The beauty of sports, in particular college football, lies in their complete unpredictability and reality TV-like drama. Here's what might happen in Week 12.
Note: The point of this column is to have some fun and make some outlandish predictions. Please react accordingly.
No Heisman front-runner will throw a pass in the fourth quarter
Jameis Winston, AJ McCarron, Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota and Bryce Petty are the top five names in this week’s Heisman voting. And not one of them will attempt a pass in the fourth quarter this weekend. Mariota has played in only four fourth quarters this year and Oregon will roll Utah at home. Winston has played in just five fourth quarters and Florida State should crush Syracuse at home. Petty has played in just three fourth quarters and Texas Tech should pose no threat this weekend in Waco. And McCarron’s Tide should roll over Mississippi State in the first three quarters. Manziel and Texas A&M are off — so not one of the current five Heisman finalists will throw a pass in the fourth quarter this weekend.
Oklahoma State will win three straight in Austin
The Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners have been the big dog on the Big 12 block for years. The Horns are 23-4 all-time against Oklahoma State and are still tied atop the conference standings at 6-0. However, the Pokes will go into Austin and win for the third straight time because of a power rushing attack and a banged-up Texas depth chart. Okie State rushed for 342 yards and 281 yards in its last two road trips — at Iowa State and at Texas Tech respectively — while Texas will be without a variety of key players on both sides of the ball. Take the Cowboys to win an unthinkable three straight on the 40 Acres. The real question might be will new Texas AD Steve Patterson interview Mike Gundy before the Pokes head back to Stillwater?
Cody Kessler will be sacked 10 times
The USC Trojans have played extremely well since switching coaches from Lane Kiffin to Ed Orgeron. In fact, the Men of Troy are 4-0 in the Pac-12 and are scoring nearly 40 points per game. But USC hasn’t protected the QB this year, ranking 93rd in the nation in sacks allowed (23.0). Stanford is fourth in the nation at pressuring the QB, ranking fourth in the nation in sacks per game (3.3 pg). The Cardinal have 15.0 sacks in the last three games and against a depleted USC front, this defense could sack Cody Kessler 10 times.
Will Muschamp will attack a Gamecock
South Carolina will be up by three touchdowns late in the third quarter against Florida and the Gators' offense will turn the ball over... again. And when it does, Muschamp will lose his cool and attack someone, anyone, in Garnet and Black. It may be a player, a coach, a cheerleader or even Cocky the Gamecock. Muschamp’s teams play with a lack of discipline and fierce intensity that reflects their coach’s personality. And staring at a 4-6 record will make Muschamp snap like a twig. I just don’t want to be around him when it happens.
Myles Jack will out-rush Bishop Sankey
UCLA's Jim Mora decided to give his star freshman linebacker a chance to play offense last weekend and Jack responded in a big way. Jack, who has collected 63 tackles this season, carried six times for 120 yards and a touchdown on the road in a key divisional win over Arizona last week. This weekend, Washington and star tailback Bishop Sankey come to town in yet another keep-pace-with-Arizona-State game for UCLA. Sankey is rushing for 145 yards per game but will be held in check by those elite Bruins linebackers, and when Mora gives the ball to Jack (and he will), expect the talented first-year, two-way player to do major damage with his superior athletic ability.
Duke will be in first place in the ACC's Coastal Division by the end of this weekend
The Blue Devils have won five straight games and host division front-runner Miami this weekend in Durham. The Canes are missing Duke Johnson and Duke’s defense is playing as well as it ever has in school history. Both teams sit at 3-2 in the ACC so a win over Miami puts Duke in the driver's seat in the division with two to play. David Cutcliffe’s team won’t have to travel very far, however, as games at Wake Forest and North Carolina are just down the road. It's winner-take-all in Durham this weekend and Duke could be your unlikely front-runner after Week 12.
Wisconsin will have three 100-yard rushers against Indiana
Melvin Gordon is No. 2 in the Big Ten in rushing (128.9 ypg) and James White is No. 4 (105.7 ypg) but third-stringer Corey Clement is no slouch either. He has rushed for 407 yards and five scores in six games this year, including two 100-yard games of his own. The Hoosiers have been gashed by the running game all season, ranking 109th nationally at 217.4 yards allowed per game (11th in the Big Ten). Look for a huge number from all three Badgers backs on a team with eyes on a BCS bowl bid.