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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Week 13 Picks

Table: Week 13 Picks and Odds

Supporters of the BCS system should be pleased. This season has turned itself into a natural tournament. LSU, Missouri and Kansas are in the quarterfinals. West Virginia is the champion of the losers bracket and Oregon and Ohio State are ready to take their spot if they falter. Ironically, in a season that has lacked dominant teams the BCS system might succeed in identifying two consensus national championship contenders. Or it might not.

We start with the Big 12.

Game 1. Kansas vs. Missouri (neutral site)
I don't this game was marked on many calenders outside of Lawrence and Columbia, but it is now the most important game of rivalry weekend. Kansas has made a name for itself by playing tough defense (12th in the nation by my rankings in run and pass def. efficiency) and mistake free offense. Missouri has play makers, two of which (Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin) are becoming household names. The two teams have had success by making the most of less talent and being consistent. Missouri is hoping to get a rematch against Oklahoma and a birth in the national championship game (consecutive wins over Kansas and Oklahoma should boost them over WVU), but the Matrix gives them only a 37% chance of winning this game and the Big 12 North

The Matrix - Kansas by 2.6, 53% against the line

Game 2. Connecticut @ West Virginia
The surprise here is not that this game matters, but that UConn actually has a chance of winning. Unfortunately, UConn's defense is proportioned differently than Cincy's - they are tough against the pass and soft against the run. A healthy White and resurgent Slaton should have a field day.

The Matrix - WVU by 14.5, 38.8% against the line

Game 3. Arkansas @ LSU
LSU is the better team and Arkansas is quickly becoming headless. But LSU gave up over 400 yards last week against an inferior opponent. McFadden could have a field day - though he won't be as effective without Felix Jones mixing things up.

The Matrix - LSU by 13.4, 53% against the line

Game 4. Tennessee @ Kentucky
If Tennessee loses this game, LSU will have to play Georgia to get into the national championship game. Kentucky needs to win to finish .500 in conference, after a season that started so promisingly. Tennessee will need to run the ball effectively against a weak Kentucky run defense, and then get enough stops to come out on top. These two teams have been inconsistent, and it is impossible to know which version will show up.

The Matrix - Kentucky by 5.2, 55.7 against the line

Game 5. Boise State @ Hawaii
This game is essentially the championship game for the weak of schedule. To their credit, they have won when they needed to and, at times, won by a lot. But offensively and defensively, only Hawaii's pass offense finds itself in the top 25 nationally - beyond that, the two teams are average. The Matrix does not include a "Hawaii is a really long ways away" adjustment factor, so you might want to mentally add 7 points to its estimate

The Matrix - Hawaii by 1.8, 42% against the line

Game 6. Texas @ Texas A&M
This game is somewhat similar to the game last year. If Texas wins they might be playing for the Big 12 title (if Oklahoma State can beat Oklahoma). Texas plays tough run defense - as good as any - and A&M needs to run the ball because they're 94th in pass efficiency. Last year, A&M rushed for over 300 yards and didn't attempt a pass on the 80-yard game winning drive. The last time Texas went to College Station, Stephen McGee almost beat Vince Young in a surprise start.

The Matrix - Texas by 1.9, 40.3% against the line

Game 7. Utah @ BYU
Not nationally important, but it is the Holy War. Few realize it, but Utah's pass defense has been as effective as any - more efficient than the Bayou Bengals. BYU is 12th in the nation in passing yards per game. BYU needs to win this game or next week to clinch another MWC title. The possibility that this game will be half as exciting as last year gives me tingles.

The Matrix - BYU by 3.2, 46.6% against the line

Game 8. Alabama @ Auburn
Alabama is trying to recover from a "catastrophe". They were probably looking forward to this game, and everyone else in Alabama was as well. Auburn has a better team, and I'm still waiting for Saban to perform those promised miracles.

The Matrix - Auburn by 7.7, 55% against the line

It looks like it should be a quality Thanksgiving weekend.

Click Here for Week 13 Picks and Odds

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