Last Week: 10-3-1
Last Week’s Best: Alabama/Arkansas OVER 49
When you have 10 winners, it’s tough to pick the best. Picking the under in a game involving Indiana is always a good win. Picking someone to cover against Ohio State is a good win. But the over/under pick with the Tide and the Hogs was the best pick of the week. In rolling to a 19-point win, Alabama hung 49 by themselves in the Saturday night showdown in the SEC, a conference which seems to play as much defense as the Big-12 these days.
Last Week’s Worst: North Carolina (-1.5) vs. Virginia Tech
I wrote last week that I thought people who had Virginia Tech ranked in the Top-25 were nuts. I still don’t know if the Hokies are very good, as I suspect the hurricane and a letdown after a big win in Tallahassee played into UNC’s demise. But damn, this was a beatdown. When you pick a team -1.5 and they lose by 31, it’s ugly no matter how or why it happened.
Last Week’s Bad Beat: Tennessee (+7) at Texas A&M
Two weeks in a row that Tennessee has provided the bad beat. This week it didn’t result in loss, but nonetheless, it should’ve been a win. The Vols stormed back from 14 points down in the 4th quarter to send the game to overtime. There’s only one way to win/lose a game by 7 points in overtime: the team with the ball first scores a touchdown and and makes an extra point and the other team doesn’t score at all. Any other combination of scoring, beside an A&M score, then a Tennessee turnover for an A&M score, would have let Tennessee cover.
So, with 10 wins in the rearview mirror, let’s build on last week’s success and see if we can turn it into a hot streak. The lines for this week’s game are current as of 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
10 Nebraska (-3.5) at Indiana, O/U 56, 3:30 p.m.
What a time to be alive. Indiana is only a 3.5-point dog against a Top-10 opponent. But perhaps Vegas knows (the line opened at 8) that Nebraska probably shouldn’t be in the Top-10. The Huskers are good, undoubtedly, but they have exactly zero impressive wins. They opened with two snoozers at home against Fresno State and Wyoming, had a then-impressive 3-point win against Oregon (who has now lost four in a row, including a 3-point loss at home to Colorado, an 18-point loss at Washington State, and a 70-21 blowout in Eugene to Washington), an 11-point win at Northwestern, who has two ugly losses to Western Michigan and Illinois State, and a 15-point win over Illinois, who just lost to Purdue.
In other words, Nebraska is ranked 10th on name alone. I’m not saying the Huskers aren’t good, but if an Indiana or Maryland or Purdue was 5-0 with that schedule, they might be ranked around 25, but more than likely would still be an other receiving votes.
An overrated team, an improved Indiana defense, and Homecoming? I think the Hoosiers win outright, so I’ll certainly take the 3.5 points. My only question is whether to take the over or under. I think Vegas nailed this line because I could see this being a 27-24 or 31-38 type game. Because it’s still Indiana and I’m not sure #CHAOSTEAM is dead, I’ll assume some points are scored late and it pushes the total over.
Pick: Indiana (+3.5) AND OVER 56
1 Alabama (-13) at 9 Tennessee, O/U 57, 3:30 p.m.
Tennessee is weird, man. Who knows what to expect of these dudes week in and week out other than for them to challenge for the #CHAOSTEAM title. I don’t think Tennessee wins against Alabama, but I think they keep it close (or fall behind by 30 and then make it close). I’ll take Tennessee to cover, but nothing more.
Pick: Tennessee (+13)
12 Ole Miss (-7.5) at 22 Arkansas, O/U 67, 7:00 p.m.
I don’t know what to make of either of these teams either, other than the fact that, like Nebraska, Bert’s best win (TCU) looks not nearly as good as it did at the time it came. For that reason, and BERT, I’ll take Ole Miss plus, a lot of points.
Pick: Ole Miss (-7.5) AND Over 67
2 Ohio State (-10) at 8 Wisconsin, O/U 44, 8:00 p.m.
Ohio State is the best team in the country. Wisconsin is very good and at home. Make of that what you will. All I know is that Wisconsin can’t score with Ohio State, so they better shut them down. I think Ohio State had a bad offensive week last week (two scores against Indiana came on drives of less than 10-yards) and won’t have two in the entire season, let alone two in a row.
Pick: Ohio State (-10)
Big Ten Games
Illinois (-6) at Rutgers, O/U 53.5, 12:00 p.m.
Sleepy kickoff. The worst team in the Big Ten and the worst team that thinks its in the Big Ten. I think Illinois is beyond bad after seeing how Purdue handled them on Saturday. (Well, not seeing because I wouldn’t do that to myself, but I heard about it.)
Rutger might even win this one outright.
Rutger lost by 78 last weekend.
Pick: Illinois (-6), begrudgingly
Minnesota at Maryland (-6.5), O/U 49.5
Picking the Gophers has burned me two weeks in a row. The Gophers aren’t as good as I thought a few weeks ago. But Maryland just isn’t any good either. I don’t feel comfortable picking either of them, so I’ll root for points.
Pick: OVER 49.5
Iowa (-12.5) at Purdue, O/U 50.5, 12:00 p.m.
Good for Indiana that Purdue won last week. We’re just a couple Boilermaker wins away from Darrell Hazell getting an extension. Honestly, they might get one this week. Iowa is bad, fam. Exhibit A: losing at home to an FCS. Exhibit 2: Only beating Rutger by 7. Exhibit 3: Losing to Northwestern at home.
Purdue sucks too, but in no way am I picking an Iowa team that can’t score to win by double digits. Give me the powderpuff team.
Pick: Purdue (+12.5)
Northwestern at Michigan State (-4.5), O/U 43.5, 3:30 p.m.
Two months ago, this could have been a game that people might have thought about watching. Now, it’s just one that we will only care about if we bet on it.
I don’t like purple. Is that a good enough reason?
PIck: Michigan State (-4.5)