Last Week: 7-6
What Went Right:
Not even Cristobal could screw that up for the Ducks; Not even Adazzio can screw up it against Buttgers — though BC tried for a half; Clemson ran it up on poor UNCC as predicted — but they did it with their 2nd and 3rd teamers after getting up 21; Nevada did get the 14 vs. UTEP — and, as I told you, comfy but not a blowout; Kansas made us sweat it out but Les nailed down the half-point win. That’s life with the Mad Hatter. Told you Cal should have been favored. Ohio State shows no mercy to cupcakes. Ever.
What Went Wrong:
Georgia should have ran the Irish out of the building, but Redneck Herm Edwards continues Jawjah’s choking ways; How does that Arkansas staff still have a job — seriously, there are some things worth losing money over, and losing to SJSU at home badly, is one of them; Wazzu and UCLA played the worst game of football you’ll ever see: 67-63 Bruins, scoring 29 in the 4th. At least WSU had the good graces to lose after blowing the cover; Guess USCe can only play well for one team a year. They looked awful against Mizzou. Aggie can’t throw, and we expected that. No one expected their interior defense to make Auburn’s OL look competent; Utah, as I said, is a vastly different team away from Rice Eccles. But their defense imploded against a second teamer, the offense was listless, and they got thoroughly whooped in the Coliseum. RIP, P12 Playoff hopes
Told You to Stay Away From:
AFA at +8 looked great...until the final seconds when Boise backdoored you. Not only did Miami not cover 31.5 against Central Michigan, the two didn’t score 31 combined: 17-12 ‘Canes.
I apologize in advance. Next week I am not going to have an edition up. I am in the middle of moving and won’t have internet access for about a week :(
But, here are this week’s lines, and here are two bonus picks on top of the usual baker’s dozen that you should consider, as well as four games to run away from like the Black Death:
Not with a 10’ Pole and Stolen Money:
I love me some Memphis. I don’t love the 10.5 they’re laying against a team they’ve traditionally struggled with and played tight games against. Plus we know practically nothing about Navy after just two games. Triple option teams with no bye week to prepare for are dicey. But Navy did have a bye. Watch, don’t bet. This one may very well go under the 53.5 though. Both teams have recommitted themselves to defense.
Notre Dame -13 vs a UVA team that is hella’ stingy on defense, on the heels of last week’s heartbreaker? Yuck. The lack of second-half adjustments by the Irish had to trouble you, as well. This is setting up to be a classic Brian Kelly letdown special. This game shouldn’t be within two scores. You know it will be. While a road win against the Irish could be a Bronco Mendenhall statement for the Cavs.
Will the real Washington Huskies please stand up? For that matter, will the real USC stand up? This game eliminates all hope for one of these two teams; probably the Trojans, but I’m not willing to bet on it. Even less willing am I to take the godawful -10.5 that UDub is favored by. You’re a fool if you bet this one. Likewise, you’re an even bigger dummy if you touch that toxic Stanford (-5) at Oregon State game. Unfortunately, someone has to win. With Costello back, you suspect it will be the Tree. But the defense is...well...let’s say that, like real life, trees usually struggle against beavers.
Arkansas State +6 at Troy is going to be an outstanding game...to watch. Don’t put a single penny on this shootout.
Bet The House, Baby
Why is Miami (OH) favored against Buffalo? Even on the road, with a tested-but-freshman QB, the Bulls are at least a FG better than the winless Redhawks. Expect UB’s running game to prove the difference in this one; UM-O’s running defense is ghastly and UB wants to pound the rock and shorten the game. It’s the formula that’s won games this year. The problem arises if UB has to pass to win, and I don’t think they will. Buffalo gets the underdog cover at +1.5.
BYU is at least a field goal nastier than Toledo, even on the road, and that’s reflected in this line. This team is so tough to play against. And the Glass Bowl won’t intimidate them. BYU should get it done and cover -2 on the road. I do like the Rockets, but just not against this team — let’s call them the Mormon Cal, as battle-tested as anyone after 4 games. Expect a tight one within a TD either way.
