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Week 12 Top 25 Forecasts

Every week I 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.

Last week the Top 25 forecasts went 14-8 picking the winners of each game and have gone 171-47 (78.4%) so far this season! On the bottom of the forecasts, I have also listed some Upset Specials for this week which are 5-2 the L/3 weeks.

# 3 BOISE ST VS FRESNO ST

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
FRESNO ST 117
80
16
2.7
BOISE ST
193
335
50
1.3
-
Boise has won the last 4 games vs Fresno at home with the avg win 51-17. LY both teams were able to run the football on each other as they combined for 619 rush yds as Boise won 51-34. The last time here on the Blue Turf it was a complete mismatch as Boise won 61-10 with a 494-294 yd edge. Boise gained significant pts on TCU last week in the BCS Standings and with the Horned Frogs off this week, the Broncos can use this game with a national audience to maybe gain even more pts as they should control from the start.

PHIL’S FORECAST: BOISE ST 51 FRESNO ST 23

#5 LSU VS MISSISSPPI

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
MISS 190
75
12
2.8
-
LSU
175
170
39
1.5
•••••

This is a dangerous spot for LSU as Ole Miss HC Nutt has upset the #2, #1 (twice) and #4 teams incl a win on the road over #1 LSU when he was the HC at Ark in ’07. These games have been close recently with 5 of L/8 decided by a FG or less. LY LSU mismanaged the clock late wasting :17 before calling a TO driving to the UM6 with :01 left and spiking the ball which gave the Rebels a 25-23 win. Ole Miss is playing its 4th road gm in 6 wks and took a pounding LW at Tenn losing 52-14 (outgained 441-295) as QB Masoli was coming off a concussion and threw 3 int with just 80 yds passing. LSU destroyed ULM 51-0 in their final home night gm LW scoring 31 pts off of ULM TO’s. This home finale is a 2:30 Central start (27-1 in Sat night HG’s, 7-4 in afternoon HG’s under Miles). While the Rebels don’t have the horses to get the huge upset win I’ll call for it to be closer than what many people suspect.

PHIL’S FORECAST : LSU 24 MISSISSIPPI 17

#6 WISCONSIN AT MICHIGAN

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
WISCONSIN 243
190
44
1.3
-
MICHIGAN
257
255
34
2.9
•••

There have been several records broken in the L/2 meetings between these teams. LY Wisky scored its most ever pts vs Mich (45) as the Badgers scored on all 4 2H poss with a 22:45-7:15 TOP edge. Last time in Michigan Stadium the Wolves rallied for their biggest home comeback ever after trailing the Badgers 19-0 at the half. Speaking of records LW UW scored the most pts in a B10 gm S/‘50 in an 83-20 demolition of Indy in which they scored on all 13 of their possessions. Wisky outran the Hoosiers 338-163 despite missing the league’s #3 rusher Clay (929, 5.4) with a knee sprain who should return here. Michigan is off its first B10 road win S/’08 and had to survive 5 TO’s including 4 by Robinson who had his worst performance as a starter being sk’d 5 times and having an int ret’d 94 yd for a TD. The D had its best performance of the yr holding the Boilers to 16 pts and 259 yds (1st B10 opp under 34 pts and 380 yds). UM has been outgained by 159 ypg the L/3Y vs UW but UW has lost 5 straight trips and is 1-17 in Ann Arbor (won in ‘94). The Badgers get their 2nd win but it will be tight.

