Top 25 – Week 12
By Phil Steele
Last week the Top 25 Forecasts went 17-3 85% and on the year they are now 180-38 83%! On the bottom of the forecasts, I have also listed some Upset Specials for this week which look to bounce back this week.
For projected box scores and last 14 years matchups, click here.
#1 Oregon vs #14 Stanford
Stanford has lost 2 games during the regular season in ‘10 and ‘11 and they were both to Oregon as the Ducks are 9-1 in this series. Last year the grass was wet and muddy which favored the bigger Cardinal but the speedy Ducks still won 53-30. The last time here SU actually led 21-3 after 1Q and 31-24 at the half but UO would score the only points in the 2H in the 52-31 home win. Last week the Ducks withstood injuries to their entire DL and brief absences by QB Mariota and Barner to win their 13th straight game overall 59-17 over Cal. Mariota threw 6 td’s and UO scored the game’s final 35 points after Cal cut it to 24-17 in the 3Q. SU is off a 27-23 win over OSU in a topsy-turvey game that saw Stanford race out to a 14-0 lead before OSU scored 23 straight points, then the Cardinal closed it out with 2 td’s. QB Hogan got his first start and completed 22-29-254-3-2 and they overcame a -3 TO deficit. UO has the Civil War on deck but after being crowned the AP’s new #1 team with GameDay on hand, look for the Ducks to keep their foot on the gas here as this is a terrible matchup for the slower Cardinal.
PHIL’S FORECAST: OREGON 45 STANFORD 28
#2 Kansas St at Baylor
Last year trailing 35-33 BU’s RG3 threw his first int in 171 attempts and KSU got a 31 yard FG for a 36-35 home win. KSU beat TCU 23-10 on the road last week making the BCS Title game a near certainty as long as they win out (thanks to Bama’s loss). KSU led 23-0 mid-4Q before the Frogs scored on 2 of their last 3 poss thanks to a fumble which set them up at the KSU39. After last week’s injury scare QB Klein was held in check by the conf’s #3 D (195 total yards) throwing his first int since September 15th. KSU leads the FBS in TO margin (+20), Big 12 in sacks and allows 251 pass ypg (62%) with a 12-14 ratio. The Bears fell 42-34 to OU and at 4-5 must knock off 2 of the conf’s top 5 teams in their last 3 to make it back to a bowl. BU trailed the Sooners 28-26 in the 3Q but missed a 2 point conversion and allowed td’s on their next 2 drives to put it out of reach. QB Florence (355 ypg, 62%, 25-11) remains the Big 12’s #1 passer despite being held to a season low 172 yards last week. Seastrunk is finally showing his talented form accounting for 296 total yards and 4 td’s in the last 2. The Cats continue to take care of business setting up an intriguing Dec 1st matchup with Texas for a ticket to the big game.
PHIL’S FORECAST: KANSAS ST 48 BAYLOR 31
#3 Notre Dame vs Wake Forest
Last year Wake Forest was charged up for a home game vs one of the most storied programs in college history and actually led 17-10 at the half with a 197-145 yard edge. ND went 62/6pl and 65/8pl for td’s and the lead. WF fumbled at the ND11 and ND escaped, 24-17. The 5-5 Deacons are off a 37-6 loss at NCSt where they were outFD’d 26-9 and outgained 428-185 while the Irish are off a 21-6 win over rival Boston College. QB Golson continued his improvement as he accounted for all 3 td’s. The Irish are now playing with undefeated pressure and have won their home games by just 5 ppg (winning their away games by 25 ppg!). Their D has remained consistent though as they have now held 5 of their last 8 opponents to season scoring lows. They naturally have all the talent edges across the board but Senior Day has been tricky for them all the way back to the Holtz era. With that being said, style points are big for #3 ND here and don’t be surprised if Kelly has a chance to score a td late, he will.
