Coach Nick Saban celebrates Alabama's 37-21 victory over Texas.
Starting this week, I will be making picks against the spread. Each week, I will choose ten games from around the country, including no less than one from each BCS conference which will be listed as the conference's game of the week. The lines and spreads are averages from several different websites.
*I am not a gambler, and I would not recommend using these picks as a guide for profit. I am making these picks strictly for fun.*
Ten From Around the Nation
01. 7:30 PM ET Texas A&M (3-0, 0-0) at Oklahoma State (3-0, 0-0) (-3) (o/u 66.5) (ESPN)
Both teams have big question marks, but both of these Big XII South teams are undefeated, and the winner takes a big advantage in bowl positioning. In games like these, I take the home team. Both offenses have been explosive, while neither defense has been really impressive. I will take Oklahoma State -3 and the over 66.5.
(ACC Game of the Week)
02. 12:00 PM ET No. 16 Miami, FL (2-1, 0-0) (-3.5) at Clemson (2-1, 0-0) (50.5) (ESPN2)
Clemson is a home underdog against Miami, and I usually take a home dog as a rule. However, I really like Miami's defense. They blanket receivers and get pressure with their front four, so they don't have to commit anyone else to rushing the passer. Miami's problem on the road has been Jacory Harris. Harris plays nearly flawless at home, but makes terrible decisions on the road. Clemson nearly beat Auburn in Auburn, losing by three in overtime. Clemson also plays excellent defense and Dabo Sweeney is the right coach for the job, but I'll take Miami to cover the 3.5 because they have more playmakers on both sides of the ball. I think this game will be relatively low scoring as well, so I'll take the under 50.5.
03. 12:00 PM ET Florida State (3-1, 1-0) (-7) at Virginia (2-1, 0-0) (47.5)
Virginia coach Mike London has the Cavaliers heading in the right direction, but they are still a home underdog against fellow first season coach Jimbo Fisher. I think the Cavs will keep it close, but will ultimately fall to the more talented Seminoles. Some fourth quarter touchdowns will push this over the 47.5, and Florida State will cover the 7 in Charlottesville.
04. 2:30 PM ET Navy (2-1) at Air Force (3-1, 2-0) (-10) (49.5) (Versus)
The Falcons put a scare into Big XII powerhouse Oklahoma, nearly erasing a 17 point deficit in their lone loss on the season. Navy's lone blemish came against Maryland, as superstar quarterback Ricky Dobbs was stopped several times inside the five yard line, including fourth and goal from the one with under a minute to play in their loss to the Terps. Expect this game to be close. I'll take the 10 and Navy. Since both teams play a similar offense, I think the defenses will keep the game relatively low scoring, so I'll take the under 49.5.
Red River Rivalry at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas
(Big 12 Game of the Week)
05. 3:30 PM ET No. 21 Texas (3-1, 1-0) vs. No. 8 Oklahoma (4-0, 0-0) (-4) (45.5) (ABC)
I do not know the inner workings of Texas football, but from an outsiders prospective, Mack Brown made a mistake shouldering the entire weight of the UCLA debacle. A little pressure on the players is not always a bad thing, especially heading into the biggest game of the season. Oklahoma has not exactly been impressive, with the exception of their blowout win over Florida State. They have let teams back into games in the second half, but I believe the Sooners will play the full 60 against Texas. I'll take the Sooners to cover and the over 45.5.
06. 3:30 PM ET No. 11 Wisconsin (4-0, 0-0) (-2) at No. 24 Michigan State (4-0, 0-0) (53.5) (ESPN)
This game started off as a push, but the line has moved to Wisconsin's favor. Neither team has played extremely well so far, but both teams seem to have solid, balanced offenses. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. Wisconsin has the best victory of the two, a 20-19 win over the Sun Devils of Arizona State in Madison, but the blueprint was laid out on how to stop the Badgers. Call me crazy, but I'll take the home underdog in this one, as well as the over 53.5.
07. 3:30 PM ET No. 19 Michigan (4-0, 0-0) (-10) at Indiana (3-0, 0-0) (66.5) (ESPNU)
Neither team has a great defense, so I expect a shootout between Indiana's Ben Chapell and Michigan's Denard Robinson. Anyone who has read anything that I have wrote this season knows that I am a huge fan of Denard Robinson. He has captivated me so far with an amazing running ability, but do not sleep on Robinson's arm. Shoelace is completing 71.3 percent of his passes and has a passer rating of 162.0. Oh by the way, he leads the nation in rushing. I'll take Michigan to win on the road and cover the 10. Since neither team has a great defense, I'll take the over as well.
