Twitter Picks for College Football Week Two

Game of the Week
#5 Oklahoma (1-0) at #2 Ohio State (1-0)
Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET, ABC
Betting Favorite:  Ohio State by 7
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Oklahoma- 6th, Ohio State- 2nd


Big Game Guarantee
#14 Stanford (1-0) at #6 USC (1-0)
Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET, FOX
Betting Favorite:  USC by 6
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Stanford- 15th, USC- 4th


Upset of the Week
#13 Auburn (1-0) at #3 Clemson (1-0)
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Betting Favorite:  Clemson by 5
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Auburn- 8th, Clemson- 9th


Closer Than the Experts Think
Pittsburgh (1-0) at #4 Penn State (1-0)
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Betting Favorite:  Penn State by 22
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Pittsburgh- unranked, Penn State- 3rd


Not Closer Than the Experts Think
Indiana (0-1) at Virginia (1-0)
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Betting Favorite:  Indiana by 3
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  both teams are unranked


Bad Spread Game
#15 Georgia (1-0) at #24 Notre Dame (1-0)
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Betting Favorite:  Notre Dame by 5
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Georgia- 13th, Notre Dame- unranked


Group of Five Game of the Week
Western Michigan (0-1) at Michigan State (1-0)
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, BTN
Betting Favorite:  Michigan State by 7
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  both teams are unranked


Is This Futbol?
Wake Forest (1-0) at Boston College (1-0)
Saturday, 1:00 p.m. ET, ACCN
Betting Favorite:  Boston College by 1
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  both teams are unranked


Is This Basketball?
South Carolina (1-0) at Missouri (1-0)
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Betting Favorite:  Missouri by 2
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  both teams are unranked


Toilet Bowl
Minnesota (1-0) at Oregon State (1-1)
Saturday, 10:00 p.m. ET, FS1
Betting Favorite:  Oregon State by 2
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  both teams are unranked


Miscellaneous:  The Holy War
Utah (1-0) at BYU (0-1)
Saturday, 10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Betting Favorite:  Utah by 3
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Utah- 20th, BYU- unranked


NFL Game of the Week
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Betting Favorite:  Dallas by 4



For what it’s worth…

Overall Record: 5-6
College Overall Record: 5-6
NFL Game of the Week: 0-0

Game of the Week: 1-0
Big Game Guarantee: 0-1
Upset of the Week: 0-1
Closer Than the Experts Think: 0-1
Not Closer Than the Experts Think: 0-1
Overhyped/Bad Spread Game: 1-0
Group of Five Game of the Week: 1-0
Is This Futbol?: 1-0
Is This Basketball?: 1-0
Toilet Bowl: 0-1
Miscellaneous: 0-1

For an explanation of the categories for Twitter Picks, click here.



Twitter Picks for College Football Week 11

Game of the Week

#12 Oklahoma (8-1) at #6 Baylor (8-0)
Saturday, 8:00 pm ET, ABC
Favorite:  Baylor by 3
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Oklahoma- 13th, Baylor- 4th


Big Game Guarantee(s)

#2 Alabama (8-1) at #17 Mississippi State (7-2)
Saturday, 3:30 pm ET, CBS
Favorite:  Alabama by 8
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Alabama- 3rd, Mississippi State- 20th


#21 Memphis (8-1) at #24 Houston (9-0)
Saturday, 7:00 pm ET, ESPN2
Favorite:  Houston by 7
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Memphis- 24th, Houston- 16th


Arkansas (5-4) at #9 LSU (7-1)
Saturday, 7:15 pm ET, ESPN
Favorite:  LSU by 8
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Arkansas- unranked, LSU- 8th


#8 Oklahoma State (9-0) at Iowa State (3-6)
Saturday, 3:30 pm ET, ESPN
Favorite:  Oklahoma State by 14
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Oklahoma State- 5th, Iowa State- unranked


Upset(s) of the Week

#11 Florida (8-1) at South Carolina (3-6)
Saturday, 12:00 pm ET, ESPN
Favorite:  Florida by 8
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Florida- 10th, South Carolina- unranked


Oregon (6-3) at #7 Stanford (8-1)
Saturday, 7:30 pm ET, FOX
Favorite:  Stanford by 10
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Oregon- unranked, Stanford- 7th


