Week 14 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 15-1 (94%) and so far this season I am 205-48 (81%).

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 #12 GEORGIA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
GEORGIA 100
170
16
2.6
-
LSU
170
145
30
2.3
•••
LAST 14 YEAR MATCHUPS
Georgia Dome, Atlanta. UGA leads the recent series 6-3 (L20Y). Both tms have been ranked in the Top 20 in each of the L/6 meetings. UGA is the only tm in the SEC that LSU HC Les Miles does not have a winning record against (1-2) but the Tigers did win the L/meeting in ‘09, 20-13 as #4 LSU benefitted from a controversial celebration pen on WR AJ Green which set up their GW TD (:46). This will be the 3rd meeting between these two tms in the SEC Champ gm as they split the prev 2 with LSU winning 34-13 in ‘03 and UGA winning 34-14 in ‘05. These two have six common opp’s TY and have had similar results with LSU going 6-0 outscoring foes on avg 38-7 (+192 ypg) while UGA is also 6-0 outscoring foes 27-12 (+184 ypg). LW LSU capped their best reg ssn in schl hist with a 41-17 win over #3 Ark as they finished SEC play 8-0 for the 1st time (trailed 14-0 w/6:00 left in 2Q). QB Jefferson has now played every meaningful snap for 3 str gms (155 ypg, 66%, 3-1 ratio L/3) and AA DB Mathieu was the star again with 8 tkls, 2 FF, 1 FR and a 92 yd PR TD in the 2Q that turned the momentum. The Bulldogs are also off a key win over rival GT, 31-17 and have now won 10 str gms for the first time S/’82 despite playing w/out their top 2 RB’s the last couple of wks. QB Murray is avg 225 ypg (61%, 32-10, TD schl rec’d) while super frosh RB Crowell, despite battling inj for most of the yr, leads with 832 (4.8) despite only 7 sts. The UGA D has been the story as they lead the SEC in sks (32) which is remarkable considering they had only 1 in the first 3 gms comb. off (LSU #13-15) and def (LSU #2-5) are basically even but LSU has the large ST’s edge (#19-81). This one could come down to the wire but it’s tough going against the Tigers who have met every challenge TY. LSU books their ticket to nearby New Orleans for the National Champ game.

PHIL’S FORECAST: LSU 27 GEORGIA 20

#3 OKLAHOMA ST vs #13 OKLAHOMA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
OKLAHOMA 173
350
32
3.9
-
OKLAHOMA ST
112
420
40
3.0
-
Bedlam for a 2nd str yr in Stillwater. OU has dominated the series winning 8 str and has outgained OSU in 7 of those meetings by an avg of 476-282! OSU’s Gundy is now 0-10 vs OU as both a QB (0-4 as st’r ‘86-’89) and HC. LY OU was an underdog for the 1st time in the series S/’98 but won a wild 47-41 gm as QB Jones matched an OU rec’d w/468 pass yds. The gm was tied at 24 at the end of the 3Q as 40 4Q pts were scored incl 4 TD’s in 92 secs. OSU left Ames thinking they blew their BCS shot but after a chaotic week realized that the dream still is a possibility with a win over their rivals. QB Weeden (374, 73%, 34-12) threw 3 picks incl the gm sealer in 2OT. RB Randle (1042, 5.8) and WR Blackmon (1241, 12.1, 15 TD) round out the triplets. OSU leads the FBS in TO’s forced (37) before getting a taste of their own medicine vs the Cyclones (5 OSU TO’s to 3 for ISU). The Sooners rebounded to beat ISU 26-6 in a misleading final. OU had FD (25-13) and yd (509-245) edges but threw int’s in the EZ, at the ISU12 and 21, fmbl’d at the ISU20 and ISU’s lone TD was set up by a bad P snap. OU played without #3 rec Reynolds (692, 17.7, susp) and B12 tfl leader DE Alexander (18, shldr) was inj’d in the 2H further depleting units missing future pros Broyles (1157, 13.9, 10 TD) and Ronnell Lewis (13 tfl). OU has had 7 TO’s the L/2 without Broyles. Cowboys are #15 pass eff D (267, 58%, 13-21) while Sooners are #30 (246, 53%, 16-13). OU would like nothing better than keep their rivals out of the BCS party and claim their 8th B12 Champ.

