CF Week 13 Picks
The 2008 College Football Season continues through its final month with a full slate of games on Saturday. Our team of writers and handicappers hand out six picks for Week 13.
BYU at Utah, 6:00 PM ET
This year, there's another wrinkle: Utah's bid to reach a BCS bowl is also at stake.
The unbeaten and eighth-ranked Utes may face their toughest and most motivated opponent in their final regular-season game on Saturday when the 16th-ranked Cougars can earn a share of the conference title with a victory in Salt Lake City.
BYU and Utah have faced off 89 times since 1896, but few of those meetings have been as significant nationally as this weekend's game, which earlier this season had potential to pit a pair of unbeatens playing for an outright conference title and a BCS bid.
That prospect died when the Cougars (10-1, 6-1) lost 32-7 at TCU on Oct. 16, but Utah (11-0, 7-0) hasn't yet faltered en route to the second 11-0 start in school history.
In 2004, the Utes finished 12-0 and became the first team from outside the six BCS conferences to reach a BCS bowl, beating Pittsburgh 35-7 in the Fiesta Bowl. They're hoping for a similar end to this season, but first they'll have to beat their rivals for the first time since 2005.
Utah won 41-34 in overtime in 2005, and 10 of the last 11 meetings have been decided by seven points or less.
North Carolina State at North Carolina, 12:00 PM ET
Two intrastate opponents stand in the way as North Carolina makes a last-ditch effort to win the ACC Coastal Division.
North Carolina State is not one which the Tar Heels should take lightly.
Having fallen out of first place in the division, the 25th-ranked Tar Heels look to hand the last-place Wolfpack their first loss against North Carolina-based schools as the conference rivals meet Saturday.
North Carolina (7-3, 3-3) dropped out of first place in the Coastal Division and fell eight spots in the poll after losing 17-15 to Maryland last Saturday. The Tar Heels, who conclude the regular season against Duke on Nov. 29, need to win their final two regular-season games to have any chance at catching first-place Miami (7-3, 4-2).
The Blue Devils are in last place in the Coastal Division and the Wolfpack (4-6, 2-4) are at the bottom of the Atlantic. N.C. State, however, is fighting to become bowl eligible, has won two straight and is tough against state foes, going 3-0.
North Carolina leads the all-time series 63-28-6.
Michigan at Ohio State, 12:00 PM ET
Despite struggling offensively, Ohio State has the chance to win a share of a fourth consecutive Big Ten title and earn an automatic BCS berth.
The Buckeyes also have a strong shot at winning five in a row over rival Michigan for the first time in school history.
Ohio State (9-2, 6-1) ranks 84th nationally in total offense (332.7 yards per game), and the Buckeyes are 107th out of 119 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in passing (144.8). Facing Michigan (3-8, 2-5) could help Ohio State solve those problems.
The Wolverines have the eighth-ranked defense in the Big Ten (362.5) and are giving up nearly 28 points per game.
Ohio State also comes into this game after consecutive strong offensive showings. The Buckeyes had 441 yards in a 45-10 win at Northwestern on Nov. 8 and finished with 354 - including a season-high 305 rushing - in last week's 30-20 victory against Illinois.
Despite four straight losses, Michigan still leads the series 57-41-6.
Texas Tech at Oklahoma, 8:00 PM ET
For the third straight week, Texas Tech will play the biggest game in its history.
The No. 2 Red Raiders can clinch their first Big 12 South Division title and take another big step toward a BCS berth Saturday when they visit No. 5 Oklahoma, which is also battling for the division crown and a spot in the BCS.
Texas Tech (10-0, 6-0), trying to go 11-0 for the first time, is completing a brutal stretch with its trip to Norman to face the Sooners (9-1, 5-1). Prior to last weekend's bye, the Red Raiders won 63-21 at then-No. 19 Kansas on Oct. 25, defeated then-No. 1 Texas 39-33 on Michael Crabtree's last-second touchdown catch Nov. 1 and pounded eighth-ranked Oklahoma State 63-20 the following week.
Each win has brought more national attention to the Red Raiders, who are second in the BCS standings, and they insist the week off won't lead to a rusty performance as they continue to navigate through arguably the nation's toughest conference.
Leach, who served as offensive coordinator under Stoops at Oklahoma in 1999 before taking over the Red Raiders, has never won in four trips to Norman as Texas Tech coach. He had a chance to win the South Division title in 2002, only to be knocked from contention with a 60-15 Sooners rout.
Boise State at Nevada, 4:00 PM ET
Before Boise State can think about a Bowl Championship Series berth, it needs to focus on claiming the Western Athletic Conference title outright - something the Broncos can do Saturday with a victory at Nevada.
Fans could be in for another high-scoring affair between the teams, who last year combined to play the highest-scoring game at the Football Bowl Subdivision level since official statistics started being kept in 1937.
Ninth-ranked Boise State (10-0, 6-0) is ninth in the BCS standings and appears on its way to a second BCS game in three years. After Saturday's 45-10 win over Idaho gave the Broncos no worse than a share of the title, however, coach Chris Petersen was already working to make sure his team's concern was its next opponent.
Boise State defeated Nevada 69-67 in four overtimes last Oct. 14 to set the FBS scoring record. Johnson had 205 rushing yards, while Kaepernick - making his first collegiate start - accounted for 420 total yards and five touchdowns. However, he suffered a game-ending sack by Tim Brady as he tried to force a fifth overtime with a two-point conversion try.
Nevada rolled up 639 total yards, while Boise State had 627.
Florida State at Maryland, 7:45 PM ET
Coming off yet another quality win, the 22nd-ranked Terrapins look to move closer to a berth in the ACC title game as they host the inconsistent Seminoles on Saturday night.
Maryland (7-3, 4-2), the only team in the nation this season with four wins over ranked opponents, moved back into the Top 25 after defeating then-No. 17 North Carolina 17-15 last Saturday night.
Florida State (7-3, 4-3), meanwhile, fell out of the poll after losing 27-17 to Boston College that same day. Dropping out of the Top 25 may end up working in the Seminoles' favor this week, with the Terrapins having won a team-record six in a row against ranked teams.
Florida State leads the all-time series with Maryland 16-2.
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Posted: 11/21/08 10:00 PM