Prediction time: This week's football picks

December, 4, 2009

It's championship weekend in college football, so we'll pick a handful of games here, even some that may not feature teams in our area (but could impact some teams in our area):

Texas vs Nebraska (7 p.m., ABC, Cowboys Stadium): You can tell by the comments that Nebraska quietly believes it can win this game. But to do it, they have to run the ball (much like Texas A&M did on Thanksgiving) and find a way to put pressure on Colt McCoy. Neither will be easy. McCoy has the Texas offense rolling, spreading the ball around and using his feet as another way to breakdown the defense. And the Longhorns' defense will be even more motivated than usual after a sub-par performance against the Aggies. I think Texas just has too much for the Huskers. Prediction: Texas 31, Nebraska 17

Florida vs. Alabama (3 p.m., CBS, Georgia Dome): College football fans, particularly those in the SEC, have waited all year for this, haven't they? Last year, Florida came back from a halftime deficit to win the game. This year, I think that's exactly what Alabama does. I know it's risky to pick against Tim Tebow and the Gators. But I do think, even with Mark Ingram's iffy hip, that the Tide will find enough running room. And Greg McElroy showed against Auburn last week that he can take his team on a big drive late. I'll take Alabam in an upset. Prediction: Alabama 20, Florida 17

Georgia Tech vs. Clemson (7 p.m., ESPN, Tampa): Both teams come into this game after disappointing losses to rivals (both losing to a SEC team). Both teams have a key playmaker -- Georgia Tech has QB Josh Nesbitt and Clemson has RB C.J. Spiller. Clemson fell behind 24-0 to Georgia Tech on the road early in the year, stormed back to tie it, and then lost late. This time, the Tigers don't get too far behind early and they're able to get past the Yellow Jackets. Prediction: Clemson 27, Georgia Tech 20

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (11 a.m., ABC): Despite losing to West Virginia last week, Pittsburgh can win the Big East with a victory. I wonder how distracted the Bearcats are with all of this talk about their coach maybe going to Notre Dame. Still, this team has an undefeated season on the line and even on the road, I think they'll find a way. It will be a shootout, of course. It seems that most games Cincinnati plays are shootouts. Prediction: Cincinnati 38, Pittsburgh 34

Houston at East Carolina (11 a.m., ESPN2): Just a few weeks ago, there was a chance SMU could have hosted this game if it won out. Oh well. The Mustangs, headed to the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, will watch on TV to see if Houston's Case Keenum can get the job done for the Cougars. I think he does. Prediction: Houston 38, East Carolina 34

New Mexico State at Boise State (2 p.m.): I only throw this game out there because the Broncos are still in the mix for an at-large berth. In fact, I don't see how they don't get one unless Nebraska pulls off the upset. Once again, Boise State is playing a really inferior team. They won't have any trouble finishing off an undefeated season. Boise State hasn't lost since the Poinsietta Bowl last year to TCU. Prediction: Boise State 55, New Mexico State 10
Richard Durrett joined in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.



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