Will USC beat Stanford this Saturday?
Week 12 of the 2013 college football season will have a hard time matching the anticipating of Week 11. With national spotlight games in Oregon-Stanford, Oklahoma-Baylor and Alabama-LSU, Week 11 played a huge role in shaping the national championship picture.
Even if the slate is a little light in Week 12, there are still plenty of big games. And a few surprise outcomes should be expcted from around the nation on Saturday.
Athlon’s editors are back with another edition of the upset picks, and there are plenty of teams on alert this week.
The favorites can't win every game each week, so it's no surprise one of the most popular discussion points every Saturday is upset picks. Each week on AthlonSports.com, the editors will give an upset pick for the upcoming week of action.
College Football Week 12 Upset Predictions
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): South Florida (+1.5) over Memphis
It’s really hard to call this an upset with a spread of just 1.5 points, but I’m surprised to see South Florida listed as an underdog. The Bulls started 0-4 but have two wins in American Athletic Conference play, and after losing 34-3 to Louisville, this team nearly won at Houston. South Florida has found a quarterback in freshman Mike White, who completed 26 of 41 throws for 311 yards and two touchdowns against the Cougars. The Bulls are holding opponents to just 24.8 points a game, but turnovers have been a huge problem for the offense, giving away 17 through three games. Much like South Florida, Memphis is struggling on offense (20.5 ppg in conference play), and the Tigers have lost 12 turnovers in American Athletic games. Points could be at a premium, but I’ll take South Florida and an improving offense to win on Saturday.
Braden Gall (@BradenGall): Georgia (+4.5) over Auburn
The Dawgs are starting to get healthy and still have a good shot at the SEC Championship game if and when Missouri loses. Aaron Murray's supporting cast is as complete as it has been since the early weeks of the season and he should have his full compliment of weapons on Saturday. Gus Malzahn has done an extremely good job rebuilding Auburn in short order, but his team will need to complete more than three passes to defeat Georgia — a team that has beaten the Tigers 83-7 the last two years. Both teams should be able to run the ball effectively but Murray has the ability to make big plays with his arm when needed where Nick Marshall still needs to prove his ability to create balance. And, frankly, the look ahead factor might be in play for Auburn with Alabama as their next game (in two weeks).
Mark Ross: USC (+3.5) over Stanford
I know what you're thinking. How could I possibly pick a USC team that fired its head coach earlier in the season over a Stanford squad that is still riding high off of last week's upset win over previously undefeated Oregon? Well for one, interim Trojans head coach Ed Orgeron has his boys playing pretty good football. The Men of Troy have won three in a row and have looked more and more impressive with every game. It never was about a lack of talent for USC, it was a matter of getting everyone on the same page, reducing the mistakes (especially the mental ones) and rediscovering that competitive fire. Somehow, someway Orgeron has done just that, as the Trojans are already guaranteed of a bowl berth and still have an outside shot of winning the Pac-12 South division. USC is basically playing with house money, which means the Trojans really have nothing to lose Saturday night in the Coliseum. The same can't be said for Stanford, which can't afford another loss as it applies to both the Pac-12 North race and the Cardinal's BCS hopes. There's no question all of the pressure is on Stanford, which makes the Cardinal a prime candidate for an emotional letdown. Orgeron has proven that this USC team is talented enough to win. If the Trojans can capitalize on this seemingly ideal opportunity for an upset, he will have made a strong case for shedding the "interim" tag in his title as well.
David Fox (@DavidFox615): Kansas (+7) over West Virginia
I will start by saying this is not a great crop of potential upsets this week, especially once you get past the three-point spreads. Kansas at home against West Virginia may be as good an upset pick as any. West Virginia has been dreadful away from Morgantown. The Mountaineers’ only road/neutral win this season was over a lackluster TCU team, and the Mountaineers coughed up a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead to go to overtime. The injuries have piled up for West Virginia all year, and now starting quarterback Clint Trickett is returning from a shoulder injury. Throw in the deflating loss in overtime to Texas last week, and all the ingredients are there for a West Virginia letdown. Kansas isn’t even an average team by any means, but the Jayhawks have returned two of their best players in Ben Heeney and Tony Pierson in recent weeks.
Stephen Schindler (@SteveSchindler): Michigan (+3) over Northwestern
Want to know the last time Northwestern was favored over Michigan? Over the course of 71 all-time meetings starting in 1892, Northwestern has NEVER been favored in this matchup between two Big Ten founding members. The Wildcats will get three points at home despite being losers of five straight games. Northwestern hasn't won since September 21 against Maine and has opened conference play at 0-5. Despite the struggles, four of the team's five losses have been by an average of 5.75 points, including Nebraska's Hail Mary two weeks ago. Michigan hasn't looked too hot as of late, especially on the offensive side of the ball where they managed just 19 points and -69 rushing yards over the last two games. It's the first time in Michigan history where they have recorded back-to-back games with negative rushing totals. From 2000-12, Michigan had one game with negative rushing yards. In fact, before the two-game slide the Wolverines had gone 12 consecutive contests by rushing for at least 100 yards. After absorbing his first loss ever at Michigan Stadium, I expect Brady Hoke to have his team prepared and hungry for some redemption. Despite their rushing struggles, I simply like this Michigan offense, which still averages 35 points per game, better than the Northwestern offense. Ultimately, I think Northwestern is even more of a mess than Michigan right now and will miss out on a sixth-straight bowl appearance.