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College Capper: Picking Games for Week 12

Greg Vara

Greg Vara

Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the 2013 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. In addition to producing the weekly preview and the bulk of the draft kit content, Vara participates in Yahoo!'s "Experts Picks" where he routinely dominates. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.

Although only a week removed from the circus at State College, it feels like a lifetime has passed. Not because anything has been resolved, just because everyone has calmed down - a little.

I think by now, most of us just want to move on and let the courts do what they do; after all, that's what this is about now. Penn State has an interim coach, Joe Paterno's name has been removed from the Big Ten trophy and we've actually heard from the man who's responsible for everything.

This isn't to say that anyone should forget what happened, but there comes a time where you have to move on. Life goes on and for most of us, we weren't directly affected by the incidents at PSU, it just felt like it.

With that out of the way, let's look at what lies ahead for the BCS.

Both the doomsday scenario and the perfect scenario are in play.

The perfect scenario - and by perfect I mean, perfect for the BCS - is for LSU and Oklahoma State to remain undefeated through the regular season. Both teams have at least one stiff challenge ahead, but both will be favored in all of their match-ups the rest of the way.

The doomsday scenario is also a possibility. Unfortunately for the BCS, there is more than one scenario that will have people up in arms should it occur.

The first involves both undefeated teams losing. This would open the door for Alabama to get back into the mix, which would obviously upset a lot of people considering the Tide lost to LSU in their own stadium earlier this year.

The second involves a rematch, which is rarely a good idea. For this to happen, Oklahoma would have to knock off OSU and either Alabama or Oregon would have to remain ahead of the Sooners in the final BCS standings. It is possible, but something tells me voters would do everything in their power to prevent this by voting Oklahoma second in the polls. And for those who think that can't happen, just think back a few years when it appeared as though Michigan was in line for a rematch against Ohio State in the championship game only to be jumped by Florida after the pollsters moved the Gators to No. 2, ahead of Michigan.

Enough BCS talk, though. We know why you are here. You want a recap of last week's action, and after the week I had, I'm more than happy to give it to you. Another winning week, though I seem to be stuck on a 3-3 record in my "Cream of the Crop" picks. Anyhow, special thanks to Houston for going scoreless in the first quarter only to hit the over by itself in the final three quarters.

Week 12

Cream of the Crop:
(Week: 3-3-0/Season: 30-34-0)

Friday

Toledo at Central Michigan:
The run has to end at some point. The totals in the MAC have been outrageous the last couple weeks, but the main culprit has been Toledo and there's no reason to think that the offense will slow down or, more important, that the Rockets have figured anything out on defense. I keep waiting for one of these MAC teams to man up on defense, but they seem incapable of doing so. It won't happen, but at least half of the conference's defensive coordinators should be fired at season's end.

Total: Over 72.5

Oklahoma State at Iowa State:
Iowa State is likely to put forth a strong effort on Friday night in front of the nation, but I'm not sure it will matter in the end. Oklahoma State's offense is seemingly unstoppable, and Iowa State has no hope of even slowing it. The only hope would be to do what Kansas State did two weeks ago and somehow try to keep pace. As such, I will take the over.

Total: Over 66.5

Wisconsin at Illinois:
The Badgers have the Big Ten championship back in their sites, and they aren't about to slip up again. I think they've learned their lesson from earlier in the year when they dropped crucial road contests. Illinois, on the other hand, continues its downward spiral, and though the players will be jacked up for this game, it won't matter after the first couple blows are landed by the powerhouse Wisconsin offense.

Side: Wisconsin -14

Kansas at Texas A&M:
The Jayhawks put everything they had into their last two games and still came up empty. I have to imagine there just isn't much left in the tank at this point, and once they get down early in this game, it will be curtains. The Aggies are coming off yet another tough loss, but give them credit, they always show up the week following a tough loss. Now, if we can just get four quarters out of them this week.

Side: Texas A&M -30.5

Nebraska at Michigan:
I've watched Nebraska play several times this year and each time I walk away unimpressed. Maybe it's the way T-Mart throws, or the fact that the offense has a way of disappearing for quarters at a time, but there's just something I don't like about this team. The fact that they somehow let Penn State back into the game last week may be clouding my judgment here, but any team worth its salt would have destroyed Penn State last week. Michigan, on the other hand, looks to be improving each week. The Wolverines could have easily let another one slip away last week after a tough loss at Iowa the week prior, but they pulled up their boot straps and got the job done, which they'll do this week also.

