Last Week: 8-3-2:
What Went Right: Another solid week: Alabama, ULM, NC State, Ariz. St., Boise State, Tennessee, Texas, Western Michigan
What Went Wrong: BYU, FSU, Mizzou
And, depending on how you view a push, we had two last week — hey, at least you didn’t lose your money — as UF (+14) and SDSU (-4) both earned a tie against the books.
With that said, let’s move on to Week 8, and it’s going to be midmajor heavy. In many respects, the second tier teams and conferences have proven to have the far friendlier action in 2019.
Not with a 10’ Pole and Stolen Money:
Alabama is five touchdowns better than Tennessee. But I don’t know that Alabama’s defense can hold on to -34.5 by the end of the whistle. Maurer is a nice little QB of the future and the Vols come into this one with a little momentum and some hope. Toxic.
If you think that one’s bad, Iowa (-17.5) vs. Purdue screams trap. My gut says the Hawkeyes smash the Boilers. But the UI secondary is just shaky enough to give up some garbage time scores.
Louisville (+24) has an offense that is better than you think. But it also has a defense far worse than you can believe. A backdoor against Clemson is still possible despite this being a highlight reel game for ETN and Sunshine.
TCU/Kansas State (+3.5) and Toledo/Ball State (-1.5) are the definitions of “tossup.” There are better bets out there to be had. I’ll bet both are fun to watch, though.
Here’s this week’s 14 picks, with three others that you may wish to consider. May the odds ever be in your favor:
Houston (-22) at UConn: Even trying to tank, it’s going to be hard for the Cougars to not win this game by 30+ points. Huskies get blasted.
This one opened at -9, and has dropped like a rock for whatever reason since then. Even for all its injuries and inconsistencies, Stanford is two scores better at home than UCLA. Take the Cardinal laying 7 vs. Chip Kelly’s Bruins.
South Alabama (+15) at Troy. Troy has every advantage imaginable, tangible or otherwise. Meanwhile, this Jaguars team fails every eyeball test and statistical analysis you can imagine. Homecoming vs. a bad team, televised, and laying just two scores? Trojans cover that one for the alumni and recruits in the stands.
ULL (-6) at Arkansas State: The Cajuns have an infinitely better offense, and the Red Wolves defense has struggled far more this year. It’s a rivalry, but the better team wins this one; that team also happens to have one of the coolest mascots in all of sports — a demonic Coonass chili pepper.
Texas A&M -6 at Ole Miss. The Rebels have definitely been a surprise this season, sitting at .500 with bowl ambitions in sight. Aggie has been who we thought they were — a team with plenty of talent at some areas, little talent at others, youth at most positions, and a lack of depth all the way across the starting 22. This game very much does strike me as a 7-10 pointer, especially with flaky Jimbo at the helm coming off an emotional hangover. This is an absolute must-win for A&M against an Ole Miss team that can beat them unless the Aggies show up. The Ags fart around for 60 minutes and win a really ugly one, but it’s enough to cover 6 on the road.
Miami (-18) vs. Georgia Tech. Yes, we’re going out on a limb here betting on Manny Diaz and Dan Enos to do anything competent for 60 minutes. If this were an ordinary bad team, I’d tell you to take the Yellow Jackets. But, it’s not an ordinary bad team. It’s extraordinarily terrible.
And that is the the third time that’s happened this year. It’s not even Halloween yet.
So, yeah, ‘Canes big.
Pitt (-3) at Syracuse. Tough year for Dino Babers. The defense struggling is a bit of a mystery, but far more enigmatic is a Syracuse offense averaging well south of 400 total yards. Tommy Devito just is not the right guy there. So, with a wide open ACC, trust the Panthers smothering defense and strong running game get it done on the road in the Carrier Dome.
On the bright side, this would have been a great basketball game back in the day?
FAU (-5) vs. Marshall. Don’t look now, but LMFK’s Owls have gone on a nice tear following an 0-2 start, and they’ve done so replacing their feature back and a lot of new pieces on offense. The defense he’s spent three years building is showing up in conference play. Despite this Thundering Herd team being singularly unimpressive, and doubly so on the road, this one isn’t in Huntington, where it would be tossup. And, since its not, the Owls defense and balanced offense get it done at home.
Florida -5 at South Carolina. Sorry, Gamecocks, you’re not allowed to have two good games in a row. That is especially true going since USCe is on its third-string QB and still hungover from the biggest win in program history. It won’t be easy, or pretty, but Kyle Trask and Florida do just enough to win a close one on the road.
Boise State (-6.5) at BYU. There is no more baffling team than the Cougars. They go into Knoxville and win on the road; they smack around USC; then they lay an egg against USF and Toledo, and get mauled by Washington. The Broncos are the better team here, and, barring any weirdness, should get the road cover. The only reservation you may have is how well the Mormons are playing at home. It won’t matter this week.
Auburn -18 at Arkansas. Yeah, this game is going to be godawful. The worst starting QB in the SEC against one of its best defenses — coached by a high school clown who is still hellbent on throwing — all those interceptions be damned? That’s a recipe for a disaster. October Barn rounds nicely into form with a road stomping of the Razorbacks.
Cal -11 vs. Oregon State: Oh, god, the blood; everywhere the blood. The Beavers have put up points on teams with bad defenses. Against squads with good defenses they’ve been turnover machines. Guess what? Cal has the latter sort of team. Not even the Bears bad offense can fail to score here with an abundance of short fields and opportunities. Wherefore art though, Dennis Erickson?!
San Diego State (-7) at San Jose State. The West Coast Spartans have shown surprising signs of life at times this year, led by a very competent passing attack. And, I do think SJSU will put up a few points on the otherwise-stout Aztecs defense. The problem comes on the otehr side of the ball, where a ground-and-pound SDSU team has to be licking their chops looking at the undersized SJSU front four that is 118th in the country in rushing defense. As always, trust defense and a running game on the road. San Diego State may not have to even throw a pass to win this one.
Western Michigan (-8.5) at Eastern Michigan. The Broncos offense has been lights out this year. And that is bad news for the Eagles, who give up nearly five touchdowns a game to pair with an inconsistent offense. Yes, it’s a rivalry. And, yes, I do love me some Chris Creighton. But there’s just not enough in the tank here for EMU to keep up with WMU: Take the Broncos laying single digits.
May Also Consider:
Penn State (-9) vs. Michigan — James Franklin is going to do filthy things to future Lions head coach Jim Harbaugh. Clownshoes Gattis gets embarrassed in his homecoming.
Coastal Carolina (+7) at Georgia Southern — This one has all the markings of a shootout in waiting. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if the Chanticleers sprung an upset either
If LSU (-19.5) is the team they think they are, they should obliterate this lifeless Bulldogs squad on the road. I’ll bet they do, too.