PHIL’S FORECAST: OKLAHOMA 42 OKLAHOMA ST 41

 

#5 VIRGINIA TECH vs #21 CLEMSON

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
CLEMSON 95
265
21
2.6
••
VIRGINIA TECH
215
205
37
1.3
-
LAST 14 YEAR MATCHUPS
VT is looking for its 4th ACC title in the L5Y while Clem is making its 2nd appearance S/‘09, a 39-34 loss to GT. LY VT defeated FSU 44-33 here in Charlotte sending them to the Orange Bowl and TY may have Nat’l Title implications. These 2 have gone in diff directions since CU’s 23-3 win. CU QB Boyd was off of 2 HUGE wins (1st road start) over ranked FSU and Aub. VT’s D held CU’s off to 328 yds but QB Thomas struggled in his 1st gm on the big stage. VT has since won 7 straight rising to #5 in the polls while CU collapsed losing 3 of L/4 after rising to #6. CU limps in since clinching 3 wks ago needing a FG to beat Wake on the final play (down 28-14 4Q) then were crushed by NCSt. LW Clemson was dominated by SC losing 34-13 and was held to a ssn low 153 yds. SC sacked Boyd 5x holding him to just for 83 pass yds (prev low 204 vs VT). Boyd is avg 278 ypg (60%) with a 28-10 ratio. RB Ellington needs just 63 yds to top 1,000 and FPOY WR Watkins has 1,073 (14.9). After just 8 TO’s in the 1st 8 gms, CU has 12 in the L/4 incl Boyd’s 7 int’s. The D has all’d 384 ypg (28 ppg) incl 187 rush (4.5). VT played its best gm of the yr LW dominating rival UVa 38-0 to wrap up the Coastal. VT held UVa to 30 rush yd, 1.2 ypc (148 under ssn avg) and harassed QB Rocco (4 sks) into 3 TO’s. VT is the only team in the FBS to win 10 gms the L8Y. Thomas is avg 234 ypg (63%) with an 11-2 ratio in the L/7 and at 250 lb is a Clydesdale in the run gm (414, 3.3) to compliment RB Wilson who tied an ACC rec’d with his 10th 100 yd gm (1595 yds, 6.3). He rushed for 128 (5.6) vs CU TY. VT D is #12 in FBS all’g 302 ypg, #9 vs run (99 ypg, 3.1), #9 pass eff and has 37 sks (#8). You can bet VT will take notes from SC’s gameplan. VT met BC in the title gm in ‘07 and ‘08 and after losing to them in the earlier meeting won both, outscoring them by a 30-14 avg. Clemson has the edge on ST’s (#66-98) but VT has a huge edge on defense (#7-63) with exp in this situation and gets past the young Tigers for a BCS bowl.

PHIL’S FORECAST: VIRGINIA TECH 34 CLEMSON 24

 

#7 HOUSTON vs SOUTHERN MISS

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
SOUTHERN MISS 193
200
25
2.6
-
HOUSTON
137
455
50
1.9
-
LAST 14 YEAR MATCHUPS
This is the 7th CUSA Champ and UH is 1-1 tying UCF and Tulsa for the most title appearances. SM is 0-1. This will be a rematch of the ‘06 gm that UH won 34-20 at Robertson Stadium. Cougars had a 443-349 yd edge (+6 FD). In ‘09 #18 UH lost vs EC 38-32 in their last CUSA Champ gm. UH was outgained 557-413 (-10 FD) and QB Keenum was 56-75-527 with a 5-3 ratio. UH is just 3-8 vs SM but the home team is on a perfect 5-0 run. Interestingly Keenum and SM QB Davis have never squared off vs each other (both Sr’s). LY in SM’s 59-41 home win Davis was 24-31-293 with a 2-0 ratio with 111 rush yds (6.5) and 4 TD’s (Keenum DNP, out ssn). LTH in ‘09 UH won 50-43 at home as Keenum was 44-54-559 with a 5-1 ratio tossing the GW TD with :21 left (Davis DNP, out ssn). These two have had 7 common foes TY and UH is 7-0 outscoring them 53-23 and outgaining them 597-397. SM is 5-2 outscoring them 32-21 and outgaining them 449-327. Heisman hopeful Keenum is 19-0 as a st’r at Robertson Stadium. He is avg 394 ypg (73%) with a 43-3 ratio and is #3 FBS in pass eff. UH has a RB-by-committee approach as Sims and Hayes comb to avg 117 ypg (6.5). Edwards has 74 rec (20.2) with 18 TD’s and leads a talented WR corps. SM’s Davis is avg 254 ypg (63%) with a 24-10 ratio. The RB’s have been banged up all yr but D Johnson had a solid gm vs Mem (103, 9.4). The combo of Balentine/Bolden form an underrated WR duo with a comb 99 rec (13.7) with 13 TD. SM does have the NCAA’s #12 pass eff def all’g 221 ypg (58%) with a 12-16 ratio as UH comes in at #16 (209, 57%, 14-16). Both have solid ST units (UH slight #20-26 edge). UH is in the midst of its best ssn in schl history (12-0) while SM has matched theirs (‘52 and ‘88, 10-2) but with a win the Cougars will be the first CUSA school to crack the BCS and remember both of the Golden Eagles losses have come on the road against CUSA foes.