Side: Michigan -3.5

Penn State at Ohio State:
PSU looked awful last week, and there's no reason to think it will get better this week. Sure, things have settled down a bit over the last week or so, but I don't think this team was that good to begin with. The offense is atrocious and makes too many mistakes. OSU had another hiccup last week at Purdue, but that is to be expected with a young quarterback at the helm. Back at home, the Buckeyes will look like a different team this week.

Side: OSU -7

SMU at Houston:
You know the drill. Unless a coach comes out and says they plan to bleed the clock the entire game to keep the Houston offense off the field, there's no reason to think this game will stay in the 70s.

Total: Over 75

Best of the Rest:
(Week: 4-2-0/Season: 39-36-1)

Saturday

Minnesota at Northwestern:
I think I've got a pretty good feel for this Minnesota team. The Gophers ran into a buzzsaw last week against Wisconsin, but a trip to Northwestern should prove much easier. The Gophers have actually played well as large road dogs this season, see USC and MSU, and this number seems a bit inflated do to the poor performance last week, but again, that was Wisconsin.

Side: Minnesota +15.5

Vanderbilt at Tennessee:
This cannot be happening. Vandy is favored at Tennessee? I know, I know, the Vols are awful, but come on. If there is any pride left in that Tennessee locker room, the Vols will figure out how to win this game. This is, after all, a rivalry game, and you know what they say about record books in a rivalry game.

Side: Tennessee +1.5

Texas Tech at Missouri:
Perhaps the Red Raiders spent the past three weeks reading the recap of their win over Oklahoma or perhaps they just got really lucky and we are now seeing this team's true talent. Whatever the case, they've got to be embarrassed about what happened last week, and we should at minimum see a good effort from them this week. The Tigers are coming off a big win themselves and could be the ones caught napping this week.

Side: Texas Tech +18

Army at Temple:
Army somehow hung with Rutgers last week, for 58 minutes anyhow. But life without its starting quarterback is going to catch up with it at some point. Temple hasn't played its best ball lately, but the Owls are capable of blowing out bad teams, which they should do this week.

Side: Temple -13.5

California at Stanford:
I'm always amazed at how these college kids can rebound from a tough loss. This week, it's on the kids from Stanford to regroup after a devastating loss last week against Oregon. Expect a rebound effort from Luck and the rest of the crew against their rival this week.

Side: Stanford -19.5

Cincinnati at Rutgers:
Starting quarterback Zach Collaros is out for the Cats, and if you haven't seem them play this year, then you might not be aware how much he means to that team. Rutgers is starting to play well, and at home, the Scarlet Knights should pull off the upset. Did I mention that Cincinnati is still favored to win the conference? You know what that means, right?

Side: Rutgers +3

PASSing thoughts:
(Week: 4-1-0/Season: 32-26-2)

Thursday

North Carolina at Virginia Tech:
I'm not a fan of the Thursday card this week, so this is my only selection for the night. Virginia Tech appears to be hitting its stride right, and a statement win here is likely.

Side: Virginia Tech -10.5

Saturday

Clemson at North Carolina State:
Consider this an anti-public sentiment pick. Everyone is on Clemson about its past two performances, but I think the players will be fed up with it and take it out on N.C. State this weekend.

Side: Clemson -7.5

Arizona at Arizona State:
In true Jekyll-and-Hyde form last week, the Wildcats lost to Colorado, handing the Buffaloes their first Pac-12 win. This week, however, they face their rival and likely will be ready for this one. ASU has not proven to be much of a force when trying to cover a big number this year. My guess is the Sun Devils struggle in that role again this week.

Side: Arizona +11

Colorado at UCLA:
The Buffaloes looked good last week and the Bruins did not. The Bruins have confused people all year, and they'll continue to do so this week when they blow out the Buffs.

Side: UCLA -10.5

Kansas State at Texas:
This line looks a little goofy to me, which is why I have this game down here. Texas proved a fraud last week as the Horns were unable to get anything going against Missouri. Kansas State, on the other hand, rebounded off a tough loss to Oklahoma State and played a full 60 minutes and them some against Texas A&M.

Side: Kansas State +7.5

USC at Oregon:
Should be a shootout, can't pick a side. Oregon is capable of blowing this one open, which could be a good thing for the over, but I suspect that USC will hang with the Ducks until the second half.

Total: Over 67

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