ICYMI: This week we’re splitting up the weekly viewing guide by day, as well as picking the points in Giving Away Money. (Yesterday, we went 4-1 and woulda’ gone 5-0 without that cheesy Oklahoma State backdoor cover. Tsk. Tsk.)
As expected, the Big 10 had a good showing yesterday, with Michigan State strangling Wake Forest and Iowa laying an absolute mollywomping on USC. Sure, the Trojans lost Slovis in the second half, but he give up 55 points — a season-high scoring output for Iowa. Yuck. Just how bad is the Pac 12?
Here’s today’s schedule, all times Central. And, here’s who to take and why.
Cotton Bowl (Arlington...boooooo)
11:00 CST ESPN
No. 17 Memphis vs. No. 10 Penn State (-7)
This year, James Franklin got the monkey off his back, beating a ranked team on the road! But, not all ranked teams are created equal, and today they face a highly-motivated Memphis Tigers team with one of the nation’s most balanced offenses and its best special teams. And, after years of underachieving on defense, the Tigers committed to that side of the ball this year. The results were amazing — from 9th in the AAC in total defense to 1st overall, racking up the most sacks and the most forced turnovers. Yes, Mike Norvell is in Tallahassee now and took with him DC Adam Fuller. But, most of the staff returns for new head coach, UM OLC Ryan Silverfield. Still, this will be his first game, and after losing Norvell’s playcalling and Fuller’s defensive scheming that’s a tall task? On the other side, after eyeing the Rose Bowl for weeks, a trip to Arlington has to be depressing for the Nittany Lions, right? The story of this game is the Lions defensive line. It may be able to make the Tiger’s offense one-dimension. And, if so, then even PSU’s iffy offense will find an AAC defense rather forgiving — especially in the passing department. This isn’t a game that PSU can just line up and win with talent. Memphis is highly motivated, but is that enough to earn a straight up win? Probably not. But, that is likely enough to hang in there for four quarters and cover the spread. Penn State 38 Memphis 33
Camping World Bowl (Orlando)
11:00 CST ABC
No. 15 Notre Dame vs. Iowa State +3.5
Has there been a quieter 10-2 team than 2019 Notre Dame? Getting asphyxiated in Athens and defenestrated in Ann Arbor will do that. The marquee win for the Golden Domers is ______? Solid win against USC? Smoking VT in Blacksburg? There’s just not a whole lot to evaluate this team on this year. The offensive line is a rebuilt mess, which has led to struggles in the running game. That’s put a lot of pressure on Ian Book to be something he’s not. Fortunately, the defense still shows up more nights than not — well, at least the secondary has. The defensive line hasn’t been quite as sharp. For the Cyclones, it’s not been quite a shock-the-world year as the ones they’ve had the past two seasons. But, you can’t fault Brock Purdy for that. Again, he’s been great. Too bad the ‘Clones are just 94th in rushing offense. There is a real chance here to spring an upset with even a modicum of a balanced attack. Instead, they’ll be throwing into the teeth of one of the better secondaries they’ll face this year. If ISU’s results against Texas and Kansas State and Oklahoma State are any indication, that one-dimension attack simply won’t get it done...nor will the Cyclones light it up. Brian Kelly makes things look harder than they are, but in this game of matchups, ND holds the cards for a narrow win. ND 30 Iowa State 24
We previewed the playoff games over here and picked our winners. So, I’m not going to repeat that #content here. But, I will go ahead and give you the TL;DR version:
LSU 45 Oklahoma 27
Ohio State 38 Clemson 37
Best chance for an upset
This poll is closed