From rivalry games to pivotal contests to help determine conference championships, this weekend has a little bit of everything in college football. As usual, we have our staff go on the record for 12 games of interest this weekend.
Here is how we have been doing so far this season…
Kevin C. (96-36)
Kevin M. (94-50)
And now, on to our picks this week…
Kansas State vs. No. 20 Oklahoma: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1
Allen’s Take: Bill Snyder quietly has his team playing some pretty good football. After putting a scare into Baylor last month before eventually succumbing, KSU has won four straight games. No one will mistake the team for some juggernaut, but the Wildcats are peaking as the season draws to a close. They're doing so by playing true Snyderball during the streak: winning the turnover battle (+6 in the four games), stuffing the run and chewing up yards on the ground of their own.
Meanwhile, what started as a promising season for the Sooners feels like it's spinning out of control. OU is going back to Trevor Knight at quarterback, and he'll be down two offensive weapons following the suspensions of running back Damien Williams and outside receiver Lacoltan Bester. K-State's rugged running game also presents a tough challenge for OU's undersized D.
This game could get away from the Sooners pretty quickly if the offense can't find any rhythm.
Aaron: Kansas State 31, Oklahoma 28
Allen: Kansas State 34, Oklahoma 23
Andy: Oklahoma 27, Kansas State 24
David: Oklahoma 28, Kansas State 24
Jonathan: Oklahoma 32, Kansas State 21
Josh: Kansas State 30, Oklahoma 27
Kevin C: Oklahoma 24, Kansas State 20
Kevin M: Oklahoma 24, Kansas State 23
Tom: Oklahoma 21, Kansas State 17
Wake Forest vs. Duke: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ESPN2
Kevin C’s Take: The game all the "experts" circled before the season started. OK, maybe not but this is a pivotal game for the Blue Devils as they try to keep their lead in the ACC Coastal with just two conference games left. Don't expect Duke to overlook this Wake squad as the Deacs had won 12 consecutive games against Duke before losing to the Blue Devils in 2012. Look for David Cutcliffe to have his team start a winning streak of their own in this rivalry.
Aaron: Duke 42, Wake Forest 14
Allen: Wake Forest 18, Duke 14
Andy: Duke 37, Wake Forest 20
David: Duke 38, Wake Forest 14
Jonathan: Duke 28, Wake Forest 25
Josh: Duke 38, Wake Forest 17
Kevin C: Duke 35, Wake Forest 24
Kevin M: Duke 28, Wake Forest 17
Tom: Duke 35, Wake Forest 17
Northwestern vs. No. 13 Michigan State: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ESPN
Tom’s Take: It doesn't seem that long ago that Northwestern was considered a dark horse to win the Big Ten, but the Wildcats never rebounded from a near-win over Ohio State and have lost six straight. Now Pat Fitzgerald's team is trying to win its final two games and get bowl eligible.
Michigan State is not going to make that easy as the Spartans are eyeing a conference championship and have one of the more intimidating defenses in the nation. The only thing holding back the Spartans is an offense that ranks 54th nationally in scoring.
Aaron: Michigan State 22, Northwestern 19
Allen: Michigan State 20, Northwestern 14
Andy: Michigan State 31, Northwestern 17
David: Michigan State 30, Northwestern 21
Jonathan: Michigan State 30, Northwestern 21
Josh: Michigan State 31, Northwestern 9
Kevin C: Michigan State 24, Northwestern 8
Kevin M: Michigan State 30, Northwestern 13
Tom: Michigan State 28, Northwestern 12
No. 22 LSU vs. No. 12 Texas A&M: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. CBS
Aaron’s Take: So here’s the thing: While Johnny Manziel has spent his short college career running over, around and through most every defense in the SEC (including Alabama’s), LSU has one of the few defenses that can legitimately give Johnny Football and Co. trouble. While everyone points to the defensive line (and rightly so) go ahead and look at the size of those corners; Jalen Mills specifically stands at 6’2, and is one of the few defensive backs in the country that can legitimately give Mike Evans trouble. He will, and A&M will struggle because of it.
