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NCAA Football Round-Up; Bama, Irish and Ducks Survive Tests



Golson and the Irish survived Pitt and now are 9-0 on the season.

The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide were expected to have a challenge going into Tiger Stadium at Death Valley. Oregon was facing their stiffest test with a trip to LA to play the Trojans and the explosive offense and Notre Dame was expecting a fairly easy win over a middle-of-the-road Pitt team.

Two of those three things happened although all three teams stayed unbeaten on the 2012 season. Notre Dame trailed 20-6 in the fourth quarter and then needed three overtimes to knock off the Panthers 26-23 in the shadow of Touchdown Jesus. While some may think the Irish lucky to remain undefeated, they don’t care one bit as the idea is to win games and that is what the Irish are doing. They, along with ‘Bama, Oregon and Kansas State all remain undefeated as the season winds down.

This week’s games of note for your gambling pleasure…

Wisconsin (-7) at Indiana – Believe it or not, the winner of this game controls their destiny for a trip to the Big Ten Championship game. With Ohio State and Penn State not eligible in the Leaders Division, the winner here would have a firm grasp on a chance to play most likely Nebraska. Indiana has really been a remarkable story as they’ve lost several very close games and taken some good teams like Michigan State, Ohio State and Navy right to the wire. Wisconsin is still licking its’ wounds from a tough home loss to the Spartans but I believe their big-game experience and tandem of Montee Ball and James White will prove too much for the Hoosiers. Take the Badgers to win outright.

Oregon State (+5 1/2) at Stanford – Each team comes in with a one conference loss and each still have a date with Oregon left on the schedule. The Cardinal will need better play from quarterback Josh Nunes in order to defeat the Beavers. My guess is that Cody Vaz will get the start at QB instead of Sean Mannion. Vaz threw three touchdown passes in last week’s win over Arizona State. Stanford typically plays well at home so I like the Beavers to cover, but the Cardinal to win a tight one in Palo Alto.

Johnny Manziel

Manziel and the Aggies will need their absolute best to beat Bama.

Texas A&M (+15 1/2) at Alabama – The Aggies have clearly surprised most experts by playing very well in their first SEC campaign. Whether that will be enough to knock off Alabama is doubtful but this is a good spot to do it. The Tide are coming off an emotional, comeback win over LSU and are ripe for a letdown but this is an experienced Alabama team. Aggies’ Freshman QB Johnny Manziel has been spectacular but this will clearly be his biggest test. I like the Aggies to hang in there and cover the spread but I like the Tide to win.

Oregon (-27) at Cal – OK, so the Ducks finally got their first, true test at the Coliseum against Southern Cal and prevailed 62-51. Why Kenjon Barner does not get my Heisman love is beyond me but let’s chalk it up to East Coast bias and leave it at that. The Oregon defense did give up a ton of yards in the win, but forced three turnovers as well and that proved to be a major difference. Cal is tumbling in a free-fall right now and Head Coach Jeff Tedford is most likely gone at the end of the season. With rival Stanford building a consistent winner and a huge stadium upgrade unable to bring in the faithful, Tedford is as good as gone. I see absolutely no reason for a letdown here by the Ducks as they know the major goals are in the distant future and Chip Kelly has these guys dialed in. Take Oregon to cover big time.

Other games I like (My picks in BOLD)

Northwestern (+13) at Michigan

Louisiana-Lafayette (+27) at Florida

Notre Dame (-20) at Boston College

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