Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – Texas State was bowl eligible last year
at 6-6 but was not selected to play in the postseason. This year will be a
different story if the Bobcats can beat Georgia State in impressive fashion.
After defeating Arkansas State by 18 points last week, Texas State should be
bowl bound with one more victory, especially since the Sun Belt now has three
tie-in bowl games with the addition of the Camellia Bowl. It also helps having
both Georgia Southern and Appalachian State ineligible for the postseason
since it’s their first year coming over from the FBS Division.
Texas State has won three of its last five games with the two losses coming by
a grand total of seven points. Last week’s 45-27 win over Arkansas State was
the team’s most impressive victory since upsetting Houston to start the 2012
campaign. Look for the Bobcats to build on that effort against one of the
worst teams in the country – Georgia State.
The Panthers have dropped their last 10 games, including the last four by a
combined score of 186-52. They also lost their last two home games by 38
points to Georgia Southern and by 42 points to Arkansas State.
Georgia State’s run defense is pitiful having allowed 300 rushing yards per
game on 6.1 yards per carry. Those numbers should play right into the hands of
Texas State as the Bobcats are third in the Sun Belt Conference in rushing
behind Georgia Southern and Appalachian State – two teams Georgia State lost
to by a combined 82 points.
Another key aspect which should help the Bobcats maintain a large lead is
turnovers. Only 10 teams in the country have fewer lost turnovers than Texas
State while Georgia State is next-to-last nationally in turnovers gained.
Expect the Bobcats to win big in their final regular season game.
Take Texas State minus 13.5 points in this week’s lone five-star play.
With no conference championship to help its cause, and a home game with lowly
Iowa State next week, TCU’s only challenge comes this Thursday on the road at
Texas. The Horned Frogs currently are fifth in the College Football Playoff
Rankings so they must put forth their very best effort against the Longhorns
in order to impress the selection committee.
Unfortunately, TCU’s most impressive performances have come inside the
friendly confines of Amon G. Carter Stadium where the Frogs are 6-0. The road
has been a completely different story. Their lone defeat came in Waco, a
three-point loss to Baylor.
The two other conference road games were tight contests. First, the Frogs
escaped West Virginia with a one-point win via a 37-yard field goal at the
buzzer. Then, they struggled mightily with Kansas before pulling out a four-
Texas is just 6-5 on the season but the Longhorns are playing their best ball
with three consecutive victories – two of which came on the road. In addition,
the home win was a 33-16 romp over the aforementioned West Virginia
The key to the game is how well the Longhorns can defend TCU’s passing attack.
Texas is 14th nationally against the pass so look for Charlie Strong’s defense
to win that battle and knock TCU out of any final four consideration.
Take Texas plus 6.5 points in the first of three three-star plays.
Western Michigan has been the surprise of the Mid-American Conference with an
8-3 overall record and 6-1 in conference play. The Broncos are tied with
Toledo and Northern Illinois for the top spot in the West Division but they
cannot reach the conference championship game unless Toledo loses to Eastern
Michigan, a highly unlikely proposition.
On the other hand, Northern Illinois is in control of its own destiny due to
the three-point win over Toledo on Nov. 11. With a victory over Western
Michigan, the Huskies move on to the conference title game against Bowling
Western Michigan is favored by seven in this game. That number seems
very high but it matches my line, as the Broncos have moved up 13.5 power
rating points since Week 6 while the Huskies have dropped three points since
defeating Kent State on Oct. 4.
Despite the line, it is hard to imagine Western Michigan defeating Northern
Illinois even at home. The Huskies own an FBS-best 17-1 road record since the
start of the 2012 season.
Moreover, even when the Broncos were the better team in 2008 (a 9-4 record to
the Huskies’ 6-7 mark), Northern Illinois kept the game close before losing,
29-26, as a six-point road underdog. In addition, the Huskies are 9-2-1
against the spread versus Western Michigan since 2002.
Take Northern Illinois plus seven points.
Boise State hosts Utah State in a key Mountain West Conference matchup. The
Broncos have won six games in a row while the Aggies have clicked for five. .
Boise State dominated last year’s meeting, leading 24-7 before walking out of
Logan, UT with a 31-14 victory. However, the Aggies were forced to go with
Craig Harrison at quarterback after Chuckie Keeton was injured the week
before. Harrison made his first start and was pulled in favor of Darell
Garretson. This time around, fourth-string Kent Myers has had plenty of starts
having led Utah State to four of the five victories during the current winning
The Broncos are 5-1 in their last six conference games but have not
looked as good as their record indicates. Opponents have led (or were tied) in
all but one of those contests. The only easy win came last week against
Utah State is Boise State’s toughest opponent since the first month of the
season. Meanwhile, the Aggies have won four of their last five games by double
digits. Look for their defense to hold down the Broncos and keep this one
Take Utah State plus nine points.
Take Kent State +3.5 (Akron).
Take North Carolina State +7 (North Carolina) and Georgia Tech +13 (Georgia).
THIS YEAR’S RECORD
My overall record stands at 94-83-5 after a 6-2 mark in Week 13. There were
zero five-star selections so the record remains at 8-8. The three-star plays
went 4-0 and are 19-12-1 overall. The two-star choices went 1-1 for a 13-week
total of 32-29. The one-star plays went 1-1 for a 35-34-4 mark.
THIS WEEK’S JEFF FRANK DIRTY DOZEN
1) Oregon, 105; 2) Georgia, 103.5; 3-T) Alabama and Michigan State, 102.5; 5)
Mississippi State, 101.5; 6) Baylor, 101; 7-T) Ohio State and TCU, 100; 9) Ole
Miss, 98.5; 10) Wisconsin, 98; 11) Florida State, 96; 12-T) UCLA and Arkansas,
(The Dirty Dozen is not a reflection of a given team’s won-loss record. It is
based on power ratings used to predict spreads for the upcoming week. At the
beginning of the season, all FBS teams are assigned a power number, which
changes on a week-to-week basis depending on the results of the previous