Washington State (6-3) at #18 UCLA (7-2)
Saturday, 10:45 pm ET, ESPN
Favorite:  UCLA by 10
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Washington State- unranked, UCLA- 19th


Closer Than the Experts Think

Minnesota (4-5) at #5 Iowa (9-0)
Saturday, 8:00 pm ET, BTN
Favorite:  Iowa by 10
Stiles on Sports Ranking:  Minnesota- unranked, Iowa- 9th


NFL Game(s) of the Week

New England Patriots (8-0) at New York Giants (5-4)
Sunday, 4:25 pm ET, CBS
Favorite:  Patriots by 8


Arizona Cardinals (6-2) at Seattle Seahawks (4-4)
Sunday, 8:30 pm ET, NBC
Favorite:  Seahawks by 3


Minnesota Vikings (6-2) at Oakland Raiders (4-4)
Sunday, 4:05 pm ET, FOX
Favorite:  Raiders by 3


Season to Date
Overall Record: 42-31
Last Week: 4-5
College Overall Record: 36-27
Game of the Week: 7-3
Big Game Guarantee: 21-9
Upset of the Week: 3-10
Closer Than the Experts Think: 5-6
NFL Game of the Week: 5-4

Twitter Picks for College Football Week Five

Game of the Week

#6 Notre Dame (4-0) at #12 Clemson (3-0)
Saturday, 8:00 pm ET, ABC
Favorite: Clemson by 1
Stiles on Sports Ranking: Notre Dame- 10th, Clemson- 7th


Big Game Guarantee(s)

Louisville (1-3) at NC State (4-0)
Saturday, 12:30 pm ET, ACC Network
Favorite: NC State by 4
Stiles on Sports Ranking: both teams are unranked


#13 Alabama (3-1) at #8 Georgia (4-0)
Saturday, 3:30 pm ET, CBS
Favorite: Georgia by 1
Stiles on Sports Ranking: Alabama- 11th, Georgia- 6th


#3 Ole Miss (4-0) at #25 Florida (4-0)
Saturday, 7:00 pm ET, ESPN
Favorite: Ole Miss by 7
Stiles on Sports Ranking: Ole Miss- 2nd, Florida- 24th


Upset(s) of the Week

#23 West Virginia (3-0) at #15 Oklahoma (3-0)
Saturday, 12:00 pm ET, Fox Sports 1
Favorite: Oklahoma by 7
Stiles on Sports Ranking: West Virginia- 17th, Oklahoma- 16th


Minnesota (3-1) at #16 Northwestern (4-0)
Saturday, 12:00 pm ET, Big Ten Network
Favorite: Northwestern by 4
Stiles on Sports Ranking: Minnesota- unranked, Northwestern- 23rd


#21 Mississippi State (3-1) at #14 Texas A&M (4-0)
Saturday, 7:30 pm ET, SEC Network
Favorite: Texas A&M by 6
Stiles on Sports Ranking: Mississippi State- 22nd, Texas A&M- 15th


Closer Than the Experts Think

Texas Tech (3-1) at #5 Baylor (3-0)
Saturday, 3:30 pm ET, ABC/ESPN2
Favorite: Baylor by 17
Stiles on Sports Ranking: Texas Tech- unranked, Baylor- 8th


Season to Date
Overall Record: 17-11
Last Week: 4-4
College Overall Record: 15-10
Game of the Week: 2-2
Big Game Guarantee: 10-3
Upset of the Week: 0-4
Closer Than the Experts Think: 3-2
NFL Game of the Week: 2-1

Twitter Picks for College Football Week One

It’s here!  The opening weekend of college football season.  Here are my picks for the first weekend of games, as I’ve tweeted them.