PHIL’S FORECAST : WISCONSIN 35 MICHIGAN 34

#7 STANFORD AT CALIFORNIA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
STANFORD 167
198
26
1.8
-
CALIFORNIA
144
158
19
2.1

This will mark the 104th edition of the “Big Game”. LW Cal was a missed 29 yd FG (made 24 yd FG on previous play but Cal’s K was called for a false start) away from pulling out the huge upset of #1 Oregon. They held UO to a ssn-low 324 yds (15 pts, 40 under their ssn avg) while all’g just 1 TD on def (UO had 64 yd PR TD). Their offense however, was unable to get anything going throughout as they were also held to a ssn-low 192 yds. While Stanford also endured a battle LW vs a solid ASU def, QB Luck overcame some early TO’s to lead a GW drive late in the 17-13 victory (SU held ASU to 268 yds). Under Tedford, the Bears have gone 7-1 SU vs Stanford and Cal escaped with the 34-28 win LY. While Cal’s road struggles have been heavily publicized (outscored 47-9 and outgained 400-319), they are a strong home team (40-10 avg, 365-204 yd edge) and while the loss to Oregon LW was devastating it will breed confidence for this game and they will keep it close.

PHIL’S FORECAST : STANFORD 24 CALIFORNIA 21

#8 OHIO STATE AT #21 IOWA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
OHIO ST 145
185
26
2.1
-
IOWA
95
205
21
2.3
••

OSU is 13-2-1 vs Iowa and LY OSU won its 5th straight Big Ten title by knocking off the Hawks 27-24 at home in OT. With UI QB Stanzi KO’d the previous gm rFr Vandenberg hit 20-33 for 233 with a 2-3 ratio incl the gm sealer on a Hail Mary on 4&26 in OT. Iowa has been outrushed 252-48 (4.7-2.3) the L/3 vs OSU and the Bucks are OSU is 8-0 in Nov away games and ran their record to 27-4 under Tressel in Nov with their come from behind win over PSU LW. Sparked by 2 IR TD’s OSU erased a 14-3 HT deficit scoring 35 unanswered pts with a 288-54 yd edge in the 2H. Meanwhile Iowa was upset by NW for the 3rd straight yr 21-17 as QB Persa hit the GW TD pass with 1:29 left. Despite just four 1H FD’s the Hawks led 17-7 when Stanzi’s pass was int’d at the NW5, which sparked the Cats’ comeback. There is no better coach in big conf gms than OSU HC Tressel who is 9-0 vs Big Ten tms that went to BCS bowls the previous ssn with all but 1 win decided by more than 1 TD. Make it 10 str for Tressel and the Bucks here as they come one game closer to wrapping up their 6th straight outright/shared Big Ten title and BCS Bowl berth.

PHIL’S FORECAST : OHIO ST 27 IOWA 20

#9 NEBRASKA AT #18 TEXAS A&M

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
NEBRASKA 222
108
21
1.7
•••
TX A&M
164
223
28
2.4
-

LW Nebraska got 1 step closer to winning the North by bullying Kansas 20-3. The Huskers actually had 20-5 FD and 397-87 yd edges over the Hawks but the conservative gm plan due to QB Martinez’s not fully 100% ankle kept it relatively close. A&M meanwhile won its 3rd straight with QB Tannehill at the helm as they erased a 16 pt 1H deficit in a 42-30 win at Baylor. The Bears missed 2 FG’s, had another blk’d and missed an xp as A&M was outgained 516-423. A&M now finds themselves just 1 gm back in the South and Tannehill is avg 317 ypg (68%) with a 7-3 ratio in his 3 starts but will have a tough time here going against NU’s #1 NCAA pass eff D (140, 48%, 10-16 ratio) led by future #1 DC CB Amukamara. Nebraska clinches the North while knocking the Ags out of the South race.

PHIL’S FORECAST : NEBRASKA 27 TEXAS A&M 20

#10 ALABAMA VS GEORGIA ST

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
GEORGIA ST -24
93
0
3.2
-
ALABAMA
344
353
65
0.7
-
This is Georgia St’s first year as a FB program and they are 6-4 but have 2 wins vs non-scholarship tms and another win over a division II school. One of their most impressive performances this season may have come in a 34-27 loss to Jacksonville St who earlier this year beat Ole Miss. GSt is coached by former Georgia Tech player and HC Bill Curry (also former Bama HC) who is one of the major reasons why this game is being played besides a big paycheck. This will be a major flat spot for the Crimson Tide with the Iron Bowl on deck and naturally they will not want to embarass one of their former coaches.

