Weekly Staff Pick ’em – Round 6

Here we are, round 6 of the weekly staff pick 'em. We will be examining the top games of the week across the NCAA and NFL. This week's special guest picker is occasional contributor Caleb Hixon. Here are the results from last week:

Micah: 6-4
Blake: 6-4
Jeffrey: 5-5

Overall:
Micah: 31-19
Blake: 28-22
Guest: 28-22

We'll keep a running tally each week of the previous week's results as well as the overall numbers. Here are the picks for round 6:

NCAA

#7 Arizona Wildcats (10-2) at #2 Oregon Ducks (11-1)
Micah's Pick: Ducks 42 – 28
Arizona has put together quite the season and now face the mighty Oregon Ducks in the PAC-12 championship game. I'd love to see the Wildcats throw a wrench in the Ducks' playoff plans, but I just don't see it happening.

Blake's Pick: Ducks 38 – 28
Arizona handed Oregon their only loss so far this season… in Eugene, too. The Wildcats can score in bunches, but so can Oregon. It seems as if Oregon’s defense has stepped up a little after being one of the worst bunches at the start of the season. Marcus Mariota won’t let Oregon lose to the same team twice. Oregon marches on to the playoff capturing the 2014 Pac 12 Championship.

Caleb's Pick: Ducks 35  31
One of the most interesting match ups of the weekend, Oregon tries to avenge their only loss of the season to the Wildcats of Arizona. This ought to be a great game pairing two of the hottest teams in college football. Oregon, since their week 6 game against UCLA, hasn’t had an opponent come within 18 points of them. And Arizona has faced back-to-back top 20 opponents and won. I’m predicting a close one here with the Ducks finding a way to win and Mariota stamping his Heisman trophy ticket. 

 

Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-6) at #20 Oklahoma Sooners (8-3)
Micah's Pick: Sooners 34 – 28
Bedlam has lost a bit of it's luster this time around as neither team is in contention for the Big 12 title and certainly not in contention for the inaugural playoffs. Records and rankings can be tossed out the window when Bedlam rolls around as both teams will be fired up for this rivalry. Give me the Sooners by a slight edge.

Blake's Pick: Sooners 42 – 21
Oklahoma State is not very good. They’ve stripped Mason Rudolph’s redshirt off and are swinging for the fences. OU, meanwhile, is hitting on all cylinders in the run game, which is what they should have been doing all year. With Trevor Knight out again, expect a HEAVY dose of Perine against a very average OSU defense. OSU’s OLine is awful, too. This could be worse than 42-21. OU finishes 9-3 and will go to a mediocre bowl to try to get the elusive 10th win. OSU misses a bowl.

Caleb's Pick: Sooners 38 – 27
Bedlam. I’d love to sit here and say, with confidence, that the Cowpokes will be no match for OU this year but I just can’t do it. Oklahoma State has a tendency to come up and bite the heel of OU in the most unsuspecting years. I don’t have any stats to back up my argument, but if I’ve learned anything from watching OU play this year, it’s hard to count on this team. Even still, though, I think the Sooners are the better team and will win for the eleventh out of the last twelve years against Oklahoma State. 

 

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1) at #16 Missouri Tigers (10-2)
Micah's Pick: Crimson Tide 24 – 10
This is a bit of a letdown SEC championship game for me. For some reason I was hoping for a Bama/Georgia showdown, but Mizzou is what we get. While I would again be delighted to see the underdog here pull off the impossible, I don't see much chance at all of that happening.

Blake's Pick: Crimson Tide 45 – 20
Alabama is just going to be too much for Missouri. The SEC East is not any good. It’s hard to believe Mizzou will make it, but not Miss. St, Ole Miss, Auburn, Georgia, etc. This is David vs Goliath, and David doesn’t have any ammunition. May be over before it starts. Bama rolls into the playoff with ease.

Caleb's Pick: Crimson Tide 21 – 10
Man oh man would I love to see an upset here. I wanted so very badly to make this my upset pick of the week but I genuinely think Nick Saban and Crimson Tide will grind out a victory here. I don’t think they’re going to take any chances knowing that the playoffs are on the line. The Tide’s offense is starting to Roll behind the quarterback play of Blake Sims. It doesn’t hurt that he has the nations best wide receiver to throw to in Amari Cooper, but Sims has picked up his game as the seasons progressed. Look for a low scoring affair, Missouri’s D has held teams to an average of 19.7 points this season and the Tide is even better holding teams to 16.9 a game. Combine that with a conservative offensive philosophy from Alabama and I think we’ll see a good ole SEC defensive struggle. 

