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 (64%) and so far this season I am 190-47 (80%).

Last year the Top 25 forecasts went 205-60 (77%)! On the bottom of the forecasts, I have also listed some Upset Specials for this week.

# 1 LSU vs #3 ARKANSAS

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
ARKANSAS 65
210
25
2.3
LSU
245
170
37
1.6
-
SEC West/Nat’l Title Implications in the Battle for the Golden Boot. Ark has outgained LSU 5 str and won 3 of 4 outright. LY Ark had a 464-294 yd edge with a pair of 80 yd TD passes. LSU did win the last time here as they kicked a 41-yd FG w/:04 to force OT (Ark missed 35 yd FG in OT). This tightly contested series has been decided by 8 or less the L6Y with the cumulative score Ark 185-184. LW both tms took care of business as LSU dispatched Ole Miss 52-3 as they outgained the Rebels 458-195 but did have 2 Def TD’s. The Tigers matched their best start S/’58 as QB Jefferson got his 2nd str st (4-0 ratio). LW the Razorbacks had a 44-17 easy win over Miss St. QB Wilson had a school record 32 comp and leads the SEC avg 292 ypg (63%) with a 21-5 ratio. LSU is 10-2 in home finales. Ark does have slight off (#10-15) and ST’s (#2-25) edges while LSU has the def edge (#2-25). With the recent series history, this one comes down to the wire once again but it’s tough going against the Tigers at home in a big game under Miles.

PHIL’S FORECAST: LSU 31 ARKANSAS 24

 

#2 ALABAMA at AUBURN

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
ALABAMA 217
193
33
1.5
-
AUBURN
144
108
12
2.4
The winner has won the Nat’l Champ the L2Y. LY was the 1st time both were in Top 10 S/’94. Bama led 24-0 mid-2Q completely dominating Aub but missed 2 key 1H scoring chances (fmbl into EZ and at Aub12). The Tide had just 58 yds in the 2H and the 24 pt comeback was the largest in Aub history. LW both tms struggled vs FCS foes as Aub led only 21-16 in the 4Q before reeling off 2 TD’s in the 35-16 win over Samford (HC Sullivan Heisman Winner at Aub). After a weekend of upsets, the #2 Tide find themselves back in the National Title picture but their 45-21 win over Ga Southern was uninspiring as their “disinterested” D gave up 302 rush (7.7) to the option and keep in mind the Tide had given up just 519 total rush yds (1.8) in the prev 10 gms combined! RB Richardson continues his march to NY for the Heisman and now has 1,702 ttl yds and 22 TD’s. The Tigers have a solid RB of their own in Dyer (1194, 5.2) but HC Saban will be in the D’s ear after LW. The “28-27” score hung in Bama locker room in the off-season and Bama S Barron said after LY’s gm, “As a defense, we didn’t finish in that game. Never again will we go out and not finish like we did in that Aub gm.” Since then they have all’d an avg of 8 ppg and no FBS opponent has topped 14 pts and it’s highly unlikely the Tigers exceed that here. The Tide take back state bragging rights.

PHIL’S FORECAST: ALABAMA 34 AUBURN 6

 

#4 STANFORD vs #22 NOTRE DAME

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
NOTRE DAME 108
235
25
2.2
-
STANFORD
167
295
35
1.4
-
Stanford has knocked off ND in B2B games for the first time in the series’ 25 game history incl LY on the road when the Cardinal dominated the LOS with QB Crist under heavy pressure throughout and ND lost at home 37-14 (ND gained 141 of their 351 yds on the L/2 drives). LTH the Cardinal won 45-38. In that game ND led 14-7 after 1Q, 24-20 at HT and 31-27 into the 4Q. After a bubble bursting loss to Oreg, Stanford struggled LW en route to a 3 pt victory over Cal. Despite a 419-262 yd edge the Irish recovered a late onside kick to hold onto a 2 pt win over BC and were dealt a blow when RB Gray (791, 6.9, 12 TD) went down with inj (OFY). The tms are close on off (SU #5-13) but sked edge goes to Stanford who is playing its 3rd str at home while the Irish are playing their 3rd away from home in 4W but the Irish D (#11-22) keeps it close.

