Posted: Thursday November 25, 2010 10:41AM ; Updated: Thursday November 25, 2010 11:35AM
Stewart Mandel
Stewart Mandel>WEEKEND PICKOFF
College Football Pickoff: Week 13
 
Thursday, Nov. 25
 
8 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 17 Texas A&M (8-3) at Texas (5-6)
A year ago, the underdog Aggies gave Texas a turkey-night fight before Colt McCoy and the 'Horns pulled away, 49-39, to improve to 12-0. It's hard to believe how much has changed in a year. It's a rivalry game and it's a home game, so expect Texas to play harder than it has in weeks, but it's tough to envision Garrett Gilbert keeping pace with Ryan Tannehill.
 
Friday, Nov. 26
 
Noon (ABC) West Virginia (7-3) at Pittsburgh (6-4)
West Virginia's offense has struggled mightily in its past five games, scoring 20 or fewer points in four of them. The Mountaineers' defense, on the other hand, ranks fourth in the country. Pitt's ranks 12th, so this figures to be a grinder. But Panthers running back Dion Lewis has been rounding into form of late. If the Panthers avoid turnovers, they should be OK.
 
2:30 p.m. ET (CBS) No. 2 Auburn (11-0) at No. 9 Alabama (9-2)
For most of the season, I, like many others, figured this would be the week the Tigers would meet their demise. No way would they go into Tuscaloosa and run over Nick Saban's defense. But the fact is, Alabama never materialized into the juggernaut we all envisioned. The Tide's defensive front is simply not well equipped to slow down Cam Newton.
 
7 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 20 Arizona (7-3) at No. 1 Oregon (10-0)
Arizona's defense matches up better with Oregon's offense than nearly any the Ducks have faced to this point. What's more, Arizona's short passing game drove Oregon nuts last year in Tucson. But the Ducks' scare at Cal was the worst thing that could have happened to the Wildcats. Oregon will come out on fire at Autzen, where it's yet to lose a game under Chip Kelly.
 
10:15 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 3 Boise State (10-0) at No. 19 Nevada (10-1)
Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick needs just 16 rushing yards to become the first player in history to post three 2,000/1,000 seasons. He has a chance to finish among the top three rushing quarterbacks in FBS history. No way is he going to fall flat in his last home game. But Boise's defense is too good to give him much, and Kellen Moore figures to carve up Nevada's defense.
 
Saturday, Nov. 27
 
Noon (ABC) Michigan (7-4) at No. 8 Ohio State (10-1)
It seems so long ago that this game was last nationally relevant. The Ohio State offense should be able to do pretty much whatever it wants against Michigan's porous defense. It will be interesting to watch Denard Robinson in his first Ohio State game. He could have success running the ball, but the Buckeyes' pass defense is suffocating.
 
Saturday, 3:30 ET (CBS) No. 6 LSU (10-1) at No. 12 Arkansas (9-2)
Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett can generally be counted on to throw for about 300 yards a week, but LSU hasn't allowed an opposing quarterback to come close to that mark since the first week of the season. Shutdown corner Patrick Peterson has something to do with that. With Arkansas lacking a formidable rushing threat, the Tigers can tee off on Mallett and force a couple of interceptions.
 
8 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 14 Oklahoma (9-2) at No. 10 Oklahoma State (10-1)
It's hard to believe OU won this game 27-0 just a year ago. Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles will have another big day for the Sooners' offense, but it's hard to keep up with the Cowboys in a shootout. Oklahoma's secondary is shaky, which is not a good thing with Brandon Weeden throwing bombs to Justin Blackmon. On to Dallas you go, Mike Gundy.
 
7 p.m. ET (ESPN2) No. 18 South Carolina (8-3) at Clemson (6-5)
As well as the Gamecocks have played of late, and as dominant as tailback Marcus Lattimore and receiver Alshon Jeffery may be, South Carolina is still upset-prone, especially to its arch-rival. Just like 6-5 South Carolina tripped up Clemson on its way to the ACC title game last season, the Tigers will return the favor a week before the Gamecocks' Atlanta date with No. 2 Auburn.
 
3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2) No. 21 NC State (8-3) at Maryland (7-4)
It's the moment of truth for the Wolfpack, who can beak through and win their first division title with a victory. Maryland's defense won't make it easy, but NC State star Russell Wilson is the kind of clutch player who comes through in these situations. He'll need to be wary of turnovers, and possibly use his feet more than usual, but ultimately he'll get it done.
 
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) Florida (7-4) at No. 22 Florida State (8-3)
It's been seven years since the Seminoles last took down their rivals from Gainesville, but this is the season to end that streak. Florida's patchwork offense doesn't have the artillery to exploit Florida State's secondary, and FSU's aggressive defense should wreak havoc up front. Jimbo Fisher will be able to celebrate wins over both Florida and Miami in his first year.
 
8 p.m. ET (ABC) Notre Dame (6-5) at USC (7-4)
More than four years since his last start at Arkansas, Mitch Mustain might get the call for USC if Matt Barkley's ankle sprain keeps him out. Look for Lane Kiffin to ride his running game, with senior C.J. Gable possibly getting the first shot. The Irish will put up their best fight against the Trojans in five years, but they're still a year away from catching up.
 
7:45 p.m. ET (ESPN) Georgia Tech (6-5) at Georgia (5-6)
It's been a rough year for the Yellow Jackets, going 4-4 in the ACC a year after winning the conference and losing standout quarterback Joshua Nesbitt to a season-ending injury. And yet the rival Bulldogs have had it worse, starting 1-4 and now needing a win just to become bowl eligible. Quarterback Aaron Murray and wideout A.J. Green will take care of that with ease.
 
Noon (ABC) No. 11 Michigan State (10-1) at Penn State (7-4)
UPSET SPECIAL: Penn State's offense has improved significantly since the ascension of quarterback Matt McGloin, who's thrown nine touchdowns and just two picks in four starts. His counterpart, Kirk Cousins, has thrown five picks in his last three games. Michigan State's had a great season, but it's 0-8 in State College since Penn State joined the Big Ten. Not the ideal place to wrap up a Big Ten title.
 
Record Last Week: 6-4               Record This Season: 85-35
 

 
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