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Monday, November 19, 2012 10:37 AM

Neither I nor Dave Boninsegna had a great week last week: he went 7-5 overall (3-3 in the college and 4-2 in the pros) and I was average — 6-6 (3-3 in both).
His overall mark is now 61-35 (32-16, 29-19) and I am 52-44: 25-23, 27-21.
Bub Lindeman will return as Guest Picker to try and improve that mark of 33-26 (17-12, 16-14).
There is no guest picker this week.
Here are the games.

College: USC at UCLA; Texas Tech at Oklahoma State; Stanford at Oregon; Washington at Colorado; Rutgers at Cincinnati; Ohio State at Wisconsin.

NFL: Philadelphia at Washington; Chicago at San Francisco (Monday); Baltimore at Pittsburgh; San Diego at Denver; Indianapolis at New England; Green Bay at Detroit.

USC: Finally, UCLA is relevant again in major-college football. Unfortunately, they still don’t quite have the talent to match up with their hated So-Cal neighbors; Trojans can still play for Pac-12 title and maybe help off-set a somewhat disappointing season. My pick says they get it done in Rose Bowl.

OKLAHOMA STATE: Texas Tech has trouble last week at home against Kansas. Red Raiders aren’t in Kansas anymore and Cowboys are coming on strong. Take them in Stillwater.

OREGON: Ducks defense is beat up. It almost doesn’t matter; that offense can score against anyone. Stanford’s only chance is to try and not let this get into a shootout; ain’t gonna happen in Pacific Northwest.

WASHINGTON: Huskies are back in the Top 25 — barely — but Buffaloes are struggling. Any bad weather in Boulder won’t bother UW and Huskies roll.

CINCINNATI: Rutgers is also in the Top 25 but they are in the Queen City. Methinks home-field advantage will be big for Bearcats in what should be a close game.

OHIO STATE: Badgers are already in Big Ten title game due to Buckeyes’ post-season ban. Next two games for OSU are their bowl games. I know Camp-Randall has been a house of horrors for OSU but I think they will be ultra-motivated in Madison.

WASHINGTON: Eagles are playing a rookie backup quarterback. Redskins have actually lost their last eight games facing rookie QBs — since 1950 but ... — but I don’t think that streak continues, especially with RGIII running roughshod past beleaguered Iggles “D”.

SAN FRANCISCO: Jay Cutler hasn’t practiced yet and is officially out; Alex Smith has and likely will go. In a battle of two premier NFL defenses, give the host 49ers the edge just on that fact because Smith won’t hurt his team and Jason Campbell was utterly horrible Monday night, even considering he was rusty.

BALTIMORE: I chose this game before I knew Big Ben was injured more than at first thought. He is out and Ravens can breathe a little — tiny, actually — sigh of relief because Ben has had good success versus them. These teams loathe each other. Though this game is in Pittsburgh, you have to like Joe Flacco getting the better of Byron Leftwich, though this will likely be low-scoring — as generally usual.

DENVER: Chargers’ defense is reeling. Not good against a heating-up Peyton Manning and offense that is starting to really click. Plus, this game is in Mile High Stadium — I don’t care what it’s “real” name is! — and it has been a nightmare place for warm-weather San Diego. Broncos buck SD.

NEW ENGLAND: Patriots defense is not coming along as Coach Belichick probably would like, especially the secondary. I don’t think Colts “D” can really bother Tom Brady and Company but this won’t be a blowout in Foxboro.

GREEN BAY: Packers coming off bye and are rested up. Lions coming off embarrassment against Six Rulers. Detroit’s offense can’t compensate for underachieving defense.

USC: Last year USC crushed UCLA to extend their dominance of the Victory Bell. The Bruins would like to return the favor as they try to continue their return to national relevance. Meeting for the first time as ranked opponents in seven years, the No. 21 Trojans look to beat No. 17 UCLA for the 13th time in 14 tries Saturday with the Pac-12 South Division title on the line. USC always seemed to win the big game when they need to as they tune up for their game against Notre Dame next week, I think they continue to dominate and beat the Bruins.

Oklahoma State: After getting blown out by Oklahoma State last season, Texas Tech is looking to return the favor. Doing so, however, could prove difficult in Stillwater, where the Red Raiders haven’t won in quite some time. Texas Tech tries to avoid a fourth consecutive loss to the

Cowboys, who have yet to name a starting quarterback for Saturday’s Big 12 showdown. Tech lost last season 49-30 and have lost four consecutive on the road vs the Cowboys, State continues their dominance this week against their Big 12 foe.

Oregon: The Ducks moved up to number two last week with the loss of Alabama; I think they should be 1 with Notre Dame 2 but I don’t get a vote. The Cardinal have won four straight since losing in OT against the aforementioned Irish. The Ducks are going to be pumped and their crowd with them; they win at home on Saturday.

Washington: Simply put the Buffaloes are terrible; Washington rolls (Editor’s note: Long-winded, eh?).

Rutgers: Rutgers is in position for its first Big East championship when they take on the Bearcats this week; the Scarlet Knights travel to play Saturday against a Cincinnati team still in the hunt for another conference title itself. Rutgers is the only remaining unbeaten in league play after Louisville was upset by Syracuse last weekend. Cincinnati can capture at least a share of the Big East title by winning its final three games. I like Rutgers to capture the title by beating the ‘Cats.

Ohio State: It is hard to believe that we are a week away from THE game when Ohio State takes on Michigan but first things first. Just last year, the Buckeyes broke the Badgers’ hearts when Braxton Miller danced around to avoid a rush and heaved a 40-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith with 20 seconds remaining to upset No. 15 Wisconsin 33-29 in Ohio Stadium. OSU tunes up for Michigan by getting a win over Wisconsin.