 

#4 Florida State Seminoles (12-0) at #11 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (10-2)
Micah's Pick: Seminoles 28 – 27
If I could pick the Seminoles to win by a closer margin then I would. I think my thoughts on them is well known by this point and whatever voodoo magic they have will grant them another late comeback win by the smallest of margins.

Blake's Pick: Seminoles 38 – 35
Where to begin with FSU? The committee is just waiting for them to stumble. There have been some MAJOR close calls with FSU, but somehow, someway, they figure it out in the end. 2014 has nothing to do with the 2013 title. I understand they’re undefeated, but I think 4th is about right for them. I think Baylor could beat them pretty handily, honestly. That being said, I’m not gambling against them. FSU wins in another squeaker.

Caleb's Pick: Seminoles 37 – 35
Here it is! This weeks upset pick, right?! Surely with the way Florida State has played this year they’re due for a slip up. And who better to do that then the team that just upset Georgia. Wrong! But why would I not pick Georgia Tech to upset? Simple answer: they’re playing Florida State. A team that all year has flirted with defeat but somehow gone unscathed through their schedule. It’s almost as if each game they get down they remember they’re FSU and decide to play in the last 10 minutes of the game. I’m not buying into the hype that Georgia Tech and their wishbone offense is primed to upset the Seminoles. Florida State still has Jameis Winston and they’ll find a way to win this one in typical FSU fashion. 

 

#13 Wisconsin Badgers (10-2) at #5 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1)
Micah's Pick: Badgers 31 – 28
The Buckeyes lost Braxton Miller in the preseason, but J.T. Barrett filled in and is widely considered an even better QB than his predecessor. After Barrett went down this past week with a season ending fractured ankle, so too did the hopes and dreams of Buckeye fans everywhere. Wisconsin puts the final nail in the coffin.

Blake's Pick: Badgers 31 – 24
Ohio State took a tough blow Saturday. Lost JT Barrett for the year, making him the 2nd starting QB to go down for Ohio State. They’re going to have a hard time slowing down Melvin Gordon and the rushing attack, and I’m just not sure Ohio State can produce enough points with another new QB in a Big 10 title game. I’m rolling with the Badgers.

Caleb's Pick: Badgers 42 – 28
Now this is an upset I can get behind. But I’m not sure I can honestly consider it a true upset given the injury to both starting quarterbacks of Ohio State this season. However, with their third string QB, Cardale Jones, in this week and I defense that refuses to stop the run, I don’t foresee the Buckeyes pulling this one out. The Badgers will hand the ball off to their stud running back, Melvin Gordon, and run all over this porous Ohio State rush defense.

 

#9 Kansas State Wildcats (9-2) at #6 Baylor Bears (10-1)
Micah's Pick: Bears 38 – 31
I want to pick the Wildcats here, but I just can't. While Baylor is likely on the outside looking in when it comes to the four team playoffs, a big time win here could sway the committee. A K-State win would settle the controversy, but I think Baylor pulls it out and cries foul for the next decade for being left out anyways.

Blake's Pick: Bears 41 – 28
I think Baylor is fixing to try to roll KSU. They have a chance to show the committee they belong in the top 4, which I think they do. Sure, it was a grease call, but they beat TCU head to head. It’s the ole Texas argument from 2008. "b…b…but we beat OU!" Anyway, I think Baylor does all they can to take KSU to the woodshed. Coach Snyder won’t let it be that bad, though. KSU hangs tough, but falls late. Baylor sits and waits for the selection show Dec 6. Baylor will be Big 12 Champs…and no playoff to show for it.

Caleb's Pick: Bears 63 – 42
Poor Baylor. They just can’t seem to get anyone on their side. Living in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex I have heard more than a few irate Baylor fans since the unveiling of the newest rankings with TCU ahead of them. And, honestly, can you blame them? Shouldn’t head-to-head match ups means something? Apparently not to the Playoff Selection Committee. Baylor’s going to come into this game with something to prove and remind everyone of their “video game” like offense. Kansas State’s defense is tough, and you can almost never count a Bill Snyder team out, except when Baylor’s fighting for their playoff lives. I think Art Briles is out to send a message, and Baylor’s not going to stop scoring points until the Selection Committee puts them into the playoffs.

