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Phil’s Week 8 Top 25 Forecasts

Every week we will post my Forecasts of all the games involving Top 25 teams. As usual, it includes my computer’s projected box score for each game.

So far this year the Top 25 Forecasts have gone 111-28 80% picking the winners of each game. That record may sound great, but do keep in mind most games have involved teams that were big favorites so the majority of people will have a solid record on these games as well. On the bottom of the forecast, I have listed some Upset Specials which have pulled the upset 8 out of 19 times. Combined the first seven weeks record is 122-42 74%!!

Let’s get to my Top 25 Forecasts!

#1 FLORIDA AT MISSISSIPPI STATE

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
FLORIDA 201 210 32 2.2 ••
MISS STATE 139 130 10 3.1
Last 12 Years Matchups

Florida hasn’t won in Starkville since 1985 (4 straight losses) with Mississippi St having 4 outright upsets over ranked Gator squads. Mississippi St HC Mullen was the Florida OC the last 4 years and knows Meyer inside and out as he was the QB Coach at Utah and Bowling Green from 2001-2004. Florida escaped with a 23-20 win over Arkansas last week on a 27 yard field goal with :09 left. Tebow accounted for 324 of the team’s 391 yards and a 4-0 TO deficit kept Ark in the game. Mississippi St is off a 27-6 win at Middle Tennessee, in which Mississippi St had just a 333-248 yard edge. This is the first defense ranked in the NCAA’s top 30 that Miss St will face (Florida #1). Miss St did outgain then-#7 LSU 374-263 in a 30-26 loss and had 487 yards versus then-#25 Georgia Tech. Mississippi St is a run-first off led by RB Dixon (696, 5.2), but Florida is only allowing 95 rush yards per game (3.0). Head Coach Meyer might want to open it up after last week’s close call even with rival Georgia on deck.

PHIL’S FORECAST: Florida 41 MISS ST 10

#2 ALABAMA VS TENNESSEE

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
TENNESSEE 78 145 12 2.7
ALABAMA 197 180 29 2.0 •••
Last 12 Years Matchups

This bitter rivalry was always held on the “Third Saturday in October” but it is on the wrong weekend again this year. Saban has led Alabama to 2 straight wins versus Tennessee by an average of 35-13, but Tennessee is 4-2 at Alabama. Alabama had 23-10 FD and 366-173 yard edges in last year’s 29-9 win and held Tennessee to 39 yards rush even though DT Cody did not play (he was injured). Tennessee is 4-0 off a much-needed bye as many players were banged up and Alabama is playing their 8th straight game. Prior to the bye, Tennessee destroyed Georgia 45-19 with a 472-241 yard edge. Tennessee RB Hardesty has 672 (5.4) but Alabama only allows 63 rush yards per game (2.2) for #3 in the NCAA. In the Vols’ only previous road game, Tennessee was held to 210 total yards by our #1 defense (Florida) and now faces my #2 defense. Alabama RB Ingram had a career high 246 yards last week (905, 6.7). Tennessee QB Crompton (202 yards per game, 58%, 13-9 ratio) implodes when pressured and Alabama’s defense has 21 sacks this year, so Bama should bag their 8th straight double digit win.

PHIL’S FORECAST: ALABAMA 30 Tennessee 9

#3 TEXAS VS MISSOURI

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
TEXAS 127 248 33 2.1 ••
MISSOURI 59 243 18 4.0
Last 12 Years Matchups

