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Braxton Miller hopes to lead Ohio State to a road win over Wisconsin.
The 2012 college football season has officially entered the home stretch. With bowl games officially around the corner, there's not much time for teams to get eligible or make up ground in a conference title race.
College Football Week 12 Upset Predictions
David Fox (@DavidFox615): Stanford (+20.5) at Oregon
May as well go big on the upset pick, that’s why I’m going to pick Stanford over Oregon. Injuries piled up last week for the Ducks against Cal, though Oregon expects most of its hobbled defensive linemen and running back Kenjon Barner back. I’m sure Oregon is confident it can win despite the injuries, but it was shocking how quickly and how often players went to the sideline for Oregon against Cal. Of course, no one is fully healthy this time of year. But Stanford is getting stronger, thanks primarily to the emergence of Kevin Hogan as starting quarterback. Making his first road start at Autzen won’t be easy, but he’ll be able to rely on Stepfan Taylor and the nation’s No. 1 rush defense in Eugene.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Ohio State (+3) at Wisconsin
In a light weekend of quality matchups, this game is one of the more intriguing showdowns for Week 12. Ohio State is coming off a much-needed bye week, while Wisconsin clinched a spot in the Big Ten title game with a win over Indiana. The Buckeyes have lost two out of their last three games in Madison and the only victory in that stretch was decided by three points. The off date came at a good time for Ohio State, as quarterback Braxton Miller was banged up from a busy first 10 weeks of the season. The sophomore leads the team with 184 carries and has totaled 2,919 yards and 27 touchdowns. The Buckeyes need a big game from Miller but that won’t be easy against a defense that has not allowed more than 16 points in each of its last five games. Wisconsin’s offense misses Joel Stave at quarterback, but the rushing attack has started to find its groove over the second half of the season. I think this game will be close once again, but as Miller has done throughout 2012, he’ll make one key play that clinches the victory for Ohio State. The Buckeyes’ defense has struggled with teams that can spread the field and throw the ball, but this should be a good matchup for Ohio State, especially considering Wisconsin ranks 108th nationally in passing offense.
Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): Northwestern (+6.5) at Michigan State
Northwestern is 7–3 overall and has had double-digit leads in the second half off all three losses — at Penn State, vs. Nebraska and at Michigan. This team could easily be in thick of the Legends Division race. Michigan State, a preseason top-20 team, has been a big disappointment in 2012. The Spartans are 5–5 overall and tied for last place in the Legends with a 2–4 record. The culprit has been an offense that is averaging only 19.7 points per game. Running back Le’Veon Ball has done his part, averaging 106.5 yards in Big Ten games, but Andrew Maxwell simply hasn’t been good enough at the quarterback position. The stout Spartan defense will pose some problems for Northwestern’s run-based offense, but Michigan State will have trouble scoring enough points to win this game — even at home. Northwestern 24–16
Mark Ross: UCF (+3) over Tulsa
In what could be a preview of the Conference USA title game, the two current division leaders face off in Tulsa. UCF and Tulsa have identical conference (6-0) and overall records (8-2), but in some ways the Knights need this game more than the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa holds a two-game lead in the West over SMU, whom they play next week. Even if the Hurricane lose to the Knights, all they have to do is beat the Mustangs on Nov. 24 to secure their spot in the C-USA Championship Game. On the other hand, UCF is up only one game on East Carolina. Even though the Knights hold the tiebreaker over the Pirates, a road win over the Hurricane would all but ensure them the East crown as a home date with UAB is all that remains after this game. As far as this game goes, both teams like to run the ball, and even though Tulsa leads the conference in both rushing offense and defense, I think it's the Knights' rushing attack, with a helping hand from its defense (No. 1 in C-USA in both total and scoring defense), that is the difference in this one. UCF has faced a little stiffer competition outside of conference play, highlighted by close early-season losses to Ohio State and Missouri, compared to Tulsa (road losses to Iowa State and Arkansas). I also think the Knights are a little more balanced on both sides of the ball than the Hurricane. These two teams may very well end up playing each other again on Dec. 1, but whether that happens or not, I see the Knights winning this round.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): Rutgers (+6.5) at Cincinnati
The Bearcats performed well on offense versus Temple last week, with Brendon Kay getting his first career start after he replaced at interception-laden Munchie Legaux at quarterback. And Cincinnati has the Big East’s leading running attack with George Winn, plus home-field advantage in this game. However, I am going to take the 8-1 Scarlet Knights to play their usual stingy defense and win in the Queen City. Khaseem Greene and company rank fifth nationally in scoring defense (13.4 points per game allowed), and they were able to shut down the UC running attack in last year’s 20-3 victory. Jawan Jamison and the RU offense will have a challenge against the Bearcats defense, but I see Kyle Flood’s team winning a low-scoring affair and staying unbeaten in conference play.
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