Game of the Week

#3 Alabama vs #20 Wisconsin
(AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX)
Saturday, 8:00 PM ET, ABC
Favorite: Alabama by 12
Stiles on Sports Ranking: Alabama- 3rd, Wisconsin- 17th


Big Game Guarantee(s)

North Carolina vs South Carolina
(Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC)
Thursday, 6:00 PM ET, ESPN
Favorite: South Carolina by 2


Michigan at Utah
Thursday, 8:30 PM ET, Fox Sports 1
Favorite: Utah by 6


Louisville vs #6 Auburn
(Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA)
Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, CBS
Favorite: Auburn by 11
Stiles on Sports Ranking: Louisville- 21st, Auburn- 12th


Texas at #11 Notre Dame
Saturday, 7:30 PM ET, NBC
Favorite: Notre Dame by 9
Stiles on Sports Ranking: Texas- unranked, Notre Dame- 15th


#1 Ohio State at Virginia Tech
Monday, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN
Favorite: Ohio State by 14
Stiles on Sports Ranking: Ohio State- 1st, Virginia Tech- 23rd


Upset of the Week

#15 Arizona State vs Texas A&M
(NRG Stadium, Houston, TX)
Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN
Favorite: Texas A&M by 4
Stiles on Sports Ranking: Arizona State- 19th, Texas A&M- unranked


Closer Than the Experts Think

#2 TCU at Minnesota
Thursday, 9:00 PM ET, ESPN
Favorite: TCU by 17
Stiles on Sports Ranking: TCU- 2nd, Minnesota- unranked

College Football Picks for Bowl Week 1

Bowl season is here, which means there will be college football games almost constantly between now and January 6.  While the first week of bowls do not produce any huge matchups, as all the highly ranked teams don’t play until around New Year’s, and the national title game isn’t until January 6, there are still some good matchups in some of these smaller bowl games.

Game of the Week:  Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, #20 Fresno State (11-1) vs #25 USC (9-4) (-6)
 These two teams come into the biggest bowl before Christmas having had two very different seasons.  Fresno State, led by QB Derek Carr, started the year 10-0 and was battling with Northern Illinois for a BCS at-large bid (neither ended up getting one, because both lost).  The dream ended when they allowed 62 points to San Jose State the day after Thanksgiving.  An interesting note is that this team has won games in overtime against Rutgers and San Diego State, and beat Boise State by just 1 point.  USC has had a soap opera-like season, that started with the mid-season firing of coach Lane Kiffin.  That was followed by the team going 6-2 under interim coach Ed Orgeron, with their only losses to Notre Dame and UCLA.  Due to the success, Orgeron felt he deserved to be named head coach, but when Steve Sarkisian was hired instead and the school offered Orgeron a high-paying assistant position, he declined.  Clay Helton will assume the interim position for their game against Fresno State.  With all of that going on at USC, focusing on a bowl game may be difficult, particularly for a program so used to going to big bowl games and now playing before Christmas.  Also, USC struggled on defense at times this year, and this may be the best offense they’ve played.  Then again, Fresno State can probably say the same.  USC is favored by 6, although that may just be a basic case of name recognition when these teams are actually somewhat even.
Fresno State 45, USC 38.

Big Game Guarantee:  Texas Bowl, Syracuse (6-6) vs Minnesota (8-4)
These are two of the bigger names to play in the first week of bowl games, even if neither football program has really been at the top recently.  That may change soon, as both of these programs are on the rise.  Syracuse is in their first year of ACC play, which has been highlighted by 4 wins in conference play, including two against bowl-eligible teams (Maryland, Boston College).  However, the Orange also have bad losses to Northwestern, who was just 1-7 in Big Ten play, and Georgia Tech, who is in a bowl game but beat Syracuse by 56.  Minnesota, who is favored by 4, was 4-2 to start the season, with losses coming to Iowa and Michigan, before coach Jerry Kill took a leave of absence to seek treatment for epilepsy.  While their record since is an identical 4-2, they have played better since against a tougher portion of their schedule, with wins against Nebraska and Penn State, among others, and losses to Wisconsin and Michigan State, both of whom are ranked in the top 20 and playing bowl games on New Year’s Day.  Minnesota lost the Texas Bowl a year ago, and may be looking for redemption.
Minnesota 24, Syracuse 20.

