Chris King has risen from the dead to do the unthinkable.
After starting the season 6-10, King, the CU Independent staff writer, has pulled into a first-place tie with CU:I men’s basketball beat writer David Starcer. OK, maybe pulled is a bad word since Starcer went 3-5 last week. Maybe the right terminology is Starcer backed into a first-place tie with King.
Speaking of back, a female guest picker has returned. Amanda Blackwell, executive producer of CU Sports Mag, is our guest picker this week. With a good week, she could vault into the top spot. Hey, the only other female guest picker this year was Leslie Fox, who went 6-2 three weeks ago.
Guest picker this season — Overall: 50-30, Last week: 3-5
Amanda Blackwell – executive producer of CU Sports Mag
Colorado 24, Iowa State 21: Call me optimistic, but I think this is the game in which the Buffs can finally overcome their road woes. They are playing a team they can match up fairly evenly with and are coming off an emotional victory against Texas A&M. With a chance (slim, but a chance nonetheless) to break even on the season, I think the Buffs may finally have a fire lit beneath them.
Rutgers 31, No. 24 South Florida 27: South Florida is the favorite in this game, but not by much, and Rutgers has given them fits the last three years. The Bulls have played three straight games against ranked opponents, but I’m not convinced they will be able to keep up the intensity when they go into Piscataway, N.J.
No. 5 Cincinnati 35, No. 25 West Virginia 17: Cincinnati’s offense is going to be too powerful for the Mountaineers, especially with quarterback Tony Pike returning to share time with Zach Collaros. Combine that powerful punch with the fact Cincinnati has not lost at home in 11 games, and West Virginia will be singing, “Take me home, country roads.”
Kansas State 35, Missouri 21: This is a tough one. Missouri has lost four of its last five games (guess who the one win was against), but three of those losses were against Top 25 teams. I think they are better than the Big 12 North record shows, but I’m taking Kansas State. They are capable of putting up huge offensive numbers and hang with some of the Big 12 South teams.
No. 11 Ohio State 42, No. 10 Iowa 10: The clock finally struck midnight last week for Iowa and some weaknesses started to show against Northwestern. Ohio State needs this win to head to the Rose Bowl and they get to play in their brutal home stadium. I think the Buckeyes are going to completely run over the Hawkeyes.
No. 1 Florida 41, South Carolina 3: Sorry South Carolina, but there’s no way. The Gamecocks’ only real advantage statistically is they have a higher ranked passing game, but in no way does it mean their offense is going to be any match for the Florida defense. Last year, Tim Tebow and the Gators flattened South Carolina 56-6. Maybe my score is a little bit too generous.
No. 4 TCU 35, No. 16 Utah 17: It’s going to be a close one, at least for a little bit. I think Utah will put up a fight but ultimately, it’s going to be very difficult for inexperienced QB Jordan Wynn to stand up against TCU’s defense, especially since it’s only his second start.
No. 12 Pittsburgh 28, Notre Dame 10: This time, I have to go with my head over my heart. As much as it pains me to say it, I don’t think the Fighting Irish stand much of a chance against Pitt. If Notre Dame has any hope, its defense is going to have to step up and the O-line will really need to protect Jimmy Clausen from the Pitt defense, which leads the nation in sacks. I just don’t see Notre Dame getting too many past the Panthers. Whew, that hurt to say.
Cheng Sio — sports editor — Overall: 49-31, Last week: 4-4
Colorado 33, Iowa State 30: On Sunday, CU sports information director Dave Plati sent a memo to the local media on how the Buffs can win the Big 12 North. The fact this miserable season can still be saved is enough for me to pick the Buffs.
Rutgers 36, No. 24 South Florida 35: Outside of a seven-point home loss to No. 12 Pittsburgh, all Rutgers has done is improve since getting blown out by 32 in its season-opener to No. 5 Cincinnati. I can’t say the same for South Florida.
