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Week 13 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 184-51 (78.3%) so far this season! On the bottom of the forecasts, I have also listed some Upset Specials for this week which are 6-3 the L/4 weeks.

#1 OREGON VS #20 ARIZONA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
ARIZONA 102
205
14
2.6
-
OREGON
253
265
40
2.1
••••
LY despite leading by 10 pts early 4Q, Arizona allowed Oregon to score the game-tying TD w/:06 left and eventually lost in 2OT costing them a shot at the Rose Bowl. TY the Ducks are one win away from tying the school record they set back in 2001. Both teams are off a late season bye. While Oregon had its worst offensive output of the season vs Cal (243 yds and 40 pts under season avg) but also arguably their best defensive performance as well (13 pts, 192 yds) in the 2 pt win. Arizona on the other hand continued to slip down the Pac-10 rankings after its 2nd consecutive conference loss as they have been outscored 66-38 vs Stanford and USC while the Ducks despite falling behind early outscored the Trojans and Cardinal by a score of 105-63. Autzen Stadium should be really rocking for the Ducks final home game and they improve to 11-0 setting up an intriguing “Civil War” matchup next week.

PHIL’S FORECAST : OREGON 40 ARIZONA 20

#2 AUBURN AT #9 ALABAMA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
AUBURN 287
158
33
2.0
-
ALABAMA
164
273
38
1.2
-
This is the third consecutive year that at least one of the teams has come in at 11-0 but this year it’s the Tigers. LY Auburn went ahead 14-0 in the first 9:18 but Bama pulled out a 26-21 win scoring a TD with 1:24 left. Alabama RB Ingram sat out most of the game winning drive with a bruised hip and was held to 30 yds. The Tigers had a 332-291 yd edge and a 151-73 yd rush edge. One of the biggest intangibles in this game LY was Auburn had the advantage of a bye the previous week and Alabama had the SEC Title gm vs #1 Florida on deck. This year Auburn is off a bye again but has the Title gm vs South Carolina on deck while Alabama is off an easy 63-7 win over Georgia St last Thursday. Bama has the edge on def (#3-39) and has held mobile QB’s from Ole Miss and Miss St to 47 ttl rush yds and 90 ypg pass (1-2 ratio). Auburn will be without 2 DL for the 1H and while it should be noted that the team with the better record is 19-8 in the Iron Bowl since ‘81 including winning 6 of the L/7 the Crimson Tide would love nothing better than to derail Newton’s Heisman and their rivals’ NC chances.

PHIL’S FORECAST : ALABAMA 37 AUBURN 31

#3 BOISE STATE AT #19 NEVADA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
BOISE ST 183
325
42
2.1
•••
NEVADA
247
180
28
2.3
-

This is the WAC game of the year between the 10-0 Broncos and the 10-1 Wolf Pack. It is also another opportunity for Boise to state its case for the BCS Title game should Auburn or Oregon trip up down the stretch. This matchup features a showdown of two of the top offenses (UN #6, BSU #3) and two of the top playmaking QB’s in the country. Boise is led by Heisman hopeful Moore who is avg 292 ypg (72%) with a 28-5 ratio and leads in pass eff (188.84). His counterpart is UN QB Kaepernick who is avg 219 ypg (66%) with a 19-6 ratio and has 984 yds rushing (7.3). The key for Nevada in this game will be avoiding the Broncos typical fast starts and being able to weather the storm. While Boise is 10-0 vs the Pack with an avg MOV of 29 ppg, the L/3 it has only been by 6 ppg and I’ll call for this one to be another shootout but in the end Boise moves to 11-0 for the 3rd straight year.

PHIL’S FORECAST : BOISE ST 38 NEVADA 31

#4 TCU AT NEW MEXICO

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
TCU 321
225
51
1.9
•••••
NEW MEXICO
59
130
8
3.2
-

The Horned Frogs while still #3 in the BCS have lost much of their lead over Boise the last couple of weeks as they beat San Diego St  40-35 in a misleading final. TCU actually led 34-14 at HT with an incredible 19-1 FD edge. They also led 40-21 in the 4Q before a couple of key turnovers. Last week they were on a bye while Boise won 51-0 in a national Friday night game. This week TCU gets bottom-dweller New Mexico and has outscored them by a combined 114-13 the L/3 yrs. LW, BYU destroyed the Lobos 40-7 as NM was down 20-0 at HT and outgained 366-183 thru 3Q’s. HC Patterson ran the ESPN circuit selling his team’s BCS chances, now the Frogs get to prove it on the field and should easily roll here as they finish their 2nd consecutive regular season at 12-0.

