Back at .500, which feels pretty darn good. Let’s get above .500 and make some money – figuratively and not literally of course.
Oregon State (+20.5) at USC
It’s safe to say that the Trojans have had this game circled on the calendar for a while, as it was a loss at Oregon State last year that effectively eliminated USC from national title contention. Circumstances have USC is good position despite the Washington loss and this game won’t do anything to hurt the Trojan cause.
UCLA (+7.5) at Arizona
I’ll actually be in the house for this game, as the newspaper group is using me this week as a pinch-hitter for UCLA beat writer Jon Gold. Anyway, this will be a tough task for a Bruins defense that’s been fleeced by Stanford and Cal the last two games. Arizona’s offense has blossomed since Nick Foles has been made the starting QB and will flourish again.
Oregon (-10) at Washington
The Huskies are literally the hardest team to figure out from week to week. Last week it looked like they were a cinch for a cover against Arizona State, tying the game late in the fourth, only to allow a touchdown pass in the final seconds. Cost me by a half-point. Either way, Washington has been tough at home and while Oregon is surging, I’m putting my pick on the gang in purple again.
Washington State (+35.5) at California
The bye week apparently cured whatever ills Cal had offensively, as they fleeced UCLA for 45 points at the Rose Bowl last week. That’s not a good sign for a Washington State team that’s, quite frankly, years away from being competitive. However, Wazzu has covered these large spreads so far, so I’ll go with them to stay within, say, 31 points.
Pick: Washington State
Arizona State (+6.5) at Stanford
The Sun Devils and Cardinal represent a pack of 6-7 teams in the Pac-10 that are pretty much equal. It seems like these teams take care of business at home but fall short on the road. It held up last week, as Stanford lost at Arizona in OT and Arizona State pulled out a home win late against U-Dub. I see no reason to pick the road team here.
TCU (-2) at BYU
The battle of the Mountain West season to date will take place in Provo, as the Horned Frogs get a chance to make a national statement with a road victory over a team that’s beaten Oklahoma. However, BYU is a tough place to play, the weather could be cold and the Cougars have a potent offense. You can see where I’m going with this.
Oklahoma (-8) at Kansas
This is a weird game. Oklahoma is 3-3 but its hard to find five defenses in the country that are better than what the Sooners have. Bad luck and injuries have derailed what should be a BCS-level team in a way that hasn’t been seen in college football in quite a while. Kansas, despite losing to Colorado, is no slouch and can score. Not saying that OU will lose, but they seem too snakebit to cover this on the road.
Iowa (+1.5) at Michigan State
Couple of trends colliding with each other in this one. One is Iowa’s success as a road dog, as they have won outright as road dogs at Penn State and Wisconsin. The other is a line that’s moving quickly in MSU’s direction. Last time that happened against Michigan, they covered. However, Iowa seems to win and shouldn’t be the underdog in this one.
South Florida (+6) at Pittsburgh
While Cincinnati appears to be the class of the Big East, these two teams – along with West Virginia – are definitely fighting for the No. 2 spot. South Florida missed its shot at Cincy last week, while Pittsburgh came off of a nice win at Rutgers. I sense a bit of a letdown from the Bulls in this game, which should benefit Pitt nicely.
Tennessee (+14.5) at Alabama
The traditional “Third Saturday of October” rivalry games is taking place on the fourth Saturday for whatever reason. Not that it seems to matter. Tennessee, despite a nice win over Georgia two weeks ago, is an inconsistent work in progress and the Crimson Tide have been surgical in winning their first seven games. I expect no less in game 8.
Last week: 5-4-1