The Obligatory Predictions Competition - Week 14

College football's smartest picks contest.

It's that time again.  The day after Thanksgiving is perennially one of my favorite days to digest and do nothing but watch college football take my girlfriend outlet shopping in Jeffersonville.

Special circumstances demand special solutions.  To accommodate the unusual weekday gaming we've released this salt, pepper, and turkey edition of the OPL early.  You'll have until 5:00 p.m. Friday to lock in your picks.

Week 13 Obligatory Results

FILLER (a.k.a. Misty Knoll Farms Free-Range Turkey.  Best served cold at midnight on thick-sliced Tavern bread.) 8
PATERNOSGRANDDAUGHTER (a.k.a. Pumpkin Pie with homemade whipped cream.  Like Oklahoma, someday you'll get your just desserts.) 8
LAKEERIEMONSTAR (a.k.a. Sweet potato casserole -- Best of the "side" dishes.) 6
BAMA HAWKEYE (a.k.a. Gorgonzola mashed potatoes -- a tad filling, but you're still coming back for seconds.  Florida, anyone?) 6

ESTRADA (a.k.a. Organic flour rolls -- Like Ohio State in BCS bowls these seem to find their way onto everyone's table.  It's just they're a little plain compared to richer, more flavorful features.)

5
FRANZ (a.k.a. Stuffing -- I've never been a fan -- and like some poor, capable team in the Big 12 south, this one has BCS leftovers written all over it.) 5
AZNSENSATION (a.k.a. Cranberry sauce.  Adds a little color to the plate, but like Mike Leach's gameplan, is cold and tart.) 4

Week 13 Franz v. Filler winner FILLER

Touche.  For the third week in a row Filler lands on top.  At least Graham won something last Saturday.  This season is turning into a route.  FRANZ 5, FILLER 8.

Crystal Ball Call (pick of the week): OHIO STATE by 30 (lakeeriemonstar).  This Clevelander foresaw a blowout: "I’m having visions of 1968’s 50-14 romp (Classic Woody: "Because we couldn’t go for three…")."

The result?  The Bucks won by their largest margin since, you guessed it, 1968.  OSU 42, UM 7.

Hindsight is 20/20: EVERYONE.  Come on people.  Iowa by 55, Purdue by 52, Oklahoma by 44, OSU by 35, Penn State by 31: How could we not have seen those spreads coming?

Week 14:

1. FRESNO STATE at No. 9 BOISE STATE 6:00 p.m. EST (11/28), ESPN 2

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FILLER predicts BOISE STATE by 13

Boise in the BCS? Probably not, with Utah grabbing the at large spot from the Bronco’s. I wanted to spotlight this game to lobby for a playoff quickly – How can an undefeated team that dispatched Oregon be denied a shot at a BCS bowl, much less a chance to prove its mettle against a top opponent with something on the line?

FRANZ predicts BOISE STATE by 21

As ESPN aptly points out: Undefeated Boise State has nothing to play for.  Win or lose they're going to the same place.  And that stinks.  But before you clamor about the letdown loss remember that the Broncos enjoy a parylzing 48 game winning streak at home, and they're coming over their fourth-consecutive 40 plus point victory.  Boise grabs the WAC, and tragically, not much else.


2. No. 22 GEORGIA TECH at No. 12 GEORGIA 12:00 p.m. EST (11/29), CBS

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FILLER predicts GEORGIA by 10

I take much joy from watching Georgia Tech’s rushing offense with its trick plays, reverses, fullback dives (think Oklahoma circa 1980’s). But their passing is the worst in the ACC and if the Bulldogs can stop the option attack, this game is done. I want to pick Tech and their sexy option over the stagnant I form of Georgia. Taking a page from Bama Hawkeye, I’m going to Costanza this pick.

FRANZ predicts GEORGIA by 7

Like Graham I keep toggling between GT and UGA on this one.  On one hand you've got a Yellow Jacket engine aligned towards the run -- which, you might call a weakness of the Bulldogs if you watched the World's Largest Cocktail Showdown versus Florida.  But, as Mark Richt reminds me, UGA actually ranks 15th nationally against the ground grenade.  That's not so shabby.  They've also got a more complete offense.  I say Georgia -- with 14 days to prepare -- takes an eighth in a row from their in-state foe, but they've got to do something about that scoring defense.

