Column: Sports Prediction Central, Edition 6

Predictions for the best games around the sports world this week

Welcome to the sixth edition of Sports Predictions Central, a column for predictions of the best games on the sports slate this week. 

In this edition, we will be predicting and breaking down the outcomes of the following games: #17 North Carolina vs. #10 Miami, #20 USC vs. UCLA, Steelers vs. Bills, Ravens vs. Browns and #7 Kansas vs. #17 Texas Tech.

College Football: #17 North Carolina vs. #10 Miami, Saturday, Dec. 12, 12:30 p.m.

Adam: North Carolina has had a bit of a letdown this season after coming into the year highly ranked with a good recruiting class. Miami, on the other hand, has been fantastic, save for their collapse versus Clemson. Both teams have exceptional quarterbacks, with Sam Howell for North Carolina and D’eriq King for Miami being some of the best in the country. In this one, I think North Carolina will pull off the upset thanks to a fantastic performance from Sam Howell.

North Carolina 34, Miami 27

Alex: Coming off a dominant performance, Miami takes on a solid but in my opinion slightly overrated North Carolina team. In my opinion the Hurricanes outmatch the Tar Heels in almost every aspect and will shock people with a staple win on Saturday afternoon.

Miami 28, North Carolina 13

Eric: In a matchup with two ranked ACC teams, I like Miami against a decent North Carolina team. The Miami offense is powerful and their defense can hold it down. 

Miami 30, North Carolina 20

Final Score: North Carolina 62, Miami 26

College Football: #15 USC vs. UCLA, Saturday, Dec. 12, 4 p.m.

Adam: This matchup is shaping up to be one of the best of the week. The Trojans are undefeated and fighting for a berth in the Pac-12 championship, while the Bruins are looking to capture the liberty bell after it was taken from them last year. This will be the biggest challenge of the year for USC, who has played an otherwise weak schedule. The Bruins have strung together a couple of impressive wins, making for Chip Kelly’s first ever winning record in his 3 years at UCLA. The streak will continue on Saturday, with a nail-biting victory over their crosstown rivals.

UCLA 31, USC 30

Alex: In the best PAC-12 matchup of the week, both teams have impressed in the last two weeks, looking to gain even more momentum. After two extremely dominant wins, the Trojans will continue their streak against an up-and-down Bruins squad.

USC 41, UCLA 31

Eric: The Trojans offense looked like a powerhouse in the first half of their game with Washington State this past weekend. I believe that the offense will put up a lot of points, though UCLA has overachieved this season. 

USC 35, UCLA 27

Final Score: USC 43, UCLA 38

Steelers vs. Bills, Sunday, Dec. 13, 5:20 p.m.

Adam: By far the best NFL matchup of the week, the Steelers will try to avoid a two game skid against Josh Allen and the red-hot Bills. Coming off an embarrassing performance against Washington, I believe the Steelers will continue to struggle against a very good Bills squad. Josh Allen is an MVP candidate, and the Bills defense is sneaky good. 

Bills 24, Steelers 21

Alex: In one of the best matchups of the week, the Steelers hope to bounce back against the Bills on Sunday night football. I think this game will shock some people, showing the versatility of Josh Allen and the Bills offense as a whole, getting the job done towards the end of the game. 

Bills 20, Steelers 13

Eric: The Sunday Night game features two of the AFC’s best teams, as both teams lead their divisions. Ben Roethlisberger leads a Steelers team with a good offense and a stifling defense. I see the game being low scoring, as cold weather could be a factor.

Steelers 21, Bills 17

Final Score: Bills 26, Steelers 15

Ravens vs. Browns, Monday, Dec. 14, 5:15 p.m

Adam: This is a must-win for the Ravens, who have fallen out of the playoff picture. In order to keep their playoff hopes alive, I believe the Ravens will bounce back in a big way against Cleveland. The team lives and dies through Lamar Jackson — when he plays well, they play well. This time, Jackson will show why he was the 2019 MVP, leading the Ravens to a much-needed win.

Ravens 31, Browns 21

Alex: Coming off a great performance against the Titans, the Browns are playing with a lot of confidence for the first time in seemingly forever. Baker Mayfield is rolling, and I just can’t envision the streaky Ravens taking the win on Monday night. 

Browns 27, Ravens 21

Eric: The Browns looked really good this past weekend, but have been inconsistent. If Baltimore Quarterback, Lamar Jackson, is back for this Week 14 matchup, the offense is much more dynamic. I see the Ravens winning a close one in this matchup.

Ravens 27, Browns 20 

Final Score: Ravens 47, Browns 42

College Basketball: #5 Kansas vs. #17 Texas Tech, Thursday, Dec. 17, 4 p.m.

Adam: I see Texas Tech pulling off the big upset in this one. Kansas is the perennial Big 12 powerhouse, but struggled in early season matchups against Gonzaga and mid-major NDSU. Texas Tech has a fantastic coach in Chris Beard and a potential superstar in Mac McClung. They’ll get the best of the Jayhawks this time.

Texas Tech 68, Kansas 64

Alex: In a battle of two ranked teams, ultimately I see the blue blood Kansas holding on for the victory in a nailbiter. Despite a weak performance last week against NDSU, the Jayhawks will prove themselves in this one. Jalen Wilson has been playing great basketball and I see him giving Kansas the momentum to carry the victory down the stretch.

Kansas 74, Texas Tech 68

Eric: This matchup between two ranked Big 12 teams, I see Kansas proving themselves in a statement game and vaulting up the rankings. They have a great supporting cast for Jalen Wilson and will look impressive throughout the game.

Kansas 70, Texas Tech 61

Final Score: Kansas 58, Texas Tech 57

Current Prediction Standings (Through Fifth Edition):

Adam: 14-11 (3-2 last week)

Alex: 14-11 (3-2 last week)

Eric: 11-14 (2-3 last week)