Another Big Game Guarantee:  Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Boise State (8-4) vs Oregon State (6-6)
Oregon State is favored by 3 when these teams play Christmas Eve in Maui.  However, the Beavers have lost 5 straight since their 6-1 start, and that first loss was in their season-opening game against Eastern Washington.  While their 5 consecutive losses are all to good football teams, they only had a good chance to win in 2 of those games.  To the contrary, they did look pretty good in a 1-point loss to Oregon in their last regular season game.  Boise State has had their own struggles at times this season, with blowout losses at Washington and at BYU, as well as close losses on the road against Fresno State and San Diego State.  The Broncos will find motivation for this game after losing their head coach, Chris Petersen, who has taken the job at Washington after 13 years in Boise (8 years as head coach).  The conference the Broncos lost their coach to, the Pac-12, coincidentally happens to be the same conference Oregon State is in.  I simply believe the Broncos have more motivation in this case than the Beavers, and the winner of a bowl game is often the team that wants to be there the most.
Boise State 27, Oregon State 26.

Another Big Game Guarantee:  Fight Hunger Bowl, BYU (8-4) vs Washington (8-4)
 Washington is favored by 3 in a matchup of two pretty good 8-4 football teams taking place at San Francisco’s AT&T Park, home of the Giants from April to October.  I say that after looking at the seasons each of these teams have had.  Washington’s season has been highlighted by blowout wins against Boise State, Arizona, and Oregon State, as well as 10-point wins over both Illinois and in-state rival Washington State.  Their 4 losses are all to teams currently ranked in the top 17, including losing by just 3 at Stanford.  Perhaps this success is a big reason coach Steve Sarkisian has left for the USC job, perhaps offering this team extra motivation for this game.  BYU has had a similar season, with wins over Texas, Boise State, and Georgia Tech.  Additionally, all of their losses except a season-opening loss to Virginia are understandable, although they could have beaten Utah in a close game.  There should be a lot of offense in this contest, as Washington is 8th in total offense and BYU is 14th.
Washington 49, BYU 38.

Upset of the Week:  Little Caesar’s Bowl, Pittsburgh (6-6) vs Bowling Green (10-3)
Bowling Green is favored by 5 in this game, which will be played at Ford Field in Detroit, only about a 75 minute drive from their campus in northern Ohio.  The Falcons come into the game at 10-3, and as champions of the MAC after beating Northern Illinois in the championship game, which was also at Ford Field.  Their three losses are to Mississippi State by a point, Toledo by 3, and Indiana by 32.  That last one is unusual considering how much the Hoosiers struggled throughout the season.  In addition to their 7-1 MAC record, they beat Tulsa 34-7 in non-conference play.  While they have a good résumé, Pittsburgh is better than most of the teams they have beaten.  Pitt may have 6 losses, but they are all to teams who are playing bowl games, and #1 Florida State is the only team to blow them out.  Actually, that Florida State game (41-13) was closer than most of the Seminoles games this year.  The Panthers also have a couple of quality wins over Duke and Notre Dame.  I’ll be curious in this game to see how Bowling Green responds to playing an ACC opponent, particularly after losing their head coach, Dave Clawson, who left for Wake Forest, which is ironically in the ACC.
Pittsburgh 31, Bowling Green 23.

Another Upset of the Week:  R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Tulane (7-5) vs Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4)
Tulane is a 1-point favorite in their home building at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.  While this game may be on their home turf (literally), Louisiana-Lafayette isn’t far from home either, and seems to have made a home playing in New Orleans on the third Saturday in December, as this is the 3rd consecutive year the Ragin’ Cajuns have played in this bowl game.  Lafayette comes into the game having lost back-to-back games, although Tulane has lost 3 out of 4.  This will be Tulane’s first bowl game in 11 years, and while they have 5 losses, 1 was to ACC opponent Syracuse.  Similarly, 2 of Lafayette’s 4 losses were to Arkansas and Kansas State.  These two neighboring schools have played 15 times, with Tulane winning 10 of the 15, although Lafayette won last year’s meeting, 41-13, in the only meeting since 2000.
Louisiana-Lafayette 28, Tulane 17.

College Football Picks for Week 13

Game of the Week:  #4 Baylor (9-0) at #10 Oklahoma State (9-1).  Baylor is favored on the road by 10 in the Big 12’s biggest game all year.  Whoever wins between the Bears and Cowboys can win out to win the Big 12 and receive its automatic BCS berth.  Baylor’s offense continues to lead the nation by a wide margin.  Oklahoma State’s offense, however, ranks 14th nationally.  While Baylor is undefeated, Oklahoma State’s only loss was back in September, to West Virginia.  While both offenses rank well, both defenses are also in the top 15 in the nation.  However, each defense will be facing its toughest test yet in this game, and I expect there to be a lot of scoring in this contest.  Oklahoma State is a great team, and is capable of winning this game, but I think in the end, Baylor finds a way to win and stay undefeated.  Baylor 48, Oklahoma State 45.