Texas has owned this series going 14-1  (5-0 under Brown). Last year both teams were ranked in the Top 11 and Texas was at home but led 35-3 with a 352-101 yard edge at halftime. The Horns are off a big Red River Rivalry win and have gone 10-0 the game after. QB McCoy is averaging 256 yards per game (70%) with an 11-7 ratio. Mizzou surprised many with its 4-0 start and a 12-0 lead after the 3Q versus Neb but since then have been outscored 60-17. QB Gabbert is not 100% (ankle injury) and is averaging 270 yards per game (58%) with a 12-5 ratio. Both teams’ rush attacks have been below par this year (Texas 170 yards per game, 4.4, MIssouri 122 yards per game, 3.4) but Texas has been better at stopping the run (Texas 36 ypg, 1.3, Missouri 127 ypg, 3.6). Texas is ranked #17 in my pass efficiency D allowing 210 yards per game (52%) with a 7-10 ratio while Missouri is #40 (210 yards per game, 58%, 7-2). Texas does have Oklahoma St on deck. The Horns have their sights on a National Title and will leap another hurdle here versus a Tiger squad in its toughest stretch of the season.

PHIL’S FORECAST: Texas 33 MISSOURI 16

#4 BOISE STATE AT HAWAII

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
BOISE ST 199 228 38 2.4 ••••
HAWAII 62 318 18 3.3
Last 12 Years Matchups

Boise has won 7 of the last 8 in this series. The Warriors are #3 in the NCAA in pass offense (371 yards per game) but that figure was primarily due to QB Alexander (out year, knee). Backup QB Moniz is averaging 197 yards per game (57%) with a 3-3 ratio getting the last two starts. Hawaii WR Salas is #2 in the NCAA with 132 yards per game with 42 receptions (18.8) while teammate Bradley has 31 receptions (18.5). Boise St has large edges on offense (#25-77), defense (#23-108) and Special Teams (#8-77). QB Moore is averaging 234 yards per game (70%) with a 16-2 ratio and is #1 in the NCAA in pass efficiency (171.2) and has two top-tier WR’s to play pitch-&-catch with in Pettis (32 receptions, 13.8) and Young (31 receptions, 11.6). RB Avery has 514 yards (5.8) and leads a solid ground game. Boise is 61-4 all-time versus the WAC with its last conference loss coming here in ‘07 to UH (39-27) which cost the Broncos the WAC Title. Boise St  has played subpar games the last two but look for a trip to paradise here to get them back on track versus a Hawaii team which has lost four straight games for the first time since 2000.

PHIL’S FORECAST: Boise St 45 HAWAII 10

#5 CINCINNATI VS LOUISVILLE

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
LOUISVILLE 128 230 15 2.6
CINCINNATI 147 330 39 2.1 •••
Last 12 Years Matchups

This is the Battle for the Keg of Nails and these schools are only 106 miles apart. Cincinnati snapped a 5 game losing streak last year with their 28-20 win over the Cardinals. Louisville has lost 9 of the last 10 games versus FBS foes. Last week Connecticut converted 24 pts off Louisville turnovers as the Cards lost 38-25. QB Froman threw for 295 yards (77%), but couldn’t overcome 5 turnovers and RB Anderson was limited with injury. The defense is allowing 360 yards per game and is badly banged up in the secondary and now has to contain Cincinnati’s aerial assault (310 yards per game). Cincinnati jumps to #5 after defeating USF 34-17. QB Pike re-injured his arm and sophomore Collaros came in and rushed for 125 yards and 2 touchdowns. He will make his first start here, and the offense takes on a new complexion with his mobility. At least Louisville will be prepared for the switch unlike USF which had to adapt mid game. Cincinnati has huge edges all around (offense #14-60, defense #34-85 and special teams #18-76). Look for the Cards to keep this closer than expected.

PHIL’S FORECAST: CINCINNATI 38 Louisville 28

#6 IOWA AT MICHIGAN STATE

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
IOWA 85 213 19 1.8
MICH ST 91 228 17 3.1
Last 12 Years Matchups

