Bowling Green at #14 Northern Illinois (-3) (Friday)
|One last Heisman case for NIU|
quarterback Jordan Lynch.
The pick: Northern Illinois 45-33
Conference USA Championship
Marshall (-5.5) at Rice
I pick this because I need to get to 10 games somehow. Vegas says Marshall is almost a touchdown better. Okay.
The pick: Marshall 33-27
#20 Duke vs #1 Florida State (-29)
Doesn't Florida State have to be challenged? Maybe a little? Just a SLIGHT threat of BCS chaos?
Probably not against Duke. The Blue Devils have been a nice story, but Florida State has crushed every challenger. Jameis Winston will make one closing argument for the Heisman, and this game won't be close.
The pick: Florida State 55-17
Big Ten Championship
#2 Ohio State vs #10 Michigan State (+5.5)
The BCS deserves a little chaos. Ohio State seems like a good candidate to trip up. The Buckeyes face the nation's top defense, and Michigan State is the best team Ohio State has seen in quite a few weeks, maybe all season.
The Buckeyes, though, should have enough offense to survive. Their defense is pretty strong itself, and I'm not sure MSU will have enough offense to win.
The pick: Ohio State 20-17
#5 Missouri vs #3 Auburn (-2)
|Will Auburn need a third miracle to beat Missouri?|
The pick: Auburn 35-31
#17 Oklahoma at #6 Oklahoma State (-10)
I look at this game similar to the OSU team from two years ago: the Brandon Weeden/Justin Blackmon-led squad that was absolutely rolling and just had to dispose of their bitter rivals before a BCS trip. Oklahoma is not very strong this year, and I don't think they'll present the kind of challenge you'd expect from OU, especially not in Stillwater.
Something to watch: if Ohio State and/or Florida State loses and Oklahoma State wins, look for Mike Gundy to make a loud case for his team to be in the national championship game. I wouldn't bet a dime on him getting what he wants, but the Cowboys will present their case.
The pick: Oklahoma State 45-20
#25 Texas (+13.5) at #9 Baylor
These two teams enter this game singing "Boomer Sooner," and I know that's bitter for Texas fans. The truth is, though, an Oklahoma win would mean the winner of this game claims the Big 12 title. I haven't been impressed by Baylor the last two weeks, and I think the Longhorns will give them a heck of a fight. Baylor's offense will not be stopped, though.
The pick: Baylor 42-30
#7 Stanford (+3) vs #11 Arizona State
While Arizona State is the hot team, Stanford still can play like a national championship contender at times. I think the Cardinal lacked motivation last week in a meaningless game against Notre Dame. They'll be dialed in this week and claim the Pac-12.
The pick: Stanford 30-24
#16 UCF at SMU
UCF doesn't need this game to claim the AAC BCS spot, but it does need it to officially claim the title outright. Even with a loss, UCF has the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Louisville-Cincinnati winner. The allure of an outright title, though, will be enough to motivate them against an SMU team missing its quarterback.
The pick: UCF 44-21
Mountain West Championship
Utah State at #23 Fresno State (-3)
Fresno State was stunned by San Jose State last week, and that cost the Bulldogs a shot at a BCS bid. They can still claim the conference this week, and I think David Carr, who has some pretty amazing statistics, will let it fly in a desperate attempt to get on some Heisman ballots.
The pick: Fresno State 56-24