Roy Exum: My Football Picks – Nov. 22-23

Friday, November 29, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Over a half-million people have now watched the funniest video in college football this season. During Florida’s game against Georgia Southern last week, the Gators used an end-around play to almost score a TD (they did score on the next play.)

But what has everybody giggling is what happened on the first play of the second half. The chosen runner, Solomon Patton, dashed through a hole off right tackle on the misdirection trick and junior wide receiver Quinton Dunbar cut back against the flow to block somebody. In the heat of the moment, he locked up with his own teammate, Jonotthan Harrison!

Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease said he had to rewind the tape several times during a Sunday review to believe it. “Sometimes you have to laugh," he said. "The only thing I'd say is, 'Hey, I know what Jon was doing, he's trying to get around,' I guess I'd tell Quinton to keep his eyes open a little bit."

The other Florida players thought it was hysterical. “Sometimes guys get mixed up and you can’t really see who you are onto. Really. You don’t know who you are blocking,” said offensive lineman Kyle Koehne. “It was just two guys really playing hard and they got messed up. Hopefully that won’t happen anymore.”

At least the play wasn’t as embarrassing as the Florida team was last week. The Gators paid the FCS team Georgia Southern a $500,000 appearance fee to be the late-season cupcake and Southern pinned a 26-20 upset loss on Florida in what is now considered to be the worst loss in Gator football history.

That said, here is how I am picking this weekend’s big games:

* * *

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29th (Friday)

IOWA (7-4, 4-3 Big10) at NEBRASKA (8-3, 5-2 Big10), 12:00 Noon on ABC – Iowa’s 24-21 upset over Michigan last week put a spark in today’s game in Lincoln because this promises to be a slugfest. Expect to watch a grinding three-yards and a cloud of frozen dust from both teams. Nebraska is favored by a field goal but has more speed than the Hawkeyes. ‘Husker RB Ameer Abdullah already has 1,483 yards and if Iowa gives him a chance, he’ll take it. MY PICK? Nebraska, 24-14.

ARKANSAS (3-8, 0-7 SEC) at No. 15 LOUISIANA STATE (8-3, 4-3 SEC), 2:30 p.m. on CBS – LSU’s defense put on a show when the Tigers stifled Johnny Manzell in the 34-10 victory over Texas A&M so you’ve got to think this afternoon’s game will be a blow out. LSU is favored by 25, but when you figure the Bayou Bengals swatted down A&M by 24 and this is the last game of the season, the notion is LSU will ramp it up. MY PICK? LSU, 45-7.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 30th

No. 2 FLORIDA STATE (11-0, 8-0 ACC) at FLORIDA (4-7, 3-5 SEC), 12:00 p.m. on ESPN – Everybody knows that Jimbo Fisher and Will Muschamp own a beach house together but how is Jimbo’s unbeaten FSU going to “go light” on the embattled Gators after scoring 80 on Idaho last week? UF has never before lost seven games in one season, much less eight. Florida is right to keep Will as the head coach but, with the Seminoles a 27-point favorite, this will be an off year in a great rivalry. MY PICK? Florida State, 41-18.

No.  3 OHIO STATE (11-0, 7-0 Big 10) at MICHIGAN (7-4, 3-4 Big 10), 12:00 Noon on ABC – Ohio State knows how tough it is to win “The Game” in The Big House but with national title hopes still alive and next week’s Big Ten championship in Indianapolis (vs. Michigan State) don’t think Urban Meyer isn’t putting an emphasis on this one. UM’s 24-21 loss last week to Iowa was so bad after the Wolverines were up 21-7 at the half that the UM athletic director felt compelled to give Brady Hoke a “vote of confidence.” Then again, Ohio State has now won 23 straight games and it favored by 14. MY PICK? Ohio State, 34-20.

DUKE (9-2, 5-2 SEC) at NORTH CAROLINA (6-5, 4-3 ACC), 12:00 Noon on ESPN2 – Carolina is seeking its sixth straight win after a 1-5 start so the Tar Heels are picked by 5 over a surprising Duke team. The Blue Devils, winning the last seven games, are poised to play in the ACC title game if Cutcliffe & Co. can clip UNC. Last year Duke won for just the second time in 23 games between these two on a go-ahead pass with just 15 seconds left so this should be another thriller. MY PICK? Duke, 34-27.

WAKE FOREST (4-7, 2-6 ACC) at VANDERBILT (7-4, 4-4 SEC), 12:21 p.m. on SEC Network – Vandy is hunting a fourth straight win in a brilliant finish and the Commodores, favored by 14, should punch Wake pretty easily. The big question is whether this will be coach James Franklin’s swan song because he’s at that fine point where it is time to go if he plans on leaving. He could stay and “marry the program” but – face it -- in the SEC East, it will be tough for Vanderbilt to climb much higher on a yearly basis. MY PICK? Vanderbilt, 28-10.

