|The Vols turned up the heat in this rivalry with last year's locker room celebration/Zimbio.com|
Despite the sub .500 week, my record is still a beaming 20-9-1 (69%) on the season.
Onto this week's picks:
Northwestern +7 at Michigan State 12ETThe Wildcats lost an absolute heart breaker last week in Ann Arbor which they had no business losing on a tipped hail mary. QB Kain Colter is a little banged up but expected to play.
The Spartans defense gets a lot of credit, but the Wildcats are not that far off. Pat Fitzgerald's team has a respectable 16.6 yards per point average to Michigan State's 17.7. Where Northwestern has a decided advantage is on offense where they are much more efficient.
Even though this game is in East Lansing, the road won't face the Wildcats who have actually played better away from Evanston. This game always reminds of my biggest win ever in Vegas in 2005 when I took Northwestern as +13.5 underdog and they won outright 49-14. I had seen the Randy Walker coached team the previous week at Purdue and came away very impressed. But I digress....
FSU -31 at Maryland 12ETI am going against my stats in this one which has this line pegged right at 31. This pick is completely off feel.
The Terps just lost their top running back this week and still have a LB at QB so they can't pass and now can't run very well. Plus, the Seminoles defense is one of the best in the nation at yards per pay allowed. I could see this unit scoring at least once defensive and creating several more turnovers in Maryland territory for easy scores.
The only hesitation if Jimbo Fisher pulls starters early to prep for Florida next week.
Clemson -17 vs NC State 3:30ETThis will be a revenge game for the Tigers who were stomped 37-13 last year in Raleigh without Sammy Watkins.
The Wolfpack are on shaky ground and so is there coach with rumors he will be released at the end of the season (who does NC State think it is firing a coach who is 5-1 vs UNC and three straight bowls?). They may come out playing for their coach, but they may lay an egg like they did against Virginia two weeks - didn't see that one coming.
I think Dabo Swinney's club gets up early on offense and gives their mediocre defense a chance to play against a one-dimensional NC State offense playing catchup the rest of the way.
Vanderbilt -3.5 vs Tennessee 7ETDerek Dooley's time is short in Knoxville. James Franklin wants you to think his time in Nashville is just beginning. One team clearly has more talent, the other clearly has a better coach.
The Commodores finally have something they have always lacked: a competitive SEC defense giving up a point every 18.8 yards (that's really good for those who don't follow yds/point).
Franklin will be sure to drill into his player's head the Vols locker room celebration after beating his team a year ago. Normally, I don't buy into the motivation angle, it may be just what the Commodores need to push a coach out the door for good.
All of my metrics point to a Vandy win by at least a touchdown so I feel safe taking the field goal plus spread at home.
Oklahoma -10 at West Virginia 7ETTaking the Sooners in a road game at night is risky business considering their history, but taking anything from West Virginia after September has been costly for bettors.
The Mountaineers stopping Oklahoma's offense from scoring at least 35 would be a Jesco White type miracle. Throw in a solid defense from Bob Stoops' team who has plenty of film to review on how to slow the once thought impenetrable Geno Smith and QB and I think Oklahoma could win this game going away.
Other Games to keep an eye on:
Georgia Tech -13 vs Duke
This could be for the Coastal Division title. The Yellow Jackets have been playing much better lately and getting some much needed defensive help. The Blue Devils had a week off to prep but that didn't seem to help UNC much last week.
Indiana +17 at Penn State
The Hoosiers have actually played better on the road than at home this season.
Boston College +10 vs Virginia Tech
Not really sure by my stats love BC in this game. I am not brave enough to take them though.
UCLA +3.5 vs USC
Same as BC, above the stats love UCLA. But if the Trojans want this one they have it.