Washington: Philly is on a 5-game skid and have lost the services of Mike Vick to a concussion. Washington is on a slide of their own, losing three in a row ,including a loss last week to the Panthers. However, with a healthy RG3, the ‘Skins will take advantage of the Vickless Eagles.
San Francisco: The Bears lost a heart-breaker last week to the Texans, while the 49ers were involved in the first tie in the NFL with the Rams since 2009. San Francisco is still one of the top teams in the NFC and are number one in rushing yards; the Bears are number four in giving up rushing yards. Should be a great game but I will take the home team here.

Baltimore: The Steelers just barely beat the Chiefs on Monday and now will be without Big Ben for who knows how long (my heart is just broken...). Even with him, I would have still went with the Ravens; funny thing is these teams meet again in two weeks.

Denver: It appears that the old Peyton Manning is starting to emerge for the Broncos; Denver has won four in a row while the Chargers have lost 4 of their last 5. I am taking Denver to continue to roll.

New England: The Colts are on a 4-game winning streak and have already won more games this season than most would have thought they would win. Andrew Luck had been a big difference but going up against the Pats Sunday will be a big task. I’m going with the Patriots to get the win at home.

Green Bay: Detroit is in a must-win situation this week against the Packers; the Lions lost to the Vikings last week and Sunday won’t be any easier as they take on the Packers. Green Bay rolling on a 4-game win streak; make it five this week as they beat the Lions.

USC:  Due to inconsistencies, even the transitive property won’t work for judging this game. USC defeated Cal soundly, who beat UCLA, who destroyed Arizona, who upset the Trojans. When teams are so unbelievably close, there are only a couple things you can rely on when making a pick: recent history and talent. Both of those factors undoubtedly go to USC. While I fully expect a close contest, look for Matt Barkley and the Trojans offense to score a last-minute touchdown to finish off an exhilarating contest. Score Prediction: USC 38, UCLA 35.

Oklahoma State;: All the attention gets hoisted on the offense but the Cowboys have actually become an underrated pass defense this season. Oklahoma State has given up a mere 12 touchdown passes through nine games, which ties the secondary with Kansas State for second-best in the Big 12. When you also factor in the Stillwater advantage for the Cowboys, they should be able to come away with a victory on Saturday. Score Prediction: Oklahoma State 45, Texas Tech 38.

Oregon: Stanford has nothing even close to stop the Oregon offense this season. The speed of Kenjon Barner, De’Anthony Thomas and Marcus Mariota is far too much for any opposing defense to handle at this point. Look for Oregon to struggle more than we’re used to but come up with yet another comfortable win in its quest for national championship glory. Score Prediction: Oregon 31, Stanford 13.

Washington: Two schools heading down opposite roads will continue down those disparate paths this Saturday. Washington is churning toward what it hopes will be a 9-win season, while Colorado already has a foot in 2013. The Huskies are improving rapidly on both sides of the ball, which will only get exacerbated in Boulder. Sankey will make it three straight 100-yard games, complementing the passing of Price. Powell will also run well but his evolution on its own still won’t get the Buffaloes any closer to putting the brakes on the current 6-game slide. Huskies all over the Buffaloes Washington 44-20.

Rutgers: There’s not a lot of gap between Cincinnati and Rutgers,and the Bearcats are home. However, while both offenses will fight for yards and points, it’s the Scarlet Knights defense that’ll be the best unit on the field. New quarterback for the Bearcats, Brendon Kay, will be running for his life as they face the league’s best defense. I think Rutgers has more weapons and wins a close brawl 24-21.

Ohio State: The Badgers may lean on the ground game again - they attempted only seven passes against the Hoosiers in their first contest since quarterback Joel Stave’s season-ending injury. Just last year, the Buckeyes broke the Badgers’ hearts. Quarterback Braxton Miller danced around to avoid a rush and heaved a 40-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith with 20 seconds remaining to upset No. 15 Wisconsin 33-29 in Ohio Stadium. I like the Buckeyes in Dairyland 27-24.

Philadelphia at Washington; With Nick Foles most likely getting his first NFL start, look for Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett to go with a bevy of big blitzes against an overmatched Eagles offensive line. RGIII, who has been contained over the course of the Redskins’ last two games, breaks out again against the Eagles. The ’Hogs 35-14.

Chicago: This could be the battle of the backups. The Bears will have a week to plan for Colin Kaepernick and counter his mobility and arm and if Alex Smith plays, the Niners lack the ability to come from behind against any defense, much less a defense like this. I like Da Bears 24-17.

Baltimore: Byron Leftwich behind the Steelers offensive line and against the Ravens defense (even banged up) is a recipe for disaster. This game should go poorly, quickly. Baltimore 21-7.

Denver: The Chargers certainly want revenge for giving up 35 points to the Broncos earlier this season. Unfortunately for the Chargers, the Broncos are playing better football than they were the last time these teams met. Denver’s offense, defense and special teams are all playing well. The Chargers have had trouble stopping the pass and that’s not a recipe for beating Peyton Manning. The Chargers can win this one if Rivers takes care of the ball and they force a few turnovers. Peyton Manning will be too much on offense and Von Miller will be too much against a bad Chargers offensive line. Denver by a Mile 38-13. (EN: Ouch!!).

New England: Andrew Luck and the Colts are playing fantastic football compared to their talent level right now but they’re going to run into a buzzsaw in Foxboro. The Patriots are going to pick apart the Colts secondary and put up more points than Luck could hope to come back from. Brady and Belichick make it rough on the rookie 35-17.

Green Bay: The comeback kids finally ran out of gas last week and it’s more than clear that the offense isn’t as explosive or well-tuned as it should be. The defense, while hardly the biggest problem or as terrible as it’s made out to be, can’t get stops when it needs one. Packers roll 27-7.


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