The home team has won 9 in a row by 15 points per game. Michigan St survived 16-13 in ‘08 with Iowa losing two turnovers in the redzone and they were stopped on downs on 4th & 1 at the MSU21 passing up a 38 yard game-tying field goal. Michigan St rallied from a 7-0 halftime deficit to beat Northwestern 24-14 in East Lansing. Michigan St was stopped on downs at 4th & goal from the 1 on their first drive but also scored 10 points in 3 plays early in the 4th quarter as Michigan St hit a field goal and then had a 22 yard touchdown run 1 play after Northwestern fumbled away the kickoff. QB Cousins (214 yards per game as starter, 63%, 9-4 ratio) is the Big Ten’s pass efficiency leader with his top target being White (45, 14.1). Michigan St is tied for the league lead in sacks with 21 and #3 in rush defense (99, 3.0). Iowa won their 11th straight rallying from a 10-0 deficit to beat rival Wisconsin 20-10 as Wisconsin quarterback Tolzien threw three 2nd half interceptions. QB Stanzi (225 yards per game, 59%, 11-8 ratio) continues to play like Derek Anderson in the 1H and Tom Brady in the 2H. Iowa’s D is #2 NCAA in turnovers forced with 22 (13 in 3 road games). Iowa has the edge on defense (#11-28) and special teams (#20-41) and continues to lead the Big Ten race.

PHIL’S FORECAST Iowa 20 MICHIGAN ST 16

#7 USC VS OREGON STATE

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
OREGON ST 60 170 15 1.6
USC 200 335 33 1.9
Last 12 Years Matchups

Oregon St comes in fresh off a bye and catches USC in an Notre Dame/Oregon sandwich. Leading by 20 points in the 4th quarter, USC’s defense held on for the 7 point win last week in South Bend (501-367 yard edge) stopping 3 passes from the 4 yard line as time expired. The Beavers upset USC for the 2nd time in the last 3 seasons last year as USC trailed 21-0 at the half and was unable to convert on a last minute touchdown attempt. In 2007, USC was playing with revenge and jumped out to a big halftime lead at home and won 24-3. USC should get legitimate revenge here again despite the journey to Eugene next week for the potential Pac-10 Title.

PHIL’S FORECAST: USC 41 Oregon St 13

#8 TCU AT #16 BYU

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
TCU 160 185 26 2.0
BYU 105 270 27 2.2
Last 12 Years Matchups

This is the Game of the Year in the Mountain West Conference and unlike last year when the BCS pressure was on BYU this time the pressure is on TCU. Last year the Horned Frogs handed BYU their worst loss since 2005 and stopped their attempted BCS run with a 32-7 blowout (snapped a BYU 16 game win streak). While TCU has fared well on the road this year with wins over Clemson and Virginia, BYU is very tough at home winning 13 straight conference games. BYU QB Max Hall has been good averaging 296 yards per game (69%) with a 16-10 ratio and has not thrown an interception the last two games. Meanwhile TCU QB Dalton is averaging 204 yards per game (69%) with an 8-3 ratio. Don’t read too much into last week’s close win versus San Diego St as BYU was clearly looking ahead to this week (still had 512-342 yard edge). If this game is decided by a touchdown remember that nobody is better in close games than the Cougs who have won their last eight in which the outcome was decided by 8 or less. I like the Cougars to end TCU’s BCS run. Simply put: the better team in a win situation at home.

PHIL’S FORECAST: BYU 27 Tcu 17

#9 LSU VS AUBURN

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
AUBURN 140 145 14 2.4
LSU 200 210 29 1.4 •••
Last 12 Years Matchups

The last 5 have been decided by a touchdown or less and the home team is 8-1. Last year LSU RB Scott (132, 6.3) became the first LSU back to surpass 100 rush yards at Jordan-Hare Stadium and LSU hit an 18 yard touchdown pass with 1:03 left for a 26-20 win. LSU is fresh off a bye and should be over their 13-3 loss to Florida which ended their 32 game win streak on Saturday nights in Tiger Stadium. Auburn is playing an 8th straight week and this is their 3rd away game in 4 weeks and they have lost 2 in a row. Auburn’s last game was a 21-14 upset loss to Kentucky. Auburn RB Tate has five 100+ rush games this year (856, 5.7). Despite being a Top 10 team, LSU has been outgained by an average of 323-295 in their 6 games this year, but has outscored opponents by an average of 23-14.5. LSU spent their bye week trying to fix their ailing off, so you may see some new wrinkles here. LSU QB Jefferson (169 yards per game, 63%, 7-3 ratio) has been rattled by strong defenses, but Auburn only ranks #50 while LSU’s ranks #10. This looks like another down-to-the-wire SEC game.