 

Iowa State Cyclones (2-9) at #3 TCU Horned Frogs (10-1)
Micah's Pick: Horned Frogs 52 – 17
This will be a slaughtering. TCU already has the inside track to the playoffs and know they need to keep pilling on the style points.

Blake's Pick: Horned Frogs 52 – 17
TCU ends the regular season with a STATEMENT win over Iowa St. TCU likely goes to the playoff without a Big 12 title. That doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it is what it is. If TCU wins big, they’re in. Simple as that… and Gary Patterson knows that. 

Caleb's Pick: Horned Frogs 45 – 17
I know Iowa State has upset a few teams in their day. And yes you could make the argument that TCU will be looking ahead to the playoffs, but I’m not buying it. TCU is the most well coached team in the Big 12 and Gary Patterson will have his team prepared. No contest here. TCU…big! 

 

NFL

Indianapolis Colts (8-4) at Cleveland Browns (7-5)
Micah's Pick: Colts 28 – 12
The Browns looked to show a little bit of life finally bringing in Manziel last week to man the offense. Word is that the Browns are going to give Hoyer another shot this week which is quite perplexing. The Colts can score, the Browns cannot.

Blake's Pick: Colts 27 – 20
This game will be tough for Luck and company. Cleveland isn’t too bad. They’re actually really good defensively, especially in the secondary. Reports are out that Hoyer will start, which makes zero sense after he was benched Sunday. The Colts will try to establish a run early so Luck will have the field. I think a little too much "luck" for the Colts at the end of the day. Sorry, had to. 

Caleb's Pick: Colts 37 – 21
The Colts got off to a slow start this season but since dropping their first two games they’ve won 8 out of 10. The Browns, while a respectable 7-5, I have no confidence in. This game is going to come down to quarterback play, wanna take a guess who’s going to come out on top in that category? Yea, Andrew Luck.

 

Kansas City Chiefs (7-5) at Arizona Cardinals (9-3)
Micah's Pick: Chiefs 24 – 21
The Cardinals are falling apart. Stanton is not near the QB that Palmer was. With Ellington now banged up as well, I see the Chiefs going into the University of Phoenix Stadium and getting the W.

Blake's Pick: Cardinals 23 – 21
This game will be borderline boring. Both teams don’t have a ton of firepower. The Cardinals need a win BAD. The Seahawks and 49ers are primed to push for the NFC West, and the Cards can’t fall victim to a Chiefs team who has essentially 1 dangerous player (Charles). I think the home crowd will persevere and the Cardinals are a step closer to the NFC West crown.

Caleb's Pick: Chiefs 17 – 12
The Cardinals were one of the leagues best teams with Carson Palmer under center. But since being sidelined with a season ending injury they have lost their last 2 games. And I don’t see things turning around here either. The Chiefs are a solid team and will be able to lean on their running game to victory. Don’t expect much offense though because Arizona’s defense is still top notch.

 

Seattle Seahawks (8-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (9-3)
Micah's Pick: Eagles 31  21
The Eagles have a fast and relentless offensive attack and the Seahawks simply won't be able to keep up. Both of these teams can lose every game for the rest of the year as far as I'm concerned.

Blake's Pick: Eagles 28 – 24
This game will be fun with a contrast of two styles. Chip Kelly will try to score early and often, while Seattle pounds the ball and trusts it’s defense to win the game. The Eagles dismantled Dallas on Thanksgiving, and I think this team is for real. I think it’s really close, but I’m going with the home team here. 

Caleb's Pick: Seahawks 28 – 20
The leagues best defense verses the leagues fastest offense. This ought to be a good match up with plenty of playoff implications. Even though Mark Sanchez has faired decently in his few starts at quarterback this season for the Eagles, I don’t trust him against the Legion of Boom. I’m expecting at least 2 interceptions thrown by Sanchez and Russell Wilson to rush for over 100 yards. 

Micah Hixon

A die hard Sooner fan through and through. Micah transferred his allegiance to the Oklahoma City Thunder the year the Mavs won the title (go figure). He believes the Thunder and Sooners have many titles to come in the not too distant future. Most of his comments are not backed up by any sort of fact based reasoning, but you can trust him.

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