David J. Neal

David vs. Goliath: College football predictions for Week 12

MIAMI HERALD STAFF

David’s record

Overall

Pct.

Vs. spread

Pct.

Last week

5-1

.833

3-3

.500

Season

58-16

.784

36-35-3

.507

Goliath’s record

Overall

Pct.

Vs. spread

Pct.

Last week

4-2

.667

3-3

.500

Season

54-20

.730

35-36-3

.493

Western Kentucky at FIU, W. kentucky by 17

David: Western’s coming off a bye with nothing to play for beyond statistics. Win or lose, next week against Marshall decides Conference USA East. Conversely, banged up, weary FIU needs this Senior Day game for bowl eligibility. Whoever you like, take the over. W. Kentucky 45, FIU 35

Goliath Although against weak competition, Panthers have been dominant at home going 4-0 SU and 4-0 ATS. Expect an all-out effort as a win gets them to a bowl game, and Hilltoppers might be peeking ahead to a showdown next week versus Marshall. W. Kentucky 38, FIU 34

Cincinnati at USF (Friday), Cincinnati by 2 1/2

David: South Florida is bowl eligible, possibly looking at the Miami Beach Bowl, and got that way by routing Temple by 19 last week. Cincinnati’s bowl eligible, too. I like the Bulls’ defense better in this American Athletic Conference matchup. USF 30, Cincinnati 20

Goliath: Bulls defense allows 22 PPG while Bearcats kitty defense allows 28 PPG. RB Marlon Mack is averaging 6.5 YPC, and Bulls might be able to play keep away from Cincy’s high-powered offense. Home dog, better defense. I’m a buyer. USF 31, Cincinnati 28

FAU at Florida, UF by 31

David: FAU takes a break from losing Conference USA games to take a Beating for Dollars. At least the Owls play the state’s Big Three. Fully healthy, FAU’s offense would surprise the Gators for a half or so. Now? No surprise, just squash. UF 42, FAU 10

Goliath: Gators are down three key defensive lineman and might be looking ahead to a double revenge home date versus Florida State. Owls might not be fierce at home but are a tough out on the road going 18-4 ATS. UF 38, FAU 13

Michigan State at Ohio State, Ohio State by 13

David: Like last year, the defending national champion Buckeyes got themselves together after an erratic first month. I don’t know about the health of Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook’s shoulder. I know it’s better than it will be after Ohio State’s Joey Bosa crashes on it like a bro’s couch. Ohio St. 35, Michigan St. 17

Goliath: The switch to QB J.T. Barrett for the Buckeyes and a Spartan defense that has plunged from a top-10 defense to No. 45 in two years has me backing Urban Meyer’s bunch. They also have the best offensive and defensive players on the field: RB Ezekiel Elliott and DL Joey Bosa. Ohio St. 41, Michigan St. 21

Georgia Tech at Miami, Georgia Tech by 2

David: This isn’t the Rambling Wreck of recent years, squashing opponents with an old-fashioned triple option like some out-of-control 1972 Electra 225 running over possums. In fact, Tech’s light on defensive tackles after senior Jabari Hunt quit the team. That should boost the Hurricanes running game, which should help quarterback Brad Kaaya. UM 35, Georgia Tech 31

Goliath: Tough to decide who to select when the Canes defense hasn’t shut down anyone since their opening week rout of FCS opponent Bethune-Cookman, and the Yellow Jackets offense has nine turnovers in the past four games. Brad Kaaya’s 13 to 4 touchdown/interception ratio tips the scales slightly. UM 30, Georgia Tech 24

North Carolina at Virginia Tech, North Carolina by 5

David: North Carolina annihilates archrival Duke, then goes through the Hurricanes like Mike Tyson went through the heavyweight division. And that’s the line? I know the Hokies are at home, it’s Frank Beamer’s last home game as Hokies coach, and Tech needs this for bowl eligibility. So? North Carolina 42, Virginia Tech 27

Goliath: Believe it or not, the Tar Heels defense, led by first-year coordinator Gene Chizik, is allowing just 18 PPG and is better than Bud Foster’s Hokie defense, which allows 24 PPG. Frank Beamer’s farewell tour hits a speed bump as his team doesn’t have the playmakers on offense to play catch up. North Carolina 38, Virginia Tech 24

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