PHIL’S FORECAST: STANFORD 34 NOTRE DAME 31

 

#6 VIRGINIA TECH at #24 VIRGINIA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
VIRGINIA TECH 170
203
19
1.8
-
VIRGINIA
141
243
20
2.3
Commonwealth Cup and most importantly the battle for the Coastal title. VT has won 7 straight by 20 ppg. LY VT led 37-0 before all’g a late TD. VT held off a late rally after leading 24-7 mid 4Q for the 24-21 win over NC giving Beamer his 250th win and VT its 8th consecutive 10 win ssn (most FBS). RB Wilson is the FBS’s #3 rusher with 1,442 (6.2) while 250 lb QB Thomas is avg 212 ypg (60%) with a 16-7 ratio and has 337 yd rush (3.3). VA is off a thrilling 14-13 win over FSU setting up this much anticipated showdown. QB Rocco drove VA 75/5pl for a TD with 1:27 left 4Q. On FSU’s final drive VA held on 4D but were flagged for a face mask then held on 3&5 as FSU’s pass was ruled complete inbounds which would run out the clock and VA headed for the locker room. Replay officials reviewed it for several agonizing minutes and called the play inc giving FSU a FG opp which they missed. VA is avg 188 rush ypg (4.5) but were held to a ssn low 89 (3.2) vs #4 def and now face VT all’g 105 (3.3. QB Rocco has a 10-2 ratio the L/4. LTH UVA only trailed 14-13 at HT but was outscored 28-0 in the 2H. VT has the edge on off #29-50, def #13-37 and exp as Beamer/Foster are 18-4 down the stretch since ‘04.

PHIL’S FORECAST: VIRGINIA TECH 27 VIRGINIA 17

 

#7 BOISE ST vs WYOMING

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
WYOMING 142
160
19
2.2
-
BOISE ST
253
315
45
2.3
••
BS has won all 5 meetings. LY BS was off a bye after beating VT while WY was off a trip to Texas playing its 2nd str Top 5 foe. QB Moore methodically led BS to a 52-35 win over SDSt LW throwing for 366 with a 4-1 ratio as he is #4 FBS pass eff. In the L/6 he has avg 305 ypg (74%) with a 21-2 ratio. His top target is Shoemaker (800, 16.7, 7 TD) and RB Martin ret’d LW (only 1 series vs TCU) and leads with 885 (4.8, 11 TD). WY became bowl elig with a 31-10 win (-24) over NM and we went against the Pokes with a 2H winner on these pages. QB Smith is 2nd in the MW only to Moore in ttl off as he avg 223 pass ypg (61%, 15-5 ratio) and is the #2 rusher (518, 5.1, 10 TD). BS has the off (#11-71), D (#20-99) and ST’s (#24-70) edges.

PHIL’S FORECAST: BOISE ST 44 WYOMING 20

 

#8 HOUSTON at TULSA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
HOUSTON 140
418
43
2.0
••
TULSA
271
268
42
2.7
-
This determines the CUSA West Champ. While UH has won 4 of 6 the tms have split the L4. In those 6 gms no tm has been a fav by over 4 pts yet 3 have been decided by 17+ and 2 by 40+. Also 5 of the 6 have had a tm with at least a 140 yd edge. LY UH was without QB Keenum and lost at home by 3. Cougars are on their 3rd road game in 4W and continue their journey in uncharted waters at 11-0. In their L/6 gms they are outscoring foes on avg by 43 ppg (+288 ypg). TU had no look ahead problems taking care of UTEP LW and are playing just as well as anyone in the country. Hurricane are winners of 7 str and during that streak are outscoring foes 42-19 (+132 ypg). UT has won a rec 12 str CUSA gms and the last time they dropped a conf HG was in ‘09. This by far is the best tm UH has faced TY as TU played OK, OKSt and Boise but went 0-3 SU being outscored 49-23 and outgained 555-391.

PHIL’S FORECAST: HOUSTON 47 TULSA 40

#9 OREGON vs OREGON ST

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
OREGON ST 57
260
14
3.7
-
OREGON
338
185
45
2.2
Oregon has won 3 straight (tms combined for 77 ppg and 949 ypg L/3Y). Bubble burst potential here for UO after dropping a heartbreaker LW against the Trojans, a game in which they trailed 38-14 in the 3Q before missing the game-tying FG with seconds remaining. Despite being limited in the WR corps (missing #2 and #3 WR’s for most of the game) the Beavers defense benefited from Wash using a 1st time starter at QB in hostile Corvallis LW in the 38-21 win (outgained UW 484-325). LY UO was down 7-0 but after taking a 9-7 lead never trailed again turning 4 OSU int’s into 17 pts. LTH there were 7 lead changes and OSU was forced to kick 4 FG’s (40, 28, 29 and 45) as the Ducks came away with a 3 pt win. OSU is also on its 4th road game in 6 weeks and are clearly overmatched against a UO team that needs a victory here for the P12 Championship Game.