(PAC 10 Game of the Week)
08. 8:00 PM ET No. 9 Stanford (4-0, 1-0) at No. 4 Oregon (4-0, 1-0) (-7) (65.5) (ABC,ESPN2)
College Gameday will be in Eugene this Saturday for the top ten tilt between Stanford and Oregon. Both teams have been crushing their opponents and racking up huge offensive numbers, but in my opinion, no team has been more impressive than the Stanford Cardinal. The Cardinal are tough and will not be intimidated by the Autzen crazies. Oregon has the faster team, and the spread option works based on getting players out of position. This is something Stanford's defense just doesn't do. I'll take the Cardinal +7 on the road, and furthermore, I am going to predict an outright upset in Eugene on Saturday night. Stanford 35, Oregon 28, I'll also take the under.
09. 8:00 PM ET Notre Dame (1-3) (-3) at Boston College (2-1, 0-1) (44.5) (ABC)
This game shows the lack of depth in the games around the country this week. I added this one because BC is replacing Uncle Dave Shinske at QB after the Eagles were shut out by the Hokies in Chestnut Hill last Saturday. BC has a very good defense with several future NFLers, and Notre Dame has a very good offense with several future NFLers. On a wing and a prayer, I'll reluctantly take the Irish to cover the 3, but I'll take the Eagles defense to keep the score low.
(Big 10 Game of the Week)
10. 8:05 PM ET No. 22 Penn State (3-1, 0-0) at No. 17 Iowa (3-1, 0-0) (-7) (41.5) (ESPN)
Both teams have suffered a tough road loss so far this season. Penn State lost on the road 24-3 to #1 Alabama, and the Hawkeyes dropped a 34-27 decision in the desert to #14 Arizona. There are two huge factors in my opinion; first, Penn State is starting a true freshman (Robert Bolden) at quarterback, and second, the game is in Iowa City's Kinnick Stadium. Both factors favor the Hawkeyes, so I'll take them to cover the 7. Both teams play great defense, so I expect a low scoring game, 24-14 or so sounds about right. Give me the under 41.5.
Seven From the SEC
1. 12:00 PM ET Louisiana-Monroe (1-2, 0-1) at No. 10 Auburn (4-0, 2-0) (-35) (53.5) (ESPNU)
Mismatch! 35.5 is a lot to cover. I'll take UL-Monroe and the points. Auburn is still going to rout the Warhawks, so I'll take the over, thank you.
(Big East Game of the Week)
2. 12:00 PM ET Vanderbilt (1-2, 1-1) at Connecticut (2-2, 0-0) (-7) (46.5)
Yes folks, Vanderbilt at UConn is my Big East game of the week. The Commodores may never be in the SEC game of the week, so here is their chance to shine. What? This gem is not on national television? The Big East teams have lousy opponents this week. In fact, not one Big East opponent has a winning record this week. UConn covers the 7 but the defenses hold the score under 46.5.
3. 12:00 PM ET Kentucky (3-1, 0-1) at Mississippi (2-2, 0-1) (-3) (58.5)
Who knows what you are going to get from Ole Miss? I mean, they go from bad to worse and back to good. Kentucky has more playmakers on offense, and Oregon transfer Jeremiah Masoli has been interception prone so far, throwing five picks in four games. I'll take Hartline, Locke, Cobb, and the 3 at the Grove. I'll also take the over 58.5.
4. 12:00 PM ET Alcorn State (3-0, 2-0) at Mississippi State (2-2, 1-2) (No Line Available)
Mullen's Bulldogs are shaping up way ahead of my projected schedule. This team is loaded with freshmen and sophomores in the two deep. The Starkvillians drop 50+ on the Braves and hold them to less than 10.
5. 3:30 PM ET Tennessee (2-2, 0-1) at No. 12 LSU (4-0, 2-0) (-16.5) (42.5) (CBS)
If LSU is going to cover that 16.5, they will need to shut the Vols out and Patrick Patterson will need to return two kicks for touchdown, because LSU has been putrid in the passing game so far. If I were Miles, I would throw Russell Sheppard in at QB and run the option all game long. At least that way defenses can't simply key in on Ridley all game long. Anyways, LSU will win in the BR, but I'll take Tennessee and the 16.5 as well as the under.
6. 7:00 PM ET Georgia (1-3, 0-3) (-4.5) at Colorado (2-1, 0-0) (47.5)
Georgia is off to their worst start under coach Mark Richt, but last week loss in Starkville had to be most concerning to the Bulldog Nation because they stopped competing for the first time. The good news is AJ Green is back following a four game suspension. As bad as things seem to be in Athens, how awful is Colorado that they are a 4.5 home underdog to a 1-3 team. I'll give up the 4.5 and take the Bulldogs to get on track this week. I also think UGA wins in a rout, 35-7 sounds about right, so I'll take the under.
(SEC Game of the Week)
7. 8:00 PM ET No. 7 Florida (4-0, 2-0) at No. 1 Alabama (4-0, 1-0) (-8) (47.5)
I already did a full write up on this game, which you can read here:
I have Alabama winning 34-21 in Tuscaloosa, so obviously I have Bama -8 and the over.