Big Game Guarantee:  #12 Texas A&M (8-2) at #22 LSU (7-3).  LSU is a 4-point favorite at home in a matchup of two of the SEC’s best offense.  Texas A&M is led by QB Johnny Manziel, who won last year’s Heisman trophy, and may win it again this year (the only player to win it twice is Archie Griffin in 1974-75).  The Aggies lead the SEC in points per game and yards per game, both by a wide margin.  LSU’s offense is likely their best under coach Les Miles, led by QB Zach Mettenberger.  For LSU to keep their streak of 10-win seasons alive (every year since 2009), they will have to beat Texas A&M and Arkansas and then win their bowl game.  In the end, however, Manziel and the Aggies offense will be too much.  LSU will keep the game close, but “Johnny Football” will lead his team to victory.  Texas A&M 45, LSU 38.

Another Big Game Guarantee:  #17 Arizona State (8-2) at #14 UCLA (8-2).  UCLA is a 2-point favorite at home in Pasadena, although Arizona State comes in having won 5 straight, including wins against Washington, Utah, and Oregon State.  The only losses for the Sun Devils came early in the season to Stanford and Notre Dame.  UCLA’s two losses came to a pair of top 10 teams, Oregon and Stanford, although the Oregon game was tied at halftime, and Stanford led just 3-0 at the half.  UCLA plays their home games at the Rose Bowl, which is ironic, as both teams need a win to keep alive their chances of playing there on January 1.  If the Sun Devils win they will clinch the Pac-12 South, and if the Bruins win, they will stay alive and could clinch with a win next week against USC.  Both teams’ offenses should perform well in this game.  I believe, considering UCLA’s only losses are to top 10 teams Oregon and Stanford, that they are better than most of us are giving them credit for.  UCLA 41, Arizona State 35.

Upset of the Week: #8 Missouri (9-1) at #24 Ole Miss (7-3).  Missouri needs to win their last 2 games to win the SEC East, and they are favored by 3 on the road in Oxford.  South Carolina, who has finished their conference schedule, will be finished with their bout with Coastal Carolina in plenty of time to watch and cheer on the Rebels, as they clinch the East in the event of a Missouri loss.  If the Tigers win, this scenario will repeat itself next week when Missouri plays Texas A&M (although South Carolina’s game will just 45 minutes earlier next week).  As for the game itself, Ole Miss has outgained Missouri, but Missouri has outscored the Rebels this season.  Missouri is 2-1 this year against ranked opponents, with the loss in double overtime against South Carolina.  However, the other two ranked teams Missouri defeated, Georgia and Florida, were both depleted by injuries, and have since fallen out of the rankings (Florida has to beat #2 Florida State just to make a bowl game).  Ole Miss is 1-2 against ranked opponents, but one of their losses was at #1 Alabama.  The other loss was by just 3 points to Texas A&M, their only home loss this year.  The win came against LSU, 27-24, on October 19, and the Rebels haven’t lost since.  A question for Missouri is QB James Franklin, who returns after missing 4 games with a shoulder injury.  Ole Miss is a program that is on the rise, a rise that I believe includes a win in a big game like this one.  Ole Miss 31, Missouri 28.

Closer than the Experts Think:  #19 Wisconsin (8-2) at #25 Minnesota (8-2).  Wisconsin is favored by 16 points, on the road, against an 8-2 Minnesota team that has won 4 straight.  This is a spread I don’t understand.  I do understand why Wisconsin is a favorite, considering their record, with their only losses to Ohio State and Arizona State.  They haven’t even been threatened by anyone else.  Multiple analysts project they will be in a BCS bowl game, as an at-large bid, implying they would win out and reach the top 14 in the rankings.  Minnesota struggled early in the season, losing to Iowa and Michigan.  Coach Jerry Kill missed the Michigan game after suffering a seizure, and has taken a leave of absence since.  Perhaps that is what has ignited this team, as they haven’t lost since, winning 4 consecutive Big Ten games for the first time since 1973.  Both teams still have a shot at their respective division titles, although they would need help from the opponents of the teams they are chasing (Wisconsin is chasing Ohio State; Minnesota is chasing Michigan State).  I believe these two teams are fairly even, although Wisconsin has just a little better rating in the “eyeball test”.  Wisconsin 31, Minnesota 27.