No. 5 Cincinnati 31, No. 25 West Virginia 19: Ever since head coach Bill Stewart took over at West Virginia, the Mountaineers has never struck me as a team to be feared. If you can’t strike fear into the hearts of your opponents, especially on the road, then you don’t stand a chance against superior foes.
Missouri 37, Kansas State 32: Remember the memo Plati sent? It said CU can’t win the Big 12 North if Kansas State wins one more game.
No. 11 Ohio State 31, No. 10 Iowa 23: You have to feel for Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. In 2002, Ferentz and quarterback Brad Banks finished No. 3 in the BCS standings and was left out of the national championship game. Then last week, quarterback Ricky Stanzi badly sprained his right ankle in a national championship hope-dashing 17-10 loss to Northwestern. Ferentz has come so close — twice. But now that Stanzi is probably out after having surgery earlier this week, it’s too easy to pick Ohio State.
No. 1 Florida 18, South Carolina 13: The Gamecocks has scored 6, 14, 13 and 16 points in their last four games. Their defense is good, but not good enough with such a pathetic offense to upset the No. 1 team in the country.
No. 4 TCU 14, No. 16 Utah 6: Defensive end Jerry Hughes and the TCU defense are too dominant for Utah’s offense. As long as quarterback Andy Dalton doesn’t screw it up with three interceptions, TCU should be fine. My biggest concern is whether the Horned Frogs will suffer another late-season loss and blow another BCS bowl opportunity.
Notre Dame 35, No. 12 Pittsburgh 30: 1. This is clearly a homer pick. 2. In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t exactly trust the Wannstache, despite Pittsburgh’s 8-1 record. I’m waiting for him to screw up, which I’ve seen in person many times.
Ron Knabenbauer — sports editor — Overall: 45-35, Last week: 5-3
Colorado 31, Iowa State 27: Hopefully the win last week against the Aggies has energized the Buffs as they will be playing for their postseason lives once again as they head to Ames, Iowa. I think this game will prove what this team is really made of and what we expected from them at the start of the season.
No. 24 South Florida 24, Rutgers 20: A lot of people I know are picking the Scarlet Knights, but I have a feeling South Florida will step up its play and win in the end.
No. 5 Cincinnati 45, No. 25 West Virginia 23: Cincy will prove why they deserve to be in contention for the national championship as they will destroy the Mountaineers at home.
Kansas State 25, Missouri 16: Both teams have been a surprise in the Big 12 North with K-State winning and Mizzou losing. I like the Wildcats to keep winning all the way to the Big 12 Conference Championship Game.
No. 10 Iowa 26, No. 11 Ohio State 24: The winner of this one takes control of the Big Ten Conference and earns a trip to the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. This one will be close throughout, but I like the Hawkeyes to bounce back after losing last week.
No. 1 Florida 45, South Carolina 20: Even with this game starting to become a rivalry of sorts between the two schools, the Gators should win easily.
No. 4 TCU 37, No. 16 Utah 30: Two powerhouse schools from the Mountain West Conference do battle in the Lone Star State. I like how Utah has bounced back late in the season, but TCU should get the W-I-N.
No. 12 Pittsburgh 23, Notre Dame 13: If Notre Dame wants to win this game, they have to start playing defense. Unfortunately, the Pitt offense will be too much for the Irish to handle.
Alex K.W. Schultz — CU:I’s football beat reporter — Overall: 49-31, Last week: 4-4
Colorado 27, Iowa State 24: The Cyclones are averaging just over eight points per game dating back to their last three contests. If the Buffs can’t beat that, they don’t deserve to go to a bowl game.
No. 24 South Florida 28, Rutgers 20: The Bulls’ 11-point win over an experienced West Virginia squad two weeks ago was impressive. South Florida can, in large part, thank freshman QB B.J. Daniels, who got the job done with his arm and legs, for the victory. Look for Daniels to do more of the same against the Scarlet Knights.
No. 5 Cincinnati 31, No. 25 West Virginia 18: Do the Bearcats belong in the BCS title game? Absolutely not. But they are going to do everything they can to make that argument, and that means staying undefeated with a win over the Mountaineers.
