A LOT of games this week to chew over.
So, without further ado.....
1. Miami(FL) (-6.5) @ Cincinnati: If anything, the Hurricane are playing as if they honestly care whether or not head coach Al Golden gets fired at the end of the year. The Bearcats are doing what every Tuberville team does. Implode. I like Miami to cover.
2. Houston (-7) @ Tulsa: Why do I like -7 lines (when some don't)? Because the chances of a push creates a slightly higher ROI than some of the other bets. Although I like 6.5 ever better I'm not afraid to take the TD and extra point spread. Less so in the NFL than in College Football however. I think UH is still undervalued this year. Houston to cover on the road.
3. West Virginia @ OU (-7): OU at home is much tougher than on the road for sure. But the best win that we've seen from either of these teams was WVa's 44-0 thrashing of a good Georgia Southern team. I think the Sooners are having fits on defense, and Holgerson's spread offense is going to expose that. West Virginia to cover.
4. Ohio (-2.5) @ Akron: The Bobcats are overrated, and I still don't think Vegas has a lot of faith in Bowden. That said, I picked the Zips to win the MAC and I'm not abandoning them yet. Akron to cover at home.
5. FIU @ UMass (-3): This line feels so off to me I am wondering if it's a sucker line. Yes, FIU has injury concerns, but they're still a whole heck of a lot more talented than this UMass team that is struggling to make the transition to D-1A football. FIU ML for the win on the road.
If that seems a little bit more aggressive then last week you're right. But I feel pretty good about the last two games.
Now, for the rest, and there are a lot of good games this weekend as conference play really kicks in...
South Carolina @ Missouri (-2.5) The Gamecocks are listing, but Missouri is missing QB Mock. I think S. Carolina has a chance here, but that feeling is not strong enough to put them in the five. S.Car ML if you're so inclined, but I'm not.
Pitt vs. Virginia Tech (-4.5) Are we watching the end days of Frank Beamer's career? The fan base is starting to think so. I think the team is in free fall, and would not be surprised to see the Panthers pull the upset here. But, as we've seen with Miami, desperation is a powerful motivating factor. That's why you run, not walk, away from this game this week.
Texas @ TCU (-14.5) Despite their troubles with an improved Texas Tech team last week, I think TCU comes back in a big way against the pretty hapless Longhorns. No matter what happens the UT-Austin faithful will claim the game was fixed and continue their silly calls to "leave this backwater conference". The problem is, with the Albatross of the Longhorn Network hanging around their neck, they're just not an attractive program right now. Especially if the ACC goes forward with their own network, which they appear to be close to doing. But this doesn't make my Five because I'm averse to TCU after weeks one and two.
Minnesota @ Northwestern (-4) A lot of people are liking Northwestern. And the win over Stanford is looking better and better. That said I think the fighting Kills have what it takes to keep it close. Closer than 4? I'm not sure, which is why I passed on this game.
Iowa @ Wisconsin (-7) Another -7 game. Here's the thing, I think Iowa is pretty awful and only got preseason buzz because of their relatively easy schedule. This is their toughest game of the season, and I think Wisconsin runs away with it. Then again, Wisky is well....? Who knows what they are?
Louisville @ NC State (-4.5) While I'm not entirely sure how good NC State is (they're 4-0 on the backs of cupcakes) I am sure about Bobby Petrino. Ignoring his adulterous motorcycle ride that drove him out of Arkansas, and his continual wooing of Auburn while coaching his first stint at Louisville, or his quitting mid-season on the Atlanta Falcons, he's not that great of a football coach. His teams run hot and cold. Bad Petrino could be beat by 20, good Petrino (and overrated NC State) could pull the ML upset. Way too much uncertainty in this game.
Western Kentucky (-7.5) @ Rice Let's see, a line I don't like coupled with two teams I'm not 100% sure about. Add into that one of the worst home-field advantages in college football and you have a game that I have no confidence in. This game isn't close to six, it's more like 43rd. I think Rice is better against C-USA opposition than they are Power 5 opposition however so this feels like a close game.
Nebraska (-6.5) @ Illinois I gave Nebraska a chance last week to show me something. They did not. While Illinois is not a good team they're much better than some other teams Nebraska will be facing. And the game is in Champagne which should help them. I have a slight lean toward the Illini to cover, but razor thin slight.
