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College Football Week 12 Picks

Max Meyer, Mike Piellucci, Gabe Quintela, Marc Sallinger, Darian Nourian, Andrew Tweedy |
November 15, 2013 | 4:27 p.m. PST

Staff Writers


(Neon Tommy)
(Neon Tommy)
With the college football regular season winding down, rivalry battles to determine which teams will play in their respective conference championships will be plentiful. Here are the top five games this week, with several ranked teams involved in these contests. 

#4 Stanford at USC

Max Meyer (@TheMaxMeyer): Stanford 28, USC 21

Stanford's performance over Oregon last Thursday night was the most impressive win I've seen this entire year. Their physicality was amazing, and they flat out dominated Oregon for most of the game. That being said, USC has not faced a physical team since Notre Dame, and that was their last loss. Even though Buck Allen and USC's running game has been impressive, USC's offensive line will have a lot of trouble in the trenches against Stanford's defensive line. The Cardinal defense will lead the way towards a huge Pac-12 road win. 

Darian Nourian (@dariannourian24): USC 31, Stanford 28

I am picking USC to upset the No. 4 ranked Cardinal because I feel like it is the right thing to do. Both teams are riding momentum after important wins last weekend. The Cardinal put down then-No. 2 ranked Oregon Ducks 26-20, while the Trojans went off for a season-high 62 points against Cal. There is no doubt that this is going to be a battle in the trenches, and that this is going to be won up front. Both teams feature top-ranked defenses and running games, so something will have to give in this showdown that even caught the attention of ESPN College GameDay. This game is going to be about controlling the ball with time of possession (Stanford had the ball for 42 minutes against Oregon) and limiting mistakes. If the Trojans can do that, and cut off Stanford's "ground and pound" running game, they will pull off the upset at home in what is expected to be a sold-out Coliseum. 

Gabe Quintela (@gabequintela11): Stanford 35, USC 21

As much as I would love to pick USC this week and see a Trojan victory as an underdog on a huge national stage, I can't seem to pick against this Stanford team. Coming off a huge win against Oregon and holding the Ducks' offense scoreless for a majority of the game, I find it difficult to believe that USC will be able to produce enough to outscore Kevin Hogan and the Cardinal. 

Marc Sallinger (@marcsallinger): USC 31, Stanford 28

The stage is set for the game of the week. ESPN College GameDay will be on campus, the Coliseum will be filled to capacity for homecoming and a lot is up for grabs on the field. Both teams are coming off giant wins and are riding three-game win streaks. The Cardinal will be the toughest team USC has faced so far this season, but I think they will be able to step up and hand No. 5 Stanford their second loss of the season. Look for this game to be a close one, but the home team will pull off the upset. 

Mike Piellucci (@mikelikessports): Stanford 27, USC 24

For all the injuries and upheaval, I really do think USC can win this game and I would not have said that before the season. What hasn't changed, though, is the reason why I don't think they will: Too little depth will not withstand 60 minutes of Stanford's physical brand of football. USC isn't anywhere close to having a complete set of dependable backups on either line, and key starters like Leonard Williams and Kevin Graf head into this one banged up. USC has better athletes and all sorts of momentum, so it wouldn't shock me at all if they pull the upset. But I think they are still a year or two away from getting the kind of depth necessary to win.

Andrew Tweedy (@nyy_baseball): Stanford 21, USC 17

Although Coach Orgeron has led this Trojan team’s resurgence back to respectability, Stanford is too good to let USC pull off the upset at the Coliseum. As the Cardinal demonstrated last week against Oregon, they are more than capable of stopping the run game - which has been USC’s strength recently - and that will be the key to victory this week. Both defenses are formidable, so it will come down to who controls the clock with their respective power run game. In the end, I think the advantage has to go to Stanford.

Washington at #13 UCLA

Max: UCLA 35, Washington 27

Even though Keith Price is having a great season, I trust Brett Hundley more, especially at home. Washington has been inconsistent this entire season, and with the emergence of Myles Jack at running back for UCLA, the Bruin offense will be very difficult for Washington to stop.

Darian: Washington 35, UCLA 28

I thought that UCLA would lose on the road to Arizona last weekend, however freshman Myles Jack saved the day. This Friday though, they will face Keith Price, Bishop Sankey and the highly potent Washington offense that I believe the Bruins will have a tough time stopping. UCLA had some trouble with ball security against the Wildcats last week, so if Washington can force a few turnovers and give their offense good field position, this is their game for the taking. 