Look for LSU to hand Texas A&M the first road loss of the Johnny Manziel era Saturday.
Aaron: LSU 28, Texas A&M 24
Allen: LSU 45, Texas A&M 38
Andy: Texas A&M 44, LSU 34
David: LSU 42, Texas A&M 38
Jonathan: Texas A&M 38, LSU 35
Josh: LSU 45, Texas A&M 41
Kevin C: Texas A&M 38, LSU 35
Kevin M: LSU 34, Texas A&M 33
Tom: LSU 48, Texas A&M 37
No. 25 Minnesota vs. No. 19 Wisconsin: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ESPN
Andy’s Take: OK, so here’s the deal, Minnesota has had an impressive run of wins as of late and they are an improved football team. However, they are also the same team that went into Ann Arbor and got crushed by a mediocre Michigan squad. There’s no doubt the Gophers defense is good, but Wisconsin’s offense and defense are on a whole different level. It will show in Minneapolis as the streak runs to a full decade in favor of the Badgers as they take Paul Bunyan’s Axe home with them once again.
Aaron: Wisconsin 24, Minnesota 20
Allen: Wisconsin 42, Minnesota 17
Andy: Wisconsin 41, Minnesota 17
David: Wisconsin 42, Minnesota 17
Jonathan: Wisconsin 21, Minnesota 20
Josh: Wisconsin 28, Minnesota 14
Kevin C: Wisconsin 37, Minnesota 20
Kevin M: Wisconsin 35, Minnesota 17
Tom: Wisconsin 27, Minnesota 14
Penn State vs. Nebraska: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. Big Ten Network
Kevin M’s Take: Nebraska will head to State College as a beat up as ever, but the running game should still be a problem for Penn State’s defense as long as Ameer Abdullah is on the field. Nebraska’s running game can easily wear down Penn State’s defense, which has been exposed by teams like Indiana and Minnesota this season, not to mention Ohio State.
But Penn State has played much better at home and has managed to come up with a number of big plays in Beaver Stadium this season. Christian Hackenberg has a proven target in Allen Robinson and Penn State’s running game is capable of finding holes against this Nebraska defense.
Aaron: Nebraska 28, Penn State 20
Allen: Penn State 27, Nebraska 24
Andy: Penn State 27, Nebraska 24
David: Nebraska 34, Penn State 27
Jonathan: Penn State 25, Nebraska 24
Josh: Nebraska 20, Penn State 13
Kevin C: Nebraska 30, Penn State 27
Kevin M: Penn State 26, Nebraska 24
Tom: Nebraska 24, Penn State 10
Maryland vs. Boston College: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. GamePlan/EPSN3
Kevin M’s Take: Maryland and Boston College each have been pleasant surprises in the ACC this season, but they may be trending in opposite directions at this point. Maryland’s roster has been hit hard once again with injuries and they are limping to the finish line. Boston College has a coach of the year candidate in Steve Addazio recharging this program. It helps he has one of the best running backs in the country, with Andrew Williams closing in on college football’s first 2,000-yard rushing season since UConn’s Donald Brown did so in 2008. He needs 190 yards and could get it this weekend.
Aaron: Boston College 21, Maryland 18
Allen: Boston College 20, Maryland 17
Andy: Maryland 30, Boston College 27
David: Boston College 31, Maryland 16
Jonathan: Maryland 18, Boston College 14
Josh: Boston College 35, Maryland 21
Kevin C: Boston College 30, Maryland 21
Kevin M: Boston College 34, Maryland 27
Tom: Maryland 21, Boston College 20
No. 9 Stanford vs. California: Saturday, 4:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1
Dave’s Take: The Big Game is not that big this year as a powerful Stanford team takes on a rebuilding Cal program. It would be a huge upset if Cal could take out their arch-rivals. Expect an angry Stanford team to make a statement.
