NCF Nation: Northern llinois Huskies

Non-AQ Picks, Week 14

December, 2, 2010
12/02/10
9:00
AM ET
Upsets cost me all three games last week and I ended up 7-3 again. But hey, I nailed Akron’s first win of the season!

With a 86-48 overall record, bring on Week 14.

No. 11 Boise State 55, Utah State 10. This game could go two ways: the Broncos could sleepwalk their way through after their devastating 34-31 overtime loss last week to Nevada. Or they could absolutely dominate in their final home game of the season, to close out their stint in the WAC with a perfect home record. Betting on the latter.

No. 17 Nevada 35, Louisiana Tech 24. Nevada might suffer an emotional hangover after its big win, and Louisiana Tech is fighting for a bowl berth. The Bulldogs are at home, and with a win they become bowl eligible. Lennon Creer has been outstanding, and so has Phillip Livas. But Colin Kaepernick, Vai Taua and Rishard Matthews are going to be hard to stop for a team that allowed one-win San Jose State to score 38 last week.

No. 25 Northern Illinois 38, Miami (Ohio) 20 (Friday). The Huskies have won nine straight and are the heavy favorites headed into the MAC title game in Detroit. Meanwhile, Miami (Ohio) was the least likely team to make it this far, after going 1-11 last season. The combination of Chad Spann and Chandler Harnish is going to be too hard to stop. This offense has averaged 65 points in its last three games.

UCF 31, SMU 21. The Knights are in the Conference USA title game for the third time, while SMU is making its first appearance. UCF has the best defense in the conference, and is bigger and more physical along the line of scrimmage. That should help the Knights slow down Zach Line, who leads the league in rushing. SMU has struggled making big plays this season, and it will be tough sledding against UCF.

FIU 35, Middle Tennessee 28. The Panthers have won four straight and already clinched a share of the Sun Belt championship, while the Blue Raiders are playing for their bowl lives. A win for Middle Tennessee and they become bowl eligible. Dwight Dasher has been inconsistent, while FIU is playing with a confidence never before seen in this program.

UPSET SPECIAL: Fresno State 40, Illinois 35 (Friday). You know the Illini will be seeking revenge for what happened last season, when the Bulldogs won a wild 53-52 game after offensive lineman Devan Cunningham caught a deflected pass on a 2-point conversion with seconds left in the game. This has been a disappointing season for the Bulldogs, but three of their losses have been to AP Top 25 teams. Count on Logan Harrell and Chris Carter to be able to get pressure on Nathan Scheelhaase, and a big game from QB Ryan Colburn.

Hawaii 55, UNLV 13. The Warriors should become the sixth team in school history to win 10 games. Key stat to watch: Greg Salas needs eight receptions to break Davone Bess’ single-season record of 108 set in 2007 and 133 yards to eclipse Ashley Lelie’s single-season mark of 1,713 set in 2001. Also, can Alex Green get 300 yards rushing again?

Idaho 38, San Jose State 20. The Spartans got a huge game from Jordan La Secla last week in a loss to Louisiana Tech, but go into their season finale with just four healthy seniors available to play. The injury bug has been absolutely brutal. Idaho, meanwhile, has had a disappointing season after going to a bowl in 2009 but has more talent and depth to win.

Troy 28, FAU 17. The Owls got off to a rocky start this season, then fought their way back to near bowl eligibility before losing last week to Middle Tennessee. Though the Trojans have struggled and are having a subpar season by their standards, they have won six of their seven meetings with FAU and are playing for bowl positioning.

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