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College Football Week 12 Predictions: Can You Top The Zultan?

Posted on November 17, 2009 by JA Allen

Don’t be sad. It had to happen.

Zultan faces the inevitable end of the season. Soon you will not have the allseeing one to kick around anymore, to paraphrase the often hilarious Richard Nixon! This is Zultan’s last regular fearless prediction column of 2009. Hibernation mercifully awaits.

Last week the seer went 6 of 10, missing wins by Northwestern at Illinois, Michigan State at Purdue, Ohio State over Iowa (sigh), and Stanford’s annihilation of USCwhoa! Year to date, Zultan clings to 72 percent [73 of 101].

This is your last chance to enter the drawing for a $50 Best Buy Gift card by clicking here to enter your own predictions. If you outguess the mighty Zultan your name will be placed in the draw along with all those who surpassed Zultan on the season. The winner will be announced on November 24 in a special feature on Sports Now and Then.

Zultan may consider forecasting bowl winners if the hue and outcry for his return is great enough. You may let me know in your own inimitable style.

In the meantimethere are upcoming games to predict with much still at stake in the Big 10 and the rest of college football.

(1) No.10 Ohio State @ Michigan

This contest was once the climax of the Big 10 season between the two top dogs in the conference; the winner would go to the Rose Bowl, often only to be shellacked by the Pac 10 representative. Ohio State and Michigan were known as the “Big Two” and this was “The Game.” In 2000 ESPN ranked it as the top North American sports rivalry. Ah, how the mighty have fallen.

This year it is a study in contrastthe top and the bottom. The beginning and the endthe beginning of another BCS Bowl bid for the Buckeyes and the end of another dismal season for the once mighty Wolverines. Makes you feel like “Taps” at the start of the game is the only appropriate “marching” song. Zultan says Ohio State wins this one on the road.

(2) Minnesota @ No.13 Iowa

This traditional end of the season game between Iowa and Minnesota determines who will hoist the prized bronze pig. That in itself is no easy matter. The true story of the “Floyd of Rosedale” trophy would indeed make a heart-wrenching musical comedy. Remind Zultan to relate it to you someday. Both Iowa and Minnesota are bowl eligible this year; but Iowa must make a statement in this game to get the bowl selection committees to pay attention to their stellar season of wins, all without reward in the polls. Zultan picks Iowa to win this game in Kinnick Stadium and retain the bronze pig for another year.

(3) No.16 Wisconsin @ Northwestern

This last weekend of action is replete with Big 10 showdowns on the road. The contest between Wisconsin and Northwestern is the first one up. Granted both teams are already bowl eligible, but now is the time to ratchet up the substance meter and add to the “wow” factor. It is imperative to make the bowls pay attention and beg you to play in their stadium. A win by Northwestern could move them up the line toward a date for New Year’s day. For sure a loss by Wisconsin would send the Badgers further down into the obscurity pit. Wisconsin has been steadier in the pocket all season. Zultan counts on the Badgers to continue to keep pace by winning this one on the road.

(4) Purdue @ Indiana

Neither of these teams has anything to play for but pride and an “Old Oaken Bucket.” Their seasons are marked with outstanding play in bursts but an inability to play consistently from beginning to end. Success, as we know, is attained in the details, in the trenches fighting for inches. Purdue defeated Ohio State and Michigan in one year. No other Big 10 team to date has managed to defeat the mighty Buckeyes. Indiana has come close but has only defeated one Big 10 foe to date, Illinois. This one is pretty much a toss up according to odds-makers; but based on their results Zultan must give the nod to Purdue to win this one and come within a whisper of having a winning season.

