You know your standards are high when you go 4-1 and your picking percentage goes down. But we have strive for perfection around here, and I'm doing my best to finish strong in the last week of the regular season.
Cincinnati 28, Pittsburgh 24: The Big One. My most important pick of the season. Oh, and also the biggest game of the year. I was leaning toward Pitt at home last week, but I have to stay with the defending champs after watching both play in Week 13. Sure, you can't read too terribly much into the Panthers' loss in a rivalry game on the road. But Tony Pike looked mighty impressive with six touchdowns in a triumphant return for Cincinnati. The Bearcats have been such an efficient machine, especially with their senior quarterback healthy, that they must get the nod. And picking against Brian Kelly has never served me well.
West Virginia 21, Rutgers 17: Start with the fact that West Virginia hasn't lost to Rutgers since Bill Clinton's first term. Still, that doesn't have much of an impact on this year's game. What will have an impact is the Mountaineers' fully healthy defense, and if it approaches any where near the level of intensity it showed against Pitt, it could be a tough night for a still-maturing Scarlet Knights' offense.
Connecticut 24, South Florida 20: There may be snow in East Hartford by Saturday night, which probably won't agree with the Bulls. But the weather won't be nearly as big a problem as UConn's running game -- Andre Dixon should join Jordan Todman in the 1,000-yard club this week -- and the fact that it's a road game against a decent Big East opponent. In case you haven't noticed, South Florida hasn't been too good in those games as of late. Connecticut ends the year on a three-game winning streak.
Last week: 4-1
Season record: 54-11 (83.1 percent)