PHIL’S FORECAST: Auburn 24 LSU 23

#10 MIAMI, FL VS CLEMSON

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
CLEMSON 110 138 16 2.6 ••
MIAMI, FL 126 213 23 2.3
Last 12 Years Matchups

These two last met in 2005 and Miami needed a Tyrone Moss 25 yard touchdown run in the 3rd overtime to lift #13 Miami over #20 Clemson 36-30. Clemson won their last trip here in 2004, 24-17, also in overtime. QB Harris is averaging 253 yards per game (65%) with an 11-7 ratio. Miami has some very talented RB’s (James averages 5.0 and Berry 7.9) and needs to utilize them more but the OL can’t be as erratic as it has been this year (6 sacks allowed last week versus UCF). Miami has the offensive edge (#26-62) but Clemson has the defensive edge (#8-14). RB Spiller is averaging 191 all-purpose yards per game (#2 ACC, #6 NCAA). QB Parker is averaging 171 yards per game (50%) with a 6-5 ratio. RB Spiller seems to have shaken off a turf toe injury that has hampered him most of the year, rushing for 106 yards (11.8) last week, and now faces a DL that has been banged up most of the season.

PHIL’S FORECAST: MIAMI, FL 23 Clemson 16

#11 OREGON AT WASHINGTON

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
OREGON 216 195 33 2.1 ••
WASHINGTON 129 235 22 2.6
Last 12 Years Matchups

A week after pulling out a fluke win versus Arizona, karma came back to bite Washington as Arizona St connected on a long TD pass with :05 left for the win. After a dismal opener versus Boise, Oregon is on a 5 game win streak (have outscored last 3 opponents by a 39-6 average) but it will be interesting to see if QB Masoli (150 yards per game, 60%, 4-2 ratio) returns from injury or if backup QB Costa starts for a 2nd straight game (82 yard pass, 53% versus UCLA). After last year’s 44-10 victory, Oregon has now won a school record 5 consecutive games (by 25 points per game) versus rival Washington. Oregon is fresh off a bye and has a solid defense edge (#18-64). We’ll side with the Huskies with the uncertainty at the QB spot for the Ducks. Washington outgained LSU, while also beating USC and upsetting Arizona at home this year. The Huskie homefield advantage is becoming prevalent and look for them to take advantage versus a Ducks squad that had a misleading win against UCLA benefitting from 3 TD’s in the first 5 minutes of the 2H on a KR, IR TD and a short drive after a fumble.

PHIL’S FORECAST: Washington 26 Oregon 23

#12 GEORGIA TECH AT VIRGINIA

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
GEORGIA TECH 287 73 26 2.2
VIRGINIA 129 228 22 2.9
Last 12 Years Matchups

Georgia Tech lost 8 straight times at Scott Stadium with their last win in 1990 when they knocked off the #1 Cavs. The home team is 12-2 but last year Georgia Tech was ranked #21 and at home, jumped out to a 14-3 lead but was outscored 21-3 the final 3Q’s, was upset at home 24-17 and was held to just 156 yards rush. Although QB Sewell has improved, he did leave the game last week with a sprained ankle (check status). On the season he is averaging 182 yards per game (55%) with a 5-5 ratio. RB Simpson missed last week with a neck injury but is expected to play here. Georgia Tech has a large offensive edge (#6-93) but the Cavs have the defensive edge (#24-55). QB Nesbitt is averaging 128 yards per game (48%) with a 4-3 ratio, but is #3 in the ACC with 625 rush yards (4.1). WR Thomas is #1 in the ACC with 27 receptions (24.9) despite Georgia Tech’s offensive scheme (just 1 completion last week). Georgia Tech is coming off a huge upset win over #4 Virginia Tech (first home win over Top 5 team S/’62) and Virginia has won 12 of their last 13 in Oct.

