Last Week: 12-2
What went right? Damn near everything, including the Mortal Lock of the Week (Clemson -34.5. We are now 10-1 on the season in such games). It was the best week of the season.
What went wrong: Toledo and, shamefully, Ohio State.
Here’s this week’s picks for you lovely people, beginning with — as usual — the real dogs to avoid.
Not with a 10’ Pole and Stolen Money:
Coastal (+6) at UL-M: The Warhawks are solid one week, turnover machines and dummies the next. Coastal can play some solid D too — don’t rule out the S/U win by the Chanticleers.
Cincy (-10) vs. Temple: The two best defenses and most physical teams in the AAC? If this were in Philly, I’d be all over the Owls. That said, they’re still capable of catching the Bearcats looking ahead. The is a trap game from the netherworld.
Cal (-2.5) at Stanford: Awful, awful game between two awful, awful (and unpredictable) teams. Oh, and it’s a rivalry too? THE BAND IS ON THE FIELD...and my wallet is in my pocket for this turd.
Texas (+5.5) at Baylor: What do you make of Baylor’s heartbreak? They don’t have time to mope about their ghastly choke last week either. On the other side, Mensa candidate Tom Herman has to have this game. Can he actually get it though? Talent-wise, it shouldn’t be close. But you get the feeling this is a field goal game either way. It seems like most of Texas’ meaningful performances have been so narrow ones.
Texas A&M (+13.5) at Georgia: This is going to be a defensive slog between two power running teams with good defensive lines. Aggie can’t throw that well, and UGA has no receivers. Whoever can break that trend gets it done. You think it’ll be the ‘Dawgs, but asking this offense to win any SEC game by 14 points feels like Mission: Impossible. Never underestimate a good ole’ erratic Jimbo sighting or a proper Kirbying.
What I like:
Oklahoma State (-7) vs. West Virginia — Watch: after a great 6 weeks, this will be the one the Pokes wet the bed in. That said, I do think OSU is playing great ball lately. West Virginia is still a work in progress that can occasionally upset some folks...but not on the road and not against Chuba.
Iowa (-16) at Illinois — Stay with the hot hand. Always. The Hawkeyes probably win, but Lovie covers. Feels like a trap spread, dunnit?
Troy (+14) at ULL — This just is not the usual Troy team. Nor is this the usual Cajuns team. ULL and Billy Napier are running roughshod over the FunBelt. Expect another rout at home for Ohh La La. He’ll be at a G5 school before long, and #sauces tell me he’s on the Hogs’ shortlist.
Mizzou (-4.5) vs. Tennessee — Yes, the Vols are playing better of late. But, this is a must-win for the Tigers at home. Pruitt has probably saved his job; now it’s Odom’s turn behind Kelly Bryant and a strong running game to do the same. He will. Well, he still may get fired, but it probably won’t be because of this game.
Wisconsin (-22.5) vs. Purdue — The Badgers are going to do pornographic things to that undersized Boilermakers defense. Jonathan Taylor’s Doak Walker campaign makes another huge case for itself.
Air Force (-22) at New Mexico — The Lobos aren’t as awful at stopping the run as their record would suggest. But the Falcons have been utterly ruthless against mediocre and bad teams. They’ll work over the Lobos like a child in a Chinese shoe factory this Saturday.
Oregon State (+10.5) at Wazzu — The Beavers haven’t been winning many games this season, but they have very competitive in most contests. They particularly feast upon woeful secondaries, which Wazzu just happens to trot out. The Cougs have taken a huge step back this season, particularly on defense. This game is apt to be a shootout. I like the Beavers here on the road, perhaps even getting the S/U win. Fans of parlays should peep that O/U of 75. This one is going well north of that.
TCU (+18) at Oklahoma — I don’t trust this Oklahoma team to beat anyone by three scores these days, do you? They have the 103rd scoring offense in the country...which is somehow worse than last year. TCU can give the OU wideouts just enough problems, and can score just enough points, to make this interesting. That said, TCU has not matched up well against the Dirt Burglars the last few years. In terms of confidence, this pick is just 5/10.
Miami (-20) vs. FIU — The Panthers were supposed to be better than this. But they’ve dropped one egg on top of another. If results against Tulane et al are an indication (and they are), then I have no idea how they’re going to move the ball on the best defensive line they’ll see all year. Miami has ran it up on bad teams to distract from their otherwise unspectacular season. Beatdown in Hialeah comin’.
LSU -43.5 at Arkansas — Why not? Alabama beat the Hogs by 41. Auburn did so by 42. LSU may as well rack up Joe Burrow’s Heisman stats and impress the voters so as to try and dodge that first round matchup with Clemson. Not even LSU’s awful defense is going to give up too many here. And their secondary talent is going to feast on the miserable quarterbacking the Piggies trot out. Arkansas is just riding out this season so they can offer Mike Norvell or Gus Malzahn the job that they should have two years ago.
Mortal Lock of the Week:
Ohio State (-18) vs. Penn State — This is your Mortal Lock of the Week for a good reason. If you’ve seen the Lions road struggles in the Franklin era, that’s enough alone to have you loading up on the Buckeyes. Now, throw in the absence of standout WR Hambler, the Buckeyes defense and powerful running game, the intermittent hot mess in the Nitty Kitties secondary, and Sean Clifford’s struggles. He is a hot mess, making Shea Patterson look positively conservative with the prayers he chucks up. All of this spells some bad, bad news in the ‘Shoe. The Buckeyes could (and very well may) double up this spread in a cover. This line should be closer to -24, if we’re being honest.