No. 1 ALABAMA (11-0, 7-0 SEC) at No. 4 AUBURN (10-1, 6-1 SEC), 3:30 p.m. on CBS –Gary Danielson, the ABC announcer, summed this one right earlier this week when he declared Alabama had “more cards” than Auburn. The Tide has also won the last two national titles and has a better foundation. Then again, anything can and has happened in the greatest rivalry in the country (“Punt-Bama-Punt”). Look for Tide QB A.J. McCarron to be the difference – he’s cool and calm under pressure and a sterling showing could net him the Heisman. MY PICK? Alabama, 38-24.

GEORGIA (7-4, 4-4 SEC) at GEORGIA TECH (7-4, 5-3 ACC), 3:30 p.m. on ABC – Tech lost to Clemson by 24 points two weeks ago so those are the tapes Mark Richt has been showing to back-up QB Hutson Mason who’ll start for the first time tomorrow. UGa, which has beaten Tech the last four times these two have played, is favored by 3½ and you have to believe the Bulldogs have played tougher opponents this year. Expect this game to be closer than last year’s 42-10 UGa win but go ahead and wonder who is going to watch it with the Tigers-Tide on another channel. MY PICK? Georgia, 31-21.

TENNESSEE (4-7, 1-6 SEC) at KENTUCKY (2-9, 0-7 SEC), 7:00 p.m. on ESPNU – Just after Tennessee’s 14-10 loss to Vanderbilt last week, Vol freshman defensive back Cameron Sutton got his first death threat so that shows how miserable things are in the brick-by-brick process. Tennessee is a 4-point favorite in Lexington but UT beat the ‘Cats by 20 points last year and this year UK’s average score in 11 games is 21-31. (Tennessee’s average score is 23-30.) MY PICK? Tennessee 31-14

NOTRE DAME (8-3) at No. 8 STANFORD (9-3, 7-2 Pac12), 7:00 p.m. – The Cardinal is favored by 14 to avenge last year’s 20-13 overtime loss to the Irish and, after the way SU hammered Cal last week (63-13), it appears the hosts are looking forward to the Irish coming to the coast. Stanford QB Kevin Hogan, now 14-2 as a starter, threw for five TDs last week and is really developing into a great player. MY PICK? Stanford, 37-20.

No. 6 CLEMSON (10-1, 7-1 ACC) at No. 10 SOUTH CAROLINA (9-2, 6-2 ACC), 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2 – Clemson has suffered four straight losses to the Ol’ Ball Coach so the Tigers senior are determined they will not go out without a win over the Gamecocks. Clemson, with Tahj Boyd averaging 338 yards in the air and 515 total per game, relishes being a 5-point underdog so a USC scalp would be fun to take to next week’s ACC title game. South Carolina still has a chance to get in the SEC championship game if A&M can beat Mizzou so there will be plenty of drama and P.A. announcements in Williams-Brice stadium. MY PICK? Clemson, 36-29.

No. 19 TEXAS A&M (8-3, 4-3 SEC) at No. 5 MISSOURI (10-1, 6-1 SEC), 7:45 p.m. on ESPN – “Johnny Football” Manzell had two interceptions last week in the humbling 34-10 loss to LSU so his headlights will be on bright as he seeks redemption. UM has better balance than A&M with its lackluster defense but I’m thinking Manzell can get his bid for a second Heisman strengthened if A&M can handle the weather, 40 degrees and dropping at kickoff. The once-beaten Tigers are a 4½-point favorite. MY PICK? Texas A&M, 38-34.

No. 22 UCLA (8-3, 5-3 Pac12) at No. 23 SOUTHERN CAL (8-3, 6-2 Pac12), 8:00 p.m. on ABC – All eyes are on USC interim coach Ed Orgeron, who is suddenly among candidates for Coach of the Year after winning six straight games and salvaging the Lane Kiffin disaster. If the former Ole Miss coach could win tomorrow night’s “city championship,” he could get a permanent job. UCLA, a 3½-point underdog, is led by QB Brett Hundley, who engineered last year’s win over Kiffin’s Trojans, so Orgeron is so eager to win he may just do it. MY PICK? Southern Cal, 30-28.

ARIZONA (7-4, 4-4 Pac12) at No. 13 ARIZONA STATE (9-2, 7-1 Pac12), 9:30 p.m. – Ka’Deem Carey became Arizona’s all-time rushing leader with his 206 yards (4 TDs) in the 42-16 upset over Oregon last week and could go over 4,000 yards as the school’s all-time leader tomorrow night. Carey’s career mark is now 3,913 yards, which scares ASU almost as much as the thrashing of Oregon, and State being favored by 12 seems like a little much. ASU is capable, with QB Taylor Kelly and RB Marion Grice, but I think this one will be close. MY PICK? Arizona, 37-34.


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