PHIL’S FORECAST: HOUSTON 51 SOUTHERN MISS 27

 

#8 OREGON vs UCLA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
UCLA 162
180
14
2.7
OREGON
313
230
47
2.0
••••
LAST 14 YEAR MATCHUPS
1st ever P12 Champ gm as UCLA benefitted from a postssn-ineligible USC and a poor South Div to get in with a 6-6 record while the Ducks are battle tested in the tough P12 North. With the changes in the conf, the two haven’t played TY for the 1st time S/’05 with the Ducks winning LY 60-13 in Eugene (UO’s 1st gm ever as AP #1) where the Ducks outFD’d (32-19) and outgained (582-290) the Bruins. A wk after their 1st home loss under HC Kelly, the Ducks returned to dominating fashion at Autzen as they more than doubled up rival Oregon St in FD’s (38-15), yardage (670-315) and on the scoreboard (49-21). They did get a scare however with RB James (1427, 7.2) as he was inj’d in the 3Q and missed the remainder of the game (expected back here). Knowing they already had a trip to Eugene locked up after Utah’s loss the day prior, the Bruins suffered their worst loss S/’30 (2nd yr of series) to rival USC LW as they were blanked 50-0 giving up 572 ttl yds (1 yd short of their season worst). HC Neuheisel will be dismissed after the Champ gm win or lose and this will be his last game at his alma mater. Looking further into the matchup and you’ll see that the Ducks are averaging 569 ypg at home TY while the Bruins are all’g 454 ypg on the road (UCLA all’g just 370 at home). On the flip side, the Ducks are giving up a surprising 448 ypg in Eugene vs IA opponents while UCLA will look to control the clock behind the RB combo of Franklin (912, 6.1) and Coleman (643, 5.1) as the Bruins avg 175 ypg rushing away this year. UCLA has played my toughest schedule but Oreogn has the edges in off (#3-37), def (#17-54) and ST’s (#4-90). The home team in this series has had its struggles in the past but with UO outscoring their home opponents by a 48-22 avg, look for the Ducks to roll to Pasadena here.

PHIL’S FORECAST: OREGON 49 UCLA 14

 

#9 BOISE ST vs NEW MEXICO

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
NEW MEXICO 17
130
4
3.0
BOISE ST
248
325
57
1.4
•••••
These two haven’t played since ‘99 and ‘00 (Boise won both by 14 ppg). NM has lost 17 str MW away gms with the avg score 37-10. NM is off a bye while Boise beat WY 36-14. QB Moore (#4 FBS pass eff) was picked on his 1st att of the gm for a 29 yd IR TD (1st IR TD since Nov ‘09). It looked to be tied at 7 at HT when Moore threw a 46 yd Hail Mary which was deflected down to WR Miller, who was laying on his back on the goal line, 14-7. BSU finished with 26-11 FD and 479-191 yd edges. Moore is avg 290 ypg (73%) with a 38-7 ratio and NM is #120 pass eff D all’g 232 ypg (71%) with an 18-2 ratio. Boise has avg’d 55 ppg in their home finales the L/8Y and sends Moore off with a big win here..