PHIL’S FORECAST: Virginia 26 Georgia Tech 23

#13 PENN STATE AT MICHIGAN

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
PENN ST 178 210 26 1.9
MICHIGAN 182 195 27 2.7 •••
Last 12 Years Matchups

Michigan has won 5 straight at home holding Penn St to 14 points per game as the Lions were ranked #15 or higher in four. Last year Michigan led 17-7 before surrendering 39 unanswered points. That snapped a Paterno record 9 game series losing streak and set a Penn St series record with 46 points. Penn St dominated Minnesota 20-0 in the coldest Homecoming on record as the Lions had 21-7 firstdown, 464-138 yard and 41:59-18.01 time of possession edges (best time of possession edge since 1991). QB Clark (236 yards per game, 62%, 13-7 ratio) and RB Royster (641, 5.8) are the conference’s best backfield duo. Lions lead the Big Ten in most major defensive categories despite the fact that All-Conference LB’s Lee and Bowman played their first complete game together last week. Michigan led Delaware St 49-3 at the half in a record setting romp in which they emptied the bench with four QB’s playing including Forcier (concussion versus Iowa), who started and only played the first series. Michigan is #21 in our pass efficiency defense rankings (233 yards per game, 58%, 6-7 ratio). Penn St ends their agony in Ann Arbor.

PHIL’S FORECAST: Penn St 34 Michigan 23

#15 OKLAHOMA STATE AT BAYLOR

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
OKLAHOMA ST 198 238 32 2.3 ••
BAYLOR 133 253 22 2.8
Last 12 Years Matchups

Homecoming. Last year Baylor was in a great spot catching Oklahoma St off a huge upset (#3 Mizzou) with a #1 team (Texas) on deck. Baylor led 6-0 but Oklahoma St dominated after with a 457-204 yard (257-98 at halftime) edge (34-6). The Bears high expectations are shrinking each week as this is an all too familiar road traveled before. QB Szymanski started last week (223 yards, 61%, 0-3 ratio) and has two starts versus Oklahoma St averaging 244 yards per game (65%) with a 4-5 ratio, although he is 0-2 vs the Cowboys. Oklahoma St comes in 5-1 despite the off-field distractions and injuries to key players. QB Robinson is averaging 217 yards per game (62%) with a 9-3 ratio. Baylor is just 2-12 versus Oklahoma St. Even with Texas on deck again the Cowboys should roll with the better offense (#19-64) and defense (#30-72).

PHIL’S FORECAST: Oklahoma St 31 Baylor 17

#17 HOUSTON VS SMU

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
SMU 145 253 29 2.9
HOUSTON 171 433 43 2.7
Last 12 Years Matchups

Houston has won 6 of 7 in the series. Last year the Mustangs led 35-23 heading into the 4Q, but the Cougars scored 14 pts the last 2:34 for the comeback win. SMU QB Mitchell was 29-39 for 365 yards and 4 TD’s while Houston QB Keenum threw for 404. SMU is a much improved team, but is off a hard fought 38-35 overtime loss to Navy. QB Mitchell is showing greater poise as he is averaging 235 yards per game with a 6-2 ratio the last 3 games. RB McNeal (PS#39) provides some pop out of the backfield and has 500 rush yards (4.8), including131 (8.7) versus Navy. The defense needs to make a quick transition from the option attack of Navy to the spread pass game of Houston. The Cougs are off a 44-16 win over Tulane, although they were held to a season low nine first half points. Houston is #3 in the NCAA averaging 40.8 points per game. QB Keenum is #1 in NCAA averaging 411 yards per game (70%) with a 19-4 ratio. He spreads the ball around as 3 WR’s (Carrier, Cleveland, Edwards) have 35 or more receptions. Houston barely escaped UTEP last year and then was dominated by the Miners (58-41) this year and now faces a similar situation versus SMU, but I expect SMU to keep it closer than many expect.