PHIL’S FORECAST: NOTRE DAME 31 WAKE FOREST 6
#4 Alabama vs Western Carolina
WCU comes in off a bye after allowing 29 unanswered points in a 45-24 loss on Senior Day in their last game. The Catamounts rolled up 255 yards in the 1H en route to a 24-16 lead, but tallied just 33 total yards in the 2H. WCU has used 2 QB’s this season in Marshall transfer Sullivan who leads with 152 ypg (56%) but a poor 4-6 ratio (#3 rusher, 226, 4.9, 2) and true frosh Mitchell who only avg 83 ypg (60%, 4-4) but is the #2 rusher with 427 (4.1) and 8 td’s. In 8 games this year another true frosh, Darius Ramsey (502 rush yards, 4.7, 2 td), has already topped 2011’s #1 rusher’s total for the season. However, this 1-9 Catamounts team now lines up against Bama. As everyone is well aware, Alabama lost last week. A&M jumped out to a 20-0 lead after its first 3 possessions but the Tide battled back. It got interesting again late (see: LSU) after Bama pulled within 29-24 with 6:09 left. The #1 D forced a 3&out and starting at his own 40, McCarron hit Bell for 54 yards on the 1st play. After 3 rush attempts from the 6 netted 4 yards, McCarron went to the air and was int’d at the GL. Still, Bama had a chance. After an Aggie timeout with :40 left Johnny Football brought them out to face a 4&1 from his own 13. Then, Bama jumped and it was all over. While this is a true bubble burst situation, it really doesn’t matter. Alabama will rebound here with the only real question being how many points will the backups score?
PHIL’S FORECAST: ALABAMA 56 WESTERN CAROLINA 0
#5 Georgia vs Georgia Southern
Georgia steps out of FBS play to take on the option of Georgia Southern the week before playing rival Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs come in at 9-1 off the East clinching shutout of Auburn, 38-0, their first shutout in the series since 1976. They will return to the SEC Title game for the 5th time (all under Richt) and the 2nd year in a row. QB Murray is avg 266 ypg (66%) with a 24-6 ratio but either of the backups Welch (1-3 passing, 15 yards, 0-0 ratio) or LeMay (1-2, 43, 0-1), or both, could see action here. The Eagles are off a 69-26 rout of Howard on Homecoming and arrive Between the Hedges at 8-2. They are leading Div I avg 401 ypg rushing (eight 300 yd run games so far) led by QB McKinnon with 1,053 (6.8) and 11 td’s. FB Swope (827, 6.2, 14 td) returned to action last week after missing the previous 2, but was held to just 4 attempts (albeit for 98 yards and 2 td’s) vs Howard. The Dawgs allow 135 ypg rush (3.5) but have not allowed a point in the last 6Q’s and have allowed just 1 td (4 FG’s) overall in the last 3 games. They will be on upset alert here after GSU put up 302 rush yards and 21 points on Bama last year (most rush yards and points UA allowed all year) which means Richt has them focused for a blowout here.
PHIL’S FORECAST: GEORGIA 52 GEORGIA SOUTHERN 10
#6 Ohio St at Wisconsin
Last year the situation greatly favored the Buckeyes as they were not only playing with revenge but were fresh off a bye, playing a rare Big Ten home night game, catching the Badgers the week after their Hail Mary loss to Mich St. The Bucks delivered the upset win 33-29. OSU is again off a bye but this is the final home game for UW and they had a bye 2 weeks ago. Last week Wisconsin destroyed Indy 62-14, owning the LOS with a school record 564-61 rush edge (most rush yards by a Big Ten team since ‘75). QB Phillips hit just 4-7-41-1-0 in his first career start but his mobility adds a different dimension to the Badgers offense. The post season ineligible Bucks are the least respected 10-0 team in the country with HC Meyer likely using their polling position behind two 1 loss teams as motivation. OSU used the bye to work on the pass game which is avg just 184 ypg (53%) with a 9-5 ratio in conference play to better supplement its run game which is avg 274 (5.6) led by Miller (1166, 6.3) and Hyde (737, 5.1). The Bucks are expected to get back the services of LB Sabino (leg) who missed the last 4 and after getting ripped apart early in the season the D has settled down to allow just 108 rush ypg (3.5). However, the Badgers don’t want to back into the Leaders Title and get their revenge.