3. No. 4 FLORIDA at No. 20 FLORIDA STATE 3:30 p.m. EST, ABC

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FILLER predicts FLORIDA by 14

During my childhood, this game played 2nd banana to FSU/Miami, but still left me with solid memories (1996 Sugar Bowl). The major difference between these state rivals is not talent, but offensive gameplanning. Florida has a tried and true Spread offense with a veteran QB and players who fit the system perfectly. Florida State has Christian Ponder, an inaccurate sophomore quarterback who has thrown 7 interceptions in the Seminoles three losses.

FRANZ predicts FLORIDA by 17

Miami gave these Gators a real scare back in September -- neutralizing Tebow by locking up the line.  Can another in stater finish the job?  I called upset on this one in July arguing that:

[T]he father will take the train to retirement on the shoulders of the greatest upset of the 2008 college football season.  

The Seminoles will show they're on their way back with a defensive symphony of stops, and a last minute surge that will knock the wind out of the Gators' national championship hopes. 

FSU may be No. 1 in turnover margin, but they simply haven't met the kind of resistance Florida's newly charged defense will bring in pressure package situations.  Anyways, how could I pick against an offense that's chomped up some of the strongest defensive units in the country?


4. AUBURN at No. 1 ALABAMA 3:30 p.m. EST, CBS

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FILLER predicts BAMA by 24

Bama has had a dream season so far, using fresh faced blue chippers like Julio Jones and All American surprises like Terrence Cody to win close games and blow out pretenders like Georgia. Auburn switched to the spread and has generated one of the most disappointing years in college football, struggling to score and firing its brand new offensive coordinator. I know you throw the records out in rivalry games, but you cannot ignore the fact that Auburn is scoring less than 16 points per game in SEC play.

FRANZ predicts BAMA by 14

Last week stretched the chains with blowout after blowout making it near impossible the saddle the spreads.  This week will be different with deserving teams struggling to close.  Perhaps it's Nick Saban's kind and generous nature, but his top-ranked Tide have a knack for letting middle tier teams hang around too long.  Meanwhile, Auburn has been underwhelming in every aspect of the game.  Don't hold your breath. 

5. No. 23 OREGON at No. 14 OREGON STATE 7:00 p.m. EST

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FILLER predicts OREGON STATE by 8

No Jaquizz Rodgers for the homefield Beavers could mean no effective running game against the rival Ducks. Rodgers is having a huge season and has run behind the amazingly effective OSU offensive line. This game looks like a traditional pick ‘em: in state rivals, same record, solid offenses. But I say OSU has the edge for two reasons: 1) The Beaver defense has given up 100 less ypg than Oregon. 2) Big game experience. Oregon State has played a killer schedule, including Penn State, BCS bound Utah, and USC. This will only be the Duck's 2nd ranked opponent.

FRANZ predicts OREGON STATE by 3

Arizona had 'em beat last week on a missed PAT, but the Beavers stormed back -- giving a heartsick kicker the chance to redeem himself in the process.  Corvallis has become an increasingly effective advantage for Oregon State, who dam up offensive firepowers on the shoulders of the home crowd, who incidentially have a lot to root for.  Whatever Bama may say, I think the Beavers are Rose Bowl bound.


6. No. 3 OKLAHOMA at No. 12 OKLAHOMA STATE 8:00 p.m. ABC

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FILLER predicts OKLAHOMA by 14

Last week was blowout week in college football.  This Oklahoma City showdown features a Sooner defense that smashed Texas Tech in the mouth and is slated to jump into the national championship game with a victory here. Bob Stoops’ players have remembered they are the best team in the nation and will put a hurting on Oklahoma State that the Cowboys will feel for one week. The strategy key here is whether Sam Bradford can be hit and hurried (like OSU did to Chase Daniel).

FRANZ predicts OKLAHOMA by 21

Oklahoma > Texas Tech > Oklahoma State.  I've resorted to truth functional conditionals to make sense of the Big 12 South.


7. NOTRE DAME at No. 5 USC 8:00 p.m. EST, ESPN

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FILLER predicts USC by 27

Every time ND struggles, media members take it upon themselves to skewer Charlie and the ND program. Why? Because Chuck has been haughty and rude to the MSM. I’m not saying that coaches should suck up to media, but show some common respect. This game could get out of hand, by the way.

FRANZ predicts USC by 21

Yeah, Pete Carroll isn't exactly one to slow it down either.  Maybe it would be more fun to pick how many quarters Sanchez stays in for this one.  I'll say a full three, but not because he's necessary.

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