PHIL’S FORECAST: BOISE ST 51 NEW MEXICO 6

 

#11 MICHIGAN ST vs #15 WISCONSIN

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
WISCONSIN 195
200
34
2.0
-
MICHIGAN ST
115
190
26
2.0
••
LAST 14 YEAR MATCHUPS

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis. A rematch of the B10’s most exciting 2011 gm as both tms rallied from a 14 pt deficit before Sparty won it on a 44 yd Hail Mary TD which barely found the EZ on the last play of regulation. The Badgers finished with 23-18 FD and 443-399 yd edges. Despite clinching the Legends Div with 1 gm left, MSU kept their foot on the gas with a 31-17 win over NW. Two key 2Q plays gave the Spartans the lead as NW fmbl’d at the MSU3 which Sparty converted into a 97 yd TD drive and MSU then added a 57 yd PR TD to take a 17-3 HT lead. MSU has their all-time TD pass leader in Cousins (228, 64%, 21-6 TY) and rec in Cunningham (1125, 16.8). Surprisingly the run gm is last in the B10 (139, 3.9) behind a reshuffled OL (only 15 sks all’d). Spartans rank #1 B10 in ttl D (267), rush D (103, 2.9) and sks (38). Keep in mind that 6’7” All-B10 DE Gholston (59 tkl, 11 tfl) DNP in the 1st gm due to a susp. After being burned by late long TD passes in B2B wks in losses to MSU and OSU Wisky regrouped in a dominating 4-0 Nov in which they outscored their foes 177-54 and outgained them by 274 ypg to take the Leaders title. After PSU’s early long TD strike UW scored the gm’s L/45 pts as the Badgers had 27-12 FD and 450-233 yd edges. FBS pass eff leader QB Wilson (224, 73%, 28-3) got the early Heisman love but FBS scoring leader RB Ball (#1 B10 w/1622, 6.5, 34 TD) could earn a trip to NY as he’s 5 away from tying Heisman winner Barry Sanders’ FBS TD record (39). Badgers D is #4 FBS in scoring (15 ppg). UW has the off edge (#8-39) while the Spartans have the stronger D (#10-23). MSU also has the ST edge (#61-95) with a 2Q blk’d P TD key in the Oct 22nd meeting. MSU was shut out of a BCS bowl despite finishing with 11 wins incl one over the Badgers LY and look for this one to go down to the wire yet again.

PHIL’S FORECAST: MICHIGAN ST 28 WISCONSIN 27

 

#16 KANSAS ST vs IOWA ST

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
IOWA ST 123
180
14
3.1
-
KANSAS ST
207
160
27
2.3
••

KSU is 17-4 in Manhattan finales with an avg win by 17 ppg. LY ISU held a 20-17 4Q lead but down by 7 saw a 4&6 pass from the KSU36 fall inc w/:13 left. LTH in ‘08 was Prince’s final gm and KSU was +3 TO’s and won 38-30 as they were outgained by 175 yds. ISU is 1-3 on the B12 road TY being outgained by 226 ypg in the losses. KSU is off a much needed bye after they completed their Texas ‘sweep’ by beating the Horns for the 4th str time. The Cats were outFD’d 15-8 and outgained 310-121 but 2 int’s set up scoring drives of 36 and 13 yds while the D held UT out of the EZ on their final drive. QB Klein (144 ypg, 58%, 11-5) leads B12 QB’s in rushing (1013, 3.8) and BCS QB’s rush TD (25) but needed the time off after being unable to practice the wk prior to gm the L/2 due to various aches. Cats allow 124 rush ypg (3.9). ISU had been outgained in 6 of their 1st 7 gms TY by 86 ypg prior to Barnett becoming the QB. In his 4 sts ISU is 3-1 and had outgained the 1st 3 by 126 ypg prior to LW’s misleading loss to OU. In wind gusts up to 40 mph the Cyclones were outFD’d 25-13 and outgained 509-245 and had their lone TD ‘drive’ of 10 yds set up by a bad P snap. OU was int’d in the EZ and at the ISU12 and 21, fmbl’d at the ISU20 and settled for 4 FG’s with 3 under 28 yds or it could’ve been much worse. Iowa St allows 195 rush ypg (4.6). KSU still has a BCS bowl shot and you know Snyder will add a few wrinkles with an extra week to practice.