PHIL’S FORECAST: OREGON 44 OREGON ST 13

 

#10 USC vs UCLA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
UCLA 137
173
15
2.0
-
USC
254
263
40
1.8
-
USC is 11-1 in this rivalry winning the last 4 by an avg of 16 ppg (27-9) with no win by less than 14. LY the Trojans admitted this was their “bowl” as UCLA gained 53% of its FD’s (9) and 39% of its yds (141) on the L/2 poss after the gm had been decided. LTH USC led 21-7 when they kneeled down to end the game. UCLA decided to call a timeout so instead on kneeling again, USC threw a 48 yd TD pass and nearly caused a brawl with celebrating. The Trojans could be 11-0 here after their win in Eugene but they dropped a 3OT loss to Stanford and fell apart late vs ASU. With USC unable to play in the postseason, UCLA controls its own destiny in the P12 South after a convincing win vs Colo LW, a game in which they nearly topped their ssn high in ttl yds with 553 (1 yd short). It will be interesting to see how the Trojans deal coming off the upset win while UCLA has plenty to play for. USC finishes their season an impressive 10-2.

PHIL’S FORECAST: USC 30 UCLA 23

 

#11 MICHIGAN ST at NORTHWESTERN

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
MICHIGAN ST 136
245
30
1.6
-
NORTHWESTERN
114
280
21
2.6
-
MSU has won 3 str incl LY which was also here at NW. LY NW jumped out to a 17-0 lead but later MSU was successful on a fake P and it propelled them to the win. MSU took a 1 pt lead w/2:00 left and tacked on another TD :53 later for the misleading final. LW Legends winner Sparty booked their trip to Indianapolis with a 55-3 demolition of Indy. MSU scored on 8 of their 1st 10 poss and finished with 22-12 FD and 470-236 yd edges as 60% of the Hoosiers yds came on 3 drives with 2 after trailing 34-3 at the half. MSU QB Cousins (229, 64%, 19-5) is #3 B10 pass eff. Spartans are #5 pass eff D (156, 50%, 13-16). The Cats won their 4th straight to become bowl elig with their win 28-13 win over Minny in which they led 21-3 after their 1st 3 poss. FBS comp % leader Persa (240, 75%, 15-7) teams with jack of all trades Colter (571 rush, 410 rec, 11 TD) to form the B10’s best QB duo. After allowing 39 ppg in 1st 5 gms of B10 play, the Cats have all’d 15 ppg in L/3. This gm is meaningless for MSU with their BCS shot on deck while NW can ensure themselves a bowl invite with a 7th win (10 B10 tms could be elig for 8 spots).

PHIL’S FORECAST: NORTHWESTERN 28 MICHIGAN STATE 27

 

#12 OKLAHOMA vs IOWA ST

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
IOWA ST 112
180
11
2.8
-
OKLAHOMA
183
405
39
2.8
OU has won 12 straight in this series. LY’s mauling was also at Norman as OU finished with a 672-184 yd edge in the 52-0 shutout. The Cyclones stunningly outFD’d (33-24) and outgained (568-536) the mighty OSU offense and treated the Cowboys to a bit of their own medicine by forcing 5 TO’s incl an int in 2OT for the big upset. ISU is now 3-0 with QB Barnett under C. Cyclones are #60 pass eff D (243, 58%, 15-8). OU’s national title aspirations were snuffed out by Baylor as the Bears used big plays and TO’s to stop the Sooners. RG3 hit the gm winning 34 yd TD pass with :08 left for their 1st ever W over OU (0-20). QB Jones (380, 65%, 28-10) threw a crucial pick at the BU26 in his 1st start minus FBS’s all-time rec leader Broyles whose replacement Franks fmbl’d at the BU31. DE Lewis (#3 B12 tfl) may be OFY (knee). The Sooners have won 8 straight home finales by an avg of 32 ppg. Even with Bedlam on deck, OU needs momentum for the de facto B12 title gm.

