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11/20/12-11/24/12


FEATURE PICKS ARCHIVES
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Each week, Mike Mitchell examines the computer's picks and selects those which he believes have the best chance of being correct. Lines in parenthesis are the opening lines as reported at docsports.com. Later lines are used in the event of a "pick 'em" opening. The Congrove Computer Rankings' pick is shown outside the parenthesis. The HOME TEAM is in CAPS. An explanation of how the computer's SU and ATS wins and losses are scored can be found at Weekly Picks Help.


EASY PICKINS:
The computer likes the favorite with room to spare.
2011 Regular Season: 90-26 SU (.776), 63-53 ATS (.543)
2012 Regular Season: 91-26 SU (.778), 66-51 ATS (.564)
This Week: 7-4 SU (.636), 5-6 ATS (.455)
PAST RECORDS

Friday, November 23
Bowling Green (-9.5) by 10.61 over Buffalo - Until surrendering 31 to Kent State last week, BGSU had not allowed more than 14 points in a game since its 37-0 loss to Virginia Tech way back on September 22. Buffalo's lone road win this season came at UMass last week by just 10 points.
Bowling Green won 21-7. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Utah (-23) by 25.39 over COLORADO - Colorado hasn't come closer than 25 points to any team since its only win of the season on September 22 at Washington State. The Buffs have been outscored this season by an average of 46.4-16.3.
Utah won 42-35. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

Nebraska (-11.5) by 14.35 over IOWA - Nebraska ranks 1st in the conference in total offense while Iowa is 11th, and the 'Huskers are 4th on defense while the Hawkeyes are 9th.
Nebraska won 13-7. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

Washington (-10.5) by 14.74 over WASHINGTON STATE - Washington State has ran for 330 yards all year and the Huskies' pass defense is 2nd-best in the PAC-12. A victory in the Apple Cup would give Washington 8 wins in a season for the first time since 2001.
Washington State won 31-28 in OT. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Saturday, November 24
FRESNO STATE (-14.5) by 16.10 over Air Force - The computer had the Bulldogs as a projected 5.67-point winner in the preseason and that margin has now grown to over 16. The trend tilts heavily toward Fresno State which is tied with Boise State and San Diego State at the top of the Mountain West standings.
Fresno State won 48-15. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Baylor (-1) by 7.30 over Texas Tech (at Arlington) - Baylor has maintained a roughly 5-point advantage in this game throughout the season. The Bears (5-5) need at least 1 win in their last 2 games to become bowl eligible while the 7-4 Red Raiders are already there but have dropped 3 of their last 4 with the only win in that span coming at home against Kansas and needed double-OT to do that.
Baylor won 52-45 in OT. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Vanderbilt (-8.5) by 15.72 over WAKE FOREST - Wake Forest has scored a total of 6 points in its last 2 outings and, no wonder, as it ranks 120th in total offense. Vandy is 16th-ranked nationally in scoring defense.
Vanderbilt won 55-21. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Miami (-3) by 3.97 over DUKE - Miami was a 1.45-point computer underdog in the preseason and has flipped to 3.97-point favorite status. The 'Canes are 8-1 all-time versus Duke with the only loss coming in the first game of the series in 1976. The computer is 8-2 ATS on Blue Devils games.
Miami won 52-45. The computer won SU, won ATS.

FLORIDA STATE (-7) by 8.74 over Florida - Florida State has jumped from a 3.26-point preseason favorite to an 8.74-point computer pick this week.
Florida won 37-26. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Tulsa (-4) by 5.91 over SMU - In the conference, the Golden Hurricane outranks the Mustangs 2nd to 3rd on defense and 3rd to 8th on offense. The computer margin has moved from 1.85 in the preseason to 5.91 this week.
SMU won 35-27. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

CLEMSON (-4) by 6.63 over South Carolina - The computer had South Carolina by 0.05 in the preseason and now has the Tigers by a TD. The trend on the computer spread puts this realistically in the 10-point range for Clemson. The computer is 6-4 ATS and 10-1 SU with each team.
South Carolina won 27-17. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.


HOLD YOUR HORSES:
The computer likes the favorite, but by fewer points than the oddsmakers.
2011 Regular Season: 67-19 SU (.779), 40-46 ATS (.465)
2012 Regular Season: 50-17 SU (.746), 41-26 ATS (.612)
This Week: 2-3 SU (.400), 4-1 ATS (.800)
PAST RECORDS

Thursday, November 22
TEXAS (-8.5) by 6.06 over TCU - The Horned Frogs will likely rely on the defense to keep this a one possession game as the teams meet for the first time since 2007 and only the second time since 1995 when both were members of the Southwest Conference. The computer is 9-1 ATS with Texas this season and 7-2 with TCU
TCU won 20-13. The computer lost SU, won ATS.

Friday, November 23
ARIZONA (-3) by 0.90 over Arizona State - Arizona has the edge on offense but Arizona State has a huge statistical advantage on defense, allowing 150 yards less per game than the Wildcats. Arizona's computer edge has fallen over 7 points since the preseason to point the trend is ASU's direction, despite the fact that Arizona is 6-1 at home with the only loss coming to Oregon State by a narrow 38-35 score.
Arizona State won 41-34. The computer lost SU, won ATS.

Saturday, November 24
OKLAHOMA (-9) by 3.12 over Oklahoma State - The computer's forecast had Oklahoma winning this game by 5.71 and now only likes the Sooners by 3.12.
Oklahoma won 51-48 in OT. The computer won SU, won ATS

Oregon (-13) by 11.70 over OREGON STATE - Oregon has dropped from a 15.63-point preseason favorite and the Beavers are 2nd in the conference vs. the run and 3rd vs. the pass.
Oregon won 48-24. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

UTEP (-1) by 0.55 over Rice - Given UTEP's downward trendline in the computer, Rice should probably be favored in the 6-point range. The Owls have won 4 of their last 5 games with the only loss coming at CUSA heavyweight Tulsa by a 28-24 count.
Rice won 33-24. The computer lost SU, won ATS.