Kansas State 24, Missouri 21: How ’bout them Wildcats, who are currently atop the Big 12 North standings at 4-2 under 70-year-old head coach Bill Snyder. Two different styles of football will clash Saturday in Manhattan, Kan.: Kansas State’s power running game against Mizzou’s spread-offense approach. In this case, the power run game wins.
No. 11 Ohio State 23, No. 10 Iowa 13: The Buckeyes are one win away from punching their tickets to Pasadena, Calif., for the Rose Bowl. Incentive enough to win? You betcha.
No. 1 Florida 17, South Carolina 6: The Head Ball Coach’s Gamecocks are ranked 101st in the nation in scoring at 21.3 points per game. That’s not going to get the job done against the top-ranked Gators.
No. 4 TCU 30, No. 16 Utah 20: A Christian school pitted against a school known for having its fair share of Mormons. Christians win.
No. 12 Pittsburgh 35, Notre Dame 2: Panthers freshman RB Dion Lewis has churned out nearly 1,200 yards on the ground and 12 touchdowns. Look for the 195-pounder to turn in another good performance against the Irish and, in the process, shovel a few more coals under head coach Charlie Weis’ toasty seat.
Chris King — staff writer — Overall: 51-29, Last week 4-4
Colorado 20, Iowa State 17: After last week’s upset of Texas A&M, the Buffs travel to Ames, Iowa, where Dan Hawkins and Co. look to get their first win in 10 away contests. The previously anemic offense has been on a tear with Tyler Hansen at the helm, putting up 35 points against A&M. Iowa State, on the other hand, has been reeling since their stunning upset of Nebraska, losing their last two. CU hasn’t beaten the Cyclones on Iowa State’s home turf since 2003, but this looks to be when they reverse their fortunes.
No. 24 South Florida 28, Rutgers 20: After an embarrassing season-opening loss to Cincinnati, the Scarlet Knights have rebounded nicely, winning six of seven. The Bulls, walking tall after beating in-state rival Florida State, has split their last four games. USF’s defense is led by its talented ends, George Selvie and Jason Pierre-Paul. Rutgers’ passing attack hasn’t been able to match the same level of explosiveness that it had last season. That will cost them against a more talented Bulls team.
No. 5 Cincinnati 35, No. 25 West Virginia 24: A month ago, Cincy QB Tony Pike was a Heisman Trophy candidate on an upstart team. Now, he is the backup on a team contending for a national title. After Pike injured his wrist against South Florida, the Bearcats were expected to falter. Instead, backup QB Zach Collaros stepped in and has led the team to three straight victories, including putting up 480 passing yards against Connecticut last week, the second most in school history. West Virginia has been playing well, but not well enough to stop Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly’s highflying offense. The Bearcats win and push for title contention.
Missouri 24, Kansas State 23: The tough-nosed K-State Wildcats have been a surprise this year, playing hard under coaching legend Bill Snyder, who returned after a three-year hiatus. While the former college football Coach of the Year was gone, Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkel led the Tigers to back-to-back Big 12 North titles. His streak is on the line in this game as the ‘Cats currently hold the lead in the division. A Missouri loss would clinch the division for K-State. Here’s hoping the Tigers keep CU’s slim hopes alive.
No. 11 Ohio State 17, No. 10 Iowa 14: The clock finally struck midnight on the Hawkeyes’ Cinderella story as Northwestern handed them their first loss last week. Worse news came in the form of QB Ricky Stanzi being lost for the rest of the regular season. While Stanzi had been inconsistent, he had made plays when they needed them and his loss will rob Iowa of its first outright Big Ten crown since 1985. Terelle Pryor will get the Buckeyes the win, but it won’t matter. The Big Ten champion just wins the right to get beaten by a real team in a BCS bowl game.