(5) No.14 Penn State @ Michigan State

Penn State must win this game in East Lansing against the Michigan State Spartans. Otherwise their bowl aura will be tarnished with a 93 record instead of 102. One suggests an “OK” season while the other promises delivery of top-notch gridiron feats. Michigan State, on the other hand, will be hard-pressed to sell out stadiums with a record of 6-6; although they might entice a few more spectators with a 7-5 season and a winning conference record. This year the Spartan defense has often let them down while the Penn State offense failed to gel when pressed by good defenses such as those of Ohio State and Iowa. Zultan feels that Penn State should prevail in another of the problematic road games this coming weekend.

(6) No.25 Cal @ No. 17 Stanford

What idiot would bet against Stanford at home? Certainly not Zultan, not after the humiliation of last week and the Cardinal beat-down of USC 55-21. Somebody laced the Cardinal cinnamon oatmeal with muscle-milk as the Stanford squad made sure the USC body was not moving before they left the field of play. I wonder if there was some sort of special incentive (beyond the normal one of winning at all costs) that caused such an explosion of scoring. Watch Jim Harbaugh become the next hottest coaching commodity. This week Tiger Woods has been named honorary captain for the game against the No.25 ranked Cal Bears. Expect Stanford to prevail and wait for their bowl invitations to come flooding in.

(7) No.11 Oregon @ Arizona

This is another tough road contest to call. Oregon can feel the hot breath of Stanford on their necks because if they lose on Saturday to Arizona, or the following weekend to Oregon State, Stanford could steal the conference championship away; assuming, that is, Stanford wins on Saturday and follows it up with a win against Notre Dame. Both are vying for a trip to Pasadena to meet the Big 10 winner. Right now the Oregon Ducks hold destiny on their wings. They just need to win out. But that is the rubwinning out. Arizona is perfect at home. They love their own playground and field an excellent defense. Oregon may be cracking under the pressure, but Ducks prefer flying into the wind. Zultan foresees them beating the Wildcats at home.

(8) Oklahoma @ Texas Tech

Going to Lubbock, Texas sounds like a John Travolta flick featuring a Texas Two Step soundtrack or a Waylon Jennings plaintive love song. It will be none of these things on Saturday. It will be a struggle of a top-notch defense against a high scoring offense. Oklahoma, banged-up, bruised and broken will put the pieces back together again for another road trip deep in the Big 12 South where the home crowds are loud and the refs don’t always see. Both teams are playing for high stakesZultan likes Oklahoma and picks them to take Texas Tech at home.

(9) No.8 LSU @ Mississippi

Notice that Zultan did not shy away from the tough picks this week. This one tops them all as these two SEC teams battle it out. LSU and Mississippi break you with their defensesuffocating and aggressive. But LSU has suffered some injuries that hurt and they will not have RB Charles Scott, who broke his collarbone last week. The Tigers may also be without quarterback Jordan Jefferson. Mississippi has fallen on hard times since the start of the season. But this is an offense with explosive potential led by their quarterback Jevan Snead, once considered a Heisman contender. With the injuries to LSU and home field advantage, Zultan must pick Mississippi to take this one.

(10) Air Force @ No.22 BYU

BYU was taken by surprise by New Mexico (0-10) winning only 24-19 against a team they should have blown away. Team members are saying that this near disaster was a well-timed wake up call before the Cougars meet tough traditional Mountain West Conference rivals Air Force and Utah. Air Force will provide a much more diverse and tougher campaign against the Cougars who cannot afford to turn the ball over this week. Expect the lesson to be learned. BYU will hold off Air Force and improve their MWC standing.

Last week seven lucky prognosticators bested poor old Zultan. They are to be heartily congratulated for their winning ways! [8-2] = David Eck Cedar Falls, IA; Mike Vanderver Howell, MI and Jason Brown Hampshire, IL. [7-3] = Kim Suong Fort Madison, IA, Daniel Repp Albuquerque, NM, Craig Fudge Woodbury, MN and Ryan Sparrow Channahon, IL. Zultan covers the world!

This is your last chance to match wits with the master so take advantage. He who wades in deep water often gets his feet soaked. Zultan has been wet all season. Take a leap. See if you can beat him before he becomes at one with the wistful fates…

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