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November 23, 2012

Pregame Pep Talk, Part I: Rivalry Picks

Week 12 Main Events (all rankings BCS, all times CT)

No. 19 Michigan Wolverines at Ohio State Buckeyes, 11 a.m. ABC

Big Blue hasn’t been the same with Denard Robinson transforming into the nation’s 70th-rated passer. Ohio State’s got about a 15 percent chance of pulling out an AP National Championship. The Wolverines have plenty to play for with Indy on their minds, but Ohio State’s proven a penchant for pulling out tight ball games under Urban Meyer.

Brenner picks: Buckeyes 27, Wolverines 24

No. 5 Oregon Ducks at No. 15 Oregon State Beavers, 2 p.m. Pac12

Poor Oregon State is running into a buzz saw. It’ll be very hard for that offense to be contained in back-to-back weeks.

Brenner picks: Ducks 49, Beavers 34

No. 4 Florida Gators at No. 10 Florida State Seminoles, 2:30 p.m. ABC

Seminoles have been kind of laying in wait recently. Gators have not been as impressive as the BCS standing would indicate.

Brenner picks: Seminoles 28, Gators 14

No. 21 Oklahoma State Cowboys at No. 13 Oklahoma Sooners, 2:30 p.m. ESPN

Two smoking-hot offenses collide. The experienced Landry Jones prevais.

Brenner picks: Sooners 38, Cowboys 31

No. 12 South Carolina Gamecocks at No. 11 Clemson Tigers, 6 p.m. ESPN

This was my first pick in my “Most Likely Game To Include A Pregame Brawl” Fantasy Draft this week. Between the players OR the coaches. Clemson’s sick of the streak, but Connor Shaw will make enough plays to stick it to the Tigers in Death Valley.

Brenner picks: Gamecocks 34, Tigers 31

Mississippi State Bulldogs at Ole Miss Rebels, 6 p.m. ESPNU

This was the second pick in that fake draft I made up.

Brenner picks: Bulldogs 24, Rebels 23

No. 1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at USC Trojans, 7 p.m. ABC

Kudos to the young USC quarterback’s bravado. Who cares if Max Wittek said “we’re gonna win this game”? Should he say let’s not bother showing up? Well, as it would be, USC probably shouldn’t anyway. Notre Dame’s defense will eat him alive. But still, good on you to show confidence. By the way, I don’t feel good at all about this pick. Just saying.

Brenner picks: Fighting Irish 20, Trojans 10

Photo by Robin Trimarchi

GAME OF THE WEEK

Auburn Tigers at No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide, 2:30 p.m. CBS

Nothing would indicate this game will play out much differently than Texas A&M or Georgia for the Tigers. Playing for pride or passion went out the window about a month ago. It’s not something you can feign, or drum up in one week. Dee Ford dropped a fun quote when he said “I’m playing for that 80-year-old man who graduated from Auburn.” Problem is, there’s not enough of Ford’s mentality in that locker room. And Alabama, at home, in the Iron Bowl, is far stronger than the visiting Aggies or Bulldogs were. That elderly man’s gonna be disappointed.

Brenner picks: Crimson Tide 48, Tigers 6

The Friday Rundown

No. 7 LSU 28, @Arkansas 23. Closer than you think. Tyler Wilson will want to go out in style.

@No. 23 Kent State 42, Ohio 21. Nobody in the MAC has been able to slow down the Golden Flashes’ offense.

No. 14 Nebraska 38, @Iowa 17. Been kind of a bumpy ride at times for the Cornhuskers in their transition to the Big Ten. With the Blackshirts invading the Black and Yellow on Black Friday, it’ll be smooth sailing for Nebraska clinching a trip to the 2nd Big Ten Championship game.

No. 25 Washington 35, @Washington State 32. Can I ask you something? How can a team that’s lost games by 38, 31, 10 and 35 – without a particularly breath-taking schedule – be in the BCS Top 25? Mississippi State demands an explanation.

@Iowa State 40, West Virginia 35. Mountaineers haven’t kept a Big 12 opponent below 39. Why start today?

@No. 24 Arizona 55, Arizona State 48. Somebody explain to the Big 12 and Pac-12 what defense is. Well, they’ll probably learn a thing or two come bowl season.

The Saturday Rundown

@No. 3 Georgia 45, Georgia Tech 14. It’s gonna get ugly. But at least it’ll be a clean, old-fashioned slate of ugly. Georgia’s way better than anything the Yellow Jackets have faced in the ACC.

@Tennessee 44, Kentucky 24. Vols fans: “Let’s just get this over with.” Kentucky fans: ///unavailable for comment due to all of them watching basketball///

@Pittsburgh 17, No. 18 Rutgers 13. Two losses, two wins, two losses, two wins, two losses. That’s Pitt’s pattern this year. Look out, Rutgers and South Florida. Scarlet Knights will need to survive a defensive struggle to prosper.

@Virginia Tech 28, Virginia 10. Gotta believe Beamerball ensures they don’t miss out on a bowl game, lowly as it will be.

Miami 40, @Duke 23. Keep your ear open for Miami Hurricanes football news in the offseason.

Texas Tech 38, Baylor 35 (Cowboys Stadium). Hard to believe anybody’s played a tougher second-half schedule than the Red Raiders. They’ll be battle-tested come bowl season.

Vanderbilt 27, @Wake Forest 20. No, seriously. We’re looking at 8 wins for the Commodores.

Wisconsin 35, @Penn State 23. Lot of things Bill O’Brien can be proud of on the football field this year.

@Minnesota 23, Michigan State 20. Mark Dantonio can’t say the same.

@Middle Tennessee 38, Troy 30. Big game for the Blue Raiders, to set up a de facto Sun Belt championship game at Arkansas State next weekend.

No. 8 Stanford 24, @No. 17 UCLA 14. If the Cardin wins, it’ll be a rematch a week from now, back in Palo Alto.

@No. 9 Texas A&M 45, Missouri 23. The legend of Johnny Football grows.

Two weeks ago: 9-8

Last week: abstained to lick wounds from abominable 9-8 week

Track record: 109-47

-AB

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