Bonus NFL Pick:  Manning vs. Brady XIV, Denver Broncos (9-1) at New England Patriots (7-3).  The Broncos are favored by 2 in Foxborough.  Both teams are coming off of big games last week, although with different results.  The Broncos beat the Chiefs 27-17, handing them their first loss of the season.  The Patriots lost to the Panthers, 24-20, on Monday Night Football, with a disputed no-call shrouding the game’s final play in controversy.  The two greatest QBs of the current era, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, meet for the 14th time in this contest.  Brady has won 9 of the previous 13, including 7 out of 9 in New England, and the Patriots won last year’s meeting, 31-21, which was also in New England.  This year, however, the Broncos are considered by most to be the best team in the NFL, and Manning on pace to have a record-breaking season.  In addition to the Manning-Brady storyline, there is also the storyline of Broncos WR Wes Welker’s return to New England, where he played from 2007-2012.  While the Broncos likely have the better offense for now, the Patriots defense is also depleted by injuries.  Expect the Broncos offense to jump on those defensive weaknesses.  Broncos 38, Patriots 27.

College Football Picks for Week 10

Game of the Week:  #7 Miami (7-0) at #3 Florida State (7-0).  The nation’s premier matchup of the week features a Miami team who has survived upset attempts the last two weeks to stay undefeated against a Florida State team that had been overly impressive about every step of the way.  The Seminoles are 22-point home favorites, which shows how much the oddsmakers like them (it’s probably been a while since a #3 vs. #7 game had such a large spread).  This is the first time these two teams in this classic rivalry have met as top-10 opponents since 2004.  Miami will have a chip on their shoulder, because they haven’t won a game in this series since 2009, and have only won twice since their last home win in the series since 2004.  They have probably also been reading analysts and experts picking Florida State all week long.  However, Florida State appears impressive enough to overpower the Hurricanes.  Florida State has been blowing out all their opponents, with their closest game all year being decided by 14 points.  Miami struggled against North Carolina and Wake Forest, having to score in the final minute to win each contest.  Florida State simply has the stronger team here, and I think the game will be close at halftime, but the Seminoles will pull away in the 2nd half.  Florida State 45, Miami 21.

Big Game Guarantee:  #18 Oklahoma State (6-1) at #15 Texas Tech (7-1). Texas Tech comes back home to Lubbock off their loss at Oklahoma last week, and they will be 2-point favorites in this important Big 12 game.  Five teams are in the Big 12 race, with these 2 racing Texas, Oklahoma, and Baylor to the wire for a BCS bid.  The Red Raiders, as I mentioned, lost their first game of the season last week in Norman, 38-30, after turning the ball over 3 times.  Turnovers have been Texas Tech’s weakness throughout the season, and after getting away with the turnovers against lesser competition, they paid the price against the Sooners.  Oklahoma State’s loss is to West Virginia, coming back in September.  Since then, the scores they have posted have gotten gradually more impressive, leading up to a 58-27 win last week at Iowa State.  However, Cowboys QB Clint Chelf is just 20 for his last 51 with 2 interceptions in that span.  A struggling QB on the road in a big game, coupled with the fact that Texas Tech will be fired up, coming off the loss to Oklahoma and a pair of embarrassments the last two years against the Cowboys (59-21 in 2012, 66-6 in 2011), should give the Red Raiders an advantage and eventually a victory.  Texas Tech 38, Oklahoma State 31.

