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Ducking the Odds: Week 12 of the 2015 College Football Season

Sean and Rusty take a look at the top games of the week including: UCLA at Utah, USC at Oregon, Michigan at Penn State, Cal at Stanford, Arizona at Arizona State, LSU at Ole Miss, Mississippi State at Arkansas, TCU at Oklahoma, and MSU at OSU.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Last Week:

Sean:  7-4

Rusty:  7-4

This Season:

Sean:  57-44-2  (56.4% - you're winning noticeable money)

Rusty:  49-51-2  (48.5% - losing money)

S:  LSU at Ole Miss (-4)

I think LSU is in a skid. I think Ole Miss's defense has watched the tape from both the Alabama and Arkansas games, and are ready to roll. I like Ole Miss at home, because they can stretch the field in ways that very few LSU opponents have.

R:  LSU at Ole Miss (+4)

The Bayou Bengals have dropped their last two games to Alabama and Arkansas.  The Rebels have had a bye week to prepare for LSU who actually had a passing attack last week.  With Ole Miss performing better against common opponents and with the bye week I think they'll have enough of an edge to cover the spread.

S:  Mississippi State at Arkansas (-3)

Arkansas is on a roll. That continues here. Arkansas's passing offense is seriously underrated, and they have the power run game to lean back on. Take the home team here, as Dak Prescott has not been as explosive as he was last year.

R:  Mississippi State at Arkansas (-3)

Arkansas will stomp all over your plans and not apologize.  They've beaten Ole Miss and LSU on consecutive weeks and have won five of their last six.  Dak Prescott is, unfortunately, having to do everything by himself and the game against Alabama made that uncomfortably clear.  When the Bulldog is so predictable and one-dimensional it will be easier for the Razorbacks to defend and their offense to slowly build up a solid lead.

S:  Michigan State (+13) at Ohio State

MSU was my preseason pick to win the B1G. Even though Connor Cook is banged up, I have to at least take this many points in a game between two very good teams. Keep in mind that Ohio State hasn't played a single top-35 team this year. Like, at all. Their best opponent is either Virginia Tech, Indiana, or Penn State. Not exactly a murderer's row. MSU is better-tested, and I think can cover 13 on the road. Take those points, and watch for weirdness.

R:  Michigan State (+13) at Ohio State

Michigan State plays to the level of their opponent.  So far this season that means they've played down, most notably with a loss to Nebraska.  I don't think Ohio State is a great team and the fact that they are ranked in the top 4 is a joke and should be an embarrassment for the committee.  They have looked average in their games and they haven't been playing good teams.  Michigan State is going to cover easily.

S:  TCU at Oklahoma (waiting for line)

In absence of a line, I'll take OU, straight up. I think OU is headed for the playoff, and has a vulnerable TCU team coming to town. Boykin is banged up and won't be mobile, which I think spells doom in a Josh Doctson-less offense. Take the Sooners.

R:  TCU at Oklahoma (waiting for line)

I didn't see a line at the time of when we had to write these.  Oklahoma took down a team that seemed unstoppable.  It was the way Oklahoma won that was most impressive: with solid defense.  Mayfield played great and the Sooners ran well.  Corey Coleman was held to 51 yards receiving and Jarrett Stidham had a QBR of 50.8.  TCU lost Boykin last week to Kansas but almost losing to Kansas is inexcusable if you're at least a decent team.  And the horned frogs lost to Oklahoma State a few weeks ago.  I think Oklahoma is on fire in the Big-10 and playing the best football in the conference.

S:  Michigan (-4) at Penn State

Michigan is ready to state their case down the stretch. I cannot *believe* Penn State is 7-3. But they have played poorly against every good opponent (Temple, Ohio State, Northwestern). Michigan wins by a TD.

R:  Michigan (-4) at Penn State

The Wolverines survived a scare against Indiana who has ben playing the top teams incredibly close.  Michigan has dominated BYU, should have beaten Michigan State, and then almost blew a win against Minnesota.  It's difficult to get a handle on the team.  Penn State has quietly been playing above average football, which is a huge improvement.  I think even though the game is in Happy Valley that the Wolverines come away with the win and cover.

S:  Arizona (+6) at Arizona State

Arizona is on a little roll here. Take the points in this rivalry game, especially between two teams I think are basically even.

R:  Arizona (+6) at Arizona State

The Wildcats played well against Washington State, USC, and beat Utah but got dominated by Washington.  Sparky beat Washington but dropped their game against Washington State.  Given that the Wildcats beat Utah with no threat of a passing attack they should be able to stay in the game.  Arizona State has been inconsistent but in the season finale I think both teams stay close.

S:  Cal (+12.5) at Stanford

Stanford's secondary has played poorly versus the best-quarterbacked teams it has played: Oregon, Washington State, USC. I think that continues here against a Cal team that can and will score points here. Take the points, and watch for something crazy to happen.

R:  Cal (+12.5) at Stanford

This pick is mostly me cheering for Cal to beat Stanford so Oregon can take the lead in the PAC-12 North on a tie breaker.  Against Oregon the Cardinal defense looked lost at times and made Vernon Adams look infallible.  The Bears dropped a few in a row but those were largely because of their own mistakes.  They got back on track against Oregon State and did what a team should do against the Beavers.  The line is way too high and this rivalry game will stay close.

S:  UCLA at Utah (pk)

Both teams are coming off of dramatic losses, as each lost on the last snap of the game. UCLA has been seesawing up and down all year, and I think Utah does what Utah does best mostly when the Utes play at home. They play better defense and have a more reliable run game. Utah wins with the home bump, and with UCLA's penchant for fading down the stretch.

R:  UCLA (pk) at Utah

I don't fault UCLA for losing to Washington State.  The Cougars are playing some of the best football in the conference.  The Bruins sit 7-3 and the Utes are at 8-2.  UCLA has the clear edge at quarterback and I don't think Utah has been great since their win over ASU in week 6.  I think UCLA is the better team and I like them straight up.

S:  USC at Oregon (-4)

Ducks have found some offense. Their secondary is making small strides each game. Trojans are very banged-up. It's in Autzen, in front of a crowd that is hungry for a big home win. I think things fit well here for the Ducks to win by 10+. Go Ducks.

R:  USC at Oregon (-4)

Obviously I'm picking Oregon.  Oregon is playing the best football in the conference along with Washington State.  USC is down two linebackers but with JuJu Smith-Schuster the Trojans have a huge receiving threat and Arrion Springs is really going to have to show up.  Like in the win against Stanford I think the running game does enough to keep the pressure off Adams and score consistently.  With the game at home the defense will make just enough plays to give Oregon an advantage on the scoreboard.