PHIL’S FORECAST: ALABAMA 35 GEORGIA ST 0

#11 MICHIGAN ST VS PURDUE

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
PURDUE 110
93
7
2.9
-
MICH ST
146
243
30
2.1
••

MSU is off a bye and now has a 2 gm season to win a piece of their 1st Big 10 championship S/’90. Meanwhile LW on a windy, rainy day when both teams combined for 10 TO’s Purdue lost 27-16 to Michigan (outgained 383-259) and they need to win their L/2 to become bowl elig. The Boilers started their 4th QB Siller who re-injured his foot after 1 play and Robinson and Henry combined to hit 17-32 for 129 with 2 int. Henry actually started at RB vs UM but he could reclaim the QB job here. On defense with 5 tfl vs Mich DE Kerrigan now leads the NCAA with 23.5. Purdue has dropped 3 straight to MSU after winning 7 of 8 and LY MSU was outgained (524-362) and outFD’d (28-12) but came back from 11 in the 4Q. The Spartans end the Boilers’ bowl hopes and set up a crucial game next week on the road in Happy Valley.

PHIL’S FORECAST : MICHIGAN ST 30 PURDUE 6

#12 OKLAHOMA ST AT KANSAS

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
OKLA ST 187
358
44
2.2
•••
KANSAS
124
198
17
2.7
-
Last week Oklahoma St had a historic win in Austin (1st S/’44) which snapped a 12 gm losing streak to the Horns. OSU led UT 26-3 at the half and finished with a 520-359 yd edge as the Horns got 2 4Q TD’s. QB Weeden (339, 67%, 27-10) is #1 B12 pass eff thanks to the NCAA’s #1 rec Blackmon (84, 17.0, 16 TD). RB Hunter (1356, 6.0) is the B12’s #1 rusher. Meanwhile KU was manhandled by Neb as the Huskers finished with 20-5 FD and 397-87 yd edges. After winning the QB job after directing the Colorado comeback KU QB Mecham hit just 3-13 for 15 yd with an int vs NU. Oklahoma St needs two more wins to clinch the South and even with “Bedlam” on deck, the Cowboys crush the Jayhawks here.

PHIL’S FORECAST : OKLAHOMA ST 52 KANSAS 17

#13 ARKANSAS VS #22 MISS ST

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
ARKANSAS 101
285
31
2.3
-
MISS ST
199
135
21
2.3

The Razorbacks have won 13 of the L/15 gms in this series and LY Mallett threw for 313 yds and 5 TD’s in Ark’s 42-21 home win but MSU had a 327-83 yd rush edge. Last time in Starkville, despite jumping out to a 14-0 lead, UA’s 9 game win streak vs MSU came to an end (31-28) as Ark missed a tying 46 yd FG on the last play. Ark is off a 58-21 win over UTEP and their only losses TY are to then-#1 AL and current #2 Aub, so they are thinking NY’s Day bowl. Mallett is avg 297 ypg (67%) with a 24-8 ratio. MSU is off a 30-10 loss to AL (outgained 452-299) which ended a 6 gm win streak by the Bulldogs. QB Relf (100 ypg, 53%, 7-4) struggled and was replaced by bkup Russell (79 ypg, 58%, 5-6) late last gm. Even with big rivalry games on deck for both teams, this game is very important for SEC bowl positioning and the Hogs get the key road win.

