Friday, November 29, 2013

Best Games for 11/30

Noon Game
No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes @ Michigan Wolverines (12:00 on ABC)
On the surface, this definitely looks like a homer pick for a noon game. But when you look a little closer, you'll realize it is a total homer pick. It's Ohio State versus Michigan, the greatest rivalry in any sport. Ohio State is looking to cap off its second straight undefeated season and push their streak to 24 games with aspirations of slipping into the National Title conversation. Michigan has really been struggling mightily recently, posting fewer than 200 total yards in three of their last four contests. Still, this rivalry has a history of one team spoiling the other's hopes and dreams. Anything can happen in a game like this, and it honestly wouldn't surprise me if Michigan came out swinging given that they really have nothing to lose at this point. Ohio State just seems to be playing on a totally different plane at this juncture though and Urban has his boys focused on the game in front of them. Despite this game being played in Ann Arbor, I expect Ohio State to handle Michigan fairly easily and take this 38-16.

Afternoon Game
No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide @ No. 4 Auburn Tigers (3:30 on CBS)
Rivalry Saturday in college football has to bee the best Saturday of the year. Alabama has won the last two games of the series by a combined score of 91-14, but this year could be a lot different given how much better Auburn has become under Gus Malzahn this year. And to be totally honest, Alabama is absolutely vulnerable this year. Auburn may not be the team to capitalize on it, but I believe they can definitely expose them. To win this game, I think Auburn is going to play a shootout like they did against Georgia. Alabama still has a very terrific rush defense, but their secondary is a weakness and Auburn has probably the best running back they've seen all year in Tre Mason. Nick Marshall has also had a very solid season at the helm, and Alabama has had difficulties in the past dealing with dual threat quarterbacks. Yet Auburn doesn't have that great of a defense, giving up an average of 34 points to ranked opponents this year. I'd love to see Alabama's chances at a three peat shattered, but I think ultimately they are the better team and win this 34-27.

Evening Game
No. 6 Clemson Tigers @ No. 10 South Carolina Gamecocks (7:00 on ESPN2)
Clemson is looking to break their four game losing streak against their in state rivals. However, this game has more at stake for South Carolina than it does for Clemson who is all but guaranteed a spot in the Orange Bowl since FSU will probably be playing the the championship game. South Carolina is holding out hope that Johnny Football can lead the Aggies to victory over Mizzou, which would give South Carolina the SEC East due to them owning the tie breaker over Mizzou. This will be an interesting game as each team is almost the polar opposite of the other in terms of strengths and weaknesses. South Carolina's defense is technically ranked lower than Clemson's, but they have faced higher competition and the difference between the two is marginal (CL: 20.2 Points Allowed Per; SC: 20.3). Both have solid offenses, but Clemson has the better quarterback and the best receiver on the field with Sammy Waktins. South Carolina meanwhile can be enigmatic and frustrating, although I think they will find more success against Clemson. Yet I think that Clemson will be able to make enough big plays to slip past the Gamecocks and takes this one 27-21.

Night Game
No. 22 UCLA Bruins @ No. 23 USC Trojans (8:00 on ABC)
Too bad USC can't fire Kiffin every year. Since his firing, Ed Orgeron has led USC to a 5-1 record including a home victory over then fourth ranked Stanford. USC has only been giving up 17 points per game while averaging 31.5. UCLA on the other hand has been giving up a lot of points to a lot of sub par teams and has difficulty beating ranked opponents all season long, save a miracle comeback against Nebraska. Offensively, the Bruins have the better quarterback in Brett Hundley, but he hasn't taken that next step forward after such a promising year last year. He looks to be stuck in limbo. Meanwhile, USC QB Cody Kessler has made some significant strides since the beginning of the season and is getting the ball to his two fantastic playmakers, Nelson Agholor and Marqise Lee. This game will probably be decided by who runs the ball more efficiently which will be a lot of fun to watch as each team sports some very good running backs. UCLA has discovered linebacker turned running back Miles Jack can be a powerful, elusive back while USC has two equally good running backs in Tre Madden (5.1 YPC) and Javorius Allen (6.5 YPC). I think that this one can go right down to the wire with the Trojans reclaiming their spot as the rulers of LA, 31-28.

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