No. 1 Florida 17, South Carolina 10: Can anyone stop the Gators? Even with Tebow’s subpar season, they have been on a tear winning 19 straight. The Gamecocks, meanwhile, are in their usual late season swoon, losing three of their last four. While Gamecock QB Stephen Garcia has played well this year, the stifling Florida defense will overwhelm him. The X-factor is Gamecocks’ linebacker Eric Norwood, the school’s all-time sack leader. The Gators have struggled in pass protection, but they will make enough plays to win and march on to their showdown with Alabama.
No. 4 TCU 31, No. 16 Utah 13: For as good as the Gators’ defense is, the TCU defense is about just as good. Helping the Horned Frogs has been the rise of QB Andy Dalton as the leader of the offense. Utah, last year’s only unbeaten team, has followed up that magical season with this year’s 8-1 campaign. However, they don’t have the firepower to take down Gary Patterson’s team, which might be the fastest team in the nation outside of the Southeastern Conference.
No. 12 Pittsburgh 27, Notre Dame 24: Mr. Weis, the temperature on your seat just went from warm to blazing. Losing two of three to Navy after winning 43 straight is enough to get anyone fired. But a coach at what is supposed to be a national powerhouse? Start packing. While the Fighting Irish have been floundering, the Panthers have been on a tear and were one play away from being undefeated. Freshman phenom RB Dion Lewis has not only been one of the top frosh in the country, he’s a legit Heisman candidate. The Panthers will win out despite Clausen putting up more great numbers.
David Starcer — CU:I’s men’s basketball beat reporter — Overall: 51-29, Last week 3-5
Colorado 27, Iowa State 24: The hopping on and off the CU bandwagon continues. The Buffs need this one to remain bowl-eligible and if the Hansen, Rodney Stewart and Markques Simas combo is as strong as it was against A&M, you have to like CU’s chances in their remaining three games.
No. 24 South Florida 41, Rutgers 10: Who is picking these games? Oh well, if I have to…Bulls by 30….at least.
No. 5 Cincinnati 35, No. 25 West Virginia 30: Should be a great game and things got more interesting when Cincy announced they would keep sophomore Zach Collaros as the starter even though senior Tony Pike is back from his injury. I still like the Bearcats to stay undefeated as they push for a shot at the national title.
Kansas State 34, Missouri 24: K-State has been the most consistent team in the Big 12 North, which isn’t saying much, and RB Daniel Thomas has emerged as the conference’s leading rusher. Meanwhile, Mizzou’s only conference win was against CU and they are coming off a home loss to Baylor. Yes, the Baylor. Wildcats continue their way to a division title with a win.
No. 11 Ohio State 23, No. 10 Iowa 17: The Cinderella season for the Iowa Hawkeyes may have come to an end with their loss to Northwestern and the loss of quarterback Ricky Stanzi till at least their bowl game. As much as I’d like to think redshirt freshman QB James Vandenberg could lead the Hawkeyes to a win at The Horseshoe in his first ever start, I’ll take the safe bet and go with THE Ohio State University.
No. 1 Florida 38, South Carolina 13: The Gators will keep rolling all the way to Atlanta and their SEC title tilt with Alabama. They take care of their former coach, who just happens to be THE Head Ball Coach.
No. 16 Utah 31, No. 4 TCU 30: For the second time this season, the game of the week is a Mountain West showdown, which could be a good or bad thing. TCU has rampaged through the conference, including a 38-7 pounding at favored BYU. However, I think Utah’s Kyle Wittingham will outcoach Gary Patterson, and the Utes will emerge as the MWC champ and BCS team for the second straight season.
No. 12 Pittsburgh 30, Notre Dame 24: The Irish’s loss to Navy may be the beginning of the end for Weis’ tenure in South Bend, Ind. A road game at a tough and underrated Pitt team is not what the doctor ordered. Look for the Panthers to continue their strong play en route to a showdown with Cincinnati for the Big East Conference title.
Compiled by Sports Editor Cheng Sio. Contact Cheng Sio at Cheng.firstname.lastname@example.org.