Ed. Note: This will not be as prolix as usual. I injured my hand pretty badly, so we’ll just bang these out as briefly as possible. I’m not going to break them down per usual — this is straight off my slip.
Last Week: 8-5
What Went Right: Shoulda’ gotten on Memphis early at -5.5 — you’d have won; GSU, Colo. State, Georgia — the mortal lock of the week (still batting 1.000 on these, BTW); Tulane, Clemson, Tennessee, and with my S/U upset of the week: Oregon State (whoo hoo!)
What Went Wrong: FIU, NCSU, Troy, Arkansas & FSU (and these two games got both dudes fired — Chad Morris just doesn’t know yet).
I’m Laying Off:
- Penn State -7 at Minnesota. I’m beginning to suspect the Gophers may actually be decent, and I absolutely do not trust Road James Franklin. Biggest game in Minneapolis in a decade too? Woof. Hard Pass.
- Oregon State +10 at Washington. Have the Dogs given up? The Beavers haven’t, and their passing game can cause problems. That said, UW should win. But I don’t trust it. 2019 has easily been the worst coaching of Chris Petersen’s otherwise-good carer.
- Vandy at Florida -26.5. Do you trust this offense to put up 27 points, much less beat an SEC team by that tally — even Vandy? That said, Vandy is Vandy for a reason.
- Vols at Kentucky (PK). If you tell me that you know what either of these teams are going to do from week-to-week, you’re lying. Vols are probably the slightly better team, but the Wildcats are a more cohesive one — or were, until the rumors started flying this week about Mark Stoops to FSU. Both teams need this win to get a bowl bid. I like the Vols momentum, but not enough to risk my money on it.
- Arkansas -1.5 vs Western Kentucky. LOLNOPE.
I’m Hot For:
Iowa + 9.5 at Wisconsin. Weird rivalry with very few upsets. The better team usually wins. But, is Wisconsin really the better team here? I think so...by a hair, and probably by a touchdown at home. But probably not by two scores. I only have modest confidence in this one though, TBH.
Georgia State -2.5 at ULM. The Panthers are just the better team in 2019. The Warhawks are a bit tougher at home, but they likely can’t get this done. Panthers win upfront and then win the game.
Purdue +2.5 at Northwestern: Northwestern should not be favored over any B1G team. This team hasn’t scored a touchdown in 34 days and 44 drives. Purdue will give up a score, but for all purposes, these ‘Cats seem to have quit.
BYU -17 vs. Liberty: When this is the toughest game BYU plays for almost a month, then you know it’s a good November in Provo. Hugh Freeze is going to kilt on the road...this team has not played very well away from Falwell’s campus, and BYU is very good at home.
Georgia Southern -2 1⁄2 at Troy. Favored for a reason. Tough home game for the Trojans coming off a tough road outing last week. GSU just beat App. State in Boone — this road trip ain’t scaring anybody, not in 2019.
West Virginia +2.5 vs TTU. The ‘Eers are trying to put it together. This is a very winnable game for them in Morgantown against a bad Red Raiders team. This is my Straight Up upset of the week, BTW.
Cincy -34.5 vs. UConn. After last week’s defensive implosion against ECU, there will be hell to pay. Poor UConn.
ECU at SMU -17. The Ponies will give up some scores here, esp. after last week’s heartbreaker. I just don’t know that the Pirates can match them score for score. This game will be played well into the 70s or 80s. The O/U is 70.5; you may want to take the over too.
Recall me saying earlier this week that Clemson had to win convincingly against its awful schedule for playoff purposes? This is a bad team with a war crime masquerading as a defense. Clemson is going to run this slap up. Clemson -31.5 at NCSU.
La. Tech -5.5 vs. North Texas. This isn’t last year’s Mean Green. They’ve taken a step back on both sides of the ball. Undoubtedly still dangerous, yes. But the Bulldogs are better at nearly every position on the field. And they’re home.
Illinois +15.5 at Michigan State. Has Sparty done anything to deserve a three-score spread, besides having a better name brand and cooler helmet? Oh, guess what? They travel to the Big House next week to face their archrival too. I’m not saying the Illini win. but this is as trappy as trap games get and the Illini are now bowl eligible and playing quite well.
And, finally, The Mortal Lock of The Week:
Alabama -6.5 vs. LSU: If you’ve been reading our coverage here the last week and a half. we’ve dissected this game six-ways from Sunday. And, there is literally not a position on the field or the sideline where the Tigers have an advantage. (Well, unless you want to count placekickers as people, and Alabama doesn’t.)
It’s not that Ed Orgeron has matched up poorly against Nick Saban, it’s that Dave Aranda — otherwise one of the best on the business — has matched up poorly with Nick Saban’s teams. And it hasn’t even mattered who the offensive coordinator has been or what school he’s coached at: Lane Kiffin, Hydra-headed Dan Enos/Josh Gattis/Mike Locksley; Brian Daboll. There’s absolutely no reason to think with a far worse defense (and this LSU defense is pure crap) that this is the year it happens — not with the loss of his best pass rusher, his best defender being on one leg, a hit-or-miss freshman CB, and another CB with his head in the Combine. And not against this receiving corps. Even the strength of this year’s LSU defense, a reasonably deep defensive line, is negated by an Alabama offensive line which keeps jerseys clean.
Yes, the Alabama defense will give up some frustrating plays. I expect Burrow to rattle off several big runs, and Edwards-Helaire is apt to even have a decent game. Yes, they will move the ball between the 20s. And, yes, the Tigers will score some with an offense that has not been imported from Ann Arbor circa 1996. But, LSU is going to have to keep up on the scoreboard, and more importantly keep the Tide off the scoreboard. LSU will fail in at least one of those aspects of the game. A more viewer-friendly game ensues, but not a really close one: 37-23 Crimson Tide.