PHIL’S FORECAST: WISCONSIN 37 OHIO ST 27
#7 Florida vs Jacksonville St
The Gators have shown plenty of letdown in their 2 games since losing to Georgia. Against Mizzou, UF was outFD’d 23-11 and outgained 335-276 by the SEC newbie in a 14-7 win in The Swamp. And then there was last week. Vegas had the Gators as a 27 point favorite and while they did finish with the edges (16-12 FD, 311-267) the offense gained just 88 yards on the 7 possessions that ended in punts. They needed a Jenkins 36 yard blk’d punt return td to pull out a 27-20 home win against the Sun Belt’s Louisiana. That’s two home games decided by 14 points. An added negative to this week is that QB Driskel (132 ypg, 65%, 10-3 ratio) is listed as questionable on early week injury reports, although the team has expressed confidence in Brissett (95 pass yards, 1-0 ratio) if he can’t go. Jacksonville St comes in after securing it’s 10th straight winning season under former Arkansas head man Jack Crowe (never faced UF in his time there). QB Ivory is avg 191 ypg (58%) with a 16-6 ratio and his top target Bonner (47, 17.8, 8) is #18 FCS in receiving ypg. The run game is paced by James (837, 6.4, 6 td) but their #2 man is name many Gators are familiar with, Georgia transfer Washaun Ealey (718, 4.2, 10 td). Muschamp and Co. will be stressing the last 2 games all week (and the fact that FSU is on deck) so expect the Gators to right the ship here with a solid win in their final home game.
PHIL’S FORECAST: FLORIDA 45 JACKSONVILLE ST 0
#9 LSU vs Mississippi
LSU is 8-2 in this series but only 3 of those wins were by more than 7 points. The last time here Miss almost got the upset with LSU getting a td with :44 left to pull out a 43-36 win. Last year it was the final home game for Houston Nutt and LSU dominated so thoroughly (52-3) that they took a knee 4 times with 5:00 left from the Ole Miss 2! The Tigers bounced back from the loss to Bama with a 20 point win over Mississippi St last week. MSU had the ball down 13 with 1:00 left to go near the LSU goal line but LSU not only int’d it but ran it back 100 yards for the 37-17 final. QB Mettenberger had his 2nd straight impressive game going 19-30-273-2-0. Ole Miss had a bowl bid in their sights but let it slip through their fingers last week as they blew a 23-6 2H lead and allowed a 26 yard td pass with :52 to lose 27-26 to Vandy. QB Wallace’s performance this year has mirrored the team’s; occasionally spectacular but equally mistake-prone as he has a league-high 10 int’s. The talent edges are not as disparate as you would think (LSU #24-36 offense, #5-39 defense) but I wonder what frame of mind the Rebs will be in after last week’s devastating loss and the Egg Bowl on deck.
PHIL’S FORECAST: LSU 34 MISSISSIPPI 17
#9 Texas A&M vs Sam Houston St
Another gift from the SEC schedulers as A&M is in a classic letdown spot the week after upsetting the #1 team in the nation. The Aggies are 10-0 all-time vs SHSt, but the last meeting was in 1997. The Bearkats are no slouch themselves though after clinching a share of the Southland Conf Championship for the 2nd year in a row and ranking #3 in the FCS polls. SHSt kept N’western St on the wrong half of the field for the first 3.5Q’s as the Demons only snap in SHSt territory was on the final play of the 1H. The Kats rolled up 26-6 FD and 509-183 yard edges in the 52-17 win. QB Bell is avg 188 ypg (66%) with a solid 18-6 ratio. RB Flanders (who RS at Kansas St in ‘09 before transferring) leads the ground game with 1,087 yards (6.5) and 16 td’s. SHSt ranks #3 FBS allowing just 69 ypg rush (2.5) with 3 td’s. However, that will change here against the FBS leader in total offense, Johnny Manziel. Manziel avg 379.4 total ypg which is more than 41 TEAMS in the FBS! He is already A&M’s only 1,000 yard rushing QB (1014, 6.5, 15 td) and needs just 34 yards here to break the NCAA frosh record for total yards held by Kentucky’s Jared Lorenzen. The Aggies have totaled 400 or more yards in 9 straight games (a school record) and are on pace to set an SEC record in total offense per game. While clearly a letdown spot, the Aggies have scored first in every game this year and 15 straight dating back to ‘11 and I don’t expect them to buck that trend here. The 12th Man will be especially loud too, welcoming them home after last week, which spells quick disaster for the traveling Bearkats.
