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College Football Week 14 Picks

Max Meyer, Mike Piellucci, Gabe Quintela, Marc Sallinger, Darian Nourian, Andrew Tweedy |
November 29, 2013 | 6:01 p.m. PST

Staff Writers


(Neon Tommy)
(Neon Tommy)
Last week, our college football experts had their worst week of the season, and now they will look to bounce back during rivalry week. 

#22 UCLA at #23 USC

Max Meyer (@TheMaxMeyer): USC 31, UCLA 28

USC has won six of their past seven games, and will be looking to avenge their 38-28 loss last year to UCLA. The key in this game will be the battle between UCLA's shaky offensive line versus the USC's dominant pass rush. UCLA allowed Brett Hundley to be sacked nine times last weekend, and has to deal with a USC defense that has 33 sacks. Let the Coach Orgeron debate continue, as USC continues their impressive end to the season. 

Darian Nourian (@dariannourian24): USC 28, UCLA 17

Not even UCLA's dynamic duo of Myles Jack and Brett Hundley are going to be able to stop this inspired USC team that is clearly on a mission to back their interim head coach Ed Orgeron. The Trojans have been one of the hottest teams in college football, led by a top-ranked defense, stout running game and revived passing game. The electricity will once again be potent in a sold-out Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for this rivalry game.

Mike Piellucci (@mikelikessports): USC 34, UCLA 21

I've always thought that UCLA was a better matchup for the Trojans than Stanford, something that mostly owes itself to the Bruins' offensive line being a pile of swiss cheese. That group was torn apart by ASU to the tune of nine sacks, and I see no reason why USC's front five couldn't do the same. If the Trojans put the heat on Brett Hundley and the secondary clamps down on Shaq Evans, USC should get its tenth win, which would bode very well for Ed Orgeron's chances to get the full-time coaching job.

Marc Sallinger (@marcsallinger): USC 35, UCLA 21

Rivalry week in Southern California doesn't have big bowl game implications after the Bruins lost to Arizona State last weekend, but the battle between UCLA and USC will still be a close one. If this game were being played at the beginning of the season, UCLA would be clear favorites due to their impressive form and the Trojans' struggling offense. However, it is Week 14, and USC is on a roll while UCLA is in the dumps. The Trojans are looking unstoppable, and I think they can pull off a win against their crosstown rivals. 

Andrew Tweedy (@nyy_baseball): USC 31, UCLA 24

USC has all the momentum in the world, fueled by a rejuvenated clubhouse led by head coach Ed Orgeron. After losing to Arizona State last week, the Bruins were eliminated from the Pac-12 South title race. Not that UCLA won’t be motivated to beat the Trojans this week, but the loss to the Sun Devils may hamper their performance at the Coliseum. Look for the usual winning formula from USC: strong defense and solid performances from Cody Kessler, Javorius Allen, Marqise Lee & co.

Gabe Quintela (@gabequintela11): USC 28, UCLA 24

I love the momentum that USC has coming into this game, winning the previous five games they've played. USC's pass rush has also been impressive this year, and UCLA gave up nine sacks last week. Coming off one of the biggest wins in recent history and playing against their biggest rivals at the Coliseum, expect the Trojans to come up big. 

#1 Alabama at #4 Auburn

Max: Alabama 38, Auburn 24

Alabama has won four out of the last five Iron Bowls, including a 49-0 demolishing over Auburn last season. Everyone knows about Auburn's exceptional run game, but the defense has allowed more than 400 yards per game this season and it'll be really tough to trust Nick Marshall to make the big throws against one of the best defenses in the country. 

Darian: Alabama 35, Auburn 21

With this Iron Bowl matchup featuring two teams in the top five heading into the SEC championship game, could this game be considered the Game of the Century? Should the Crimson Tide be able to stop the nation's second-best rushing attack and force Nick Marshall to put the ball in the air, then AJ McCarron and the Alabama offense will be able to take care of business to send them to yet another SEC title game. 

Mike: Alabama 28, Auburn 13

The way to beat Alabama is by attacking its relatively shaky secondary. Unfortunately for Tiger fans, Auburn is as pathetic through the air (104th nationally) as they are potent on the ground (2nd), so color me very skeptical that this, of all weeks, is the game where Nick Marshall finally taps into his potential as a passer. Alabama wins, and a Heisman voting pool skittish of Jameis Winston hands AJ McCarron the Heisman statue as a lifetime achievement award.  