PHIL’S FORECAST: ARKANSAS 27 MISSISSIPPI ST 24

#14 VA TECH AT #24 MIAMI FL

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
VA TECH 185
128
21
2.3
MIAMI FL
226
248
23
2.9
-
LY #11 VT beat #9 UM 31-7 in a downpour which neutralized Miami’s speed edge and VT also played with their hair on fire. LW the Canes  were impressive with their 35-10 win over GT. In the 2 gms without QB Harris (concussion), frosh QB Morris has helped the Canes set then reset ssn highs for ttl off. Harris could get some snaps in this one but Morris will most likely take the 1st snaps. Meanwhile VT LW was held by UNC to 3 FG’s and the Hokies were down 10-9 before dominating the 2H in a 26-10 win. VT forced 6 TO’s and the win marked VT’s 8th straight after the horrendous start to the season. While VT has the ST’s edge (#27-56), the offenses are close but UM has my #3 rated D (VT #21). I expect Miami’s athletic and speedy defense to expose a VT unit that has trailed at half time to UNC (10-9), GT (14-7), NCSt (17-7) and EC (24-21) and the Canes offense seems to be clicking with Morris at QB and they will keep their slim ACC title hopes alive here with a win.

PHIL’S FORECAST : MIAMI FL 20 VIRGINIA TECH 17

#15 MISSOURI AT IOWA ST

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
MISSOURI 180
233
31
2.0
IOWA ST
146
223
17
2.5
-

LY Missouri trailed 17-10 at HT but finished with a 539-336 yd edge in a 34-24 win over Iowa St and did win their last time here 52-20. Last week ISU was dominated at the LOS by a fired up Colorado tm who had 8 sks and held the Cyclones to -6 yds rushing in a 34-14 win in interim HC Cabral’s debut. QB Arnaud (knee vs CU) is OFY leaving Tiller (208, 51%, 1-0 ratio) to start his 1st gm since beating Neb in Lincoln LY. Meanwhile Mizzou snapped a 2 gm skid to beat Kansas St 38-28. The Tigers dodged a bullet when K-St fmbl’d it away at the MO1 late 1H and MO also had a 53 yd FR TD in the 3Q.  Mizzou QB Gabbert (240, 62%, 14-5) is surprisingly the Big 12’s lowest rated QB on a winning team but the Tigers should comfortably keep the ‘Clones out of the post season as Mizzou still has aspirations for another DD win season (3rd in 4 years).

PHIL’S FORECAST : MISSOURI 33 IOWA ST 20

#16 OKLAHOMA AT BAYLOR

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
OKLAHOMA 178
348
40
1.3
BAYLOR
213
253
27
1.9
-
Last week OU stayed in B12 South title contention by crushing Texas Tech 45-7 scoring on their 1st 5 poss as Jones threw for 5 TD. Three went to record setting WR Broyles (94, 12.7) who leads the NCAA in rec/gm. Meanwhile after a 7-2 start BU lost its 2nd straight 42-30 to A&M as the Ags rallied from a 16 pt 1H deficit. Usually reliable K Jones missed 2 FG, had another blk’d and also missed an xp as the Bears finished with a 516-423 yd edge. Stoops’ OU squads are a perfect 11-0 and have outscored Baylor on avg 42-12 and in ‘08 vs a Robert Griffin led offense, the Sooners won 49-17 at home. OU stays in the race while the Bears get ready for bowl practices for the 1st time S/’94

PHIL’S FORECAST : OKLAHOMA 38 BAYLOR 24

#17 SOUTH CAROLINA VS TROY

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
TROY 49
270
18
3.3
-
S CAROLINA
236
310
48
2.1
-
SC is off the biggest win in Spurrier’s career at SC as they clinched a spot in the SEC Title gm for the 1st time ever with their 36-14 win over FL. RB Lattimore (964, 4.8) rushed for a career high 212 yds as SC dominated with 395-226 yd and 24-11 FD edges. This could be the biggest letdown spot for any team this week as the Gamecocks have in-state rival Clemson on deck. While South Carolina is 7-0 vs Sun Belt tms incl 2 wins over Troy winning by an avg of 31-14, Troy almost upset LSU late in the yr (led 31-3 late 3Q before LSU came back for a 40-31 win a couple years ago. Troy is off a 52-35 upset loss to FIU in which they suffered a 4-1 TO deficit. SC gets the win but this will be closer than what many people think.

