Last Week: 8-5 (7-4 over at the pay site, and buddy am I still salty about Boise State allowing a million DGAF points in the fourth quarter when they were up 40-9)
2020 Season: 113-68
Mortal Lock of the Week: 15-0 Last week, I told you to take Mizzou laying -6 on the road at USCe. And my Patreon folks got two more (because I love them) — Washington laying 11 1⁄2 vs. Arizona and Auburn favored by -10 1⁄2 at home the Vols. All three hit, so I hope you made some money!
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Have a safe, cooties-free vacation as you catch up on your day-drinking, gluttony, and football. And there is a ton of it to be had on this somewhat rearranged and jiggered rivalry week. So, we shall endeavor to make a little cash all weekend long.
Not With A 10’ Pole and Stolen Money
Iowa State +1 at Texas — I think Iowa State is still the better team here. But I sure wouldn’t want to put money on that proposition. Herman has one big game a year where he pulls the rabbit out of his hat, and the ‘Horns came close against OU/OSU. If I had to bet, I’d say the Longhorns get it done this weekend. But I don’t, so I won’t.
Stanford -1 1⁄2 vs Cal — The Game...the bad game. Neither one of these teams can score in a whorehouse, and for whatever reason, Shaw and Wilcox are always bandied about as good coaches. They might be on one side of the ball, but you won’t be able to tell this week. I suspect Cal wins by a FG, but I’m not betting on it.
Florida -23 vs. Kentucky — One-sided offenses have tended to not fare well in Gainesville this season. UK should be able to shut down the run and then get on that ass, forcing UF to throw. If that’s really how the game plays out, then Florida will spread the ball around and win comfortably. But the Wildcats just have way too many questions in the secondary, and the Gator defense is way too bad all around, to make this a smart move for bettors. Especially worrying is UF’s propensity to give up late scores. Nah. Pass.
For Your Consideration:
Colorado State +5.5 at Air Force — I like the way CSU has dusted off the cobwebs and has been competing lately. And I particularly like how they’ve been selling out to stop the run and protecting the ball. On the other hand, they’ve had the yips on the road and can’t particularly run the ball well themselves. At times their secondary looks like it has been set alight as well. Two out of three of those matter against the Falcons (though don’t overlook timely passing). This is a rivalry game and altitude won’t benefit either team. But AFA is just a different squad at home. But it should be an entertaining game at least. CSU 21 Air Force 31
Ordinarily we’d lay off Nebraska +13 1/2 at Iowa. Nubber has generated plenty of offense this season in spurts. But, aside from a slow start where the Hawkeyes had their scheduled road loss to Purdue and then were strangled by jNW, Iowa is just playing in a different gear. Scott Frost’s group turns it over way too much, plays way too poorly on the road, is susceptible to getting bullied up front. None of those are good indicators this won’t be a beating at the end of the day. Scott Frost is just awful. Iowa 38 Nubber 17
Notre Dame -4 at UNC — Two coaches with a penchant for choking in big games and having erratic squads from week-to-week. This is one of the best offenses, ND faces this season...and also a firmly middle-of-the-pack defense. I think ND should be able to ground and pound and get the Tarheels pressing a bit, leading to mistakes that cost them the game. This one should be close, however. Both take care of the ball, but UNC’s defense, for all of my misgivings about Notre Dame, I just like the Tarheels defense less. ND 34 UNC 24
Central Michigan -6 1⁄2 at Eastern Michigan — Ignore the record for a minute, Eastern is actually a very competitive team. They’ll play it close to the vest. Unfortunately, they face a team that wins with a defense that generates mistakes and a balanced offense with no clear weaknesses. After getting set on fire by the WMU Broncos, I suspect we’ll see a more focused effort this week. CMU is too much at the end of the day. Chippewas 30 Eagles 21
SMU -12 1⁄2 at ECU — The Pirates have gotten better as the year has progressed, but their issues are plainly talent-related. And you like to see some of that in a team that was left for dead. But 1. the defense is still a work in progress 2. they can get shut down relatively easy by teams with speed because of the lack of an effective passing game, 3. They turn the ball over by the bucketload. Guess what? The Mustangs have speed in spades, have an elite offense, and force turnovers. Bad combo for the home team. SMU 45 ECU 21
