I’m nothing if not average as far as college football is concerned. If only I knew which five I’d get every week – I could be rich. But alas, I’m not.
USC (-3) at Oregon
The game of the Pac-10 season by far, as the Ducks have destroyed everything in their path lately while the Trojans have kept winning, albeit in heart-stopping fashion at times. The Trojans have already won in Columbus, Berkeley and South Bend, so there will be no intimidation here. This is a type of game that the Trojans just don’t lose, and that’s what I’m going with.
UCLA (+9.5) at Oregon State
Having a chance to watch the Bruins live in Tucson last week was eye-opening. UCLA is really not good, as they couldn’t cover despite Arizona giving them five turnovers. The Bruins’ best hope is an Oregon State letdown after its close loss to USC, but I don’t see it. Easy money for the Beavers here.
Pick: Oregon State
California (-6.5) at Arizona State
The Bears seem to have recovered from whatever swine-flu like disorder plagued it during the Oregon and USC games. But Cal does not do well on the road and while Arizona State is hardly a power this year, they have played pretty well at Sun Devil Stadium. I have a feeling ASU keeps it close.
Pick: Arizona State
Washington State (+28) vs. Notre Dame
This game is being played in San Antonio for some reason, with the Cougars expected to play the role of the sacrifical lamb to Notre Dame. However, Wazzu has been very good at covering obscene spreads. It still gets killed, but killed by less than the spread. Considering that ND revels in closer games, I expect the Cougars to stay within four touchdowns, if just barely.
Pick: Washington State
Texas (-9.5) at Oklahoma State
Good news, bad news scenario for the Cowboys. The good news is that star RB Kendall Hunter will be back from injury but WR Desmond Bryant has been ruled ineligble, which, obviously, is the bad news. Okie State finds creative ways to lose to Texas and likely will again, but they always seem to be heartbreaks. Translation: Take the points.
Pick: Oklahoma State
Georgia (+15) vs. Florida
The “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” is going a bit under the radar this year, with the Bulldogs meandering around .500 and the Gators somewhat struggling despite being No. 1. Florida has owned this series of late, but these Gators seem more like the 2006 champions than the 2008 ones, meaning take the points and watch Florida ugly out another win.
Central Michigan (+5.5) at Boston College
Why am I picking this game? A couple reasons. The first is that its not a very good week for college football in the ACC or Big East. The second is that this is a sneaky-good matchup, as the Chippewas have won seven in a row while BC has been as pesky as it normally is. Central has won at Michigan State and I think they’ll win in the Northeast.
Pick: Central Michigan
Penn State (-17.5) at Northwestern
Yeah, its a crappy week in the Big Ten too, with Iowa playing Indiana and Ohio State playing New Mexico State randomly. So I guess this game gets my pick. Penn State impressed by destroying Michigan and could be ripe for a letdown, but Northwestern, although 5-3, just isn’t that good. I’ll take Penn State to cover and continue its surge.
Pick: Penn State
South Carolina (+6) at Tennessee
The Volunteers lead the nation in moral victories, as the Vols have given Florida and Alabama tough tussles on the road, coming within a blocked field goal of shocking the Crimson Tide. But they are still 3-4 and South Carolina is a pretty darn good team. I think you have to take the points, especially with Tennessee on letdown alert.
Pick: South Carolina
Kansas (+6.5) at Texas Tech
Reason this game is included is because of this awesome press conference rant by Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, which I’ve added below.
That being said, I expect Texas Tech to be a little more focused this week, which is bad news for Kansas.
Pick: Texas Tech
Back to .500 this week, which I’ll take after getting smacked around in week 4.