UPSETS:
The computer likes the underdog as the outright winner. I don't select the games in this category. Instead, we list every upset projected by the computer.
2011 Regular Season: 24-37 SU (.393), 29-32 ATS (.475)
2012 Regular Season: 36-50 SU (.419), 42-44 ATS (.488)
This Week: 2-9 SU (.182), 3-8 ATS (.273)
PAST RECORDS

Saturday, November 24
UTSA by 2.73 over Texas State (-2.5) - It's a battle for bragging rights between the two newest FBS members from the state of Texas. UTSA is 7-4 while Texas State is 3-7, but the Roadrunners have faced two FCS opponents and a pair of D2 schools while the Bobcats played just one FCS team. Larry Coker, the former national championship winner with Miami, coaches UTSA while Dennis Franchione is the head man in San Marcos. UTSA was a predicted 4.57-point winner in the preseason.
UTSA won 38-31. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Southern Miss by 3.91 over MEMPHIS (-3) - At 0-11, does Southern Miss care any more? USM could have won last week's game, but lost 34-33 to UTEP when first-year head coach Ellis Johnson opted to go for 2 late in regulation instead of play for the tie and overtime. My theory is you always play for the best opportunity to win the game and a 2-point conversion doesn't qualify - you only attempt those when you have to. But that's just my opinion and I'm not a head coach. Memphis has won 2 straight over Tulane and UAB and is now 3-8 overall and one more win gets the Tigers to 4-4 in CUSA. They were 5-31 overall and 2-22 in CUSA over the previous three seasons. Southern Miss was favored by 25.92 in then preseason and just 3.91 now. The trend points heavily to Memphis.
Memphis won 42-24. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Michigan by 2.03 over OHIO STATE (-4.5) - Michigan's favorite status has dropped by almost 11 points in the computer since the preseason. The Wolverines win the Big Ten Legends division with a win and a Nebraska loss at Iowa on Friday. A win for Ohio State gives the Buckeyes their first undefeated season (12-0) since 2002 (14-0) when they claimed the BCS title.
Ohio State won 26-21. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Troy by 1.40 over MIDDLE TENNESSEE (-3) - Troy has lost 8 points off its favorite status since the preseason, largely because MTSU has significantly outperformed the computer's low expectations of a 2-10 season for the Blue Raiders. The trend points to MTSU which comes into the home contest on a 3-game winning streak. Troy has the conference's top-rated offense and lowest-rated defense. MTSU ranks 5th on offense (10-team league) and 9th on defense.
Middle Tennessee won 24-21. The computer lost SU, won ATS.

Wisconsin by 2.57 over PENN STATE (-2.5) - These teams have traded blowouts over the last three years with Penn State falling 45-7 last season after winning 48-7 in 2010 and 38-7 in 2009. Penn State has cut Wisconsin's gap in the computer by nearly 10 points since the preseason so the trend is definitely in the Nittany Lions' favor.
Penn State won 24-21 in OT. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Rutgers by 3.19 over PITTSBURGH (-2) - Rutgers has lost almost 2 points in the computer's preseason margin for this game, but that's not enough to call it a decisive trend. The Scarlet Knights allow 10 points less per game than Pitt (12 to 22) to rank 4th nationally in scoring defense.
Pittsburgh won 27-6. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Mississippi State by 5.26 over MISSISSIPPI (-1.5) - The Bulldogs would seem to be to be the clear favorite, but have lost 8.96 points off their preseason 14.22-point margin in the computer. That points the trend in Ole Miss' direction. They aren't far apart statistically, though Mississippi has allowed 8 more points per game (28.9 to 20.7) than their rival from Starkville.
Mississippi won 41-24. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

USC by 0.02 over Notre Dame (-6) - No Matt Barkley at QB for USC and you would think that would be enough said. But, the Trojans have won 9 of the last 10 meetings overall and 5 straight in Los Angeles. Not to mention the fact that USC has wrecked Notre Dame's chances at an undefeated season 6 previous times in history. Still, USC's favorite status in the computer has dropped by over 9 points since the preseason and essentially calls this game a toss-up without taking the absence of Barkley into account.
Notre Dame won 22-13. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Stanford by 3.36 over UCLA (-1.5) - In the preseason, the computer picked Stanford to go 11-1 and UCLA to go 6-6. So it's not surprising that UCLA has cut Stanford's preseason margin from over 13 points to just a little more than 3. But keep in mind that Stanford had trended downward by 11 points in its game at Oregon last week and still pulled off the upset as a huge underdog. And just like last week, this a game of the opponents' offense versus Stanford's defense. The Bruins average almost 488 yards on offense while the Cardinal easily top the league in defense by allowing just 328 per game.
Stanford won 35-17. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Unlv by 1.12 over HAWAII (-1) - The only thing that scares me with UNLV is that it is winless on the road in 2012. UNLV has gone from a 9.6-point underdog in the preseason to a 1.12-point favorite. The trend is heavily in the Rebels' favor.
Hawaii won 48-10. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Louisiana Tech by 2.13 over SAN JOSE STATE (-3.5) - Louisiana Tech is without RB Tevin King and its favored margin has dropped from 11.78 in the preseason to just 2.13 now. The trend says SJSU.
San Jose State won 52-43. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.


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