Last Week: 10-6
What Went Right: ULL, Iowa, Purdue, Tulsa, Cincinnati, Clemson, Ohio State, La. Tech, Illinois (upset of the week, no less), Temple
What Went Wrong: For the first time this year, the Mortal Lock of the Week did not hit, as the 2014 Alabama defense decided to show up and brought the 2018 SECCG offense with them. Still, we’re sitting at 9-1 on those. Whomp. Whomp. SMU, BYU, West Virginia, Directional Georgias — both of them — Southern and State :(
Here are this week’s lines, and here is what we’re doing with our ill-gotten gains.
Not With a 10’ Pole and Stolen Money:
Oklahoma -10 at Baylor — Has OU done anything to engender this kind of confidence? They’ll probably win, but injuries are piling up and the Bears have a passable defense. They’ll score on this wretched Okie defense too.
UNC +4 at Pitt — This is one of those ACC circular firing squads of derp, and it entirely depends on which version of each team shows up. Panthers are probably better, but even then, this one smells a whole lot like a 24-23 game.
TCU +3 at TTU — If you can make heads or tails of these two disappointing teams you’re a better critter than I. Vegas sees this essentially as a tossup with the Tortilla Tossers getting the benefit of the doubt at home (and Lubbock is one of the tougher B12 venues). That seems right, but I’ll watch it, not wager it.
You know what, just go ahead and skip all of the Big 12 this week. There’s not much value here, with each line looking more and more like a trap: Texas - 7.5 at Iowa State? You confident there either way? West Virginia +14.5 at Kansas State? Kansas +17.5 at Oklahoma State? Nah, dog.
Is everyone on drugs? Northwestern -40.5 vs. UMass? Northwestern may not even score 40 points, not even against UMass. But on Senior Night, mired in the worst Northwestern season in a decade, watch this be the game the Wildcats take out all of 2019’s frustrations. Stay well away from it.
Clemson -34.5 vs. Wake — Dabo will slap run this up if he gets the opportunity...and he will get that opportunity. I smell something a whole lot like 55-10 coming down the pipe. Style points, style points, style points. It doesn’t help that Wake just lost its best WR too. Want a mortal lock of the week? It’s this one.
Ohio State -53 at Rutgers — Why not? LOL. They’ll hit 70 without breaking a sweat. Style points. Style points. Style points. Rutgers should have to play Arkansas. That is the game America deserves. Greg Schiano’s group is going to do bad things to his once and future team (He’ll be back in Jersey as the Scarlet Knights HC after the playoffs, where he always belonged).
Alabama -19.5 at Mississippi State — I know, I know. Alabama always plays terrible in this game. The difference between this year and prior versions is that the Tide has zero margin for error. It must win with the voters eyeballs and with performance metrics. Farting around to a 31-20 win probably won’t cut it. But, farting around to a 38-10 win helps a lot! For all that is holy, please tackle Kylin Hill.
LSU -21.5 at Ole Miss — You can forgive LSU for being a little hungover for a quarter or so. But, it won’t matter. They’ll shake the rust off and cruise to a 24-28 point win. They’re playing for Joe Brady’s job prospects and Joe Burrow’s Heisman. Nothing like kicking a rival when they’re down, and the Rebs are down.
Minnesota +2.5 at Iowa — The Gophers have not been very good away from home, and that defense is still looking a might bit iffy. Iowa has come really close in its three biggest games of the season. They finally get one, and it’ll be against their archrival no less. Floyd of Rosedale stays in Iowa City.
Georgia -2.5 at Auburn — Am I missing something here? Voodoo aside, the Dawgs are just the better team. Recall: LSU beat Auburn not necessarily through the air, but by taking control of both lines of scrimmage. The best way to defeat the Auburn pass rush? Run right at them. The Bulldogs will do just that in their typical boring, businesslike way and without much of a passing game. Auburn can’t score enough on this team, not even at home.
Indiana +14.5 at Penn State. This is your gratuitous shootout in the Rust Belt. The Nittany Lions defense can be had, but the Hoosiers’ defense is equally suspect. Still, that hook is way too gross to justify taking. 41-28 kind of game coming.
- MACTION BABY! I like Toledo -2.5 vs. Northern Illinois in the Glass Bowl tonight.
- Not even Clay Helton can screw up USC -7 at Cal. Or, can he? The men of troy are going to attempt to go out with some dignity in 2019...at least until they lose to UCLA in two weeks. Take the Trojans in an an ugly, ugly 20-7 kind of game. Cal has the worst passing game you’ve ever seen (yes, even worse than Northwestern.)
- Kick ‘em when they’re down: Picking up a winnable road game against NCSU would run Louisville’s record this year to a respectable 6-4. The Cards cover -4 on the road and get there.
- I think Illinois broke Sparty, y’all. Up 28-3, favored by 15.5, they lost...at home. Michigan is a two-touchdown favorite (-13.5) over Michigan State, and they’ll get it done against one of their more regular foils. The bye week came at a good time for the Wolverines. Like UGA-Auburn, just a workmanlike boring game won by the better team.
- Virginia Tech (-6) finds itself in the catbird seat in the ACC Coastal. To earn the privilege of being sacrificed upon the Altar of Dabo, they just need to win out against Pitt in the season finale and against the offensively-challenged Yellow Jackets this week. It won’t be easy — Fuente never makes it easy — but VT gets the win and the cover against Georgia Tech.
- This aint’ your daddy’s Utah State Aggies team. The wrong team is probably favored. The Cowboys are tenacious on defense and will run the ball at you 70 times a game. Nip and tuck in Logan, but you can’t bet against defense and RTDB. Take Wyoming +6.5 at Utah State.
- If Hawaii can’t cover -7 at UNLV, wind down the program now. Fortunately, the Rainbow Warriors will do just that. Win, I mean, not end the program.
- Texas A&M has a big one against UGA next week, then wraps up against LSU. That won’t stop the Aggies from bullying South Carolina at home. Take A&M -11 vs. a reeling Gamecocks team. The good news is, we’re one game closer to Alabama defensive coordinator Will Muschamp (says silent prayer).