PHIL’S FORECAST : TCU 51 NEW MEXICO 0

#5 WISC VS NORTHWESTERN

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
NORTHWESTERN 125
180
19
1.9
WISCONSIN
325
205
45
1.6
-
LW the Badgers 48-28 win at Michigan was their 1st in the Big House S/’94. UW steamrolled the Wolves with a 357-168 rush yd edge despite being without RB Clay (929, 5.4) a 2nd straight week. In this series the home team has won 5 in a row by 12 ppg and outgained the visitor by 144 ypg. LY Northwestern held UW to just 99 rush yds as the Wildcats DC Hankwitz got some revenge vs Bielema who fired him. LW though the Cats were manhandled in Wrigley 48-27 as the Illini had 519-183 rush yd edge incl a school rec’d 330 for RB Leshoure. QB Watkins, making his 1st start for the inj’d Persa, hit 10-20 for 135 with a 0-1 ratio and the Cats unexpectedly burned the RS of the more mobile Colter (10 rush yd). Look for the Badgers with their 3-headed monster at RB to control the LOS and the Badgers win a share of their 1st B10 title S/’99.

PHIL’S FORECAST : WISCONSIN 37 N’WESTERN 20

#6 LSU AT #12 ARKANSAS

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
LSU 167
133
28
2.4
••••
ARKANSAS
189
288
38
2.2
-
This has been one of the closest rivalries in all of college football in recent memory as the L/5 gms have been decided by 2.6 ppg including 2 of the L/3 decided in OT. LY LSU pulled out a 33-30 OT win despite being outgained 375-326 and outFD’d 24-18. TY despite LSU’s 10-1 record and top 5 ranking, the Tigers will actually be underdogs in this game for the first time S/’02. Both teams last week were lucky to escape with wins over schools from the state of Mississippi as LSU came back from a 4Q deficit to win 43-36 over Ole Miss thanks to a celebration flag on the Rebels final TD. Arkansas meanwhile won 38-31 in 2OT over Miss St on the road. LSU still has a very slim chance at the national title game but those aspirations are squashed here by an Arkansas team who has a big January Bowl bid in mind.

PHIL’S FORECAST : ARKANSAS 34 LSU 27

#7 STANFORD VS OREGON ST

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
OREGON ST 100
138
16
1.7
•••
STANFORD
221
268
35
1.7
-

Stanford’s BCS hopes are still intact after LW’s “Big Game” win over Cal, a game in which they scored on 8 str poss with Luck at QB. Oregon St also got back to its winning ways with a splendid defensive performance vs USC (255 yds all’d) a week after being run all over by Washington St. Stanford has been outgained in 10 str gms in this series and have won just 2 of the L/9 including LY, a game in which RB Quizz Rodgers rushed for a career high 189 yds and 4 TD’s in OSU’s 38-28 victory. This is Stanford’s last chance to impress the BCS committee and Luck’s last chance to secure an invite to New York for the Heisman and I think they’ll take advantage of it and roll here.

PHIL’S FORECAST : STANFORD 38 OREGON ST 17

#8 OHIO ST VS MICHIGAN

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
MICHIGAN 154
173
20
3.5
-
OHIO ST
277
263
46
1.9
-

Quite possibly the biggest rivalry in all of college football, but has taken a back seat to some other great rivalries in recent years. Ohio St HC Tressel is a big reason for that as he is 8-1 vs the Wolves winning 6 straight! That’s after a 2-10-1 series run by the Buckeyes under former HC Cooper. LY in Ann Arbor OSU had already clinched the Big 10 title and forced 5 TO’s in a 21-10 win. Like LY OSU is again off a 3 pt thriller over Iowa in which the Bucks dropped a sure TD pass but Pryor responded with a 14 yd scramble for a FD on 4&10 which set up the GW TD with 1:47 left. UM meanwhile trailed Wisconsin 24-0 at the half before cutting it to 10 late 3Q before running out of steam as the Badgers pounded the Wolves on the ground (357-168 yd edge). QB Robinson set the NCAA QB rush record with 1538 (6.8) but he has struggled with accuracy in conf play with 9 int the L/6. UM is all’g a B10 worst 445 ypg and almost 40 ppg in conf play that’s not good going up against a high-powered Buckeye offense as they extend their series win streak while also winning a share of their 6th straight B10 title!

