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November 18, 2010

Huguenin's primer: Picking every game

We're nearing the end of another season, with just three weekends left.

As you roll that depressing thought around in your mind, at least be cheered by a number of intriguing games this weekend.

The biggest might be in Iowa City, where Iowa welcomes in Ohio State in a game that will have a huge bearing on the Big Ten race.

There also are some big games in the ACC and Big 12.

Here's a look at every game involving a FBS team this weekend.

THURSDAY'S GAMES

Georgia State (6-4) at Alabama (8-2), 7:30 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: This is on TV? I guess those who think seal-clubbing is a sport might tune in (though there are more than a few Tide fans who certainly wouldn't mind seeing Georgia State coach Bill Curry take a big beating).
THE LINE: No line. THE PICK: Alabama 60-7

UCLA (4-5) at Washington (3-6), 8 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: Both teams have been disappointments this season, though both still can become bowl-eligible. UCLA's pass offense has been a disaster, but the Bruins can run the ball and Washington's run defense is horrible.
THE LINE: Washington by 2.5. THE PICK: UCLA 20-17

Air Force (7-4) at UNLV (2-8), 10 p.m., CBS College Sports
THE BUZZ: Air Force has won seven of the past eight in the series. Given that Air Force leads the nation in rushing and UNLV is one of the worst teams in the nation against the run, that seems likely to change to eight of the past nine.
THE LINE: Air Force by 19. THE PICK: Air Force 45-24

FRIDAY'S GAME

Fresno State (6-3) at Boise State (9-0), 9:30 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: Boise has won eight of the past nine in the series. The Broncos never have lost a WAC home game (38-0) and have won 34 consecutive regular-season games and 60 consecutive regular-season home games.
THE LINE: Boise State by 30.5. THE PICK: Boise State 49-20

SATURDAY'S GAMES

Wisconsin (9-1) at Michigan (7-3), noon, ESPN
THE BUZZ: Wisconsin has forced seven turnovers in the past two games and scored points off each of them; the Badgers forced just seven total turnovers in the first eight games. Michigan leads the series 49-13-1 and Wisconsin hasn't won in Ann Arbor since 1995.
THE LINE: Wisconsin by 4.5. THE PICK: Wisconsin 37-28

N.C. State (7-3) at North Carolina (6-4), noon, ACC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: N.C. State has won three in a row in this rivalry and needs to win again to keep its ACC Atlantic Division title hopes alive. UNC, meanwhile, is out of the Coastal Division race, but the Tar Heels certainly wouldn't mind ruining things for the Wolfpack. This is the 100th meeting, and UNC leads 63-30-6.
THE LINE: UNC by 2.5. THE PICK: NC State 28-23

Pittsburgh (5-4) at USF (6-3), noon, ESPN2
THE BUZZ: Pitt is coming off its first Big East loss of the season, but the Panthers remain the only league team without at least two conference losses. USF is one of those teams with two league losses, so a win in this one gives USF a legitimate shot at the league crown. Pitt needs to run effectively to win, and USF has allowed just four rushing TDs this season.
THE LINE: Pitt by 2.5. THE PICK: Pitt 23-17

Purdue (4-6) at Michigan State (9-1), noon, Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: Michigan State is involved in a three-way tie atop the Big Ten and can't afford a loss to the Boilermakers. The Spartans have scored at least 30 points eight times this season, and the one time they scored fewer than 26, they lost.
THE LINE: Michigan State by 20. THE PICK: Michigan State 41-17

West Virginia (6-3) at Louisville (5-5), noon, Big East syndication/SportsNet New York/Mid-Atlantic Sports Network/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: WVU is the only team in the nation not to have allowed as many as 21 points in a game this season. The Mountaineers remain in the hunt for the Big East title, but they can't afford another league loss. Louisville can play spoiler and become bowl-eligible at the same time.
THE LINE: WVU by 5. THE PICK: WVU 31-20