Kansas City (+6) over WASHINGTON
Houston (+5) over CINCINNATI
PITTSBURGH (-14) over Cleveland
Baltimore (+3) over MINNESOTA
JACKSONVILLE (-9.5) over St. Louis
N.Y. Giants (+3) over NEW ORLEANS
Carolina (-3) over TAMPA BAY
GREEN BAY (-14) over Detroit
Philadelphia (-14) over OAKLAND
SEATTLE (-3) over Arizona
N.Y. JETS (-9.5) over Buffalo
NEW ENGLAND (-9) over Tennessee
ATLANTA (-3) over Chicago
Denver (+3.5) over SAN DIEGO
I got cocky last week and paid the price. I’ve learned my lesson and hope to get back above .500 again this week.
Minnesota (-10) over ST. LOUIS
KANSAS CITY (+8) over Dallas
Washington (+4) over CAROLINA
PHILADELPHIA (-15) over Tampa Bay
Oakland (+15.5) over N.Y. GIANTS
BUFFALO (-6) over Cleveland
BALTIMORE (-9) over Cincinnati
Pittsburgh (-10.5) over DETROIT
Atlanta (+2.5) over SAN FRANCISCO
New England (-3) over DENVER
Houston (+5.5) over ARIZONA
Jacksonville (+1) over SEATTLE
Indianapolis (-3.5) over TENNESSEE
MIAMI (+2) over N.Y. Jets
Another break-even week leaves me a game short of .500. We’ll try to be humble and finally get over the hump this week.
Oregon (-3.5) at UCLA
This game has been another textbook example of a reverse line movement (see Michigan-Michigan State last week) where the majority of the bettors pick one side but the line moves the other way because it gets the big money. The line has gone 2.5 points toward UCLA’s direction, mostly because of concerns about Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli’s health I’d guess. Still, I have a hard time believing that Kevin Craft is capable of this win.
Arizona (-4) at Washington
Which Washington team will show up? The one that beat USC, lost to Notre Dame in overtime in a game it should have won and the one that gave LSU a run for its money? Or the one that was beat down by Stanford? It’s hard to tell how good or bad Arizona is. If the Huskies don’t have a hangover from Notre Dame, they should win.
Stanford (even) at Oregon State
This game started out with Stanford being favored and even though the majority of bettors are picking the Cardinal, the spread has moved two points in the Beavers’ direction. October is typically a good month for Oregon State and while Stanford has impressed, it isn’t ready for this win yet.
Pick: Oregon State
Arizona State (-21) at Washington State
Oregon State gave the Sun Devils a bit of a reality check last week, blasting ASU in Tempe. Washington State doesn’t need a reality check – it’s well aware of how bad it is. It won’t get much better for the Cougars this week.
Pick: Arizona State
Florida (-7.5) at LSU
Will Tim Tebow play? That’s the huge question coming into this game, as Florida’s all-everything quarterback/missionary got a concussion two weeks ago, putting his status up in the air. Either way, this is a lot of change for the Gators to cover, considering LSU hasn’t lost in 32 consecutive home night games.
Alabama (-5) at Mississippi
The money is going to the Rebels in this one and quite frankly, its time for Ole Miss to put up or shut up. After all the hype it got before the season, it needs to win against what has probably been the nation’s most complete team to date to validate it. I don’t think the Rebels will win, but they’ll go down trying.
Wisconsin (+16) at Ohio State
A pretty big line considering that the Badgers are undefeated right now. Wisconsin’s schedule hasn’t been the greatest, but it got a nice win last week at Minnesota. Ohio State has rolled since losing to USC, but I’m not sure it’s worthy of getting more than two touchdowns here. I look for the Badgers to stay somewhat close.
Michigan (+8) at Iowa
The Wolverines’ overtime loss at Michigan State took a little luster off this matchup, even though Gameday will be in Iowa City for it. Weird game, as Iowa won at Penn State but had to escape against Northern Iowa (17-16) and Arkansas State (24-21). I’d expect more of the Penn State effort from the Hawkeyes, though I’m not sure they are potent enough on offense to win this by more than a touchdown.
Boston College (+13.5) at Virginia Tech
Boston College is an enigma to me. They don’t exactly have a lot of talent, they don’t really recruit that well but somehow, some way, they win games. These teams have been frequent battlers, with BC winning the last two games in the regular season while VT has won the ACC title game battles. I say VT wins this, but its close.