Marc: Alabama 35, Auburn 28

This is for sure the game of the week, if not the game of the year. The winner of this game has a very possible shot at a berth in the BCS Championship game, and both teams will come out hard to earn it. Alabama sits atop the standings, as they have all year, and are the favorites to take the trophy for the third straight year. However, the Tigers are looking to top off their dream “turnaround” season with a run at the championship. Last year, the Tigers went 3-9, while this year they are 10-1. This surely will be a close one, but I think AJ McCarron and C.J. Mosley will lead the Tide to another Iron Bowl victory. 

Andrew: Alabama 34, Auburn 21

In the first truly meaningful Iron Bowl matchup in years, Auburn is looking to continue their fairy tale season and derail Alabama’s undefeated season. However, Nick Saban’s quest for a third straight national championship will not end this week in a game that will decide the winner of the SEC West. Auburn has a juggernaut of a run game this season, but will run into trouble against Alabama’s stifling defense. The Tide just keeps on rolling…

Gabe: Alabama 34, Auburn 21

I'm not sure if you've realized this, but Alabama doesn't lose. Winning four of the last five Iron Bowl matchups, including a 49-0 embarrassment of Auburn last year, Alabama seems set to win it again. Auburn comes into the game with the number-one ranked rush offense in the SEC, but Alabama leads the country in scoring defense, allowing only 9.3 points per game. 

#6 Clemson at #10 South Carolina

Max: South Carolina 31, Clemson 27

Last year, Jadeveon Clowney had 4.5 sacks in this rivalry game. South Carolina has had a huge home-field advantage this season, winning all six of their contests there by an average of 20 points per game. While Tajh Boyd has been outstanding this year, Connor Shaw isn't getting enough credit on the other side, tossing 20 touchdowns versus only one interception. Boyd has struggled in the past against the Gamecocks defense, and he will again this year.

Darian: Clemson 37, South Carolina 23

Tajh Boyd has struggled in his previous starts against South Carolina, so the senior quarterback has something to prove. The Clemson defense is improved, although its offensive line will have to contain the stout Gamecock defensive line led by Jadeveon Clowney.

Mike: Clemson 31, South Carolina 24

Here's how screwed up the Heisman race is: McCarron (68.6 completion percentage, 2,399 passing yards, 23 total touchdowns, five interceptions) is the shoe-in for New York on an undefeated Alabama team, while Tajh Boyd (67.3 completion percentage, 3,248 passing yards, 37 total touchdowns, seven interceptions) is nowhere to be found on a Clemson team whose only loss was to undefeated Florida State. Maybe Boyd will put himself back on the radar Saturday, when he beats the Tigers' bitter in-state rivals. 

Marc: Clemson 31, South Carolina 28

The battle of top-10 teams heads into Columbia in what is sure to be a hard-fought battle. South Carolina’s defense has been questionable at times throughout the year, but if they want to beat Clemson this week, they will have to put a lot of pressure on Tajh Boyd and force him to make mistakes. On the other side of the ball, Boyd will be the key player for the Tigers, and without a strong performance from him, the Gamecocks odds of winning the game greatly increase. I think Boyd will rise to the challenge and lead Clemson to a big rivalry win.   

Andrew: South Carolina 28, Clemson 21

When I visited the University of South Carolina campus last spring, the proud members of the Gamecock family made their hatred for Clemson extremely clear. Just as it is every year, this rivalry game will be heated, especially with BCS bowl implications for both teams. The key matchup in this game will be Tajh Boyd against Jadeveon Clowney, and I have to take Clowney this time, as he is nearly back to full strength.

Gabe: South Carolina 31, Clemson 24

A game with huge BCS implications, this one is hard to call. I don't feel confident in Clemson's Tajh Boyd against South Carolina, having thrown for 339 yards and taking 14 sacks in his three games against the Gamecocks. I also like Jadeveon Clowney in his final home game at South Carolina, and he will celebrate the victory there too. 

#21 Texas A&M at #5 Missouri

Max: Missouri 38, Texas A&M 31

Texas A&M's defense has been very unimpressive this year, and they will have a tough test against James Franklin and the Missouri offense. Remember, this is a Missouri team that is a blown 17-point fourth-quarter lead and missed field goal away from being undefeated. The Tigers defense has forced a turnover in 41 consecutive games, and will give Johnny Manziel some serious trouble in this game. 