Penn State (6-4) vs. Indiana (4-6) in Landover, Md., noon, Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: This is one of two Big Ten games to be played at a neutral-site this week. This technically is an IU home game and, frankly, the Hoosiers should be glad they're not at home after surrendering 83 points to Wisconsin last week. Penn State is 13-0 all-time against the Hoosiers.
THE LINE: Penn State by 10. THE PICK: Penn State 37-24

Oklahoma State (9-1) at Kansas (3-7), noon, Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: Frankly, this has the look of a blowout, as KU doesn't have the firepower to keep up with Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State clinches at least a tie for the Big 12 South title with a win, but these Cowboys don't want no stinkin' shared title; they want it all for themselves, which means a win in this one sets up a potentially huge "Bedlam Game" next week.
THE LINE: Oklahoma State by 24. THE PICK: Oklahoma State 54-26

Virginia (4-6) at Boston College (5-5), noon, ESPNU
THE BUZZ: BC becomes bowl-eligible with a victory. BC leads the nation in rush defense, while UVa is 107th. Because BC can't really do anything except run the ball on offense, you can be sure the Eagles have noticed the Cavaliers' poor run-defense numbers.
THE LINE: BC by 6.5. THE PICK: BC 23-13

Northern Illinois (8-2) at Ball State (4-7), noon
THE BUZZ: NIU is steaming toward an 8-0 record in MAC play and should improve to 7-0 in this one. Huskies RB Chad Spann ranks 14th in the nation in rushing (107.0 ypg) and is tied for 15th in scoring (9.0 ppg).
THE LINE: NIU by 14.5. THE PICK: NIU 44-24

Troy (5-4) at South Carolina (7-3), 12:20 p.m., SEC syndication/MSG network/Altitude/Comcast SportsNet California/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: The Gamecocks are coming off a dominating performance at Florida in which they won the SEC East crown. Troy also is coming off a game against a team from Florida -- a home loss to FIU.
THE LINE: South Carolina by 22. THE PICK: South Carolina 38-20

Appalachian State (9-1) at Florida (6-4), 12:30 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: The Gators were atrocious offensively in last week's loss to South Carolina; can they get untracked against App State? The Mountaineers already have clinched the Southern Conference title and look as if they will be the No. 2 or 3 seed in the FCS playoffs.
THE LINE: No line. THE PICK: Florida 27-16

East Carolina (6-4) at Rice (2-8), 1 p.m., Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast
THE BUZZ: A potent offense (ECU's) going against a rancid defense (Rice's). ECU already has scored 270 points in conference play, which is a school record, and there are two league games left.
THE LINE: ECU by 9. THE PICK: ECU 54-42

Duke (3-7) at Georgia Tech (5-5), 1:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: The Yellow Jackets need one more win to become bowl-eligible. They have won six in a row and 18 of the past 20 against the Blue Devils. Duke's run defense has been awful.
THE LINE: Georgia Tech by 11.5. THE PICK: Georgia Tech 35-21

UTEP (6-5) at Tulsa (7-3), 2 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Tulsa is tied for the C-USA West lead and can't afford a loss to a Miners team that has won just once in its past five games. Tulsa has won four in a row and is averaging 43.0 points in those victories.
THE LINE: Tulsa by 17.5. THE PICK: Tulsa 44-24

Colorado State (3-8) at Wyoming (2-9), 2 p.m., The mtn.
THE BUZZ: The schools play for the "Bronze Boot," a boot worn in Vietnam by a Colorado State alum. The Rams have won eight of the past 11 meetings in the series, which began in 1899.
THE LINE: Wyoming by 2.5. THE PICK: Colorado State 27-23

Eastern Michigan (1-9) at Buffalo (2-8), 2 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: There's not much to recommend in this one, though Buffalo does have a talented secondary.
THE LINE: Buffalo by 7. THE PICK: Buffalo 33-21

Clemson (5-5) at Wake Forest (2-8), 2 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Clemson needs one more victory to become bowl-eligible, and the Tigers should get it against the Demon Deacons, who have lost eight in a row.
THE LINE: Clemson by 13.5. THE PICK: Clemson 41-24