I know, I know: Alabama and big lines and a 61.5 O/U. The Rebels showed some signs of life when they replaced Corral with Plumlee, but that won’t particularly matter here. This defense is bad; the offense is worse; and Nick Saban is still mad about 2014 and 2015. He’s been running it slap up against the Rebels when given the chance. He’ll get the chance. Call it Alabama 52-Ole Miss 6, enough for -37.5 — and the first-team defense will be upset the second string allowed some drives. Another thing to consider: with the heart of the SEC schedule upcoming, Taulia is going to get a ton of reps with the training wheels taken off the offense: it’s clear Jones isn’t the answer. That means Sark runs the offense for the better part of four quarters.
I really do like what the 49ers are building. They’re not a bad team at all. But FAU has more tools in the shed and wins this road shootout. Owls +1 seems a sensible pick.
SMU is probably gonna’ whoop that bootie. In the fall-from-grace blue chip QB battle, Shane Buechele has better skills than Blake Barnett. More tellingly for the Bulls, the defense has been particularly bad...almost as bad as their running game. The Mustangs cover 8.5 on the road.
UAB should be favored by much, much more than a field goal on the road against the Hilltoppers. This team isn’t as good as last year’s vintage, but the Blazers on the road are still better than this WKU squad. Take UAB -3
Get the feeling that October ‘Barn — the one that starts blowing people out — is just around the corner? Me too. I’m riding Auburn -12 at home vs. a young MSU Bulldogs team. Too many State turnovers are going to capsize a physical, largely competitive affair. Auburn’s defense is the real deal even if the depth isn’t what you want to see. This is set up to be a trap game, with the Barn traveling to the Swamp next week. But sometimes you ride trends, and we all know what October Auburn has traditionally looked like under Gus.
Long shots worth a shot
From everything we’ve seen in 2019, the wrong team is favored in the Duke - Va. Tech tilt between these two rebuilding squads. The Blue Devils are the marginally better squad here, and certainly the better coached one. Virginia Tech’s inability to run the ball is in Duke’s favor as well. I like the Devils +3.5, but this is likely to be a razor-thin game, so caveat emptor.
Maryland’s explosive passing game has gotten the attention, but the Terps are a Top 10 rushing team and are Top 10 in defending the rush. Penn State has been playing with their food too much lately...and Franklin is terrible on the road. This one also means more to the Terps and their local DMV roster...they’re also coming off a bye week. Maryland shouldn’t win, and they’re down a RB, but you get the feeling this one is within a FG either way. Give me UMD +7 at home, with an upset not at all out of the question.
Northwestern is without answers. This isn’t a vintage Fitzgerald team; can’t run the ball, forgot how to pass, and the defense is collapsing. Usually 24 is too many points for a B12 conference game, but these aren’t the same ole’ Badgers either. They’re as explosive as they are nasty on defense: they and OSU have looked outstanding. U-Dub rolls at home and covers.
Central Michigan’s revenge tour against Miami out of the way, and Western’s poor showing in the Carrier Dome out of the way, it’s time to get back to some MAC football. And the Broncos are 3 touchdowns better than the Chips. WMU is at least good enough to cover 17 against rebuilding CMU with a new scheme and square pegs in all sorts of round holes.
Like Utah, the Sun Devils on the road are a different beast. Even Cal should be able to throw on ASU’s secondary, and they’ll bottle up the Sun Devil offense at home. Wilcox is cooking with gas. You may want to take under 41.5 between two defense-minded teams; that seems almost as safe or even better than the Bears -4 at home. Though, I do like both. In 2020, this could be your P12CG. Are you ready for that world?
Told you Pitt can pull upsets against most teams outside the Top 10. The UCF Knights were the recipients of that ill fortune last week. This week? Well, this week they get to take it all out on UConn, who alongside UMass, who’s easily the worst team in FBS that you’ll see this year. The spread is 43.5 — UCF covers that by halftime and doesn’t stop scoring either.
FSU’s problem hasn’t been scoring; it’s been holding on to leads. The ‘Noles are less than a TD favorite at home. They have to have this one too against NCSU. Holding off Satterfield’s Cards last week bodes well for these types of winnable conference games, and this one is imminently winnable. FSU covers the -6 at home.