PHIL’S FORECAST: TEXAS A&M 56 SAM HOUSTON ST 21
#10 Florida St at Maryland
Last year at home FSU won 41-16 with MD getting 63 yards getting a garbage td with :05 left. FSU has won 5 in a row in the series by 17 ppg but are in a large VT/FL sandwich. The Noles survived the Hokies 28-22 on Thursday night as QB Manuel hit a 39 yard td pass with :40 left for the win. FSU led 20-10 in the 3Q but VT finished with a 385-311 yard edge as they held the Noles to -15 rush yards sacking Manuel 5x. The decimated Terps lost their 4th straight after being gouged 45-10 by Clemson as CU finished with 436-180 yard and 27-10 FD edges. UM was playing without its top tackler (Hartsfield), receiver (Diggs) and rusher (Brown) while QB Petty (6-12-41-1-0) was a backup LB just 3 weeks ago and fumbled the ball away twice in the 1Q to aid CU’s cause. FSU needs this to wrap up the Atlantic and can name the score here.
PHIL’S FORECAST: FLORIDA ST 41 MARYLAND 0
#11 Clemson vs NC State
Last year NCSt was in a good situation as CU had just wrapped up the ACC Atlantic Title and rested Sammy Watkins while the Pack needed a win for a bowl. NCSt led 37-6 and CU got a td with 1:22 left. CU is playing with legit revenge as they had won 7 in a row in the series prior. The Tigers destroyed a depleted MD squad 45-10 last week as they forced three 1H TO’s and piled up 27-10 FD and 436-180 yard edges in an easy win. QB Boyd has moved up to #2 FBS pass (294, 68%, 28-9). The Pack got their 6th win to secure a bowl by beating Wake 37-6. NCSt led 17-6 at halftime before returning the 2H KO 100 yards for a td and coasted with 26-9 FD and 428-185 yard edges. QB Glennon (291 ypg, 57%, 22-13) rebounded from last week’s rough outing vs Virginia. Clemson does have the huge rivalry game vs South Carolina on deck and may be peeking ahead but this should still be a DD win.
PHIL’S FORECAST: CLEMSON 45 NC STATE 31
#12 South Carolina vs Wofford
South Carolina enters Senior Day looking to wrap up its home slate with a perfect record for the first time since 1987. They are taking on the 8-2 Terriers who arrive after back-to-back OT games. SC has an 18-4 record vs WC including 15 in a row. WC’s Wingbone offense is led by FB Breitenstein (1396, 7.4, 14 td, #3 FCS rushing) and HB Donovan Johnson (308, 10.6, 2). QB Kass (340 pass yd, 43%) is #3 with 265 (2.8) and 5 td’s. They now match up vs the FBS’s #12 run D allowing 102 ypg (2.9) led by DE Clowney whose 9.5 sacks so far this year rank #3 all-time at SC for a single-season. In their first game without Lattimore, the Gamecocks finished the SEC portion of their schedule with a 38-20 win over Arkansas, snapping a 3 game losing streak to the Razorbacks. QB Shaw hit 14-22 for 272, his third 200 yard effort this year. On the season he is avg 179 ypg (66%) with a 14-6 ratio and is the #2 rusher with 321 (2.9, 3 td). He has spread the ball around this year as 5 players have over 250 rec yards led by Ellington (470, 16.8, 4 td). Without Lattimore, Davis stepped up to lead SC with 53 rushing yards vs UA but he should get a chance to pad those stats here. Spurrier is a perfect 47-0 in his career (21-0 at SC) vs non-BCS schools and ties the school record for wins here (64, Rex Enright).