Kansas State (6-4) at Colorado (4-6), 2 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Colorado won its first post-Dan Hawkins game, over Iowa State last week, and now looks to go 2-0 under interim coach Brian Cabral. To win, the Buffs are going to have to survive a steady diet of K-State RB Daniel Thomas.
THE LINE: K-State by 2.5. THE PICK: K-State 24-20

Kent State (4-6) at Western Michigan (4-6), 2 p.m.
THE BUZZ: As mediocre (bad?) as these teams are, each has a chance to become bowl-eligible. WMU QB Alex Carder is eighth in the nation in passing at 292.0 yards per game.
THE LINE: Western Michigan by 3. THE PICK: Western Michigan 31-24

Marshall (4-6) at SMU (5-5), 3 p.m.
THE BUZZ: SMU wins need one more win for bowl eligibility while Marshall must win out. SMU is tied for the C-USA West lead and needs a victory if it's serious about winning the division. Marshall has won three in a row.
THE LINE: SMU by 13.5. THE PICK: SMU 31-21

Idaho (4-6) at Utah State (4-6), 3 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Utah State is looking for its first three-game winning streak since winning four in a row in 2001. The Aggies have rallied from a double-digit deficit to win each of the past two games. Idaho has allowed 160 points in its past three games.
THE LINE: Utah State by 2.5. THE PICK: Utah State 41-33

Weber State (6-4) at Texas Tech (5-5), 3 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Texas Tech still needs one more win for bowl eligibility, and the Red Raiders should get that victory against the Wildcats. Weber is coached by former Utah head man Ron McBride.
THE LINE: No line. THE PICK: Texas Tech 45-24

Ole Miss (4-6) at LSU (9-1), 3:30 p.m., CBS
THE BUZZ: Ole Miss was destroyed by Tennessee last week and now goes against an LSU team that is in the hunt for a BCS bid. The Rebels have won the past two games against LSU, but the Tigers had won six in a row in the series before that.
THE LINE: LSU by 16. THE PICK: LSU 38-16

Ohio State (9-1) at Iowa (7-3), 3:30 p.m., ABC
THE BUZZ: Iowa's loss at Northwestern has removed a lot of national luster from this one, but it's still a huge game in the Big Ten race. Ohio State is one of three teams tied for the league lead, while Iowa now is in spoiler mode. The Buckeyes have won 11 of the past 12 in the series.
THE LINE: Ohio State by 3. THE PICK: Ohio State 23-21

Illinois (5-5) vs. Northwestern (7-3) at Wrigley Field, 3:30 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: This is the first football game at Wrigley since 1970 and the first college game there since 1938. Northwestern has either led or been tied in the second half of 26 consecutive games, dating to November 2008. That might be tough in this one because starting QB Dan Persa was lost for the season with an Achilles injury in last week's upset of Iowa.
THE LINE: Illinois by 7.5. THE PICK: Illinois 30-21

Virginia Tech (8-2) at Miami (7-3), 3:30 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: The Hokies clinch the ACC Coastal Division title with a win; even if they lose, they take the division if they beat Virginia next week. Tech has won 10 of the past 15 against Miami, including three of the past four. Miami has put up at least 500 yards in each of its past two games.
THE LINE: Virginia Tech by 2.5. THE PICK: Virginia Tech 24-20

Stanford (9-1) at California (5-5), 3:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: The "Big Game" certainly is big for Stanford, which needs to win to keep its BCS hopes alive. Cal played great defense last week but still fell to Oregon. Can the Golden Bears muster another great defensive effort this week?
THE LINE: Stanford by 6.5. THE PICK: Stanford 27-17

Arkansas State (4-6) at Navy (7-3), 3:30 p.m., CBS College Sports
THE BUZZ: Navy is going for its eighth consecutive eight-win season. Arkansas State QB Ryan Aplin has thrown a school single-season-record 18 TD passes and also has rushed for 10 scores.
THE LINE: Navy by 13.5. THE PICK: Navy 42-27