PHIL’S FORECAST: OKLAHOMA 48 IOWA ST 17

 

#13 GEORGIA at #25 GEORIGA TECH

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
GEORGIA 178
190
30
2.2
-
GEORGIA TECH
242
105
22
2.8
-
Scheduled as the reg ssn finale for the L59 years. LY UGA scored a TD and led 35-28 w/ 9:35 left. GT scored but missed the PAT to trail by 1. After getting the ball back deep in GT terr UGA was all’d to score a TD to preserve the clock. GT got to the 46 but threw an int. UGA has all’d 342 ypg rush (5.6) to Johnson’s option (34 ppg) the L/3Y but are a much improved D TY all’g just 81 rush ypg (2.8) compared to 147 ypg (3.7) LY. LW the Bulldogs despite a sluggish performance were able to beat UK 19-10 and clinch the SEC East title (did have 317-165 yd edge). QB Murray is avg 222 ypg (61%) with a 28-9 ratio but leading rusher Crowell 832 (4.8) left the gm in the 1Q with an ankle inj. GT recovered from the loss to VT and was able to hang on for a 38-31 win over Duke LW as they rolled up a 549-351 yd edge. QB Washington had 185 pass/136 rush and is avg 201 total yds (48%, 10-6).The Bulldogs have now won 9 str gms and while they have the SEC Champ on deck, in the L/3 gms in that situation vs GT they are 3-0 with an avg score of 33-10 and continue their winning ways here.

PHIL’S FORECAST: GEORGIA 34 GEORGIA TECH 24

 

#14 SOUTH CAROLINA vs #18 CLEMSON

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
CLEMSON 137
198
23
3.2
SOUTH CAROLINA
199
193
36
2.5
-
SC has now won B2B games (1st time S/’69 &’70). LY SC won despite having the SEC Champ on deck and TY they are only off The Citadel while CU is on the 2nd of B2B away and has the ACC Champ gm on deck. LW SC faced option-oriented Citadel and they only won 41-20. The win did earn SC B2B ssns with at least 9 wins for the 1st time in 118 years. QB Shaw is avg 126 ypg (65%) with a 9-6 ratio and has avg 89 rush ypg (6.6) L/2 wks while RB Wilds has 3 100 yd gms replacing Lattimore. LW CU in a flat spot was sloppy committing 4 TO’s (11 TO’s L/3W after just 2 first 8 gms) in the 37-13 loss to NCSt. They had been avg 37 ppg and 478 ypg but didn’t reach the EZ until the final :90 and didn’t crack the 200 yd mark until late in the 3Q. The Tigers did play w/out all-purp star Watkins (shld’r) while QB Boyd is avg 296 ypg (62%) with a 27-9 ratio. CU is 9-2 in Columbia S/’89 but lost the LTH when they had the ACC Title gm on deck and mailed it in. The L3Y have all been decided by 17+ each (3Y prior just 9 ttl pts) but look for this one to be tighter as CU should be motivated after LW and has the off edge (#17-52) and ST’s edge (#55-80). However SC is at home, has the D edge (#10-61) and will be looking to win 10 gms for the 1st time S/’84.

PHIL’S FORECAST: SOUTH CAROLINA 27 CLEMSON 23

 

#15 WISCONSIN vs #20 PENN STATE

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
PENN ST 160
95
14
2.2
•••
WISCONSIN
225
210
34
1.9
-
PSU has dominated in B2B gms. LW using healthy doses of the wildcat to keep OSU honest the Lions jumped out to a 20-14 HT lead and before shutting out the Bucks in the 2H to win a share of the Leaders title. With #1 rusher Redd (1122, 5.2) banged up (8-63), Green ran for 93 yd and 2 TD while the D forced 2 crucial 2H TO’s in the win. QB McGloin (134, 54%, 7-4) went the distance for the 2nd straight gm after alternating in the 1st 9. Lions are #8 FBS ttl D and have forced a B10 best 25 TO’s. Wisky trailed IL 14-0 before rallying for a 28-17 win. UW was held to a ssn low 285 yds and were helped out by IL errors which set up scoring drives of 44, 39, 30 and 2 yds. B10’s #1 rusher Ball (1466, 6.6) was the star with 224 yds. Badgers allow 162 rush ypg (4.2) in conf play. This is the last of a tough, emotional 3 gm stretch for the Lions but the winner takes all here for a trip to Indianapolis. The Badgers book their trip for a rematch against the Spartans.

PHIL’S FORECAST: WISCONSIN 27 PENN STATE 17

 

