Happy Thanksgiving to all out there! Hopefully your turkey day was filled with friends & family, food, and football. Not that there is ever anytime to not hate Michigan, but it is always safer to hate on a full stomach.
Last week MC&J came back to what seems to be the norm so far this season. A great B1G week that was pretty much cancelled out by a pretty bad week in the national games. A 6-5 record last week though did help to push MC&J another game above .500. In the spirit of Thanksgiving I did bring an extra national game to the table to share with y'all.
Last week ATS: 6-5
Season ATS: 36-28 (13-18 National, 23-10 B1G)
Here are your hate week matchups (all games Saturday unless noted):
Georgia Tech vs. #3 Georgia (-14) - 12:00 EST - ESPN
Both of these teams will have championship games to play in next week, but Georgia has a lot more to play for as they control their own destiny essentially. If the Bulldogs beat the Yellow Jackets this week and Alabama next week, they will be heading to Miami for the BCSNCG. Georgia's defense got a triple-option prep course last week as it is the offense that Georgia Southern won. Georgia Tech reminds me of a running West Virginia. All offense and no defense. That extra week of triple option prep really helps Georgia as they put Georgia Tech in a early hole that the Yellow Jackets can't climb out of.
Georgia 45 Georgia Tech 28
#5 Oregon (-9.5) vs. #16 Oregon State - 3:00 EST - Pac-12 Network
Last week Stanford in front of a national audience Stanford showed the rest of the country how to shut down Oregon's high-powered offense. Now the Ducks head to Corvallis for the Civil War needing not only a win, but a Stanford loss down in Pasadena to gain a berth in next week's Pac-12 title game. Oregon State has a very solid defense and it wouldn't surprise me to see them give the Ducks trouble like Stanford did. The Beavers have lost 4 straight in the Civil War and are itching to compound Oregon's problems by handing them a 2nd straight loss. I think Oregon squeaks out a win but I'll gladly take the home underdog in this rivalry game.
Oregon 38 Oregon State 35
#6 Florida vs. #10 Florida State (-8) - 3:30 EST - ABC
Florida State must be really kicking themselves right now for letting the NC State game slip away from them, because had they won they probably would be in the driver's seat to head to the BCSNCG right now. Florida needs a win and losses by 2 of the top 3 teams in the BCS standings and they might somehow find a way to be playing in Miami in January. Thankfully I don't see the Gators getting past the Seminoles, so we won't be subjected to watching that Gator offense in the BCSNCG. Usually in a game with 2 really good defenses like this I would take the points, but I just don't feel comfortable taking the Gators in this one.
Florida State 21 Florida 10
#11 Stanford (-2) vs. #15 UCLA - 6:30 EST - Fox
If you're UCLA do you want to play Stanford again next week in the Pac-12 title game or Oregon? That's what it comes down to in this matchup. If Stanford wins, we see a rematch between these teams next weekend. If UCLA wins they travel up to Eugene for the 2nd straight year to face the Ducks in the Pac-12 title game. Both teams are coming off huge wins but Stanford needs this game a lot more than UCLA does. A week after holding Oregon to 14 points (FOURTEEN!), the Cardinal shut down another high scoring offense.
Stanford 23 UCLA 17
#13 South Carolina vs. #12 Clemson (-4) - 7:00 EST - ESPN
A week after putting up 62 points against North Carolina State, Clemson will have to prepare for a decidedly tougher defense as they host the battle for the Palmetto State. South Carolina has won 3 straight against Clemson, but this has a little different feeling to it. Clemson has won 13 straight at home, which is the 3rd longest active streak in the country. Clemson still has a shot at a BCS at-large bid and a win against South Carolina would really help their case. As much as I hate to back Dabo Swinney, I just see Clemson putting too many points on the board for South Carolina to keep up.
Clemson 42 South Carolina 31
#1 Notre Dame (-6) vs. USC - 8:00 EST - ABC
Congratulations Max Wittek, your first career start at QB for USC comes against this Notre Dame defense! The good thing for Wittek is that wideouts Marqise Lee and Robert Woods give him some weapons to work with to try and pull the upset. USC has gone from being preseason favorites to go to the BCSNCG to trying to be a spoiler for it. I do like this spot for USC though. I think the Trojans rally around Wittek and make this a game but the Notre Dame defense is just a little too much for them to overcome.