PHIL’S FORECAST: SOUTH CAROLINA 49 WOFFORD 7
#13 Oklahoma at West Virginia
WV has won the last 2 (since 1982) with the last game coming in the ‘07 Fiesta Bowl when #11 WV beat #3 OU 48-28 with a 525-419 yard edge. OU stayed in contention for an at-large BCS bowl by outlasting Baylor 42-34. The Sooners ganged up on the pass holding the Bears to a season-low 172 pass yard but allowed over 200 yard rushing (252) for the 4th time this year. BU cut it to 28-26 mid-3Q but the Sooners scored td’s on their next 2 drives including QB Bell’s 55 yard td scamper on 3&1. RB Williams returned to form (23-99-2) after being banged up. QB Jones (299 ypg, 66%, 18-7) continues to improve as the WR’s mature. OU is #2 FBS pass eff D (170, 50%, 3-9) in the pass happy Big 12. WV has been more competitive since their bye 3 weeks ago leading TCU late and drawing within 4 of OSU in the 3Q before the bottom fell out in both thanks to their FBS worst pass D (344, 66%, 27-7). QB Smith still has impressive numbers (338, 71%, 31-3) but even he can’t keep pace with a D which is allowing 51 ppg in conference play! This is OU’s first trip to Morgantown but even though the Sooners have Bedlam on deck the Mountaineers have found out that Big 12 play in October/November is much different than the competition they faced in the Big East!
PHIL’S FORECAST: OKLAHOMA 49 WEST VIRGINIA 31
#15 Oregon St vs California
OSU had won 4 in a row in this series by an avg of 33-17 but last year at home Cal had a 296-31 yard edge on the ground and won 23-6 getting their first win at home in the rivalry since ‘97. Both teams come in off losses as OSU let a 23-14 late 3Q lead evaporate in a 27-23 loss to Stanford. The Beavers had a 4-1 TO edge but could only muster 3 points off of them while Stanford scored the go-ahead td after a Vaz fumble. Vaz did leave the game late with an ankle injury. Cal has had its own injury concerns as last week they played without QB Maynard and WR Allen and lost 59-17 to Oregon. The Bears did put up a fight for the first 35:00 as they trailed 24-17 before allowing the game’s final 35 points. QB Bridgford did go just 9-21-113-1-2. OSU does have the Civil War rivalry vs Oregon on deck but Cal is playing their regular season finale and possible final game under veteran HC Tedford. However, even if Cal holds nothing back, OSU has the talent edges and gets a bounce back win.
PHIL’S FORECAST: OREGON ST 34 CALIFORNIA 17
#16 Nebraska vs Minnesota
NU has won 15 in a row vs Minnesota with 5 shutouts but prior to last year had last met in ‘90. Last year on the road NU jumped out to a 34-0 lead extending their consecutive point streak vs UM to 145-0 spanning the last 4. UM got its first points vs Big Red since ‘84 mid-3Q. Two thirds of the TFC Stadium crowd was in Red and NU finished with 515-254 yard and 27-11 FD edges in a 41-14 win. NU has won 7 straight home finales by 19 ppg. Last week NU rallied from its third 2H double-digit deficit in conference play this year to beat Penn St, 32-23. The Huskers finished with a 438-391 yard edge but settled for 2 short FG’s, muffed a P which set up a 31 yard PSU td drive and fumbled at the PSU1. They also caught a lucky break as PSU controversially fumbled into the EZ for a TB and had a holding penalty called in the endzone for a safety. QB Martinez (#1 Big Ten pass eff with 211 ypg, 63%, 19-8, 770 rush, 5.8) leads the Big Ten’s #1 offense despite being last in TO’s lost (25). The Gophers are bowl eligible for the first time under Kill after beating hapless Illinois 17-3. UM had a 231-101 rush yard edge led by Kirkwood’s career high 28-152 as frosh QB Nelson threw just 15 passes (9-15-78-0-0). UM is allowing 194 rush ypg (5.2) in conference play. The Huskers build momentum on their way to Indy.