PHIL’S FORECAST: HOUSTON 38 Smu 31

#18 UTAH VS AIR FORCE

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
AIR FORCE 227 3 11 2.2
UTAH 169 203 19 3.1
Last 12 Years Matchups

Utah is 5-1 in the series but their last 3 wins have been by 4 points per game. Last year Air Force was outgained 440-191 but led 16-9 at halftime and was tied at 23 before allowing an 80/11pl TD drive with :58 left. While the Utes have dominated in the W/L column, Air Force did win their last trip here as Utah lost their starting QB and RB to injury the week prior. Utah QB Cain (PS#9JC) has been solid averaging 223 yards per game (64%) with a 10-5 ratio. Meanwhile the Falcons have shuffled their QB’s and probably will go with Dietz who led them to ten second half points in their win last week over Wyoming. Utah did hold Air Force to a season low 53 yards rush in 2008 and that was on the road. The Utes have the edges on offense (#43-98) and defense (#25-40) but Air Force always seems to keep these games competitive and look for the same here.

PHIL’S FORECAST: UTAH 17 Air Force 13

#19 OHIO STATE VS MINNESOTA

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
MINNESOTA 20 150 8 2.8
OHIO ST 170 225 26 2.5
Last 12 Years Matchups

Last year Minnesota trailed 34-6 in the 4Q before scoring 2 garbage TD’s, the last with 1:13 left. Minnesota had under 100 yards offense after 3Q’s (Ohio St was my defense of the week). Ohio St is 18-1 at home versus Minnesota, with the only loss coming in 2000. Minnesota was dominated in a 20-0 loss at Penn St in which the Lions had 21-7 firstdown, 464-138 yard and 41:59-18:01 time of possession edges. The Gophers had just 3 drives longer than 4 plays and in their only true scoring chance were stopped on downs at the PSU1 on 4th & goal with 12:36 left. QB Weber continues to struggle (189 yards per game, 56%, 6-9 ratio) despite having the league’s top WR in Decker (47, 15.6). The Gophers allow 164 rush yards per game (3.9). Ohio St lost their first Big Ten road game since 2005, 26-18 at Purdue as they were dominated at the line of scrimmage as the Boilers had a 24-12 first down edge and sacked Pryor 5 times as Ohio St lost 5 turnovers. Pryor’s struggles continue as he averaging167 yards per game (56%) with a 10-8 ratio and has 367 rush yards. The Buckeyes run game has been AWOL the last two as the TB’s have just 38 yards per game (3.9) with Herron (ankle) limited. Ohio St has given up 365 yards per game the last two with the offense flailing although they’ve still allowed just 3 meaningful offensive TD’s in four Big Ten games. Ohio St rebounds versus the Gophers.

PHIL’S FORECAST: Ohio St 27 Minnesota 6

#20 PITTSBURGH VS USF

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
USF 105 203 21 3.0
PITTSBURGH 171 223 26 2.4 ••
Last 12 Years Matchups

Pitt upset #10 USF last year holding USF to 245 total yards and here in 2007 Pitt led 14-10 in the first half but USF turned three second half interception into TD’s and won 48-37. Last week USF lost their nationally televised Big East showdown with then-#8 Cincinnati, 34-17. Redshirt frosh Daniels is averaging 135 yards per game (53%) with a 7-4 ratio and his escapability makes it difficult for defensive lines and secondaries. The USF defense is allowing 119 yards per game rush (3.6) and now faces the best freshman RB in the nation. Pitt snapped a 4 game losing streak to Rutgers with a 24-17 win last Friday. Freshman RB Lewis is averaging 131 yards per game which ranks #3 in the NCAA. QB Stull, despite fan scrutiny, is averaging 201 yards per game (67%) with a 14-3 ratio. These 2 are similar on defense (USF #26-32) and both are dominant on the defensive line (Pitt 28 sacks, USF 17 sacks). Pitt has the offense (#31-71) and Special Team (#27-97) edges. Early weather forecasts call for 44-53˚ temps, a definite Pitt edge as USF plays poorly up North in later months.

