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College Capper: Picking Games for Week 14

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.

We are only a couple weeks removed from the craziest weekend in college football and suddenly everything is calm.

The BCS championship appears to be a foregone conclusion, and though many will gripe about an LSU-Alabama rematch, it is clearly the best option available - and please don't come at me with Oklahoma State. Sure, OSU has only one loss as well and might have a better resume, but let's get real here, that team would have no shot against a powerhouse like LSU.

It would have been nice to get some new blood into the national championship mix, but the game itself would have been a bore, just like all the other games in which a team outside the SEC tried to slay the giant.

The question begs then, do you want more excitement leading up to the game, or would you like to see a higher quality game? You can't have both, at least not this year, but in the end, what we'll get is another nail-biter. Those fond of offense may want to hide your eyes, however.

Those in the BCS corner can't call this scenario a victory, nor can detractors, though. The doomsday scenario did not occur, nor did the perfect scenario. What we are left with, once again, is an imperfect system in which the BCS does its best to come up with the top two teams in the country, and like it or not, that is exactly what it did this year.

Listen to me, I'm talking like this thing is already settled. In true BCS fashion, it's not quite a done deal yet. There is a possibility that OSU could pass Alabama, if it beats Oklahoma convincingly AND gets the support of the pollsters. This scenario is not unheard of, it happened in 2007 when it appeared as though Ohio State and Michigan would get a rematch in the national title game, only to have the rug pulled out when the pollsters decided to move Florida up the ladder.

I don't expect that to happen this year, though. As much as the pollsters would like to avoid a rematch, they can't ignore the fact that LSU and Alabama are the two best teams in the country. If, however, they do jump OSU over Alabama, we might end up calling the upcoming weekend the craziest of the season.

I couldn't quite get above the .500 mark last week and have only myself to blame. I ended up 11-11 on the week, but I could have avoided a couple losses if I'd listen to that voice inside my head, the one telling me that the Friday card did not look good. Among my biggest regrets was sticking with Rutgers. I even mentioned my hesitation in my write-up last week. And wouldn't you know it, my worst fears came true, another Big East team proving a fraud. Special thanks to the Golden Gophers, who not only covered, but won outright - in blowout fashion.

Week 12

Cream of the Crop: (Week: 4-3-0/Season: 37-41-0)


Northern Illinois vs. Ohio:
As mentioned last week, the trend of MAC games going over the total died a couple weeks ago, for the most part that is. Vegas, however, is still hoping the public did not get the memo as the total in this game is set awfully high. While Northern Illinois participated in the points orgy the last month, Ohio managed to steer clear. Ohio surrenders only 22.0 points per game this season, and while the Huskies defense has had its issues this season, it's allowed 14 or less in two of its past three games.

Total: Under 70

Iowa State at Kansas State:
ISU has played very well the last few weeks - yes, staying within 20 points of Oklahoma at Norman qualifies as playing well - but this is the week it falls apart. Kansas State wants to continue this surprising season and a slip up here could derail everything for which the Cats have worked. Bill Snyder won't let that happen, especially after a bye week.

Side: KSU -10.5

Texas at Baylor:
I love it. Texas' inability to move the ball on offense the last few weeks has this total in a great spot, and the beauty is anyone can score on the Baylor defense. The Longhorns actually showed signs of life against A&M last week and that momentum should carry over to this week as the Baylor defense isn't about to slow down anyone at this point in the season. On the other side of the ball is RG III, and as long as he's healthy, there's no slowing his offense, either.

Total: Over 64

Southern Mississippi at Houston:
For whatever reason, the Cougars defense has reared its ugly head the last couple weeks, which in turn has caused the last couple totals to go under. That shouldn't be the case this week, though, as it will face the toughest challenge in a while as Southern Mississippi comes to town. This is the perfect scenario for the over as it should be a back-and-forth affair. And as you all know, Houston can score all day long, which it will do on Saturday.

Total: Over 71

Virginia Tech vs. Clemson:
Can I just simply say that Clemson sucks? No? OK, how about this: Clemson, with everything on the line two weeks ago was pounded by N.C. State. The Tigers then followed that with a lousy effort against their in-state rival. You have to wonder what this team has left in the tank. On the other side you have Virginia Tech, which has played some of its best ball over the last month and is coming in off a thumping of their rival.

Side: Virginia Tech -7

Best of the Rest:
(Week: 5-4-0/Season: 49-41-1)


West Virginia at South Florida:
Here we go again. WVU enters this game with a chance to win the Big East, with a little help, but therein lies the problem. As you are well aware, the top teams from the Big East can't help but fall flat on their collective faces when opportunity is knocking. WVU tried to give up its shot at the Big East title last week when it barely crept by Pittsburgh at home. This week, the Mountaineers get another shot and this time, they won't let us down.

Side: South Florida +1.5


Connecticut at Cincinnati:
I fully realize that Uconn comes in off an impressive win, and, yes, I know that I am not supposed to take a team from the Big East in this scenario, but this is a special case for two reasons. First, Vegas is aware that the public is aware that with a win, Cincinnati could find itself in a tie for the Big East championship. It's the old, "this team needs this game" scenario, one which the public has fallen for time and again over the years. Vegas loves trapping suckers in this scenario. Second, it's not like I am calling for a win here. The line is nine points. A team can get thoroughly outplayed and still cover nine points.

Side: Connecticut +9

Oklahoma at Oklahoma State:
It's been two weeks since the debacle in Ames, but have the players from OSU recovered? After the madness that followed their loss, I would assume the Cowboys have fully recovered knowing that they have a shot at the No. 2 spot if all the stars align. The question, though, is will it matter? It's not often that Oklahoma comes into this match-up as an underdog, an underdog that might actually be the better team as well. Expect Oklahoma to prove it is the better team this week.

Side: Oklahoma +3.5

Michigan State vs. Wisconsin:
Two powerful forces tugging at me here. One side says that payback is a bitch and that the Badgers are going to take out their frustrations on the Spartans. The other side is telling me that this Spartan group is plucky and won't go down without a fight. We'll call that battle a draw and leave it up to my initial thought when these teams hooked up a couple months ago. The Badgers are the better team and, unlike the first time around, won't let the Spartans get the jump on them.

Side: Wisconsin -9.5

PASSing thoughts:
(Week: 2-4-0/Season: 38-32-2)


UCLA at Oregon:
I honestly don't know what to make of this game. The teams come into a conference championship game from opposite ends of the spectrum and the line is acknowledging that. If the Ducks come to play, which they should, they could win this game by 50. But after the beatdown UCLA took last week, are the Ducks really going to take this team seriously? I simply don't know, but I'll stay on the safe side and take the better team.

Side: Oregon -32

Georgia vs. LSU:
Another tough call. LSU needs this game, or does it? It sounds like the Tigers don't need to win this game to advance to the national championship, but you can bet that they won't take anything for granted. That said, 14 points is a lot to lay in this spot, and I think Georgia is peaking at the right time.

Side: Georgia +14