PHIL’S FORECAST: SOUTH CAROLINA 38 TROY 24

#19 NEVADA VS NEW MEXICO ST

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
NMST 126
175
13
2.2
NEVADA
374
235
51
1.2
-
The Aggies only trailed LA Tech 27-20 in the 4Q LW before falling 41-20 playing without their starting QB Christian and top 2 RB’s Turner and Smith. Meanwhile Nevada is coming off a hard-fought 35-34 win vs FSU in a contest that featured 7 lead changes. QB Kaepernick is avg 216 ypg (67%) with a 17-6 ratio and 946 rush yds (7.3) with 15 TD and LW rushed for 153 yds and scored the 55th TD of his career (UN rec’d). The visitor is a surprising 7-1 in the series but Nevada has scored 40+ pts in the L/5 meetings. The Pack have a HUGE game on deck vs Boise but the Aggies just don’t pack enough punch to threaten a team that could be looking ahead here.

PHIL’S FORECAST : NEVADA 48 NEW MEXICO ST 20

#20 USC AT OREGON ST

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
USC 187
228
30
1.9
-
OREGON ST
99
268
24
1.6
With no postseason hopes many thought that USC would pack it in following their loss to UO a few wks back but they have done exactly the opposite knocking off ASU 2 weeks ago and Ariz LW ending any hopes of the Cats winning the conf. OSU on the other hand is still two wins away from bowl eligibility after laying an egg LW at home vs a WSU team that had lost 16 consec conf gms. The Beavers all’d 378 yds rushing (5.0) vs a normally pass-happy Cougar squad which may not bode well vs a USC team led by RB Tyler who rushed for a career-best 160 yds (5.2) in the win over AZ. While the Trojans have lost just 3x’s to OSU S/’68, 2 have come in their recent trips to Corvallis as the Beavers have upset USC as big underdogs in ‘06 and ‘08 (USC has dropped L/4 trips to the state of OR). However I respect the Trojans for pulling B2B wins in a tough situation. Kiffin has kept these kids enthusiastic and they are by far the more athletic team here.

PHIL’S FORECAST : USC 27 OREGON ST 20

#25 UTAH AT SAN DIEGO STATE

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
UTAH 133
228
31
2.1
••••
S DIEGO ST
78
278
31
2.6
-

After starting the season 8-0 and being ranked #5, Utah comes into this game reeling off B2B losses to TCU and Notre Dame being outscored 75-10. Last week Utah’s #1 ST’s were the culprit as they allowed a blk’d P TD and reliable return man Smithson fumbled the opening 2H KO which led to a quick Irish TD. This week will be be no easier as they face a San Diego St team that is off a 40-35 loss at TCU which were more pts scored on the Frogs defense than they allowed by all their conf opp’s combined this year. The scored was a bit misleading as TCU did have a 19-1 FD edge in the 1H and led 40-21 in the 4Q. While Utah has owned this series winning 9 of the L/12 by an avg of 24 ppg, San Diego St is one of the most improved teams in the country and get their second win over a ranked opp this year (were 6-58 coming into TY).

PHIL’S FORECAST : SAN DIEGO ST 28 UTAH 27

Upsets of the Week:
5-2 L/3 Weeks!
Colorado over Kansas St
USF over Pittsburgh
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  • Anonymous

    Where is SMU/Marshall prediction?

  • http://www.philsteele.com Phil Steele

    It was in the blog and I had SMU by 10

  • Phillipfreilich

    how come you just cant be happy for Boise State and just shut your trap.They have been up at the top of their game and you just keep nocking them down. What if they win? Then youll jump on the band wagon and pull your head out then. Boise Fan