PHIL’S FORECAST: Pittsburgh 28 USF 20

#22 ARIZONA VS UCLA

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
UCLA 86 210 23 2.6 ••
ARIZONA 164 245 31 2.3
Last 12 Years Matchups

Arizona has won 3 of 4 versus UCLA including a 52-14 upset of #7 ranked and undefeated UCLA in 2005. Trailing by as many as 15 points last week versus Stanford, Arizona pulled out the 5 point win led by QB Foles who threw for a career-high 415 yards (78%) and 3 TD’s (351 pass yards per game in 3 starts). In UCLA’s last trip to Tucson, the Wildcats amassed 345 first half yards in the 34-27 victory. After allowing just 15.6 points per game in their first three home games of the season, the Bruins ran into a buzz saw against Cal in the 45-26 defeat (allowed a season-high 494 yards). While the Bruins defense has kept the team in games this year (15.5 points per game on the road), Arizona has our #20 offense, a bye on deck and should go all out here to stay in the upper half of the Pac-10.

PHIL’S FORECAST: Arizona 27 UCLA 17

#23 WEST VIRGINIA VS CONNECTICUT

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
CONNECTICUT 122 163 21 2.8
WEST VIRGINIA 184 223 27 3.4
Last 12 Years Matchups

Connecticut is 0-5 versus West Virginia being outscored by an average of 43-15. Last time here West Virginia’s 66 points were the most allowed since 2000 (66). Last year West Virginia rolled to an easy 35-13 win. Last week Connecticut defeated Louisville 38-25, allowing a garbage TD with no time left. QB Endres is averaging 187 yards per game (66%) with a 4-1 ratio and the tandem of Dixon and Todman are averaging 186 rush yards per game. The defense is allowing 109 yards per game rush (3.1) and has 19 sacks. West Virginia lost QB Brown (concussion, check status) on the first drive and struggled to a 24-7 win over Marshall. Freshman Smith (PS#4) threw for 147 yards (71%) with 1 TD. West Virginia has lost 17 turnovers  (#109). RB Devine is  averaging 122 yards per game (6.6) with 9 TD’s and the defense is allowing 80 rush yards per game (2.6) holding RB Marshall to 82 yards (3.3) last week. WV has the offensive edge (#33-70) and a slight defensive edge (#22-43).This will be an emotional game for Connecticut with the death of their top CB and leader Jasper Howard.

PHIL’S FORECAST: West Virginia 27 Connecticut 17

#24 SOUTH CAROLINA VS VANDERBILT

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
VANDERBILT 148 75 4 2.5
SOUTH CAROLINA 162 210 24 2.5
Last 12 Years Matchups

South Carolina had won 7 in a row in this series and Spurrier was 14-0 versus Vanderbilt but VU has pulled outright upsets in each of the last two years. Last year South Carolina outgained Vanderbilt 133-50 in the first half and had a 325-225 overall edge but a fumbled punt and 3-1 turnover deficit cost them as did losing WR McKinley to injury in the 2Q in a 24-17 loss. Vanderbilt is off 3 losses including last week’s 34-10 loss to Georgia and returning to a bowl is highly unlikely at 2-5, while South Carolina is off an expected 20-6 loss to Bama. South Carolina is 3-9 in their last six games the last two years, but QB Garcia (212 yards per game, 58%, 9-4 ratio) is improved over last year and should lead South Carolina to a win in this legitimate revenge situation.

