Chris and I both went 2-3 on the week bringing our totals to 26-21 and 24-23 respectively. What we learned: Johnny Football is a badass, Alabama is not as invincible as I thought, Iowa is trending down but they are stuck with Kirk Ferentz for the foreseeable future, just read this article about his ridiculous contract. What we didn't learn because we already knew it: Danny Hope just knows how to be mediocre.
#18 USC (-4) at #17 UCLA
3:05 PM ET FOX
Chris: The nation's biggest underachievers take on a pleasant surprise. USC has shown for most of the year that they can put up points in bunches, but give up just as many. Matt Barkley's senior farewell tour has been anything but easy, while UCLA coach Jim Mora Jr. has come in and changed the culture for the Bruins and has them contending for a second consecutive Pac-12 South crown. Senior RB Johnathan Franklin recently set the school rushing record for his career and has racked up 1270 yards (on 199 carries) and 8 TD's. Has any team ever been in the position to potentially disrupt the BCS more than USC this year? If they win this game they take on undefeated Notre Dame and then play Oregon in the Pac-12 championship--if Barkley wants to write a happy ending to his senior season, it starts here. I expect a high scoring shootout in this one, and it will not be easy, but the Trojans clinch the South behind 480 yards and 5 scores from Barkley.
Pick: USC -4
Slick: I don't care about the result of this game, I just pray that nobody of importance gets injured for USC. I can't stop thinking about next week when USC plays Notre Dame. I need the Trojans to beat the Irish. Jim Mora Jr. has made UCLA relevant. No doubt about it, they were irrelevant for years, especially considering the dominance USC showed in the early 2000s. With the Trojans still under scholarship limitations through 2014, there's a good chance the Bruins can overtake their archrivals. A win now would jumpstart that process. But I think USC is too explosive. I can't see Matt Barkley losing his last game against UCLA. Trojans by at least a touchdown.
Pick: USC -4
Purdue (-7) at Illinois
3:30 PM ET BTN
Chris: The Boilers finally got one last week at Iowa behind a reserve play-caller filling in for injured offensive coordinator Gary Nord (draw your own conclusions). Robert Marve and co. will hopefully have gained some confidence back after ending a 5-game skid. On the other hand, Tim Beckman is learning all about karma, as he started the year trying to snag Penn St. players on their campus and is ending it firmly on the hot seat. They have looked pathetic during their 7-game slide, including losing by two touchdowns to IU at home. I don't believe Purdue is very good, but Illinois is terrible and the Boilers come in and steamroll a team that has the appearance of quitting on the season. Look for Shavers, Bolden and Hunt to have huge days as Purdue rushes for 300 yards and at least four scores in a rout.
Pick: Purdue -7
Slick: It's not looking good for my Slick Guarantee that Purdue would not make a bowl game because this Illinois team they're facing is a joke. I can't believe I thought Tim Beckman was a good coach. Ron Zook could always recruit so there is talent on the Illini team, but obviously Beckman's coaching ability is questionable. Most Illini fans want him fired already. Purdue salvaged their season by winning in Iowa City last week for the first time since 1992. But they tried to give the game away at the end. I'm stubborn so I'm sticking with my declaration a few weeks ago of picking against Purdue by taking the Illini to cover. Purdue is going to win, but I'm not confident they can put teams away. Only one more week in the Danny Hope era!
Pick: Illinois +7
Wisconsin (-3) vs Ohio State
3:30 PM ET ABC
Chris: Somewhat of an odd line, but Wisconsin has been terrific in November, winning their last 9 contests in this month. While the Badgers are headed to Indianapolis to represent the Leaders Division, Ohio State can still win the division title by defeating Wisconsin this weekend--somewhat of a consolation prize considering they would be in the national title hunt if they weren't a pack of cheaters. The story of this game, as many do, will come down to line play. If Wisconsin dominates the line of scrimmage on offense, Montee Ball and co. will pick apart the Buckeyes undersized linebackers. On the other side of the ball, Braxton Miller and the Bucks have been living on edge all year and this is the week it stops.
Pick: Wisconsin -3
Slick: Doesn't it feel like Ohio State's season is not really happening. Because of their sanctions, they aren't in any BCS rankings and won't be competing in any bowl games. They could go undefeated and nobody cares. Last year's USC team felt more relevant than Ohio State is this year. I am a little surprised Wisconsin is favored. They might be playing well as of late but it's not like they are beating juggernauts. Their last four wins were over Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota, and Illinois. All bottom feeders. And they lost at home to a Michigan State team that isn't even bowl eligible yet. Let's not forget they are on their 3rd quarterback of the season. I've said for months that Ohio State is the best team in the B1G and they prove me right again by pulling the "upset".
Pick: Ohio State +3
#2 Oregon (-21) vs #13 Stanford
8:00 PM ET ABC
Chris: Hard to fathom that the two biggest games of the weekend take place in the Pac-12. Notre Dame fans will have a keen eye on this one, hoping for a Cardinal victory. Oregon, on the other hand, faces a pretty tough slate down the stretch, as this is the first of three straight ranked opponents. The Ducks, behind Marcus Mariotta, Kenjon Barner and co. have been up to typical quack-foolery scoring early and alarmingly often. Stanford meanwhile, has had some success behind RB Stepfan Taylor and the best defense they've had in a few years. It won't be enough to beat the Ducks, but they keep it within three touchdowns, and Irish eyes will be crying.
Pick: Stanford +21, but still loses
Slick: Quack, Quack, Quack...Goooooo Ducks! The Oregon Ducks can go down as my second favorite Ducks of all-time (you know behind the Gordon Bombay-led Mighty Ducks) if they win out and prevent Notre Dame from playing in the national title. I don't have a good feel for this game. Oregon is ridiculous offensively and they blow out most of their opponents. But maybe Stanford is sneaky good and can hang around since they have their quarterback situation stabilized? I'm rolling the dice and saying Oregon destroys Stanford. Of the Ducks 10 wins, 8 of them have come by 21 points or more.
Pick: Oregon -21