PHIL’S FORECAST : OHIO STATE 44 MICHIGAN 20

#10 OKLA ST VS #14 OKLAHOMA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
OKLAHOMA 128
300
32
2.0
-
OKLA ST
177
305
31
2.7
-
Oklahoma has dominated this series winning 8 str and has an overall 81-16-7 record all-time which makes it the most lopsided in-state rivalry in the entire country! LY OSU was shutout for the 31st time vs OU amassing just 109 yds w/ JUST 4 after HT and OSU HC Gundy is now 0-9 vs OU as a QB and HC. This is the last battle for the Big 12 South title as OSU won their 10th game for the 1st time in school history LW 48-14 at Kansas in which they had 36-18 FD and 597-288 yd edges. The Cowboys actually trailed 14-10 after 1Q but scored the final 38 pts as they stopped KU on 4&g at the 1 in the 2Q. OU meanwhile despite their recent road struggles the L/2Y destroyed Baylor 53-24 in Waco. The Sooners led 53-10 into the 4Q and held QB Griffin to 207 ttl with most of it coming on 2 4Q garbage time TD drives. The Sooners have a big D edge (#9-46) and take the South crown from their Bedlam rivals once again.

PHIL’S FORECAST : OKLAHOMA 38 OKLA ST 31

#11 MICHIGAN ST AT PENN ST

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
MICH ST 134
178
23
1.4
-
PENN ST
177
248
28
1.6
Penn St has owned this series winning 8 of the L/10 and haven’t lost to MSU at home since 1965! In the last two years, PSU has won by 30 ppg and outgained MSU by 207 ypg. LY it was tied 7-7 at HT before PSU scored four 3Q TD’s on 3,3,1 and 5 play drives. The Lions were tied at 24 late 3Q last week when they ret’d a blk’d P for a TD which began a dominating 4Q as they scored 17 unanswered pts in the win over Indiana. MSU rallied from a 28-13 deficit into the 4Q vs Purdue also thanks to a blk’d P which set up the GW TD. QB Cousins (232, 67%, 18-9) scored the winner vs the Boilers despite ankle and shoulder inj’s. MSU allows 125 rush (3.6). This was rumored earlier to be Paterno’s last home game but he dispelled that in his weekly press conference. Nonetheless PSU is 18-1 SU in home finales and sends their seniors out on a high note.

PHIL’S FORECAST : PENN ST 27 MICHIGAN ST 20

#13 VIRGINIA TECH VS VIRGINIA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
VIRGINIA 160
185
13
3.1
-
VA TECH
290
230
42
1.3

The Hokies are in a position to be the 1st ACC team to win all of their conf gms wire-to-wire S/’00. VT has won 10 of the L/11 in this rivalry and LY VT only led 14-13 at HT but held UVA to 76 2H yds (0 pts). LW VT sealed a trip to the ACC Title gm with a 31-17 win over Mia. It was tied at 17 in the 4Q when Williams broke off an 84 yd TD run w/13:24 left and they added an 18 yd TD run for the final margin. Despite being outgained 464-369, the D forced 6 TO’s (4 in VT terr). UVA lost its 3rd str since the Mia upset, this time to BC, 17-13. BC scored the go-ahead TD late 3Q. UVA was int’d twice and missed a 25 yd FG in the 4Q and lost despite 25-18 FD and 421-370 yd edges. While VT may have a little letdown with the Title gm on deck, UVA has not won a gm after Nov 1st S/’07 (0-12) and the Hokies make it 10 str wins on the year.

PHIL’S FORECAST : VIRGINIA TECH 38 VIRGINIA 17

#15 MISSOURI VS KANSAS

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
KANSAS 115
170
7
2.2
-
MISSOURI
200
260
36
1.1
•••
This game will be played in Kansas City for a 4th straight yr. LW the Tigers stayed in the B12 North race as they ended ISU’s season with a home shutout despite being outgained 332-306 as ISU missed FG’s from 27 and 38 yds. Missouri did lead 7-0 late 3Q when at 4&2 at their own 28 they ran a fake P 15 yd for a FD which sparked a TD drive. KU actually led OSU 14-10 after 1Q but the gm’s turning point came when trailing 17-14 as they were SOD at the OSU1 in the 2Q. The Cowboys rattled off 38 unanswered pts and finished with 36-18 FD and 597-288 yd edges. KU is #111 pass eff D while the Tigers are #1 B12 in scoring D (16 ppg).  Missouri has outside hopes of a BCS bowl if they can get to 10-2 and easily do so here.