Another Big Game Guarantee:  Georgia (4-3) vs Florida (4-3).  Georgia is a 3-point favorite at a neutral site in Jacksonville, as these two teams renew their annual rivalry, “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.”  Both teams come in struggling (by their high standards, anyway), with both at 4-3 overall and 3-2 in SEC play.  However, with the exception of Georgia’s loss to Vanderbilt, all of the losses were to teams either ranked at the time of the game or currently.  Both sides, after consecutive losses, have had an extra week to prepare, to rest, and to get healthy, although there are injuries for both sides that have key players out for the year.  A big matchup will be strength-on-strength between Georgia’s offense and Florida’s defense.  People keep forgetting this is a good Georgia team, they’ve just had injury issues that have cost them in their last 2 games.   The key will be a running back; Georgia’s Todd Gurley returns from injury this week, while Florida is forced to turn to freshman Kelvin Taylor.  Although Taylor was a highly touted recruit, the RB matchup clearly favors Georgia.  Georgia 21, Florida 14.

Upset of the Week:  #21 Michigan (6-1) at #22 Michigan State (7-1). This in-state clash will put one team in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten’s Legends division race.  The winner will only have to beat Nebraska (and Michigan would also have to beat Ohio State) and take care of business elsewhere to win the division.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  The Spartans are 5-point home favorites, and have a 4-game winning streak, with their lone loss coming at Notre Dame.  The Wolverines are “undefeated in regulation” as they say, with their only loss coming in a 4OT classic 3 weeks ago at Penn State.  These teams are pretty even overall, although if you break down the game, Michigan has the better offense, but Michigan State has the better defense.  I expect Wolverines QB Devin Gardner to play well, as he seems to rise to the occasion in big games.  While Michigan won last year’s meeting, 12-10, the Spartans had won the previous four.  I’m going to do a first here, and predict an overtime game.  That being said, Michigan had a bye last week, and will be a little more fresh.  That will be the difference, in a game that stamina will be a factor.  Michigan 27, Michigan State 20, in overtime.

Another Upset of the Week:  Minnesota (6-2) at Indiana (3-4).  This is one of my upset picks because this game has a spread that I simply don’t understand.  Indiana is an 8-point favorite in this game, as they host the Golden Gophers.  Since Minnesota lost at Michigan 3 weeks ago, all they’ve done is upset Northwestern and Nebraska, with the Nebraska win being a pretty convincing one.  This is team that has been inspired since coach Jerry Kill took a leave of absence to seek treatment for his epilepsy.  Indiana, although they have this game at home, has lost 3 out of 4 and earlier in the year lost to Navy.  They do have a 20-point win over Penn State, but that is the lone high point of a season in which they are currently under .500, and one that will not likely end in a bowl bid.  This is not a hard pick to make.  Minnesota 28, Indiana 20.

Another Upset of the Week:  North Carolina (2-5) at NC State (3-4).  While this may not be a big game on the national stage, this is a big game in the state of North Carolina.  NC State is a 5-point home underdog in their biggest rivalry game all year, as the Tar Heels will ride the buses over to Raleigh in one of their 2 biggest rivalries, with the other being Duke.  North Carolina won last year’s meeting on a punt return touchdown in the closing seconds, but before that the Pack had won 5 straight in the series.  Also, State has only lost once at home in the series since 2001.  While UNC leads the all-time series 64-32-6, in the ACC era, their lead is just 33-27.  I understand why State is an underdog, as they are winless in the ACC and QB Brandon Mitchell is in just his 2nd game back from injury, and the Heels are not a bad team, contrary to their record.  That being said, I expect the Wolfpack to come out firing here and pull off a mild upset.  NC State 27, North Carolina 24.

Closer Than the Experts Think (NFL Edition):  Chicago Bears (4-3) at Green Bay Packers (5-2).  The Packers come in as one of the best teams in the NFC, and have won 6 straight in the series, including the 2010-11 NFC Championship Game.  Not only has Green Bay won 6 straight in this series, but they’ve also won 11 straight home games (regular season and playoff) against the NFC North, and 20 out of 22.  However, this game is on Monday Night Football, and the last time this series was played on Monday night was the Bears last victory, in September 2010. The Bears are 1-5 against the spread (4-3 in actual wins and losses), but the 1 win was on the road.  The Packers are 3-0 against the spread at home (and 3-0 at home in wins-losses).  I feel confident Green Bay will win the game, but I also feel like the Bears are due to beat the spread (and the Packers are due to lose to one) and make the game interesting.  Packers 31, Bears 24.