College Football Weekly Predictions: Week 13
by Alan Matthews - 11/26/2009
I really should know better than to ever recommend Notre Dame. The Irish were giving six points in their home finale to UConn last week, and of course they lost straight up. That means the Irish have now dropped their home finale to a Big East team two years running (last year to awful Syracuse) and are a combined 1-6 vs. the Big East and Navy the past three seasons. Notre Dame is 3-8 ATS this year. Good riddance, Charlie Weis, and I certainly won't be taking the Irish this week at Stanford or in any bowl game, should they even accept a lower-tier bowl invitation.
Unfortunately I also missed on LSU getting 4.5 points at Ole Miss last week - not sure what exactly Tigers Coach Les Miles was thinking with that terrible clock management in the final seconds. My one victory was North Carolina getting 3.5 at Boston College. I told you to expect a straight-up win and it wasn't even close. So I am now 19-17 on the year and will continue through the bowls with an expectation of finishing at least +500.
On to Week 13:
Nevada at Boise State, Friday, 10 p.m.
Current line: Boise State -14. This has been moving all over the place, from a low of 11 to its current high of 14. It spent time at 14 earlier in the week before moving back up to 13.5 - and then a late dip back to 14.
Who the public likes: Approximately 65 percent are on BSU.
To me, this is the most intriguing matchup of the weekend. Nevada runs the ball better than anyone and is the first school with three 1,000-yard rushers in the same season. The Wolf Pack have won eight in a row and are averaging 52 points and 455 yards on the ground in that stretch. QB Colin Kaepernick is one of those 1,000-yard rushers, and he has accounted for 32 total touchdowns. If you look at Nevada's and Boise's six common WAC opponents, the numbers are incredibly similar: BSU is beating the six by an average score of 51.7-20.7, while Nevada is doing so by a count of 47.8-22.2. The Broncos don't ever lose at home and have never done so under Coach Chris Petersen. They are beating teams by an average of 32.5 points there this season. And the NCAA's top-rated passer, Kellen Moore, should have a huge night against Nevada's pass defense, which is the second-worst in the country. But I think Nevada also gouges BSU's defense, which has been shaky in the past three games, especially against the run (Idaho, for example, rushed for 209 yards a few weeks ago on the blue turf). I could easily see a Wolf Pack upset here to win the WAC, but I definitely like them with 14 points.
Take Nevada and the points.
Clemson at South Carolina, Saturday, noon
Current line: Clemson -3. This literally hasn't budged all week. It will be interesting to see if the late money gives that valuable half point in either direction.
Who the public likes: Approximately 68 percent on Clemson.
I'm with the public here, but I get why the line is so small. This is one of those many trap games this week, with Clemson having a spot locked up in the ACC title game next week. This game means little in the grand scheme of things for the Tigers - although you won't obviously hear anyone from Clemson say that. There have been some calls for Dabo Swinney to rest star RB C.J. Spiller (turf toe) this week to save him for next week's game with Georgia Tech and the potential big payday a win against the Jackets would bring with a BCS bowl. But apparently Swinney is having none of that. If you go simply by the numbers, this game really shouldn't be close. During its current six-game win streak, Clemson has averaged 40.6 points and 415 yards per game, with Spiller serving as a one-man wrecking crew most days. South Carolina is in another late-season swoon, having dropped three in a row and four of five, although it did have an extra week to prepare for this one. Still, Clemson has won 10 of 12 in the series and took a 31-14 victory last year. That sounds about right for Saturday as well.
Take Clemson and give the points.
North Carolina at N.C. State, Saturday, noon
Current line: North Carolina -5.5. This is another line that hasn't moved at all.
Who the public likes: Approximately 87 percent on the Heels. This was at 50-50 for a bit then dropped massively in a matter of hours to where it is now.
UNC was very good to me last week, and I'm sticking with the Heels. This is another game where if you ignore that it's a rivalry and just look at the numbers, it shouldn't be close. UNC has won four in a row (4-0 ATS) and probably should be on a six-game winning streak if not for choking against Florida State. N.C. State has dropped two in a row and six of seven (2-5 ATS). The Heels have one of the nation's top defenses (that unit has scored four TDs by itself the past two games), while N.C. State hasn't held any of its last eight opponents to less than 30 points (allowing more than 40 in ACC games). Just assuming that trend continues, there's simply no way that this Wolfpack offense sniffs 24 points against UNC, so a cover shouldn't be a problem. The Heels also have the revenge factor after losing 41-10 last year to the Wolfpack.
Take UNC and give the points.
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