Gabe: UCLA 34, Washington 21

Washington has been far too inconsistent on the road for me to pick them, especially against a better opponent. UCLA is coming off a huge win in Tucson last week, regaining momentum following two straight losses. I also love watching linebacker Myles Jack, who put on a show out of the backfield last week. Jack will give Washington something else to worry about when preparing for this game.

Marc: UCLA 38, Washington 28

After a 59-7 win over Colorado last week and a big win over Cal two weeks ago, the Washington Huskies are looking to keep their win streak going after a rough patch earlier in the season. UCLA is looking to also bounce back from successive losses they suffered earlier in the season and they looked pretty good against Arizona last week. Let’s see if freshman linebacker turned running back Myles Jack will step up again for the offense like he did last week, and add another threat for the Bruin running game. 

Mike: UCLA 35, Washington 31

The Huskies are 1-2 on the road, and have they have the tough luck of playing a UCLA team that may have finally found a dependable running back in Bellevue product Myles Jack. Needless to say, not a good situation for Washington, which makes me highly skeptical if they can pull this out even with the overall statistical advantage they have over the Bruins. Keith Price is playing perhaps the best ball of his career and he'll need every bit of that brilliance for the Huskies to pull off an upset.

Andrew: UCLA 35, Washington 24

Despite another underachieving year for the Huskies, they have what it takes to pull off a huge conference road win against the Bruins, but I just don’t see it happening this week. UCLA is coming off a big confidence-boosting win against Arizona in which they saw linebacker Myles Jack make a name for himself when he was inserted as a running back and rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown on only six carries. Maybe he’ll add to his resume and lead the Bruins to another big win while playing both sides of the ball this week.

#25 Georgia at #7 Auburn

Max: Georgia 31, Auburn 27

Auburn has been one of the most pleasant surprises in the country this year, but Georgia's weapons are starting to get healthy. Todd Gurley is supremely talented at running back, and Aaron Murray's experience as a senior quarterback will ultimately give Georgia the edge over Auburn's one-dimensional offensive attack. 

Darian: Georgia 28, Auburn 24

Georgia has been nothing but disappointing this season. However, their offense is still one that is admired by the rest of the country. The tandem of Aaron Murray and Todd Gurley gives the Bulldogs balance, yet explosiveness on offense. Auburn will do most of their work on the ground and the Bulldogs' defense has improved from last year.  

Gabe: Georgia 31, Auburn 28

Todd Gurley is back and has rushed for 175 yards in his last two games, providing the needed spark for Aaron Murray and this offense to beat the Tigers this week. Expect the offense to produce and the Bulldogs defense (ranked third in the SEC in fewest yards allowed per carry 3.4 yards) to do an effective job stopping Auburn. 

Marc: Auburn 35, Georgia 21

The No. 7 Auburn Tigers are still in contention for the National Championship, and are looking to keep their hopes alive with a win over Georgia. This has been a bad year for the Bulldogs, but look for them to still put up a fight this weekend. However, the Tigers are rolling, and I think they will come away with their 10th win of the season on Saturday.

Mike: Georgia 31, Auburn 25

Perhaps no other team is more dependent on one facet of its offense than Auburn, whose third-ranked rushing attack is blighted by a passing game that ranks 108th. The Tigers have split a pair of games against elite competition this year - they defeated Texas A&M and a banged-up Johnny Football and lost to LSU - and this weekend marks their third test against a now (relatively) healthy Georgia team that should feature all of Chris Conley, Michael Bennett and Arthur Lynch for the first time since October 5th. I think Todd Gurley is the best back in the country and the great tragedy of this rash of injuries is the damage it did to Aaron Murray's breakout senior campaign; needless to say, I trust him much more than former Bulldog Nick Marshall. Forget the ranking: Georgia has the better team and will show it on Saturday.

Andrew: Auburn 35, Georgia 31

While Georgia is still clinging to their hopes of winning the SEC East, Auburn has more on the line this week with the possibility of winning the SEC West and potentially earning a BCS berth. While both teams boast explosive offensive firepower, Auburn’s run game recently has been formidable to say the least and I just don’t see the attack stopping against the Bulldogs on Saturday.

