Last Week: 7-5
Last Week’s Best Pick: Auburn (+3.5) vs. LSU
It just seemed to easy to pick against Danny Etling. Sure enough, Etling killed the Tigers as he failed to get a snap off on what would have been a game-winning touchdown pass. But it wouldn’t have mattered for the line. Auburn already had the upset locked up.
Last Week’s Worst Pick: Iowa (-13) at Rutgers
I would still take Iowa to beat Rutgers by more than 13 points anytime I was given the opportunity. But looking back, the over/under was the bet to make. 56 points for two teams who ended up setting offensive football back 50 years. I should’ve picked smarter, not harder.
Last Week’s Bad Beat: Nevada (+5.5) at Purdue
I went two-for-two in picking against former Purdue quarterbacks. And I was 1:17 away from being three-for-three picking against all things Boilers. Purdue had the ball and a 3-point lead with 1:17 left. On 3rd and 7, the Boilers threw the ball, a first down being all they needed to put the game on ice and seal a 3-point win. Instead, they took the play 51 yards to the house for a 10-point, 24-14 win.
All lines this week are as of 9:00 a.m. on Friday, September 30.
Michigan State (-6.5) at Indiana, 52 O/U, 8:00 p.m.
I can’t remember the last time Michigan State looks so beatable. That’s not to say Indiana’s going to win. It just means that if the Hoosiers have a lead in the 3rd quarter Saturday night, I won’t be waiting on Michigan State to score 28 points over the last 20 minutes and win by three scores.
The Wake Forest game will prove to be an anomaly for Richard Lagow. I still am of the belief that only two of the five interceptions were on him, and I’d be stunned to ever see him throw more than two in a game again.
The Spartans are without two game-changers in the middle of their defense and I have an inkling that Dan Feeney will be back on the field.
I’m not saying Indiana wins, but they definitely put up some points and cover.
Pick: Indiana (+6.5) AND Over
Friday Night Lights
7 Stanford at 10 Washington (-3.5), 45 O/U, 9:00 p.m.
The Cardinal are fresh off an exciting win at UCLA, which required late-night heroics and also handed sports bettors the worst beat of the college football season. Washington also played a thriller, escaping unranked Arizona in overtime on the road.
This shapes up to be the biggest game Washington has played in the last decade, if not longer. And I can’t think of any team west of the Mississippi I’d want to see less in a big game. Stanford is just a methodical, business-like program that won’t get too high or too low no matter what might happen on any given play. Stanford will make it incredibly difficult for the Huskies to get this statement win they need so bad.
I’ll always take the better team when they’re getting points.
Pick: Stanford (+3.5)
Top 25 Games
11 Tennessee (-3.5) at 25 Georgia, 52.5 O/U, 3:30 p.m.
I’d stay away from this game unless someone paid me to bet it. Tennessee losing after a huge win over Florida would be a very Tennessee thing to do. Georgia looked like a doormat last week against Ole Miss and probably shouldn’t be ranked anymore.
The only kind of logic I have for this one is Georgia’s offense is not good, and Tennessee’s offense is not as good as Ole Miss’s. Last week the Dogs and the Rebels combined for 59 points. I’ll take a touchdown less in this game.
Pick: Under 53
8 Wisconsin at 4 Michigan (-10.5), 44.5 O/U, 3:30 p.m.
Wisconsin now has two big wins on the season, but I’m still not convinced they were great wins. LSU has been bad enough that Les Miles lost his job and Michigan State looks mediocre enough that we think Indiana has a real shot on Saturday night.
Wisconsin has the same problem that I thought Penn State had going into their matchup with Michigan last week: they don’t have the quarterback play to attack the middle of the Wolverines secondary.
It won’t be a blowout and the Badgers will put up a fight, but a late Michigan score pushes this one to 13 or 14 allowing the home team to cover.
Pick: Michigan (-10.5)
3 Louisville (-2) at 5 Clemson, 67.5 O/U, 2:00 p.m.
This line has moved by a dozen points since Clemson was a 10-point favorite when the season began. The sharks would say go with the Tigers as the public has shifted the line five points since the game was put on the board last weekend. That might overlook the fact that Louisville has just been better than Clemson thus far, but I refuse to believe that Bobby Petrino can keep winning big games.
Pick: Clemson (+2)
Big Ten Games
Rutgers at 2 Ohio State (-38.5) , 60 O/U, 12:00 p.m.
So. Many. Points.
But I refuse to bet on Rutger. If Ohio State rolls early like many of the Scarlet Knights’ opponents have, they score 50+ easily. So I’ll double down on this game.
Pick: Ohio State (-38.5) AND Over
Northwestern at Iowa (-13.5), 43.5 O/U, 12:00 p.m.
Iowa just looks bad, like the rest of the Big Ten West. But at home, they have to be at least two touchdowns better than a less than pedestrian Northwestern team.
Pick: Iowa (-13.5)
Purdue at Maryland (-10.5), 56 O/U, 3:30 p.m.
Purdue’s starting left tackle is sitting in a jail cell awaiting his initial appearance or something like that. I’d pick Maryland even if he was playing. Terps big.
Pick: Maryland (-10.5)
Illinois at 15 Nebraska (-20.5), 53 O/U, 3:30 p.m.
This spread is a little too big to take Nebraska but not nearly big enough to take Illinois. All I know is that I don’t trust either of these schools to cover. Hesitantly, and because it’s the least uncomfortable selection, I’ll take the under.
Minnesota at Penn State (-2.5), 56 O/U, 3:30 p.m.
Last week it burned me picking Minnesota as a 17-point favorite over Colorado State. But I’m going with the Gophers again because there is no world in which I can imagine Penn State beating a better-than-average team right now. And Minnesota is better than average.
Pick: Minnesota (+2.5)
Underdog Lock of the Week
18 Utah at California (-2.5), 67 O/U, 6:00 p.m.
See the logic from Stanford and Washington. A much better football team is getting points. Utah is a lock.
Pick: Utah (+2.5)