Aaron: Stanford 38, California 13
Allen: Stanford 34, California 14
Andy: Stanford 37, California 13
David: Stanford 41, California 17
Jonathan: Stanford 35, California 14
Josh: Stanford 35, California 14
Kevin C: Stanford 38, California 17
Kevin M: Stanford 34, California 17
Tom: Stanford 42, California 10
No. 14 UCLA vs. No. 17 Arizona State: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. FOX
Josh’s Take: The Myles Jack Show Part Three. That’s all there is to say about this game. If you haven’t heard about Jack by now, I have no idea how you found this website in the first place because you are not a college football fan. The linebacker-turned-running back has carried the ball 19 times in the last two weeks. Five of those carries have resulted in touchdowns. The Bruins’ offense has found another gear with Jack, and that’s enough to beat a very good Arizona State team. I have a feeling this might be the game that we look back at on Sunday as the game of the day.
Aaron: UCLA 41, Arizona State 38
Allen: Arizona State 28, UCLA 27
Andy: Arizona State 31, UCLA 27
David: UCLA 35, Arizona State 30
Jonathan: UCLA 28, Arizona State 21
Josh: UCLA 52, Arizona State 49
Kevin C: UCLA 31, Arizona State 27
Kevin M: UCLA 36, Arizona State 34
Tom: UCLA 31, Arizona State 30
No. 24 Ole Miss vs. No. 8 Missouri: Saturday, 7:45 p.m. ESPN
Aaron’s Take: Call it a hunch. Or a gut feeling. Or just a sign of how much better the SEC West is than the East this season. Either way, I think Ole Miss pulls out the surprising win, over the East leader on Saturday. Keep in mind that Missouri hasn’t played a real team on the road since way back on October 12 (sorry Kentucky, you don’t count), and Ole Miss enters this game getting healthier than they’ve been in a long time, and on a four game win streak.
Add in the home field advantage at Vaught-Hemingway, and… Hotty Toddy Gosh Almighty, I’m thinking Ole Miss pulls the upset.
Aaron: Ole Miss 27, Missouri 21
Allen: Ole Miss 42, Missouri 39
Andy: Ole Miss 27, Missouri 24
David: Ole Miss 31, Missouri 28
Jonathan: Missouri 35, Ole Miss 28
Josh: Missouri 38, Ole Miss 31
Kevin C: Missouri 34, Ole Miss 24
Kevin M: Ole Miss 31, Missouri 30
Tom: Ole Miss 20, Missouri 13
No. 10 Oklahoma State vs. No. 4 Baylor: Saturday 8:00 p.m. ABC
Allen’s Take: Even with all the talk in the preseason about parity in the Big 12 this season, I doubt many envisioned this as the conference's game of the year. However, the winner has a great shot at ending up in the Fiesta Bowl – Baylor could be headed to Pasadena if things break the way of the Bears.
Baylor is a deserving favorite in this game based on what we've seen so far this season, but it's hard to find a clear edge for either side. Given how well OSU is playing at this point, the Pokes absolutely have a chance to pull off the upset on what is expected to be a frosty night in Stillwater. More likely, though, is that the Bears' relentless offensive attack comes through with one extra explosive play that makes the difference.
Aaron: Baylor 52, Oklahoma State 38
Allen: Baylor 38, Oklahoma State 35
Andy: Baylor 37, Oklahoma State 21
David: Baylor 45, Oklahoma State 34
Jonathan: Baylor 52, Oklahoma State 42
Josh: Baylor 56, Oklahoma State 42
Kevin C: Baylor 45, Oklahoma State 31
Kevin M: Baylor 42, Oklahoma State 38
Tom: Oklahoma State 45, Baylor 42
Oregon State vs. Washington: Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ESPN2
David’s Take: The Beavers have been struggling lately, as teams seem to have figured out their one-dimensional offense. Washington has the talent on both sides of the ball to turn this into a rout.
Aaron: Oregon State 34, Washington 14
Allen: Washington 30, Oregon State 28
Andy: Washington 30, Oregon State 27
David: Washington 42, Oregon State 14
Jonathan: Washington 28, Oregon State 18
Josh: Washington 44, Oregon State 38
Kevin C: Oregon State 32, Washington 28
Kevin M: Washington 27, Oregon State 24
Tom: Washington 38, Oregon State 31