College Football Week 13 Picks
The Pac-12 South was thrown into complete question last week when Oregon State beat Arizona State. Both of these teams will square off, hoping to take over the division in the "Battle for LA". Although their offense is still plagued with inconsistency, UCLA has been on an absolute tear since their second loss of the season, to Oregon that seemingly knocked them out of Playoff contention. With his offensive line finally helping him, Brett Hundley is starting to show the talent that many people saw in him before the season began, and back Paul Perkins has emerged as one of the conference's most reliable offensive weapons. USC has also been inconsistent defensively all year, but when they are on, their are superb. The speed and playmaking of Hundley could give them problems similar to what they suffered against Tyler Murphy and Boston College earlier in the year. Defensive tackle Leonard Williams isn't just a big name for NFL scouts; he has been a real force of nature this season. Against a banged-up interior of the Bruins' O-Line, he could really become a major factor in this game. USC's offense has also been wracked with inconsistency and some injuries but they also have the chance to be dominant when playing well. Cody Kessler continues to wow his huge arm but he must be careful and not turn the ball over against a hungry UCLA defense. Buck Allen is a beast of a back and he will test a strong UCLA rush defense, like they haven't been tested since that loss to the Ducks. A healthy Nelson Agholor is also a real problem for the Bruins' defense, on special teams as well. Myles Jack and Eric Kendricks have been absolutely superb all season for the Bruins (combining for 179 tackles, two interceptions) and they will have to make plays all over the field against the speedy Trojans. UCLA has dominated the last two meetings between the two teams but the Trojans have the chance to win this game if they move the ball efficiently and get pressure on Hundley. If they don't, Hundley will run all over them with the help of Perkins, and the Bruins will win their third straight in this heated rivalry.
UCLA, 31 USC, 23
23 Nebraska vs. 25 Minnesota
The Big Ten West Division is still up for grabs this weekend, as the Gophers get the tough 'Huskers one week before a big meeting with Wisconsin. On the other side, Nebraska will be attempting to recover from that harsh beating at the hands of the Badgers. Their rush defense will need to play muc, much better after surrendering 408 yards to Melvin Gordon last week. Unfortunately, the Gophers have David Cobb waiting in the wings (seventh in the nation in rushing yards) along with a very mobile quarterback in Mitch Leidner. Minnesota will also bring vertical threat tight end Maxx Williams to the equation, along with an offensive line that has gotten better as the year has gone on. While the Gophers main goal in this game will be to run the ball, they will need to hope Nebraska doesn't do the same very well. Ameer Abdullah was held relatively in check against Wisconsin and the Minnesota defense is much improved, especially in the interior. The Gophers will need to tackle well in space, something they struggled with against the Buckeyes last weekend. They will also need to apply pressure to QB Tommy Armstrong, who struggled in last year's upset loss to Minnesota. Unless the Nebraska rush defense miraculously improves in a week, they should really struggle to contain Cobb and a very much improved Minnesota offense. If Leidner can look over the top for some play action opportunities, this one looks in the bag for the Gophers. Although, a road matchup in the hostile Lincoln environment would provide all the challenge for Minnesota.
Minnesota, 28 Nebraska, 18
16 Wisconsin vs. Iowa
While the Minnesota-Nebraska game will essentially will be an elimination game for the West title, this one will also have serious consequences between the hot Badgers and the quietly 7-3 Hawkeyes, who have two Big Ten losses. Iowa will do what they have done all season: run the ball, run the ball and then run the ball some more, with the help of powerful Mark Weisman and junior Jordan Canzeri. Weisman has run for 14 scores already on the year, and he can give defenses that don't tackle well (like Wisconsin's D at times) serious problems, while Canzeri is a perfect change of pace. The passing offense has also been greatly improved for Iowa, and that could help keep the Wisconsin secondary relatively honest. Wisconsin will also clearly run the ball, with their Heisman candidate Melvin Gordon, who just continues to embarrass defenders. But, don't expect them to have the success they had last week, as the Hawkeyes have a number of players that can help big time in run support. Among them are massive Louis Trinca-Pasat, a gap stuffer who has 58 tackles and seven sacks on the year, along with speedy linebacker Quinton Alston. While the Badgers will still clearly run the ball, they will need their passing game to play better this week. Joel Stave has been solid all year and seems to have found his groove. Iowa could be exposed over the top as well, and the Badgers will surely attempt to take advantage. But, don't be fooled this one will clearly be a typical Big Ten football game: a smash mouth, run the ball down their throats type of battle. Which ever team stops the other more effectively will win. The way they played last week, Wisconsin is a pretty sure bet.
Wisconsin, 24 Iowa, 14
8 Ole Miss, 30 Arkansas, 21
17 Utah, 28 15 Arizona, 27
3 Florida State, 34 Boston College, 24
2 Oregon, 49 Colorado, 14
7 Baylor, 47 Oklahoma State, 35
Current Picks Record: 67-28