PHIL’S FORECAST : MISSOURI 34 KANSAS 13

#16 NEBRASKA VS COLORADO

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
COLORADO 117
128
15
1.6
-
NEBRASKA
204
228
30
2.0
•••

This game is all about the coaches being in the news as Nebraska HC Pelini issued an apology after his actions LW against Texas A&M and on the other side CU interim coach Cabral is making his case for the permanent HC gig as the Buffaloes are off B2B Big 12 wins. The Buffs are still in bowl contention after their 44-36 win over K St as RB Stewart accounted for 267 yd and 3 TD. The pass rush has also been reenergized with 14 sks L/2. Meanwhile, Nebraska couldn’t wrap up the North vs A&M, losing 9-6 thanks in part to 16 pen and 2 TO’s. QB Martinez reinj’d his ankle vs the Ags as he missed 1.5Q’s and will probably miss this game as Cody Green will probably get the start. The Huskers have gone from 38 ppg and 459 ppg in the 1st 8 with Martinez at 100% to 19 ppg and 339 ypg in the L/3 and with Martinez probably out, this game will be much closer than many expect.

PHIL’S FORECAST: NEBRASKA 27 COLORADO 21

#17 TEXAS A&M AT TEXAS

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
TEXAS A&M 124
208
27
2.1
-
TEXAS
142
248
20
2.6
•••

This is a must-win for both teams for different reasons as Texas A&M needs to win to still have a shot at the Big 12 South Title while Texas needs a win to keep their 12 str bowl streak intact. The Longhorns are 16-1(only loss to A&M in ‘06) in home finales and are 8-2 vs A&M as the 8 wins (all by DD’s) are by an avg of 22 ppg and the losses are by 5 and 8 pts. LW UT ended a 4 gm losing streak by beating FAU, 51-17. The Horns finished with 27-15 FD and 522-298 yd edges but led just 17-7 until a Hail Mary TD with :04 left 1H and a 57 yd IR TD in the 4Q sealed it. Meanwhile A&M took adv of Neb’s mistakes (16 pen and 2 TO) in a 9-6 home win for their 1st 5 gm win conf win streak S/’98. All 5 of those wins have come since QB Tannehill replaced Johnson and he is avg 261 ypg (69%) with a 10-3 ratio which has opened the run lanes for Gray (810, 5.3) who has 5 str 100 yd gms (1st Aggie S/’90).   It might be tough sledding in this one though as the Horns are still #8 NCAA ttl D. LW Texas QB showed signs of improvement with 323 total yds and 3 scores LW and is going against an A&M defense that is giving up 242 pass ypg. The Horns become bowl eligible.

PHIL’S FORECAST: TEXAS 20 TEXAS A&M 17

#18 SOUTH CAROLINA AT CLEMSON

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
S CAROLINA 102
198
21
1.7
-
CLEMSON
94
208
18
2.6
•••
LY the intangibles favored South Carolina, as Clemson had the ACC Title gm on deck and SC pulled the upset but this year TY, SC has the SEC Title gm next week. LW Clemson got its 1st road win with a 30-10 win over WF while SC rolled 69-24 over Troy (most pts under Spurrier). Clemson has won 5 of the L/6 vs SC at home and haven’t dropped 2 str to SC S/’69-’70 (series uninterrupted since 1909).  If this was a meaningful game, I would pick SC as I think they have better personnel but with SC clearly looking ahead, I’ll call for the mild upset.

PHIL’S FORECAST : CLEMSON 27 SOUTH CAROLINA 20

#21 NC STATE AT MARYLAND

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
NC STATE 70
263
26
2.2
-
MARYLAND
91
253
24
2.0
•••
Maryland has won 7 of the L/10 in this series and the home team has won 4 of the L/5. LW the Terps were eliminated from ACC contention with a 30-16 loss to FSU which was very misleading as MD was done in by 4 TO’s incl a fmbl that was ret’d 90 yds for a TD with :36 left. Meanwhile NCSt won its 4th str over rival UNC, 29-25 and like the Maryland game was misleading. NC State was down by 9 when on 4&gl at the 2 a UNC DB tipped a pass back into play and WR Spencer took the ball off his shoelaces for a TD. Graham then took a PR untouched for an 87 yd TD. While the Pack get to the title gm with a win here, I’m going to go with the upset as MD will still play with a lot of emotion on Senior day and have a huge ST edge (#16-104).