PHIL’S FORECAST: NEBRASKA 38 MINNESOTA 14
#17 UCLA vs #21 USC
At one time this was one of the greatest rivalries in CFB but USC has made this completely one sided as they are 12-1. Last year UCLA had clinched the Pac-12 Title game and perhaps breaking from tradition went against them as they came out in horrible white uniforms and white helmets when the 2 teams normally play in their full colors. USC hammered the Bruins mercilessly 50-0 with a 573-384 yard edge. As disappointing as this season has been for the preseason #1 Trojans, a win here gives them the Pac-12 South Title with a shot to still play in the Rose Bowl. Last week after trailing 14-7 (booed by home crowd), they outscored ASU 31-3 the rest of the way. Super efficient Barkley has been careless with the ball the last 3 weeks throwing 7 int but he still has the nation’s best WR to throw to in Lee who had his fifth 150+ receiving yard game this year last week. After the nightmare game vs Oregon, the D did allow just 15 FD’s and 250 yards. UCLA first year head coach Mora, Jr should be up for Pac-12 COY as he has taken a group of perennial underachievers and has them at 8-2 after last week’s 44-36 win at Washington St, a game they led 44-14. Redshirt frosh QB Hundley continues his sensational campaign as he is avg 274 ypg (69%) with a 24-9 ratio. With everything on the line, expect this one to go down to the wire but I’ll call for the Bruins to end the streak.
PHIL’S FORECAST: UCLA 35 USC 34
#19 Louisiana Tech vs Utah St
WAC undefeateds match up here and Utah St is off a late season bye. Last year LT went to backup QB Cameron on the road in the 4Q and he led them to 10 4Q points and a 24-17 upset. This year both have run through their weakened conference schedules with LT’s avg WAC score being 49-21 and Utah St’s 45-17. The huge difference is that against 3 common opponents the Aggies have led at halftime by an avg of 30-1 while the Bulldogs have led by a margin of 25-16 and have piled it on in the 2H. Both mine (#37-120) and the NCAA’s (#12-122) rankings will show the game changing difference as Utah St’s D ranks in the top third while LA Tech’s ranks in the bottom 2%. With the watered down conference let’s look at non-conference foes as USU has TRAVELED TO Wisconsin, Colorado St and BYU and has allowed only 315 ypg while La Tech HAS HOSTED Rice and UNLV which are 2 offenses I have ranked #87 & #98 and they allowed 507 ypg. Defense wins conference titles and I’ll take the Aggies here.
PHIL’S FORECAST: UTAH ST 45 LOUISIANA TECH 42
#22 Rutgers at Cincinnati
Last year UC had come in winning 5 in a row in this series but was without QB Collaros and Legaux got his first start. UC was held to a season low 225 yards. RU had 385 yards and a 23-11 FD edge in the 20-3 win. Both teams’ Big East title hopes got a boost with last week’s loss by Louisville. The Cats moved to 7-2 thanks to their 34-10 win at Temple. The Bearcats scored on four of their five 1H poss in QB Kay’s first career start as he hit 13-21-244-2-0 and UC finished with 472-267 yard edges. The new Big East leader Knights were outFD’d (22-14) and outgained 337-252 by Army but after returning a fumble 73 yards for a td with under 1:00 left pulled out a misleading 28-7 win. Army also had 2 FG’s blocked and fumbled at the RU9 and 14. This one should go down to the wire but RU is the fresher team with a more stable QB spot and an underrated D (#20-43 edge).
