Week 12 College Football Picks: Dak Prescott for Heisman

Marcus Mariota has been anointed as this year’s Heisman Trophy winner and I don’t get it.

Oregon lost at home to Arizona. The last play that mattered of the game featured Mariota literally getting the football ripped away by a defender. That’s my Heisman Trophy winner?

dak prescott heisman pose
Meanwhile, Mississippi State is 9-0 for the first time in school history and ranked #1 for the first time in school history. It’s impossible to quantify how insane it is that Mississippi State is the best team in the country. It’s actually so hard to comprehend that no one has. We’ve sort of shrugged our shoulders and accepted the SEC is the best conference, so a good SEC could always be #1.

We’re messing up. Dak Prescott’s performance this year is every bit as good as Cam Newton’s back in 2010, if not better. When Prescott scampered off on his already-legendary run against LSU, I pegged him as the Heisman winner and that it would make all his Heisman reels. In fact, I didn’t think it would even be close unless the Bulldogs lost.

Instead, Mariota has been given an incredible amount of leniency for his awful performance against Arizona – an injured offensive lineman is the excuse – and is now a 1-5 favorite.

It’s insane. It’s wrong.

Dak Prescott has his moment on Saturday. For everyone that has handed the trophy over to Mariota, you may want to wait at least a few more days. If Mississippi State beats Alabama in Tuscaloosa, it will be Prescott as the 1-5 favorite, which he should be now.

Overall Record: 59-64-1
Best Bet: 4-7
Upset Special: 5-5-1

I went 5-8 last week, lost my best bet, my upset special and nearly my dignity until Ohio State and Oregon covered. Can I do better? Could I possibly do worse?

East Carolina (-3) over CINCINNATI
Cincinnati has played four teams that have decent to good offenses. They gave up 34 points to Toledo, 50 to Ohio State, 41 to Memphis and 55 to Miami. Yikes.

The last time we saw East Carolina, they were gagging away a game as bad as one can gag a game away. They lost 20-10 to Temple in awful conditions despite outgaining Temple by 300 yards because they were -5 in the turnover battle. Let’s do that in all caps – they were MINUS FIVE in turnovers. We’re going to use some horse racing parlance and consider that a toss-out.

GEORGIA TECH (+3.5) over Clemson
DUKE (-5) over Virginia Tech
The ACC makes zero sense. In the past three weeks, the home team in conference games has a record of 4-12. That’s mind-bogglingly bad. So what’s my angle for these two picks? Regression to the mean, baby! Home teams need to start winning a few. Also, Duke and Georgia Tech are better teams than their opponents, which helps.

rice upset marshall
Rice (+21) over MARSHALL *Upset Special*
Rice started its season by getting thumped on the road by Notre Dame and Texas A&M. They added a terrible home loss to Old Dominion and the defending Conference USA champs were 0-3 in a heartbeat. However, they haven’t lost since.

Is Marshall good? Sure. Is Marshall undefeated good? Probably not. We saw last year with Fresno State and Northern Illinois that it is really, really, really hard to go undefeated, even if you play nobody. At some point, you will be exposed.

I’m saying Marshall is exposed this week against the best team they will likely play all year.

WISCONSIN (-6) over Nebraska
Nebraska has four wins in the Big Ten. Those wins came over the four worst Big Ten teams, who are a combined 3-18. I don’t know why anyone thinks Nebraska is good this year but they’re out there and Nebraska is ranked in the Top 20.

Here’s a spoiler alert: Nebraska is not that good. Wisconsin will win by at least two touchdowns.

Mississippi State (+7.5) over ALABAMA
After that intro, did you really think I was going to take Alabama?

It has been a bizarre few weeks for Mississippi State, as a mid-season reprieve from ranked competition has idiots like this guy poking holes in their resume and questioning how good the Bulldogs really are. There are now convenient excuses for how they beat up LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn – all currently Top 25 teams.

It’s very important to remember that Mississippi State didn’t just win those games. They absolutely dominated those ranked opponents. So they didn’t bring their A game to Kentucky or Arkansas, they didn’t have to. This team is the top-ranked team in the country for a reason.

I keep going back to something Eric Crouch said on the Big Ten Network about six weeks ago – I wish I had hit record – that an NFL scout told him Mississippi State’s front seven was the most talented in the country. Yes, Dak Prescott gets the headlines but Dan Mullen has built a football factory without anyone noticing.

Alabama is still Alabama. Mississippi State is becoming an Alabama. They’ll prove that Saturday.

GEORGIA (-2.5) over Auburn
I am always wrong about Auburn. I picked against them all last year and the L’s piled up. This year, I haven’t gotten one of their games right that I’ve picked. So with that as a warning…

I love Georgia here. They’re getting the best player in the sport back. They basically control their SEC East destiny, unless you think Missouri doesn’t have another loss in them. They could even weasel back into the playoff hunt with Auburn, a Top 20 Georgia Tech and a potential Top 5 SEC West champion on their schedule. Everything is in front of Georgia.

I feel like they’ve watched this play a few times this week. They will be ready.

Florida State (-1) over MIAMI *Best Bet*
Florida State has won 9 games this year. The last time Miami beat a team that finished a season with 9 or more wins was Maryland in 2010. So after four years of futility, suddenly Miami is on the level with the defending national champions who haven’t lost a game in almost two years? What the hell am I missing here?

As if Florida State needed any further motivation, they got jumped in the playoff rankings by a team that lost at home. Miami – other than a win in a driving rainstorm over Duke – has beaten nobody. They have certainly looked impressive in winning their last three but Cincinnati, North Carolina and Virginia Tech are all mediocre – at best – teams.

With Jameis Winston at QB, Florida State is the best team in the country. I’ve said that all year and I’ll continue to say it until proven otherwise. This line is an affront to common sense.

Lsu (+2.5) over ARKANSAS
Speaking of lines that make no sense, Arkansas hasn’t won a conference game in years and is favored over an LSU team that has wins over Wisconsin, Florida and Ole Miss. Again, what the hell am I missing here?

Look, Arkansas is – or, should be – a live underdog here. They’re getting LSU in a classic “week after” game. They get them at home. They will play a smash-mouth game that Arkansas thrives in. But you know who else likes playing low-scoring football? Yep, LSU.

I believe Arkansas will beat Ole Miss next week. And it’ll look like a huge upset coming off a loss to LSU.

boise state rb
BOISE STATE (-14) over San Diego State
By kickoff, the temperature in Boise will be hovering around 12 degrees. No, that’s not a type. 12 degrees. Do you think the kids that play football in the country’s most perfect weather city are going to be feeling that in November?

Yes, San Diego State won its bowl game in Boise last year but it had nearly a month to get ready. This time, they have to travel a week after playing at home meaning the difference in temperatures for them one week to the next will be about 60.

Speaking of 60, that’s the number Boise State put up last week and its offense has been rocking and rolling for the past month. Just a terrible spot for the Aztecs.

Arizona State (-9.5) over OREGON STATE
This is the definition of a trap game. Arizona State is coming off of the program’s biggest victory since Jake Plummer. They have to travel way up north for a road game at night against an Oregon State team fighting for its season. It feels like the type of game Arizona State gags away.

There’s just one tiny, little problem: Oregon State stinks at football this year. It seems like they never recovered from the overtime loss to Utah and have been in freefall mode for about a month. It would not surprise me if Oregon State loses out and finishes 4-8.

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  1. Why do you hate on Nebraska so much?

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