#12 Oklahoma State at #24 Texas

Max: Oklahoma State 35, Texas 31

The loss of running back Johnathan Gray will be too much for Texas to overcome, especially with the maddening play of Case McCoy at quarterback. I've doubted Oklahoma State too many times this season, but Desmond Roland and the Oklahoma State rushing attack is my pick this week in this Big 12 showdown. 

Darian: Oklahoma State 49, Texas 28

The Cowboys will be able to run all over the Longhorns, led by junior Desmond Roland. However, it also has a very balanced attack, having ran the ball exactly as many times as they have thrown it in the air. Oklahoma State is a two-dimensional team that will be tough for Texas to stop, although the Longhorns have been putting the breaks on the majority of Big 12 runners this season.

Gabe: Oklahoma State 28, Texas 24

Both of these teams are playing their best football of the year heading into this matchup. Yet, Texas enters this game a bit banged up without arguably their best offensive weapon in running back Johnathan Gray. In a game against one of the best defenses in the Big 12, I find it hard to believe Texas will be able to overcome that loss. 

Marc: Texas 31, Oklahoma State 28

Oklahoma State and Texas are both still in the running for the Big 12 Championship, so this game has a lot on the line. The game is in Austin, which bodes well for the Longhorns. If the game were in Stillwater, Oklahoma State would be the clear favorite, but I think the home team will be able to come away with the upset win this weekend. 

Mike: Texas 45, Oklahoma State 41

I'm not even going to pretend to understand Texas, which is now undefeated in conference play in spite of starting a worse quarterback (Case McCoy) than the one who presided over the team's calamitous 1-2 start (David Ash). What I do know, though, is that the Cowboys haven't faced a offense nearly as talented as the Longhorns, who have more than enough backs in the stable to make up for the loss of Johnathan Gray. Expect a repeat of last week's Texas win over West Virginia: Plenty of points, a splash of McCoy stupidity and the Longhorns emerging from the dust with a win.

Andrew: Oklahoma State 34, Texas 27

With both teams playing their best football of the season right now, this game was a tough pick. I think this one comes down to which defense can make a big stop late in the game, and I have to go with the Cowboys this time. This has less to do with the Oklahoma State defense and more to do with the Longhorns offense, which will be playing without injured tailback Johnathan Gray. Edge goes to Oklahoma State here in a game that will be decided in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter.

#23 Miami at Duke

Max: Miami 27, Duke 21

Despite Duke Johnson being out for this game, Miami has too much offensive talent to not win this game. Expect Miami to stop their two-game losing streak in an ACC rivalry game. 

Darian: Miami 28, Duke 14

This is typically a marquee ACC basketball matchup, but this year features two 7-2 teams. If Duke can beat Miami, it will control its own destiny to reach the ACC title game, however I don't think they will. Miami has too many weapons that will need to be stopped on offense. 

Gabe: Miami 27, Duke 23

Miami went from top-10 favorite to giving up 83 points and dropping two straight games. Yet, having said that, look for the Canes to bounce back this week against divisional rival Duke.

Marc: Miami 31, Duke 21

Miami suffered a devastating loss to Virginia Tech last week, which knocked them out of contention for the Coastal Division title. The Blue Devils are in a very good place at this point in the season. If they beat Miami, Wake Forest and North Carolina, they could reach the ACC championship game. However, I think Miami is one step ahead of the Blue Devils on offense, and should come away with the road win. 

Mike: Miami 23, Duke 17

That this game is even on our slate says everything you need to know about how far the Blue Devils have come under David Cutcliffe, but look a little closer and Duke's only win of any renown is a 13-10 squeaker over a dramatically overrated Virginia Tech team. Even with Duke Johnson shelved, Miami has a considerable talent advantage. This feels like the sort of game where Stephen Morris tantalizes everyone with his considerable talent before his inconsistency costs the U a game down the stretch. 

Andrew: Miami 28, Duke 17

Miami has lost two straight games, but they won’t drop a third against Duke. The Canes' defense will shape up and perform better this week, and prove that they are still a force to be reckoned with in the ACC. Even though Duke is riding a three-game win streak, they’ve turned the ball over too many times during that stretch, and have been on the side of some good luck. That luck runs out this week when Miami comes to town.


1. Max 38-12

2. Gabe 35-15

3. Andrew 33-17

4. Mike 32-18

5. Marc 29-21

6. Darian 28-22



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