The Unrepentant Individual

...just hanging around until Dec 21, 2012


December 2, 2006


2006 NCAA Football Predictions — Week 14

Ahh, the final week of the regular season. How did it come so quickly? It seems like just yesterday, I was sitting in Maui with a sad case of jet lag at 3:30 AM, eagerly awaiting the start of College Gameday at 4. According to my calendar, that was September… And three months have passed? I must really be getting old!

Not too old for my mind to still work, though, judging by my record. Heading into this week, I’m 51-30 on the year, for just under a 64% winning percentage against the spread. Since you need to win greater than 55% (actually, slightly less on some online betting houses) to beat the juice, I’m doing pretty well. If I had been betting $100 a game (which I think I’ll start next year), I’d be up $1800. Let’s see if I can keep it up.

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ACC Championship Game

#16 Wake Forest (10-2, 6-2) @ #23 Georgia Tech (9-3, 7-1)
Vegas Says: Georgia Tech -2

Can the Wake Forest Dream walk its way into a BCS Bowl, quite possibly with the help of Georgia Tech shooting themselves in the foot? Can Georgia Tech respond after their loss to rival Georgia, giving Reggie Ball and [probably] Calvin Johnson a proper sendoff? Wake undoubtedly has the emotional edge here, as they don’t usually sniff at a berth to the CCG, while Georgia Tech tends to have a decent enough team every few years to sit near the top of the conference.

When you analyze what these teams have done, though, you realize that Wake has to overcome a better opponent with that emotion, and that’s not an easy thing to do. I see two things that stand out. Wake’s two losses to were teams with great defenses. Tech has a great defense. Second, Wake appears to have a pretty good defense, but they give up a lot of passing yards. That tells me that if Ball & Johnson are on the same page, Calvin might light it up. Provided that Ball doesn’t have a meltdown (like all his games against Georgia), I think Tech wins easily.

Prediction: Georgia Tech covers
Predicted Final Score: Georgia Tech 24, Wake 17
Final Score: Wake Forest 9, Georgia Tech 6
Prediction: WRONG

The trap Last Hurdle Game

#2 Southern California (10-1, 7-1) @ UCLA (6-5, 4-4)
Vegas Says: USC -13

USC’s been getting stronger and stronger all year. Except for a puzzling loss to Oregon State, they would be undefeated right now, and riding the wave of blowing out Arkansas, Nebraska, and Notre Dame, three teams who will potentially be playing BCS bowl games. USC should win this game easily. But that’s my initial perception, and I need to ask myself why I’m wrong before I accept it.

There’s only one way UCLA can beat this spread, and that’s by rattling Trojan QB John David Booty. Against any other QB in his first year as a starter, I’d say that UCLA’s menacing defensive ends could do that. But not against USC, and not against Booty. He’s been sacked a mere 11 times this year, and has only thrown 8 picks. That tells me his offensive line is giving him protection, and that he’s not making bad decisions with the football. All that’s occurring with an almost nonexistent rushing game (although having two incredibly talented WR’s help).

USC is in danger of having a letdown game, but I don’t think it’s the week for it. This USC offense is too powerful, and the UCLA offense just doesn’t have the horses to keep up.

Prediction: USC covers
Predicted Final Score: USC 38, UCLA 17
Final Score: UCLA 13, USC 9
Prediction: WRONG

SEC Championship Game

#8 Arkansas (10-2, 7-1) @ #4 Florida (11-1, 7-1)
Vegas Says: Florida -3

Arkansas came out of nowhere in 2006, riding the legs of a Formula 1 Race Car Darren McFadden to heights unknown for the Hogs. They don’t appear to have a passing game of any repute, but with a guy like McFadden, getting Heisman buzz as a sophomore, they don’t need one. Florida has been a bit inconsistent behind Chris Leak, but with occasional appearances of Godzilla Tim Tebow as a running QB, they’ve been doing what’s necessary to win. This game will be a heck of a matchup. Arkansas needs to beat Florida’s stifling rush defense to have a chance. Florida needs to get success through the air to keep their playbook balanced.

Right now, I’m leaning towards Arkansas in this one. Florida gave up 200 yards on the ground in their loss to Auburn, and I don’t know if they can stop McFadden. At best, they can hope to outscore the Hogs. Of course, but for a 92-yard kickoff return, LSU wouldn’t have been able to outscore the Hogs. Florida has a lot going for them, but something tells me that Arkansas has more. The one thing Arkansas can’t do, though, is throw up an interception, something the Florida defense has been more than happy to snag when available (and sometimes when not). It doesn’t matter if the passing game isn’t working for Arkansas— after all, it rarely is. But turning the ball over could be the difference in this one.

Prediction: Arkansas beats the spread
Predicted Final Score: Arkansas 26, Florida 24
Final Score: Florida 38, Arkansas 28
Prediction: WRONG

Big Twelve Championship Game

#19 Nebraska (9-3, 6-2) @ #8 Oklahoma (10-2, 7-1)
Vegas Says: Oklahoma -3.5

Bill Callahan has done some good things in Nebraska, returning them to near-power status. Nebraska has a heck of an offense. But has he forgotten? Defense wins championships! Oklahoma is still wondering why the loss of Adrian Peterson hasn’t destroyed their season (hint: it’s their offensive line), and they know how to play defense. They’ve only lost a game and a half (how else do you count the Oregon non-win?). So why is Oklahoma favored by only 3.5?

For the life of me, I can’t figure it out. Nebraska has been held to 20 or less on two occasions, both to defense that are statistically worse than Oklahoma’s. Oklahoma has only been held under 20 twice, to defenses that are statistically far better than Nebraska’s. I think Nebraska needs quite a bit to beat this spread, and I don’t think they’ve got what it takes to do it on Oklahoma’s defense.

Prediction: Oklahoma covers
Predicted Final Score: Oklahoma 27, Nebraska 17
Final Score: Oklahoma 27, Nebraska 7
Prediction: RIGHT

GAME OF THE WEEK

#13 Rutgers (10-1, 5-1) @ #15 West Virginia (9-2, 4-2)
Vegas Says: West Virginia -10.5

Hmm… West Virginia by 10.5? Rutgers has a pretty good rush defense, although against West Virginia, that’s hardly a predictor of success. West Virginia, statistically, has a heck of a rush defense, but something tells me that’s a product of them getting so far ahead of their opponents so early this year, that the opponents are forced to go to the air. It’s a good defense, but both Louisville and Maryland rushed for decent totals, and Rutgers has a much better rushing attack than either team.

This also comes with the news that WVU QB Pat White is coming off injury, so he’ll be a bit less effective than usual. I think WVU wins this game, but Rutgers keeps it close enough. And Rutgers has a defense capable of upsetting WVU.

Prediction: Rutgers beats the spread
Predicted Final Score: WVU 25, Rutgers 24
Final Score: WVU 41, Rutgers 38 — 3 OT
Prediction: RIGHT

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UPDATE: 2-3 ATS, 2-3 straight up. Not a good week, but after starting 0-3, it could be a lot worse. I’ve posted more thoughts on why I was wrong, as well.


Below The Beltway linked with Greg Schiano: Coach Of The Year
Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 1:00 am || Permalink || Comments (1) || Trackback URL || Categories: College Football, Predictions

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  1. [...] Meanwhile, Brad Warbiany has his picks for the last week of college football 2006. Bookmark to:   [link] [...]

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