Welcome to Rivalry Week! We hope you and yours have an outstanding Holiday full of love, and safe travels wherever you may lay your head over the next few days. This week we give you two editions of GAM. So, if you missed part one — the Thanksgiving and Black Friday games — check that out here.
Without further ado, here’s the Rivalry Week edition of Giving Away Money.
Last Week: 7-5-1
What Went Right: Illinois (again!), Troy, Air Force, Oregon State, TCU, Baylor, A&M
What Went Wrong: Mizzou, Wisconsin, Miami (LOL), Arkansas, and, shamefully again Ohio State
Meh: Ok. State
Before we get to making you folks some money, we begin as always with saving you some. Best keep your shekels close at hand on these rivalries:
Not with a 10’ Pole and Stolen Money:
Ohio State -9 at Michigan: The Penn State game had to freak you out somewhat if you’re a Buckeye fan. There were a lot of weaknesses that had been there but were proving to finally be an actual detriment — noticeably turnovers; missed tackles by an average LB corps (deja vu); and having to rely on prayers by the wideouts for big plays. The strength of this OSU team is running the ball. You doubt they’ll be able to power over the UM line for 60 minutes quite to the extent they’ve done to the rest of the conference. And, as you always ride a hot streak, back off a cold team as well. The Bucks have failed to cover in 3 of their last 4. And, last year aside, the Wolverines just don’t get blown out very often in this one; even less do they get blown out at home.
Absolutely do not touch that Virginia Tech (-2.5) at Virginia game, nor the Battle for the Bathtub Meth — Arkansas (+12) vs. Mizzouri. I covered why earlier in the Holiday GAM edition.
I want to think that Scott Satterfield’s Luhvl Cardinals can cover the +4 against the Wildcats, but it’s hard to get a read on this game. Kentucky can’t score; Louisville can’t stop a dripping nose. There are good lines this week, UK-UL ain’t one. Expect the unexpected, for sure.
Bet the House, Baby:
Illinois -9.5 at Northwestern — Ride the hot hand, and the Illini are it — six in a row ATS, 5-1 SU. These Wildcats are toast and Sr. Day voodoo ain’t helping them either. Illinois rolls to 7 wins, and in a just and proper world, Lovie is the B1G COTY. Illini win 27-10
Oklahoma State +13 vs. Oklahoma — When was the last time Oklahoma looked good against a team with a pulse? I’ll give you a hint — it hasn’t happened yet this season. Against teams with winning records, the Sooners’ average MOV is 1.6 PPG. with wins by 7, 4, 3 and 1 point, and it includes a 7-point road loss. This is a dangerous OSU team if for nothing else because they can match OU score for score, esp. at home. Pew! Pew!
UTSA + 20 1⁄2 at Louisiana Tech — After three weeks of suspensions, the Bulldogs finally return their core offense that lead the CUSA in scoring most of the season. Congratulations, Roadrunners, you now get to be La. Tech’s tuneup game for the CUSA Championship against App. State. Something on the order of 42-13.
Boise State -13 at Colorado State — Like App. State, Memphis and others, the Broncos are trying desperately to stay in voters’ minds and leverage their high profile position into a New Year’s Six big money game. Screwing around with a bad team like the CSU won’t get it done. They’ll give up some scores, but 42-20 Broncos sounds about right.
BYU -3 at San Diego State — The Aztecs have dropped three of the last four to both passing teams and power running teams. And this one is against the most physical team they’ll face all season too...a team on a roll, no less? Take the Mormons, but it won’t be pretty or high scoring.
Notre Dame -16 at Stanford — Like Alabama, Notre Dame is playing for bowl position this week. They need a statement win against a long-time nemesis, and the Domers will get it too. To paraphrase one of my Oregon Twitter pals “Is anything more satisfying than watching David Shaw’s Stanford Paleoball turn into a crappy air raid team that’s softer than babyshit on the lines?” Not really, no. Irish big.
We had a weekday Mortal Lock in the Holiday Edition. Consider this one to be your weekend Mortal Lock of the Week: Indiana -6 1⁄2 at Purdue. The Boilermakers will be game, but the Hoosiers have a better defense and more firepower — and they’re playing for a better bowl. Purdue is playing for absolutely nothing. And it will show. 7-4 and 4th in the loaded Western division is outstanding. 8-4 and a nice trip to Florida would be even better: Indiana gets it done.
Long Shots worth a Shot
Penn State -40 1⁄2 vs Rutgers — Hey, why not? James Franklin loves running it up on hapless teams. And, with PSU’s recruiting footprint so firmly in the Jersey area, this is one to impress those kids as much as remind Bowl committees of why they deserve to go to the Rose Bowl should chaos unfold.
Maryland +22 at Michigan State — If the Spartans want to go bowling, they have to have this game against the miserable Terps. Someone really should have told Maryland about Mike Locksley’s 8-32 career coaching record. Like at his other stops, the wheels are spinning off quickly in College Park — bad offense, worse defense, and wasted talent. Coach Locks is probably going to be an OC again within a year. Dantonio gets a great Sparty send-off (even if he is personally lobbying to stay). Michigan State big.
Alabama -4 1⁄2 at Auburn — Beating Auburn by a field goal is more the norm than beating them by 10-14 points. But, that is exactly what Alabama must do to separate themselves from the B12/P12 winner. And that is exactly what Alabama shall do. Yes, the Tide are .500 at the Barn over the last four trips. But, this one looks a lot like 2015: Alabama lines up, plays three quarters to win the fourth, and takes advantage of a very limited Auburn offense. Tide pulls away late and covers in a nerve-wracking 60 minutes.
Oregon State +19 at Oregon — The Ducks playoff hopes are over. All they can do is play out the string and hope to beat the Utes for a Rose Bowl berth. That’s not a bad consolation prize. The problem is the Beavers’ offense can test those corners; indeed will test those corners. For all the talent in Oregon’s secondary, they were just 36th going into last week in passing defense. Exiting it, their passing defense dropped to 54th. These Beavers will go down, but they’ll go down with a fight against a dispirited Ducks team. OSU with the road cover.
UNCC -9.5 at Old Dominion — My god, the Monarchs are simply wretched. They improvidently made the leap up to D1 ball and it is proving to be unsustainable. On the other side of the equation, the Miners had a plan to build a D1 program from the ground-up, and it is about where you would expect after a few years — even a few wins ahead of schedule. Charlotte’s defense is better, the offense is better, and the team is light years better. UNCC covers in this tobacco road Expansion Bowl.
Liberty -14 vs. New Mexico State: DYK that Liberty is 6-5 and bowl eligible? A good win here against the Aggies would improve the chances they get one too. It’s hard to bet against Hugh Freeze in a big game, and for his personal goals and for the Flames, this is an improbably big one. Liberty lights the lamps and plays solid defense in an otherwise-great year back for the Burner Phone Man.