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Games of the Week

WEEK THIRTEEN

Michigan at Ohio StateMICHIGAN AT OHIO STATE: This matchup in the final weekend of Big Ten play is always huge; this year, there’s a little bit more riding on it though. Ohio State, if they knock off the Wolverines, would finish the season undefeated and capture a share of the Big Ten title with Iowa. The Buckeyes would also advance to the Fiesta Bowl for a chance at the national championship. Michigan is fighting for bowl positioning, possibly on New Year’s Day. Meanwhile, Iowa fans everywhere are sitting back and rooting for the Wolverines to pull the upset so that the Hawkeyes would be outright Big Ten champs and have a shot at making the Fiesta Bowl. Other one-loss teams like Oklahoma, Washington State, Georgia, and Notre Dame will also be rooting for Michigan this Saturday. This will be another close one, but OSU should pull it out at home. My pick: Ohio State 17....Michigan 16

Pittsburgh at MiamiPITTSBURGH AT MIAMI: This game is one of ESPN’s best Thursday night selections of the season. Both the Pittsburgh Panthers and Miami Hurricanes are undefeated in Big East play, and the ‘Canes are also undefeated overall. The winner of this game puts themself in the driver’s seat for the rest of the season in the conference. Miami would also stay alive for a bid to the Fiesta Bowl and a shot at the national title. The Panthers have already proven they’re capable of winning on the road this season when they went into Blacksburg and knocked off then-undefeated Virginia Tech. This is a huge game on the national scale even though the two teams’ aspirations are slightly different. Pitt is only trying to wrap up the Big East and earn a BCS berth, while Miami is leading the pack for a Fiesta Bowl bid right now. I think the ‘Canes finally go down. My pick: Pittsburgh 31....Miami 28

Southern Cal at UCLASOUTHERN CAL AT UCLA: This is one of the better in-state rivalries in college football. But this game isn’t just in-state; both of these teams are in the same city. Southern Cal, after stumbling against Washington State earlier in the year, has bounced right back and is just a step behind WSU in the PAC 10 standings. If the Trojans can pick up the win over the Bruins, they’ll still need the help of the Washington Huskies to knock off Washington State. If UW does pull of the win over the Cougars and USC wins this weekend as well, the Trojans would need to root for UCLA to upset Washington State on December 7 in LA to give USC the conference championship. This should be a great game, as the Bruins seem to have avoided their annual slump in the final half of the season this year. Southern Cal has been nearly unstoppable over the past month, and I think they’ll continue to roll this week. My pick: Southern Cal 24....UCLA 20

Texas Tech at OklahomaTEXAS TECH AT OKLAHOMA: The Red Raiders pulled off a huge upset of in-state rival Texas last weekdn in Lubbock to keep themselves in the hunt for the Big XII South title. Oklahoma dominated the Baylor Bears last weekend and now return to Norman for the contest with Texas Tech this weekend. Behind the arm of Heisman candidate QB Kliff Kingsbury, the Red Raiders have piled points on the board this season but have also had trouble holding opponents’ scoring totals down. With the Big XII South title, a trip to the Big XII Championship Game, and a possible BCS berth on the line for both teams, I expect this to be a close, hard-fought contest all the way. OU has a little more on the line as they still have an outside shot and the Fiesta Bowl if Ohio State or Miami falter, and I think the Sooners will get the job done on the home turf. My pick: Oklahoma 27....Texas Tech 20

Florida State at NC StateFLORIDA STATE AT NC STATE: NC State, after starting off the season on fire, has fallen down in the ranks over the past few weeks with back-to-back-to-back losses at home to Georgia Tech, at Maryland, and at Virginia. The Wolfpack must now return to Raleigh to take on a Florida State team that has been on a roll as of late. After starting off the season slow, the ‘Noles have bounced back and are controlling their own destiny in the ACC race. Although they don’t have a shot at making the Fiesta Bowl, Florida State is shooting for a return trip to the BCS. NC State has played themselves out of a shot at the ACC crown, but a win over Florida State is always something to be proud of. The homefield should keep this one extremely close, but the Noles have been playing best and should pull the win out. My pick: Florida State 24....NC State 21

Maryland at VirginiaMARYLAND AT VIRGINIA: A few weeks ago, this wouldn’t have looked like much a big-time matchup. But UVA has stepped up to the plate over the past few weeks, as have the Maryland Terrapins. Virginia was able to defeat the NC State Wolfpack in Charlottesville last weekend and get to stay at home to take on a red-hot Maryland team. The Terps have been on a roll this season, especially the past few weeks when they demolished North Carolina on the road, came home and knocked off NC State, and then went back on the road and defeated Clemson. The crowd in Virginia should have the place rockin’, but the Terps have a slightly better team and will pull out a very, very close win on the road and stay alive in the ACC race. My pick: Maryland 27....Virginia 24

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