#17 MICHIGAN vs OHIO STATE

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
OHIO STATE 148
75
14
2.0
•••••
MICHIGAN
217
215
32
2.4
-
A historic 7 straight wins for OSU. The Bucks have won 3 straight in Ann Arbor and won LTH 21-10 as they only outgained UM by 9 yds but were +4 in TO’s. LY OSU won 37-7 as Herron rushed for 175 yds (OSU 478-351 yd edge). Since they played in ‘06 as #1 vs #2 OSU has not won by less than 11. UM’s Hoke calls OSU “Ohio”, refuses to wear red even though it’s the color of his alma mater Ball St and installed countdown clocks to this gm as soon as he became HC. OSU is 1-3 on the road TY being outgained by 86 ypg. UM is 7-0 at home TY outgaining foes by 166 ypg. Huge ST edge for OSU (#6-100). LW UM turned a 17-10 HT lead into a blowout thanks to Huskers mistakes (fmbl’d 3Q KO and blk’d P) to stay in the hunt for an at large BCS bid by mauling NU 45-17. UM continues to get the ball to Toussaint (811, 5.7) who has outrushed QB D-Rob in conf play 698 to 441 (5.9-4.0). Wolves allow a B10 best 113 rush ypg (3.6) in conf play. OSU was eliminated from the B10 title gm after falling behind 10-0 for the 3rd straight gm in a 20-14 home loss to PSU. The Bucks (327-289 outgained) were burned by the Lions wildcat formation in the 1H before clamping down in the 2H including a goal line stand on 4&goal from the 1 but the gm’s turning point came on the next series when OSU fmbl’d it back to the Lions. Minus the service academies the Bucks are last in the FBS in pass off with QB Miller’s (76 ypg, 49%, 9-3, #1 rush 595) 4 completions to now elig Posey LW a ssn high for an OSU WR. Bucks have struggled vs mobile QB’s allowing 148 rush ypg (3.8). LY at this time it was OSU fighting for a BCS bid while Mich had just finished being investigated by the NCAA and the cch staff fought rumors that they’d be unemployed soon. The Wolves turn the tables.

PHIL’S FORECAST: MICHIGAN 23 OHIO STATE 17

 

#21 BAYLOR vs TEXAS TECH

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
BAYLOR 262
340
45
2.3
-
TEXAS TECH
188
340
34
1.8
••
† Cowboys Stadium. TT has won and outgained Baylor 15 str. This is TT’s finale while BU hosts Texas next wk. Briles is a TT grad, ex-RB cch (‘02-05) and was contacted for the Raiders HC job in ‘09. LY Griffin had career highs in att (42), comp (31) and yds (384) vs TT in a gm that saw 4 lead changes and 3 ties as BU ran out of time at the Raiders 31. The Bears did return an onside K for a TD and had another fake P set up a TD as TT had the FD (35-22) and yd (635-507) edges. BU is 1-3 on the road TY. TT blew 2 DD leads as MO rallied for a 31-27 win without susp’d HC Pinkel. After the Tigers went ahead with 2:22 left the Raiders drove 68/10pl but were int’d at the 4 with :37 left. TT is #111 pass eff D (224, 60%, 21-5) and #113 in scoring D (37 ppg). The Bears beat OU for the 1st time ending a 20 gm skid and got their 1st win over a Top 5 foe S/’85 in a 45-38 stunner. Sooners TO’s ended drives at the BU31 and 26 and they were also SOD at the Bears 25 as RG3 hit the 34 yd GW TD pass with :08 left. RG3 (357, 73%, 33-5, 550 rush) may have catapulted himself back into the Heisman race. BU is #94 pass eff D (259, 62%, 25-10). TT needs 1 more win to prolong the B12’s longest bowl streak and this is their last chance.

PHIL’S FORECAST: BAYLOR 47 TEXAS TECH 45

 

#22 NEBRASKA vs IOWA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
IOWA 132
168
21
2.1
-
NEBRASKA
224
223
31
2.1
••
The schools dubbed this “The Heroes Game” when NU joined the B10 and they’ll play for the Corn Bowl trophy. NU has won the L/6 home finales by 20 ppg. The last meeting was in ‘00 and Iowa lost 42-13. This is Iowa’s 2nd straight road gm where they are 3-6 the L/2Y although they ended their 6 gm road losing streak by beating Purdue 31-21 LW. UI outgained the Boilers 408-282 but also were aided by PU TO’s at the Hawks 41, 1, 29 and out of the EZ for a TB. Hawks have B10’s #2 rusher Coker (1297, 5.0) and #1 rec McNutt (1240, 16.8). Hawks allow 166 rush ypg (4.0) in B10 play. NU blew their last shot at a trip to Indy in a 41-17 loss at Mich where they were outFD’d (24-11) and outgained (418-260). RB Burkhead (1108, 5.0) was held to a ssn low 36 yd vs the Wolves and trailing just 17-10 at HT the normally stout Huskers ST imploded fmbl away the 3Q KO and a blk’d P which set up TD drives of 33 and 50 yds. Huskers allow 188 rush ypg (4.1) in B10 play. This one goes to the wire.

PHIL’S FORECAST: NEBRASKA 24 IOWA 21

UPSET OF THE WEEK: 1-0 LAST WEEK

NEVADA OVER UTAH ST

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