PHIL’S FORECAST: KANSAS ST 34 IOWA ST 17

 

#18 TCU vs UNLV

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
UNLV 100
100
7
2.1
TCU
255
265
50
2.2
••
TCU has 7 str wins. The Frogs’ dominating numbers incl an avg score of 41-7, avg of +291 ypg and they’ve only all’d 4 TD’s in the last 6 gms. LTH UNLV was outgained by 418 yds (just 6 plays in TCU terr). LY TCU won 48-6 despite not getting any sacks and UNLV’s only score came on a gbg TD with :41 left. LV is off a 31-14 home loss to SDSt. The Rebs actually led 14-7 at HT before SDSt put it in RB Hillman’s hands and LV was outgained 391-261. QB Herring went down with a shldr inj and his bkp Reilly has been struggling with inj’s of his own, while the #3 QB Barnhill was playing TE up until a month ago. While RB Cornett did rush for 136 yds (9.1) vs SDSt, TCU all’s just 113 (3.2) ypg rush at home. TCU is off a bye while LV is playing for a 6th str wk, is on the road for a 3rd time in 4W and has lost by 30.8 ppg away from home TY.

PHIL’S FORECAST: TCU 51 UNLV 6

 

#19 BAYLOR vs TEXAS

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
TEXAS 221
175
30
2.4
•••••
BAYLOR
134
300
30
2.7
-
UT is 16-2 and last lost B2B to BU in ‘91-92. However LY BU came in ranked for the 1st time S/’93 and despite trailing 19-10 early 3Q scored 20 unanswered. The Horns had a 428-328 yd edge and in fact UT has outgained the Bears in each of the L/13 by an avg of 479-236 all’g only 300+ yds twice. UT (did win 47-14 in their L/trip to Waco holding BU to just 246 yds. Bears are 6-0 at home TY outgaining foes by 167 ypg and avg 48 ppg (low of 42) while the Horns are 3-2 outside of Austin TY being outgained by 31 ypg. LW Texas rallied from a 13-0 2Q deficit to upset SEC bound rival A&M. UT was outFD’d 22-12 and outgained 328-237 but used a trick play to get a 41 yd TD pass from returning WR Shipley (out L/3) and added a 58 yd IR TD early 3Q to make it a 2 pt gm. An 81 yd PR set up a 23 yd FG to give UT the lead which they added to moments later after an int set up a 24 yd TD drive. After the Ags hit a FG they drove 68/8pl for a TD with 1:48 left for a 25-24 lead (2ptng). QB McCoy, making his 1st start since Oct 1, aided by a PF pen, led a 48/7pl drive with a key 25 yd scramble which set up the GW 40 yd FG. Since returning from inj #1 rusher Brown (668, 4.7) has had 72 yd (2.6) the L/2. Horns are #8 pass eff D and the only FBS tm to not allow a TD pass of 20+ yds TY. RG3 has an FBS best 22 TD passes of 25 yds TY+. Griffin (concussion) DNP in the 2H of LW’s win over TT but the Bears burned Florence’s RS and he hit 9-12-151 and 2 TD in a 66-42 win. BU had 38-25 FD and 617-444 yd edges with the key play being a 90 IR TD in the 3Q. Bears allow 198 rush ypg (5.3). Horns have huge D (#3-86) and ST (#8-105) edges and have to be insulted to be an underdog for the 1st time in this series which they have dominated S/’94.

PHIL’S FORECAST: TEXAS 35 BAYLOR 31

 

#22 WEST VIRGINIA vs USF

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
WEST VIRGINIA 88
340
28
2.4
-
USF
187
230
30
2.3
-
The home team has won 4 straight incl LY when WV held the Bulls to their ssn low in ttl yds during a 20-6 victory. In their last meeting in Tampa, QB Daniels had 336 total yds off and 3 TD passes in a 30-19 win by USF. With extremely explosive offenses it’s surprising that this has been a low scoring series as the teams have combined for only 37 ppg. USF blew a 17-3 lead vs Louisville LW without Daniels (shldr inj). After a come from behind win in the “Backyard Brawl” (Mounatineers recorded 10 sks), WV is good shape for a bowl game with a chance remaining at a BCS berth (BE automatic bid) while USF still needs a win here to become eligible for the postseason.

PHIL’S FORECAST: USF 31 WEST VIRGINIA 28

 

UPSET OF THE WEEK:

FAU over ULM

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  • Finix

    Wow… You Think Texas Knocks RG3 Out Of The Heisman Race w/ This Loss… I Was Thinking The Same Score But, I’m Leaning Baylor… Haven’t Seen Any Consistency From Texas QBs And RG3 Has One More Shot To Go To New York.