll wipe the slate clean for championship week and bowls.
Temple 26, Ohio 21: The battle for the MAC East title comes down to this one game. Temple has been one of the hottest teams in the country, winning nine straight after losing their first two. However, Ohio has battled its way into this position and won’t give up title without a fight. Temple’s running game has been tough to stop all season and that’s what does Ohio in this week.
Wyoming 24, Colorado State 20: The Battle for the Bronze Boot could mean a bowl berth for Wyoming if they can pull out a victory in Fort Collins, Colo. The Rams have won four of the last five meetings, but have yet to win a conference game this year. Wyoming is coming off a bad loss to TCU, but Cowboys have been able to beat the lower teams in the conference this season.
Bowling Green 31, Toledo 24: This is a rivalry game, but only Bowling Green is playing for something other than pride. The Falcons need a win to notch seven victories on the season and earn a bowl berth. Toledo has been beaten up the past couple weeks and is playing a freshman quarterback. Bowling Green has won three consecutive games since its bye week.
Boise State 34, Nevada 24: A lot of people are expecting this to be a high scoring game, but I’m going against the grain. The Nevada running game will be going against the toughest run defense it’s faced this season. The run game will wear down the clock, which will keep the scoring low. The key for Nevada will be controlling the Boise State passing game, which is one of the best in the country. The Nevada secondary has been one of the weaker spots of the team.
TCU 51, New Mexico 10: TCU needs this win to secure an outright Mountain West title and a BCS berth. The Horned Frogs didn’t get up for their game against Wyoming last week and still walked away with a 45-10 win. The same could happen this week, though I think the defense will play inspired since its senior day for players such as defensive end Jerry Hughes and linebacker Daryl Washington.
Southern Miss 27, East Carolina 26: This game could really go either way because these teams are pretty even. I’m going with Southern Miss because I picked the Golden Eagles to win the East title back in the summer. They have a better quarterback and a more consistent running game. The key will be turnovers and which team’s defense shows up to play.
BYU 24, Utah 20: For the first time since the 2005 season, this game will not decide the conference champion, but it’s still the Holy War and there’s still a lot of emotions at stake as these teams battle for second place in the conference. BYU gets the edge because it’s a veteran team and it’s playing at home, but Utah has played well all season and BYU has buckled in pressure games at home this year.
Louisiana-Monroe 30, Middle Tennessee 28: This is the upset special of the week. Louisiana-Monroe is playing for its bowl life in this game. It needs a seventh win to guarantee a postseason spot. Middle Tennessee has been great this season, but the Warhawks are the best team the Blue Raiders have faced in awhile and with so much on the line, ULM will give MTSU a run for its money.
Troy 31, Louisiana-Lafayette 24: The Trojans are on verge of history. They could finish the conference season undefeated for the first time and win their second outright conference title. Louisiana-Lafayette has put itself in a position to go to a bowl game with a win, but Troy has dominated every Sun Belt team it has faced and this shouldn’t be any different.
Houston 40, Rice 20: The Battle for the Bayou Bucket is just as intriguing as it was a year ago. Last year, Rice knocked Houston out of contention for the C-USA West title and could do so again with a win. Houston has struggled against some of its conference opponents and Rice, which has won its last two games, will have a little bit of a swagger coming in.