PHIL’S FORECAST : MARYLAND 27 NC STATE 24

#22 FLORIDA ST VS FLORIDA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
FLORIDA 160
208
24
2.5
••
FLORIDA ST
181
218
29
2.6
-
Another big rivalry game this week. The Gators have won six in a row, which is the longest winning streak in the series since UF won 6 in a row from 1981-’86. The L/4Y, FSU has been outgained by at least 153 yds (-233 ypg avg). UF is 16-1 vs the “Big 3” (Tenn, UGA, FSU) under Meyer and 10-0 vs FL schools. FSU is off a 30-16 win over MD in which QB Ponder ret’d from an elbow inj (183 ypg, 62%, 16-7). UF is off a 48-10 win over #2 FCS App St with 547 yds (#1 TY). In 3 of the L/4Y UF has had the SEC Title gm on deck, but TY FSU has their full attention. Another key intangible to this game is that it is being ply’d at the same time as NCSt/MD and a loss by NCSt would give FSU an ACC Title gm berth so there may be some scoreboard watching here. The Gators make it 7.

PHIL’S FORECAST : FLORIDA 27 FLORIDA ST 23

#23 UTAH VS BYU

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
BYU 107
208
23
2.1
-
UTAH
139
273
28
2.3
•••

They call this series the “Holy War” and it will be the last time these two play it as the last game of the year as conference rivals as Utah moves to the Pac-10 and BYU goes independent next year. This gm has been decided by a TD or less 11x’s in 13 gms (OT LY). After having its bubble burst vs TCU (47-7), UT was upset at ND (28-3) and it looked headed that way thru 3Q’s vs SDSt. In pouring rain SDSt was up 27-17 when UT hit a 47 yd Hail Mary on the final play of the 1H. UT rallied in the 4Q and blk’d a punt at the 10, scoring 3pl later for their 1st lead of the gm. The Utes all’d 528 pass yds but got 2 int in incl one in the EZ with 1:22 left. LW BYU beat New Mexico 40-7, in a win as dominating as the score (366-183 yd edge thru 3Q). The Cougs built a 20-0 HT lead and rolled behind 3 frosh, QB Heaps (231 pass yd, 3 ttl TD), WR Hoffman (5 rec, 2 TD) and RB Quezada (107 rush yds, 1 TD). Like recent history, this game will be highly competitive and come down to the final series.

PHIL’S FORECAST: UTAH 27 BYU 24

#24 IOWA AT MINNESOTA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
IOWA 161
220
34
1.3
•••
MINNESOTA
84
250
16
2.1
-

Iowa has dominated this series the L/2 yrs as they have held Minny to just 7 (0.3) and 48 (1.3) rush yds and have shutout the Gohpers in B2B yrs for the 1st time S/’55-56. The Gophers had a bye to celebrate ending their 9 gm losing streak vs IL and this is the final gm for their all time leading passer, Iowa is off a 20-17 home loss to OSU, the 4th time TY they’ve allowed a gm winning 4Q TD drive. QB Stanzi (243, 66%, 23-4) is #6 NCAA pass eff but has failed to respond in 2 min drills in all 4 losses. Iowa should control the LOS in this one but don’t be surprised if Minnesota pulls out all the stops early with a lame-duck coaching staff.

PHIL’S FORECAST : IOWA 38 MINNESOTA 17

#25 MISSISSIPPI ST AT OLE MISS

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
MISS ST 180
153
29
1.9
•••
MISS
181
193
22
3.1
-

The Egg Bowl is one of my favorite rivalries and the home tm has won 6 in a row and is 10-1. Ole Miss HC Nutt is 10-2 all-time vs Miss St even after LY’s 41-27 upset by MSU which cost Ole Miss a Capital One Bowl bid. Ole Miss was eliminated from the bowls LW in their 43-36 loss to LSU while MSU is also off a disappointing 38-31 loss to Ark in 2OT. UM has the edge on offense (#36-57) but MSU has the edge on def (#16-59) holding opp’s to 126 rush ypg (3.7). The MSU passing attack however does not have the horses to exploit UM’s defensive weakness (#103 pass D) and I think QB Masoli makes a key play or two in the end to give the Rebels the upset win.

PHIL’S FORECAST : OLE MISS 24 MISSISSIPPI ST 23

Upsets of the Week:
6-3 L/4Weeks!
Indiana over Purdue
Cincinnati over Connecticut
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