Nice bounceback this week, going 6-4 against the spread. Hopefully we can keep it up this week and finally move past .500.
USC (+15.5) at Arizona
The Trojans looked pretty good last week in throwing 69 points up against Washington State, but then again, I think anyone would put up points against Wazzu, including some of our better high school teams and Division III colleges. Arizona should be a tougher test and will get some punches in, but USC will ultimately prove to be too much.
USC 38, Arizona 20
UCLA (+18) at California
The Bruins have quietly gotten better as the season has gone on, with that progress resulting in a last-second victory over Stanford last week. Cal is just one of those faceless teams that seem to populate the Pac-10 – pretty good, capable of giving anyone a game or giving up a game to anyone. I’ll take the Bruins to keep this competitive but fall short.
California 28, UCLA 17
Oregon (-3) at Arizona State
Arizona State is possibly the biggest underachiever in the country. While teams like Michigan and Tennessee and Clemson have gotten most of the underachieving hype, ASU has gone from a 10-win season last year to a four-game losing streak this one despite returning much of their personnel. Oregon has had the Sun Devils’ number lately, something I don’t expect will change.
Oregon 30, Arizona State 14
Notre Dame (-10) at Washington
Notre Dame past vs. Notre Dame present takes hold at Husky Stadium, as embattled Washington coach Tyrone Willingham goes against his old team. Maybe that fact will get the Huskies primed for the upset, but I don’t really think it matters. The Irish aren’t great, but they are miles ahead of where Washington is.
Notre Dame 27, Washington 14
Oklahoma State (+12) at Texas
The Longhorns have quite a gauntlet going right now, having passed the Oklahoma and Missouri tests with fighting colors and having Texas Tech looming next week. But this test against undefeated Oklahoma State could be the toughest yet. Okie State tends to get off to big leads against Texas (28 points in 2004, 19 points in 2005, 21 points last year) but blow it. Expect a little of the same in this one.
Texas 38, Oklahoma State 28
Georgia (+1.5) at LSU
There’s something about Georgia I just don’t like, but I can’t put my finger on it. They aren’t doing bad at all – 6-1 with their only loss coming to No. 2 Alabama – but it still seems like they are underachieving. LSU is a tough place to win and although the Tigers may not be what they were last year, they are good enough to take Georgia with the home crowd behind it.
LSU 21, Georgia 14
Penn State (-2.5) at Ohio State
I can’t honestly remember the last time the Buckeyes were a home underdog. If it’s happened in the Jim Tressel era, it must have come during his first season of 2001. Penn State has looked extremely impressive this season, but going to the Horseshoe at night is an entirely different beast. Its not a beast they have solved since joining the Big Ten, which is why I’m going with Ohio State.
Ohio State 24, Penn State 23
Texas Tech (+1) at Kansas
The Red Raiders are one of only five undefeated BCS conference teams, but they have been rocked a bit in the past two weeks, being taken to overtime by a mediocre Nebraska team and being challenged by a bad Texas A&M team. Tech seems ready for a fall and Kansas, with its explosive offense, is a team capable of making that happen.
Kansas 41, Texas Tech 35
Virginia Tech (+5.5) at Florida State
Last time people started buying into the Seminoles, they only scored 3 points against Wake Forest. I don’t know, but I’m not really sure that Florida State has earned my trust. Virginia Tech is a flawed team and it lost at Boston College last week, but the Hokies are good at winning ugly. That’s something Florida State hasn’t quite mastered.
Virginia Tech 20, Florida State 16
Alabama (-5) at Tennessee
This is the most interesting line of the week, as it keeps moving down in Tennessee’s directon. The main question I have for that is why? Tennessee has been mediocre to bad all season and Alabama has risen up for its big games – Clemson and Georgia. Tennessee-Alabama is one of the fiercest rivalries in the South, which makes me feel as if the Tide will be properly motivated to treat Tennessee badly.
Alabama 27, Tennessee 17
Overall record: 57-23. Against the spread: 39-40-1