Boston College @ Duke (-7) Another -7 line in college football this week. And one that I like. The problem is the Blue Devils have been too up and down to suggest with certainty that they can cover more than a TD against BC. This game feels like a TD + Extra Point game, which makes it a push.
Alabama @ Georgia (-2.5) There are two main questions heading into this game that you can't answer. 1. Is Alabama as down this year as we think? 2. When is Mark Richt going to Richt a victory right out of Georgia's hands? If the answers are "not as much" and "this week" then 'Bama wins and we're back to the status quo. If the answers are "a lot" and "not this week" then UGA rolls. It's a coin toss, and the worst bet in the world is on a coin toss.
Kansas State @ Oklahoma State (-8) Fresh off of a narrow escape against UT-Austin the Fighting Gundy's are back at home to face Kansas State and, more importantly, Bill Snyder. OSU has played the (slightly) tougher competition but their offense looked horrible against a mistake-prone Longhorns team. K-State has played relatively soft (excluding La Tech) competition and, despite losing their starting QB, looked pretty good. Here's the problem for the Cowboys. K-State is coached better than UT-Austin and should not make the mistakes the Longhorns did. That said, I think OSU is way more talented. It's a close one, but I like Bill Snyder's men to cover.
Ole Miss (-7) @ Florida The problem for the Gators here is pretty simple. Ole Miss does not have the same penchant for giving away games to Florida as does Tennessee. After a big win vs. Alabama you can draw a line through last week's sleepwalking win over Vanderbilt. Florida is coming off an emotional win. I think Ole Miss has the talent advantage and could run wild in this game. Then again, I see a slight possibility that Florida is better than we think. That said, this game is #6 and the pick is Ole Miss to cover.
Arkansas @ Tennessee (-6.5) Call this one the Mediocre Game Day Coaching Bowl or the Hot Seat Bowl which ever you prefer. I like Karma Bowl as well since Bielema is a punk and Tennessee is still seemingly paying for firing coach Fulmer in a fit of hubris. Under the best of scenarios this game would end in an ugly, unwatchable 0-0 tie that would leave both coaches squirming.
Mississippi State @ Texas aTm (-7) If Dak Prescott and the Hail State offense can get it going, there's a chance they pull the upset. I'm not as impressed with the Chavis defense for the Aggies as I thought I would be. Still, aTm has speed and talent. What they don't have is the same confidence they possessed during the Manziel era. That scares me away from saying they should cover here.
Notre Dame (-1) @ Clemson Credit to the Irish, no team has been harder hit with injuries this year and remained undefeated. I think, however, that the run ends here. The problem with that feeling is that Clemson HC Dabo Swinney is more a cheerleader than a solid game day coach. This makes any play on Clemson suspect, at best. Clemson on the ML is my feel, but Swinney being horribly outcoached keeps me away.
Oregon (-7.5) @ Colorado I don't get this game. Oregon looked awful against Utah and Colorado has looked unspectacular pretty much everywhere except against FCS bottom-feeder Nichols State. Can team Puddles come back here and make a statement that the rumors of their demise have been greatly exaggerated? Sure. Will they? The Magic 8 ball says "Hard to tell". I lean Oregon to cover, but if they're hungover from last week interesting things can happen.
Texas Tech @ Baylor (-17) The one line that I'm interested in this game is the O/U of either 89.5 or 90 depending on the book. Baylor has scored 56, 66 & 70 points respectively in it's first 3 games. More importantly, they gave up 31 points to Lamar. Call it me but the Red Raiders, who have scored 59, 69, 35 & 52 have a much better offense then that. Keep in mind as well that Texas Tech gave up 45 points to Sam Houston State. Granted, SHSU is one of the better FCS teams in the country, but Baylor could almost name their score. Based on the above this game could hit the over in the first half. I would have included this in my Five, but it's against the rules so I'll just put it here and laugh about it when the game ends 17-14 or something like that.
Michigan (-16) @ Maryland Last week, against BYU, the Wolverines played the best game I've seen in the last 10 years. Meanwhile, the Terps have looked anything but impressive, getting demolished last week by a solid WV team 45-6. Here's my concern. There's an old "rule" in betting that, when a team ranked 21-25 is on the road you fade them. Michigan jumped from not receiving any votes to #22 last week based primarily on a game against a tired and depleted BYU team. The rules say play Maryland to cover. The rules are, historically, right more often than wrong.
Have fun watching the games this week. It's a great schedule from top to bottom.