TAMU -14 vs. LSU — The Aggies are going to douse LSU’s shitty defense in kerosene then chase them around the yard with a lit match giggling for 60 minutes. RIP, Corpse of Bo Pelini. Defensively, the Ags should feast on either of the two error-prone bros the Tigers bring into the Hate Barn. Did we mention this is a home game and that A&M has functionally had a three-week prep time for it? The rust would show against a competnet team. This is not a competent team — Coonass Gene Chizik takes another bad L. Texas A&M 42 LSU 16
Northwestern -13 1⁄2 at MSU — You can’t beat Northwestern unless you play a crisp game and force the Wildcats into making turnovers. The team is out there that can do it, but it’s not this Sparty team. NW will just force way too many errors for MSU’s shaky passing game to ever get sorted out and then they’ll punt and play defense all day long. jNW 27 MSU 10
Akron +13 1⁄2 vs. Miami (OH) — Holy hell, is the Zips offense bad. I mean stinky, putrid bad...and that’s when they’re not turning the ball over three times a game. But, hey, at least the defense is just as terrible?! So is Miami’s defense too, if we’re being honest, and that’s the only thing that keeps this from being a total mauling. The Redhawks win going away. Miami 42 Akron 24
Ridiculously Large Spreads We’re Taking Nonetheless
UMass + 34 1⁄2 at Liberty — Liberty’s tough road (three road ACC games, 2-1 BTW) gets tougher next week: On the road against No. 16 Coastal Carolina. The offense was a bit stifled last week against NCSU, largely from their own miscues. You need these guys playing well going into that make-or-break game for both teams, and here’s a chance to get the rust off the offense. I suspect Hugh’s squad continues their coverin’ ways. Every game is a job interview for him. Liberty 51 UMass 13
Cincinnati -36 at Temple — Temple can’t score against the rest of the AAC. What are they going to do against one of the nation’s best defenses? Get absolutely murdered is my guess. Cincy has a legit shot at nabbing a playoff spot given the way the schedule will eliminate three teams above them. Every style point counts and you can’t screw around with bad teams. So far this season, the Bearcats have not. Ride the trend. Cincinnati 49 Temple 0
ULL -26 1⁄2 at ULM — ULL hasn’t been great at covering big numbers this year, and you may still want to lay off of this one because of the rivalry nature. But when I see a Warhawks team that has allowed almost YPC against ground-first offenses and hasn’t been very competitive against physical teams, I see problems. Throw in the very good Cajuns defense, and this one isn’t particularly close. ULL 41 ULM 10
Mortal Lock of the Week:
Michigan -2 vs. Penn State
Yep. We’re here. Taking Jim Freaking Harbaugh to preserve our 15-0 MLotW record. But, we’re fairly sanguine about that prospect, honestly.
Why? Two words. Road Franklin. That’s enough said.
But, more to the point, this is a dude who got outcoached by Scott Frost, let the vanilla Iowa scheme run it up on him...at home, has choked away two games with piss poor decisions, and has shown an inability to run the ball when it counts. 44 yards against OSU? 94 yards against Maryland? Yeesh. I also loathe Penn State’s ball security. The Lions are winless for a reason.
The Wolverines, for all of the fun we poke at them, seem to finally have found an answer at QB. UM can afford its defensive lapses if they can 1. force turnovers here and there, 2. limit PSU’s PA game (The Lions thrive off of pounding the rock and taking deep shots), and 3. keep up on the scoreboard. It looks they finally have the answer to the last issue. Last week’s game showed you just how much better this team is when they trust the offense and that they have not given up on the season, at least. Still, there will be some busts from UM that will make the fans unhappy (at least enough to prevent this being a beating), and the elite speed difference will be noticeable — the Wolverines just don’t have it. But this game will be closer to paleoball than it appears at first blush.
And if it comes down to a coaching call, or the game gets close, you don’t want James Franklin making that decision for you. He will screw up. This of course assumes the Lions even get off the bus, and that’s never a sound proposition with Yankee Kevin Sumlin. Michigan 31 Penn State 20