Can Johnny Manziel lead Texas A&M to an upset win over Alabama?
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. Alabama barely escaped Baton Rouge with a victory last Saturday, but are the Crimson Tide in danger of losing this week?
College Football Week 11 Upset Predictions
David Fox (@DavidFox615): Texas A&M (+13.5) over Alabama
The Crimson Tide aren’t invincible. We learned that in the second half against LSU. This week is shaping up to be their toughest game of the season -- from an emotional standpoint and perhaps from a scheme standpoint. Certainly, Alabama’s defense could stop Texas A&M on any other day. But maybe not Saturday. When the comeback was completed in Baton Rouge, the dam burst for Alabama. AJ McCarron’s emotions showed that much. It’s going to be tough to rebound from that kind of game to play a Texas A&M team playing as well as it has all season. If Alabama’s going to lose in SEC play, this is going to be the game.
Braden Gall (@BradenGall): Utah at Washington (+2)
The line opened with the Huskies favored by two points, but somehow has shifted back to the Utes. Utah has played much better football over the second half but are now bringing a freshman quarterback into one of the most hostile environments in the nation. Washington is 4-1 at home with wins over previously unbeaten Stanford and Oregon State. They have allowed more than 17 points only one time (USC, 24) and Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox will make life extremely difficult for Travis Wilson. Yes, Kyle Whittingham is fighting for a postseason berth, but his squad can still make it with a loss this weekend.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Utah at Washington (+2)
With a spread of just 1.5 points, it’s hard to call this much of an upset. However, I think the Huskies knock off the Utes in Seattle. Both teams have won two in a row and desperately need to win this one for bowl eligibility. Washington earned its first road victory of the season last week, beating California 21-13. The Huskies have been a much better team in Seattle this year, as they have knocked off Oregon State and Stanford and scored only 17 or fewer points in two conference road games. The matchup in the trenches is especially crucial for the outcome of this Pac-12 contest, as Utah is averaging 2.6 sacks per game and Washington’s offensive line ranks 100th nationally in sacks allowed. The Utes will test the Huskies’ run defense, especially after John White has recorded back-to-back 100-yard efforts. This game should be close, but Utah has not won a road game this season and I think that trend continues on Saturday.
Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): Syracuse (+3) over Louisville
Louisville is ranked No. 9 in the latest BCS standings, but the Cardinals — other than being 9–0 — don’t really have the résumé of a top-10 team. They beat FIU (2–8) by seven points, Southern Miss (0–9) by four points and South Florida (3–6) by two points. They have two solid wins, over North Carolina and Cincinnati, but those were by a combined eight points and both were at home. Syracuse is playing pretty well despite its overall mark of 4–5. Each of the Orange’s five losses has come to an AQ conference team that currently has a winning record. Syracuse’s strength is throwing the ball. Louisville’s strength — at least one of them — is stopping the pass. Whoever wins this battle will have a great chance to win the game. Go Orange in the upset. Syracuse 27–21
Mark Ross: Central Michigan at Eastern Michigan (+2.5)
Three weeks ago, EMU finally got in the win column by beating both the spread (+3.5) and Army, 48-38, at home. This Saturday, even more is on the line as in-state rival CMU comes to Ypsilanti, Mich. Ron English may not be able to lead his Eagles to a bowl game, but they can still win in-state bragging rights in the MAC for the second year in a row if they can beat the Chippewas this week and then go to Kalamazoo next week and defeat Western Michigan. EMU did just that last season and a repeat performance would serve as a big boost for this program. To be in a position to do so, however, first the Eagles will have to take down the Chippewas. While both teams have struggled on defense, CMU appears to have a statistical advantage when it comes to offense, as they are averaging 67 more yards and six more points per game. However, EMU's offense has been faring better lately, putting up 305 yards or more in three of its last four games. The difference has been the emergence of sophomore running back Bronson Hill, who has 636 yards rushing and six total touchdowns in his past four games. CMU is allowing more than 214 yards rushing per game, so I expect EMU to use Hill and others to wear down the Chippewas defense and limit their opportunities on offense. This also will help the Eagles make some key plays in the passing game and a late turnover helps seal their second victory of the season in front of a fired up home crowd at Rynearson Stadium.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): Vanderbilt (+3) at Ole Miss
In a battle of 5-4 teams looking to become bowl eligible, I believe the Commodores will top the Rebels in a low-scoring affair. Coach Hugh Freeze has done an excellent job in turning around the Ole Miss program in his first season as the head man in Oxford, while Vanderbilt has won four of its last five games. Quarterback Bo Wallace and running back Jeff Scott have led a solid Rebels attack, but they will run into a Commodores defense that ranks fourth in the SEC in points allowed (17.1 per game) and fifth in yards (316.2 per contest). Additionally, Vandy should be not be affected by the road environment having won in its last two trips to Ole Miss. I’ll take the surging Dores to top the upstart Rebs, 23-20.
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