Florida Atlantic (4-5) at Texas (4-6), 3:30 p.m., Fox Sports Southwest/Fox Sports Houston
THE BUZZ: Texas must win this, then win Thanksgiving night against Texas A&M to become bowl-eligible. So, as hard as it is to believe, a game against FAU has become huge for the Longhorns.
THE LINE: Texas by 21.5. THE PICK: Texas 38-14

UCF (7-3) at Tulane (4-6), 3:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: UCF is tied with East Carolina for the C-USA East lead but owns the tiebreaker over ECU. Tulane has allowed at least 31 points in five of its past six games and at least 41 in four of those games.
THE LINE: UCF by 17.5. THE PICK: UCF 38-17

North Texas (3-7) at Louisiana-Monroe (4-6), 3:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: North Texas is 2-1 since firing coach Todd Dodge and have caught fire offensively. ULM still has a shot to become bowl-eligible but obviously must win this. ULM has won four of the past five in the series.
THE LINE: ULM by 1. THE PICK: ULM 33-28

Memphis (1-9) at UAB (3-7), 4 p.m.
THE BUZZ: There's a lyric in Chuck Berry's "Promised Land" that talks about how "that [Grey]'hound broke down and left us all stranded/in downtown Birmingham." That's fitting for this game: The hounds are headed to Birmingham because this is the dog of the week.
THE LINE: UAB by 20. THE PICK: UAB 49-23

New Mexico State (2-8) at Nevada (9-1), 4 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Nevada has won 10 consecutive home games, and to make things easy on the Wolf Pack, New Mexico State has lost 11 consecutive road contests. Nevada is going for the 500th victory in school history.
THE LINE: Nevada by 37.5. THE PICK: Nevada 56-17

Middle Tennessee (3-6) at Western Kentucky (2-8), 4:15 p.m., Sun Belt syndication/Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: MTSU has the nation's worst turnover margin, at an unfathomable minus-20. This is the last home game of the season for Western, which is 0-4 at home so far.
THE LINE: MTSU by 5. THE PICK: MTSU 28-24

New Mexico (1-9) at BYU (5-5), 6 p.m., The mtn.
THE BUZZ: BYU is on a roll and playing good football. New Mexico, alas, has been quite bad for the past two seasons. BYU has won 10 of the past 13 in this series and leads 44-14-1 all-time.
THE LINE: BYU by 29. THE PICK: BYU 48-17

Army (6-4) vs. Notre Dame (5-5) in New York, 7 p.m., NBC
THE BUZZ: The Irish must win this one or beat USC to become bowl-eligible. This will be played at Yankee Stadium and will be the first football game at the facility. The teams met 22 times at the old Yankee Stadium. The Irish have won 13 in a row in the series.
THE LINE: Notre Dame by 8. THE PICK: Notre Dame 27-20

Arkansas (8-2) at Mississippi State (7-3), 7 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: The Bulldogs' three losses have come to teams with a combined three losses. This is important in terms of bowl positioning for both. Mississippi State's hopes for an upset depend upon how well it can run the ball against the Hogs.
THE LINE: Arkansas by 3. THE PICK: Arkansas 33-21

Missouri (8-2) at Iowa State (5-6), 7 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: Iowa State must win to go bowling, and the Cyclones will be using backup QB Jerome Tiller because starter Austen Arnaud is injured. Mizzou has won three in a row and six of the past seven in the series.
THE LINE: Missouri by 11. THE PICK: Missouri 27-21

Connecticut (5-4) at Syracuse (7-3), 7 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: UConn has beaten West Virginia and Pitt in back-to-back games and now tries to take down the Orange. Both are in the hunt for the Big East title, and the loser basically falls out of that race. Both coaches are Syracuse alums.
THE LINE: Syracuse by 4. THE PICK: Syracuse 20-17

Florida International (4-5) at Louisiana-Lafayette (2-8), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: FIU sits atop the Sun Belt standings. This is the last home game of the season for ULL, which will end the season playing at home just twice after Oct. 8.
THE LINE: FIU by 10. THE PICK: FIU 40-24