Notre Dame 20 USC 17
#17 Nebraska (-15) vs. Iowa - 12:00 EST Friday - ABC
With a win on Friday, Nebraska has a chance to win 6 straight games for the first time since they started the 2001 season 11-0. On the other side of the football, Iowa hasn't dropped 6 straight games since 1999. A win at Kinnick Stadium will punch Nebraska's ticket to the B1G title game next week. While I don't see the Cornhuskers having trouble clinching that bid, I do have reservations on giving 2+ TDs in this matchup. Iowa has given up 482 yards/game during their losing streak, but I'm hoping their D shows a little pride on senior day and tightens up a little. I think Iowa gets a TD late to cover the point spread in this game.
Nebraska 30 Iowa 17
Indiana vs. Purdue (-5.5) - 12:00 EST - Big Ten Network
In the battle for the Old Oaken Bucket, Purdue surprisingly still has a shot to become bowl eligible with a win in West Lafayette on Saturday. Last year Purdue also needed a win against their in-state rival to become bowl eligible and responded with a 33-25 win against the Hoosiers. Indiana will make Purdue work for that bowl bid, but they come up just a little short of playing spoiler.
Purdue 23 Indiana 20
Illinois vs. Northwestern (-19.5) - 12:00 EST - Big Ten Network
Had Northwestern not blown leads against Penn State, Nebraska, and Michigan, they very well could have been headed to Indianapolis next week to play Wisconsin instead of Nebraska. Nonetheless, the Wildcats look to be headed to a New Years Day bowl. With Jonathan Brown missing his 2nd straight game, the Illinois defense will have even more trouble stopping the Wildcats potent rushing attack. The Illini passing offense can't capitalize on the deficiencies of the Northwestern passing D and the Wildcats win handily.
Northwestern 38 Illinois 13
Wisconsin vs. Penn State (-2.5) - 3:30 EST - ESPN2
With a crushing overtime loss to Ohio State last week, and the B1G title game next week, this has the feeling of a sandwich game for the Badgers as they head into State College. Montee Ball should be able to set the NCAA record for most touchdowns but I'm not sure what else they will go right for them. The Penn State crowd will want to send the senior class out on a high note after their tumultuous last year. Penn State gets off to another early lead and Wisconsin doesn't have quite enough offense to catch up.
Penn State 24 Wisconsin 17
Michigan State (-8.5) vs. Minnesota - 3:30 EST - Big Ten Network
Coming into this season we probably figured that one team in this matchup would be bowl eligible with the other needing a win to become bowl eligible. The part of this that we would have gotten wrong is that it would be Michigan State that desperately needed to win this game. Should Michigan State drop this game they will have nobody to blame but themselves for sitting home over the holidays, as all 5 of their losses have come by less than 4 points. Michigan State gets their 6th win on the season, but in true Sparty fashion it isn't easy.
Michigan State 17 Minnesota 13
#20 Michigan vs. #4 Ohio State (-3.5) - 12:00 EST - ABC
We save the best for last this week at MC&J. As were all are more than aware of, the only thing that stands in the way of an undefeated season (and maybe the AP national title !?!?) for the Buckeyes is that team up north. Michigan is the final chapter of Ohio State's 2k12 revenge tour. The Bucks have already avenged 2011 losses to 5 B1G teams this year. Since 2003-04 no B1G team has won back-to-back games against the Buckeyes. Devin Gardner comes into this game having played two good games in place of Denard, but the Silver Bullet D will pose much more of a challenge than Minnesota and Iowa did. I'm counting on Braxton to bounce back after his subpar performance last week against Wisconsin. Michigan's pass D is number 1 in the country but I'm not too worried since the Buckeyes will want to run the ball with Braxton and El Guapo. I'm hoping a rush-heavy offense early in the game will soften up Michigan's D to allow for some big passes later in the game. Earlier in the week I predicted a 31-20 Buckeye win on Hangout in the Holy Land but I know that I'll be hoping that Urban finds a way to go for 2 late.
Ohio State 31 Michigan 20