Pick: Boston College
Connecticut (+7) at Pittsburgh
Yes, I know this game isn’t good. But I didn’t want to pick another SEC or Big Ten game and all the Big 12 games this week were more blah than this one. I don’t expect much scoring in this one, as UConn is good at playing ugly while Pitt isn’t great at playing offense. Think low score and competitive, which favors the underdog.
Great week last week, going 8-2 to put me above .500. Looking to keep it up and keep it quick this week.
WASHINGTON (-19.5) over Usc
UCLA (-12) over Kansas State
MINNESOTA (+13.5) over California
IOWA (-4) over Arizona
Utah (+5) over OREGON
OREGON STATE (-1) over Cincinnati
STANFORD (-18) over San Jose State
VIRGINIA TECH (-5) over Nebraska
BYU (-8) over Florida State
NOTRE DAME (-10) over Michigan State
Take these with a grain of salt as always. Or get a good laugh from them.
Cincinnati (+13.5) at Indianapolis: Indianapolis 28, Cincinnati 10
Jacksonville (+6.5) at Chicago: Chicago 27, Jacksonville 17
Houston (+6) at Green Bay: Green Bay 28, Houston 23
Cleveland (+14) at Tennessee: Tennessee 31, Cleveland 6
Minnesota (-10) at Detroit: Minnesota 30, Detroit 10
Philadelphia (+6.5) at N.Y. Giants: N.Y. Giants 28, Philadelphia 14
Atlanta (+3) at New Orleans: Atlanta 31, New Orleans 24
N.Y. Jets (-4) at San Francisco: San Francisco 21, N.Y. Jets 17
Miami (even) vs. Buffalo (at Toronto): Miami 24, Buffalo 16
Kansas City (+9) at Denver: Denver 30, Kansas City 23
St. Louis (+14) at Arizona: Arizona 31, St. Louis 20
Dallas (+3) at Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh 26, Dallas 17
New England (-7) at Seattle: New England 27, Seattle 13
Washington (+5.5) at Baltimore: Baltimore 21, Washington 13
Tampa Bay (+3) at Carolina: Carolina 27, Tampa Bay 23
Overall: 104-84-1. Record against spread: 82-105-2.
Went 2-1 on Thanksgiving. Sweet. Let’s keep it up.
Denver (+8) at N.Y. Jets – N.Y. Jets 31, Denver 17
San Francisco (+6.5) at Buffalo – Buffalo 30, San Francisco 21
New Orleans (+4) at Tampa Bay – Tampa Bay 28, New Orleans 20
Carolina (+3) at Green Bay – Carolina 24, Green Bay 23
N.Y. Giants (-3.5) at Washington – N.Y. Giants 27, Washington 17
Miami (-8) at St. Louis – Miami 24, St. Louis 17
Baltimore (-7) at Cincinnati – Baltimore 24, Cincinnati 9
Indianapolis (-5) at Cleveland – Indianapolis 34, Cleveland 21
Atlanta (+5) at San Diego – San Diego 27, Atlanta 23
Pittsburgh (+1) at New England – New England 28, Pittsburgh 17
Kansas City (+3) at Oakland – Oakland 24, Kansas City 16
Chicago (+3.5) at Minnesota – Minnesota 23, Chicago 20
Jacksonville (+3) at Houston – Houston 28, Jacksonville 23
Here are six more. Kind of disheveled this week, but its OK.
Notre Dame (+31.5) at USC: USC 38, Notre Dame 14
Oregon (+3) at Oregon State: Oregon State 28, Oregon 23
Washington State (+28.5) at Hawaii: Hawaii 51, Washington State 16
Oklahoma (-7.5) at Oklahoma State: Oklahoma 42, Oklahoma State 27
Auburn (+14.5) at Alabama: Alabama 28, Auburn 9
Florida (-16.5) at Florida State: Florida 38, Florida State 17