Tennessee (4-6) at Vanderbilt (2-8), 7:30 p.m., Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast/Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: If the Vols win this and next week against Kentucky, they'll be going bowling. Vandy snapped a 22-game losing streak to Tennessee in 2005, but the Vols have won the four games since.
THE LINE: Tennessee by 8.5. THE PICK: Tennessee 41-21

Rutgers (4-5) at Cincinnati (3-6), 7:30 p.m., Big East syndication/SportsNet New York/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: If either wants to go to a bowl, this is a must-win game. The loser can look forward to finishing last in the Big East. Rutgers hasn't won at Cincinnati since 1987, and both have three-game losing streaks overall.
THE LINE: Cincinnati by 13. THE PICK: Rutgers 23-21

USC (7-3) at Oregon State (4-5), 8 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Instead of getting stronger as the season has progressed, as is usually the case, Oregon State has fallen apart; the Beavers are coming off a 17-point home loss to Washington State. Oregon State finishes the season with games against USC, Stanford and Oregon, and must win two of them to become bowl-eligible. USC has had a school-record five games decided by three or fewer points this season.
THE LINE: USC by 3. THE PICK: USC 34-24

Florida State (7-3) at Maryland (7-3), 8 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: A huge game in the ACC Atlantic Division, as these are two of the three teams in the running (along with NC State) for the division title. FSU is eliminated if it loses. The Seminoles are 17-1 against Maryland since joining the ACC. The Terps lack offensive firepower, but they have feasted off turnovers.
THE LINE: Florida State by 4. THE PICK: Florida State 23-14

Nebraska (9-1) at Texas A&M (7-3), 8 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Nebraska has turned in a few desultory performances of late, but this had better not be one of them if the Huskers want to win. A&M quietly has won four in a row, averaging 41.3 points along the way. A&M is hoping for an NCAA-record number of students in attendance; the current record is 28,000, when Oklahoma visited A&M in 2002.
THE LINE: Nebraska by 2.5. THE PICK: Nebraska 27-21

Oklahoma (8-2) at Baylor (7-4), 8 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: Baylor already is going bowling for the first time since 1994, but beating Oklahoma for the first time -- the Sooners lead the series 19-0 -- certainly would put a Texas-sized cherry on top of the season. OU, meanwhile, needs to win to keep its Big 12 South title hopes alive.
THE LINE: Oklahoma by 7.5. THE PICK: Oklahoma 42-31

Houston (5-5) at Southern Miss (7-3), 8 p.m., CBS College Sports
THE BUZZ: Both are one game back in their respective C-USA divisions and face must-win situations in the title chases. Don't expect a low-scoring game, as neither defense is that good. Houston must beat either Southern Miss or Texas Tech to become bowl-eligible.
THE LINE: Southern Miss by 4. THE PICK: Houston 37-33

Utah (8-2) at San Diego State (7-3), 10 p.m., The mtn.
THE BUZZ: Utah is reeling; can the Aztecs deliver a knockout punch? Utah has won nine of the past 12 in the series, and the Utes have won the past four by an average of 32 points per game. Utah's pass defense is going to get a huge test.
THE LINE: Utah by 2.5. THE PICK: Utah 28-23

San Jose State (1-9) at Hawaii (7-3), 10:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: San Jose State has lost 12 consecutive WAC road games. Hawaii, meanwhile, is 13-1 since 1999 in WAC home games in November.
THE LINE: Hawaii by 30. THE PICK: Hawaii 59-20

TUESDAY'S GAME

Temple (8-3) at Miami of Ohio (6-4), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This should determine who finishes second to Ohio U. in the MAC East race. Both are in position to earn bowl bids.
THE LINE: Temple by 6.5. THE PICK: Temple 23-17

LAST WEEK

38-17 straight up, 29-24-2 against the spread.

YEAR TO DATE

487-158 straight up, 267-278-11 ATS (games involving FCS schools don't have a spread).

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.



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