PHIL’S FORECAST: RUTGERS 23 CINCINNATI 20
#23 Michigan vs Iowa
This series has featured 4 upsets in the last 8 years and Iowa is 5-3. Last year the Hawks led 17-6 at half and 24-9 in 4Q. UM was SOD on 4&gl at the 3 on an incomplete pass and the Hawks won 24-16. Michigan is only 2-5 in “Big House” finales and, of course, Ohio St is next week. Last week Northwestern looked poised to pull the upset of Michigan leading 31-28 with :55 left but allowed a 53 yard pass deflected by the DB to WR Roundtree which set up the game tying FG. QB Gardner accounted for 4 of UM’s 5 td’s including the game winner in OT and he is avg 260 ypg (60%) with a 4-2 ratio while winning his 2 starts. Hoke maintains D-Rob will remain the QB when he is healthy enough to return but there is no denying that UM’s pass game has been more potent with Gardner. Once leading the Leaders Division, Iowa lost its 4th straight, this time to Purdue, to fall to 4-6 and now needs to pull 2 straight upsets of the division’s co-leaders just to go to a bowl. The Hawks never led the bumbling Boilers (3 TO) and were outgained 490-264 but still had a chance to win when they were SOD on 4th & 3 at the PU35 with :21 left. PU got a 17 yard run and 20 yard pass to set up the game-winning 46 yard FG. Since RB Weisman was injured vs MSU, Iowa has run for 78 ypg (2.5) which has increased the load on struggling QB Vandenberg (198, 57%, 5-6). The Wolves end Iowa’s (and the underdog’s) series streaks.
PHIL’S FORECAST: MICHIGAN 31 IOWA 10
#23 Texas Tech at Oklahoma
OSU won 34-17 here in ‘10 and last year on the road won 66-6. It was OSU’s best D performance of the year as they outgained TT 637-270 and led 49-0 at the half. TT’s only score came on a 37 yard FR td. OSU is off a dominating 55-34 over W Virginia. Despite starting their 3rd QB of the year, OSU never trailed scoring the game’s final 17 points after WV cut it to 38-34 in the 3Q. Chelf hit 22-31-292-4-1 in his first career start with Lunt (concussion) also available if needed. TT ended its 2 game losing streak by beating Kansas 38-31 in 2OT’s. In a game played in wind gusts up to 50 mph the Raiders had 29-19 FD and 571-419 yard edges but could never put away the pesky Hawks. TT led by 10 with 10:19 left but KU drove 72/3pl for a td and 75/9pl for a FG to tie it. TT missed a 41 yard FG to win it and the teams traded td’s in the first OT. The Raiders got a jump pass out of the wildcat for a td in the 2nd OT and stopped the Hawks on their final poss for the win. KU outrushed TT 390-63. Despite being last in Big 12 in TO margin at -8, OSU is bowl eligible thanks to an improved D which is allowing 68 ypg fewer than last year and maintains momentum here at home.
PHIL’S FORECAST: OKLAHOMA ST 45 TEXAS TECH 30
#25 Kent St at Bowling Green
Last year KSU was coming off a bye and BG was playing its 9th straight game and off a big upset over Temple. KSU delivered a 27-15 home win. They posted back-to-back wins over BG for the first time since ‘72-’73. The winner here will most likely end up Detroit for the MAC Championship. Last week Bowling Green went to Athens and upset the Bobcats 26-14 as RB Samuel totaled 181 yards. Kent rolled off its 8th win in a row with a 48-32 beating of Miami as the RB duo of Archer/Durham combined for 323 yards! While KSU has the big offensive edge (#62-101), BG has the defensive edge (#25-78) and with the teams playing similar schedules (KSU #116-120), it should be noted that the Falcons are +89 ypg this year while the Flashes are -12 ypg. This is BG’s 2nd game in 21 days while Kent plays for a 9th straight week and must travel again. MAC East supremacy goes to the home team here.
PHIL’S FORECAST: BOWLING GREEN 23 KENT ST 17
UPSET OF THE WEEK
UCF over Tulsa
Phil Steele is a college football analyst who has been publishing his annual College Football Preview since 1995. His magazine is regarded as one of the best in the business.