Darian: Missouri 28, Texas A&M 27

Missouri needs to win this game in order to head to the SEC championship game, but Johnny Manziel and the Aggies are going to try and make sure that doesn't happen. Hopefully, they're ready for the scrambling Manziel, who gave them a lot of trouble in the last outing between these two teams. 

Mike: Texas A&M 45, Missouri 41

Standard protocol for these two teams is for Johnny Football to rise to the occasion in a big game, while Mizzou finds away to embrace heartbreak. That, of course, has been far from the case recently, with Manziel looking ordinary last week against LSU and the Tigers controlling their destiny in the SEC East. But Thanksgiving is a time for tradition, so I'll side with expected form. 

Marc: Missouri 42, Texas A&M 28

This is a big week for Missouri. With a win, they will clinch the SEC East and could even have a chance to play in the BCS title game if other chips fall in their favor. Although Texas A&M is not the team they were a year ago, they still hold the potential to make things very difficult for the Tigers. Johnny Football has been on his game recently, and look for the Tigers defense to be stretched by the Aggie passing game. At the end of the day, I think Mizzou will prove too much to handle for the Aggies, and Missouri will cap off their season with a big win at home. 

Andrew: Missouri 41, Texas A&M 35

Johnny Manziel’s Heisman hopes took a major hit in A&M’s loss to LSU last week and he could be out of the Heisman picture entirely with another loss this week to a surprising Missouri team. LSU exposed a lot of holes in Manziel’s game last week, and Mizzou has too much on the line this week to let this go unnoticed. With a win this week, Missouri will be headed to the SEC Championship Game against the winner of the Alabama/Auburn matchup. In front of their home crowd, I think the Tigers get the job done against Johnny Football and the rest of the Aggies.

Gabe: Missouri 41, Texas A&M 34

A win for Missouri gets them a ticket to the SEC championship game in only their second year in the conference. In a game at home, against a struggling Johnny Manziel (who was shut down by LSU last week), I expect the Tigers to come up with the victory. 

Arizona at #12 Arizona State

Max: Arizona State 42, Arizona 24

Arizona's win over Oregon last weekend was one of the more shocking results of the season, but I don't think lightning will strike twice. Arizona State had a great win over UCLA last weekend as well, and I see the home team prevailing in this rivalry game, although the past four winners of this game have been the road team. Look for that streak to end on Saturday.

Darian: Arizona State 42, Arizona 21

Arizona managed to embarrass Oregon at home last week, but they are on the road for this rivalry game against the Sun Devils. Arizona State features Will Sutton and a strong defensive line that will put a lot of pressure on Arizona quarterback B.J. Denker. If this one turns into a battle of the trenches at the line of scrimmage, they will prevail. 

Mike: Arizona State 31, Arizona 17

Arizona's dominant win over Oregon, in my mind, says a lot more about the Ducks' problems than a Wildcat team two weeks removed from dropping a home game to Washington State. The Sun Devils, meanwhile, can play Jekyll and Hyde with the best, but can be scary when they're on and I don't foresee any complacency in a Territorial Cup game.

Marc: Arizona State 28, Arizona 21

The story is simple: if Arizona State wins this game, they will host the Pac-12 Championship game after already having clinched the Pac-12 South Division last week with a win over UCLA. Although the Sun Devils are the clear favorite to win the Territorial Cup, don’t count out the Wildcats. Arizona is coming off a giant win against Oregon and have the confidence to make this game very hard for the Sun Devils. However, ASU knows what is at stake here, and I can’t see them losing this game. 

Andrew: Arizona 35, Arizona State 31

This game will essentially come down to how Arizona responds to their trouncing of Oregon last week. Playing spoiler, the Wildcats hope to ruin Arizona State’s chances of staying home for the Pac-12 title game. The Sun Devils put up an impressive performance against UCLA to clinch the Pac-12 South, but Arizona can not be underestimated despite a conference record of 4-4. Expect Arizona to have plenty of motivation to finish off their season on a high note, and slow the Sun Devils’ momentum going into the conference title game next week.

Gabe: Arizona State 34, Arizona 21

Arizona State has been rolling as of late, beating UCLA in arguably the biggest game for the Sun Devils in recent memory. A win against Arizona would give them home-field advantage in the Pac-12 Championship game, enough motivation to keep Taylor Kelly (25 touchdowns this year) and the 11th-ranked ASU offense rolling in Tucson. 


1. Max 41-19 

2. Gabe 39-21 

3. Andrew 37-23 

4. Mike 36-24 

5. Marc 34-26 

6. Darian 31-29 




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