LAST WEEK: 7-6
What went right? The mortal lock of the season to-date, Mississippi State -9.5, was a big winner. The blowouts did well, by and large: Alabama, OSU, Hawaii, and Oklahoma State among others. Air Force got that road cover.
What went wrong? There were some stumbles, namely Oklahoma making UCLA look competent, Texas (again!) pooping all over the 50-, and Purdue gacking away the -16.5 to Eastern Michigan. Wazzu blew out SJSU — pitched a shutout, but another TD would have been nice. At least the Boilermakers had the good graces to just lose outright. Still mad at Memphis blowing a two-score lead late by playing stupid football. Like Purdue, the Tigers had the decency to lose outright. Kansas decided to pick up its first road win in 9 years...the week I bet on them :(
Boston College (-3.5) at Wake:
Right out of the gate, let’s concede that Wake Forest should not be playing a football game on Thursday night. Be safe, Atlantic coast — especially you folks in the Carolinas and the DMV.
But, in the weird event that this game is actually held, you have to err with the team that can run the ball more consistently and which has the stoutest defense. Both of those belong to the Eagles. That said, Vegas has this one essentially a tie, with the money line being really narrow on both sides of the ledger (-115 BC, -105 Wake) — that tells you two things: 1. that neither result would be a shocker, and 2. that the action is evenly split.
I’m bored, so I’ll toss a unit on the Eagles.
Georgia State at Memphis (-27)
Georgia State is godawful. Memphis largely choked away its chance for the big money bowl last weekend, blowing a 13-point lead by deciding to pass in the rain against a triple option team. The Tigers redeem themselves in the Liberty Bowl...this one could be a real rout.
Worth a unit for the home rebound beatdown.
UTEP at Tennessee (-28.5)
Oklahoma at Iowa State (+18.5)
Rutgers at Kansas (-3)
Florida State at Syracuse (+2.5)
Miami (Fla.) at Toledo (+10)
Central Florida at North Carolina (+14.5)
Hawaii at Army (-5)
Ball State at Indiana (-16)
Kent State at Penn State (-34.5)
East Carolina at Virginia Tech (+28.5)
Vanderbilt at Notre Dame (-14.5)
SMU at Michigan (-35.5)
Boise State at Oklahoma State (-3)
BYU at Wisconsin (-22)
West Virginia at NC State (-3.5)
LSU at Auburn (-9.5)
USF at Illinois (+8)
Miami (OH) at Minnesota (-16)
Colorado State at Florida (-18.5)
Central Michigan at NIU (-16)
No. Texas at Arkansas (-8)
UTSA at K State (-20)
Georgia Southern at Clemson (-34.5)
San Jose State at Oregon (-41)
Alabama at Ole Miss (+20)
Middle Tennessee at Georgia (-31.5)
Marshall at South Carolina (-12.5)
Louisiana at Mississippi State (-31.5)
UL-Monroe at Texas A&M (-25.5)
Temple at Maryland (-11.5)
Troy at Nebraska (-7.5)
Tulane at UAB (+2)
Duke at Baylor (-6)
Houston at Texas Tech (-2.5)
Missouri at Purdue (+6)
ULM at Texas A&M (-28)
UMass at FIU (-4)
Akron at Northwestern (-21.5)
New Mexico at NMSU (+8)
Fresno State at UCLA (+1)
Oregon State at Nevada (-6.5)
Ohio State vs. TCU (+13)
Washington at Utah (+6)
Arizona State at San Diego State (+3.5)
Georgia Southern at Clemson (-34.5)
Ohio State (-13) vs TCU
Why are they favored?
Boise State +3 at Oklahoma State — Much respect is owed to Gundy’s ever-churning point machine in Stillwater. But better Cowboys teams than this one have lost to midmajors at home. I think Saturday they do so again.
Duke +6 at Baylor - Baylor should have lost to UTSA last week. If the Roadrunners could hang on to sure interceptions, the Bears would have. Duke has notched a better road win already, and they add to that ledger this week.
Texas -3 vs. USC — I have no idea why Texas is favored. If they run the ball consistently, they have a shot. If the secondary can contain the Trojans’ athleticism, they have a shot. Helton vs. Herman is real battle of the wits, eh? Give me the more seasoned team on the season, and that is USC — coming off a tough one on the Farm, they are probably better than the Longhorns. Texas’ secondary should be a real concern in this one to folks in Austin. If The Golden Hurricane had a place kicker, the Horns lose that game last week.
Tight Lines Worth a Spin
Washington (-6.5) at Utah — The Huskies have no margin for error. The Utes offense is still on life support. This should be a low-scoring one in Rice Eccles, but talent and experience militates in favor of U-Dub
Ohio State -13 at TCU — The only reason this line is vastly undervalued is because of people’s perceptions of TCU. There’s no way people have watched the two teams, or that the Buckeyes walk out of this without a 14+ point win.
Auburn -9.5 vs. LSU — LSU will be game for sure. But the Baton Rouge Tigers’ deficiencies set up perfectly to get whacked on the plains: bad offensive line play, lack of a feature back, inconsistent quarterback play and lack of deep threats. Auburn is just a different team on the road, and Stidham especially is. Maybe 30-13ish?
Bet on the Blowout:
Alabama -20.5 at Ole Miss — Yes, I suspect Ole Miss will put up 20 or so. The offense is a handful. But I am fairly sure the Rebels give up 65 points along the way. And that’s if Saban calls off the dogs.
Penn State -34.5 vs. Kent State — Grading on the MAC curve, Kent is awful. We know how Franklin likes to drub the hapless. This is a bodybag game if ever there were one. The Lions could name their score.
Clemson -34.5 vs. Georgia Directional — It doesn’t matter which directional Peach State team this is, the Tigers have a lot of kinks to work out, especially on offense and in the secondary. They will do so.
MTSU vs. UGA (-31.5) — Georgia will not even have to play particularly crisply to cover this line and likely shutout the Blue Raiders doing so. Expect the running game and the bench to get a heavy workout, despite people expecting a letdown.
Miami (OH) at Minn (-16.5) — I think I’m finally ready to trust the Gophers and spastic P.J. Fleck. DYK: Fleck has presided over more 35+ point wins than the previous three coaches combined? The RedHawks have a lot of problems. Like most Gopher games, it won’t be pretty. But a 17-0 win isn’t unreasonable. UMN has looked particularly good defensively this year.
Run for Your Life:
A&M -25.5 at home and heartbroken? Versus potentially the best team in the Sun Belt (ULM)? With SEC play opening next week? Not with a 10-foot pole.
Mizzou -6 at Purdue — I don’t trust the Tigers defense yet. I don’t trust Barry Odom yet. And I don’t trust Mizzou to not screw this up on the road versus a Big 10 team desperate for a win. This smells like a trap. It also is probably lower scoring than most suspect.
UTEP +28.5 at Tennessee — If you bet on either one of these teams, you deserve whatever happens to you. Should be an absolute Vol blowout. But...