PHIL’S FORECAST: South Carolina 23 Vanderbilt 6

#25 KANSAS VS OKLAHOMA

Rush Pass Pts TO ST’s
OKLAHOMA 132 298 30 2.3 •••
KANSAS 49 298 17 2.7
Last 12 Years Matchups

Mangino is 0-3 versus his former boss with the average score 35-15 (outgained on average 496-281). Oklahoma is off a tough Red River Rivalry loss as the Sooners’ 3 defeats this year are by a combined 5 pts. QB Bradford re-injured his shoulder on Oklahoma’s 2nd series and is out for this game. Jones (PS#3) is averaging 185 yards per game (59%) with an 11-5 ratio and has 3 starts this year. Kansas lost for the first time last week. QB Reesing is averaging 330 yards per game (67%) with a 15-4 ratio. Kansas is ranked #36 in our pass efficiency defense allowing 246 yards per game (61%) with an 8-5 ratio while Oklahoma is #1 (190 yards per game, 55%, 7-9). Both teams have potent offenses (Oklahoma #16, Kansas #17) but Kansas is allowing 33 points per game and 410 yards per game over its last three as Oklahoma has huge defense (#3-53) and Special Team (#21-103) edges. Given the fact Oklahoma has faced the better slate (#25-104), the Sooners should expose a somewhat overrated Jayhawk squad that faces its toughest opponent by far this year with a killer second half schedule.

PHIL’S FORECAST: Oklahoma 34 Kansas 17

UPSET PICKS OF THE WEEK

UNLV over New Mexico

FAU over Louisiana

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  • Anonymous

    Any thoughts on UNC vs. FSU? Crapshoot on which team is gonna show up on either side!

  • cpljohnst

    Your 3rd week in a row picking against Georgia Tech. Makes me feel better about Georgia Tech bringing back the win!

  • Davis

    So glad to see that you are not picking UCLA this week after 3 straight weeks of expecting them to win.

  • newknox

    Phil,
    You have picked against the Ducks all year. Are you trying to justify your pre-season prognastications? I have won on them every week except for the first week. But, at least you are consistent.

  • Max Power

    Any thoughts on the Tulsa-UTEP game tonight? I think UTEP can keep this one “closer than the experts think.”

  • gjcnk

    Uconn should rush for more than you predict. Seems you picked Uconn for 325 yards per game pre season and you are sticking to it no matter what. But 122 yards is pretty low. Actually if Uconn gets smoked (which could happen) then Uconn will get lot of yards as will be getting the ball back a lot of time (funny but that's what historically happens), Would be happy to hold WV to 28 points as against the “Uconn prevent defense” WV speed makes one missed tackle/assignment = 6 points. Not sure WV defense isn't also prone to big mistakes and I call Uconn 1st win vs WV at 31 to 27.

  • traxleris1

    I can't help but think how nice it would be for Mississippi State to beat the Gators this year… that would make me smile… (and can I just say Starkville is the most beautiful college campus I have ever visited… it's amazing) —

  • Golden Bear

    newknox…

    I think there's some of that going on, but it's really impressive when you how UO has been winning. Outside of the Cal game, which was a kitchen sink game and they dominated, Oregon has needed a lot of touchdowns coming from places other than their offense.

  • jfwells

    How did that upset of the week two weeks ago work out? UCLA over Oregon… I see you are still not a believer, Phil.

  • bobbyvegas

    rush limbaugh is a junkie……… or have you all forgotten his drug abuse

  • jfwells

    Phil,
    Will you get on the Duck bandwagon now, or will you have to wait for them to beat USC? In regards to your comment above:

    “…Ducks squad that had a misleading win against UCLA benefitting from 3 TD’s in the first 5 minutes of the 2H on a KR, IR TD and a short drive after a fumble.”

    Maybe it isn't misleading if the Duck defense and special teams are really good. Consistent scoring from the D & ST seven games in to the season is not a fluke. Expect it to continue.

  • jfwells

    Phil,
    Will you get on the Duck bandwagon now, or will you have to wait for them to beat USC? In regards to your comment above:

    “…Ducks squad that had a misleading win against UCLA benefitting from 3 TD’s in the first 5 minutes of the 2H on a KR, IR TD and a short drive after a fumble.”

    Maybe it isn't misleading if the Duck defense and special teams are really good. Consistent scoring from the D & ST seven games in to the season is not a fluke. Expect it to continue.