In the Crosshairs: Week 13 ACC, Pac-12 Picks

Ken Cross

November 21, 2018 at 1:21 pm.

Nov 17, 2018; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars wide receiver Easop Winston (8) scores a touchdown against Arizona Wildcats cornerback Azizi Hearn (20) in the second half at Martin Stadium. The Cougars won 69-28. Photo Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 17, 2018; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars wide receiver Easop Winston (8) scores a touchdown against Arizona Wildcats cornerback Azizi Hearn (20) in the second half at Martin Stadium. The Cougars won 69-28. Photo Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Pac-12 Conference

Washington at Washington State – Cougars quarterback Gardner Minshew has had one of the best seasons of any quarterback in Mike Leach’s “Air Raid” offense. With 36 touchdowns against only seven interceptions, the Huskies’ defense could be put on notice early. Washington needs to sustain some type of ball control, but that is going to be near impossible against a defense that is also one of the nation’s best.

Cougars 34, Huskies 20

Oregon at Oregon State – A win would give the Ducks an 8-4 record which would be a really nice accomplishment in Coach Mario Cristobol’s first season. The Ducks’ running attack is too strong behind CJ Verdell and will be the impetus of what is mercifully finally the end to another tough Beavers season.

Ducks 37, Beavers 10

Stanford at UCLA – Joshua Kelley comes off a 289-yard rushing game in the Bruins’ 34-27 win over USC, so now is another opportunity for UCLA to garner a solid win against struggling Stanford. The Cardinal offense never got  on track consistently all season, so it will be up to the defense to try to neutralize the Bruins and potentially win the game.

Bruins 31, Cardinal 28

Arizona State at Arizona – The collective psyche of these two teams will be a huge storyline as Arizona needs the win for bowl eligibility, while the Sun Devils were knocked out of a potential shot at the Pac-12 title game with last week’s 31-29 loss to Oregon. Whoever wins the quarterback dual between Khalil Tate and Manny Wilkins will be a major key.

Wildcats 41, Sun Devils 34

Colorado at California – Mike MacIntyre was fired as the Buffaloes’ coach after their loss to Utah last Saturday. It was only two years ago that he was the Associated Press National Coach of the Year. It seemed like the Buffs’ brass may have jumped the gun on the firing as he brought the program’s only success in several years. Cal rose as a Pac-12 contender this season in only Justin Wilcox’s second year. They are a defense-first program which their opponents learned as they improved throughout the season.

Bears 21, Buffaloes 10

Notre Dame at USC – The Trojans and Clay Helton may be at a crossroads after last week’s loss to UCLA which is extremely unfair based on the number of players lost and the inexperience of the team.  They had leads the last two weeks at halftime and couldn’t close the deal. Notre Dame has turned into a tremendous force on both sides of the ball with a stellar defense that gets better with every game.

Fighting Irish 42, Trojans 17

Brigham Young at Utah – Coach Kyle Whittingham has once again done an outstanding coaching job in Salt Lake City as a win here will give his team a 9-3 record heading into next week’s Pac-12 Championship Game. They have done it with backup quarterback Jason Shelley and also Armand Shyne, who stepped in for Zack Moss after he and quarterback Tyler Huntley saw their seasons end with injuries two weeks ago. The Utes defense will be too much once again.

Utes 31, Cougars 10

Atlantic Coast Conference

Virginia at Virginia Tech – The Hokies are 14-for-14 against the Cavaliers since joining the ACC in 2004.  Friday, Virginia has its best shot to beat its in-state rivals during that time.  Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins should have a huge day against a struggling Virginia Tech defense that could just be glad to see the sun set on the toughest season in Blacksburg in many years.

Cavaliers 27, Hokies 17

Syracuse at Boston College – The Orange and Eagles meet for the 83rd time as this is the second most played opponent for BC, behind Holy Cross.  The Orange were thoroughly worked in the 36-3 loss to Notre Dame last week, while the Eagles were surprised by struggling Florida State. Boston College has a physical enough attack to force the Orange out of their offense and win a tightly contested affair.

Eagles 34, Orange 30

North Carolina State at North Carolina – The Wolfpack have won eight of the last 11 meetings in this series and this week should be in the win column as well. Ryan Finley and Kelvin Harmon should have a fun day of throw and catch in the Tar Heels’ secondary. Will Larry Fedora survive or do the Carolina boosters supply the money for a hefty buy out.

Wolfpack 35, Tar Heels 17

Georgia Tech at Georgia – The Bulldogs have their sites set of a date with Alabama next week in the SEC Championship Game and a potential berth in the FBS Final Four. That makes this game a must-win against a Yellow Jackets team that has improved and played well the last four weeks.

Bulldogs 45, Yellow Jackets 21

Florida at Florida State – The Seminoles have won seven of the last eight in the series and need this one just to become bowl eligible. The Gators’ defense will not see the stern test of games that were in their ‘L’ column this season. It stands to reason that Florida will use Jordan Scarlett and Lamical Perine between the tackles to set up Feleipe Franks in the passing game and get a fairly easy win.

Gators 31, Seminoles 14

Duke at Wake Forest – The Blue Devils own five of the last six in this series and will look to use Daniel Jones and the passing game to serve notice early. The 6-5 Jones is rising on the NFL Draft boards and could have a huge stats day as Duke gets a springboard into a good bowl game.

Blue Devils 41, Demon Deacons 23

Pitt at Miami – The Panthers are 6-1 in the ACC and will be the ACC Coastal representative next week in the ACC Championship Game against Clemson. Miami has had a tough year as the Hurricanes have been a mess offensively for most of the season. The fact that neither Malik Rosier nor N’Kosi Perry stepped up and took charge of the quarterback situation is a head scratcher.

Panthers 24, Hurricanes 20

South Carolina at Clemson – The Tigers have dominated the rivalry since Steve Spurrier left Columbia and with what is on the line for them, there will be no looking past the Gamecocks. The Tigers have won the last five as the two teams have met for 110 consecutive years, second most all-time. Clemson will look for a quick start with its dynamic weaponry which really operates around surging running back Travis Etienne.

Tigers 47, Gamecocks 14

Louisville at Kentucky – The Cardinals have had the worst of seasons. Head coach Bobby Petrino was released after 10 games as the Cardinals had shown no signs in any of the three phases of the game. Kentucky has to be looking forward to this since the Cardinals have won six of the last seven in the series. Benny Snell and the Wildcats’ running game could be ready to put up huge numbers.

Wildcats 42, Cardinals 13