By Paul Schmidt
Ahhh…4-0. That sounds really nice. I finally showed what I can do last week with a 4-0 week, and some easy-money lines in C-USA and the WAC. Given my reliance on Central Michigan this season it was really nice to get a boost from some of the other smaller conferences…
This week’s lines are a smattering of weird…a little bit because of some rivalry games, like Texas-Oklahoma, and a little bit because teams like Michigan chose this week to take on an FCS school (Delaware State in the middle of the season??). The latter might be because of the Big Ten season starting earlier, I know, but find an FBS opponent, guys, seriously. Failing that…I guess the Blessed Sisters of the Poor might be available…
As always, this week’s four games are below, with the lines being the ones featured at the Harrah’s Casinos in beautiful, sunny Las Vegas. Which I miss. Sniff.
Oklahoma (+3) at Texas (neutral site game)
So this game gets played in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas…which is in Texas…which leads me to wonder just how this could be viewed as a neutral site game. I guess it is somewhere near equidistant from both campuses…but it is in Texas. That’s like when Illinois plays in Chicago at the United Center and has the audacity to call it a neutral site game…it isn’t. They’ve only lost twice there. That sounds like hoomecourt advantage to me…
Either way, Texas is better than their ranking at this point. The defense has been really impressive this season, even if Colt McCoy has looked a little…off. He’s not playing BADLY…but he isn’t looking all that good either. It’s pretty insulting, if you’re a Longhorn, that this line is on,y three points, because it isn’t like Sam Bradford looked great last week against Baylor…so what does all that mean??
It means Texas should be favored by way more than this…and they prove it on Saturday. Pick: Texas -3
Northwestern (+14.5) at Michigan State
Wait….what?? This is the same Michigan State team that dominated Illinois last week, sure…but EVERYONE has dominated Illinois. That’s not unusual!
What is known is that EVERYONE at skill positions for the Spartans is at least dinged up. They’ll have at least two RB’s not playing with a third that will play injured…their backup QB hurt his throwing arm last week…and yet they are laying more than two TD’s???
The cavaet here, I suppose, is that Northwestern looked awful against Miami (OH) last week, but I really don’t think that will be an issue here. Even if Willy and the Wildcats don’t win, they will keep it close. Pick: Northwestern +14.5
Miami (-14) at Central Florida
I’m a believer in Jacory Harris, and you should be too! I also believe in Randy Shannon’s ability to coach, and get teams ready for games where they might get caught looking ahead. This is a perfect example of a game like that for the ‘Canes. Central Florida really isn’t any good, but they could keep it close if Miami plays with disinterest.
However, the ‘Canes haven’t done that yet this year. Though the win against Florida State looks less impressive, the Oklahoma win remains really legit. The Georgia Tech win is looking better and better, and getting blown out in Blacksburg by Va. Tech isn’t the worst thing that could happen to you. More and more, they are looking like a team that could steal a BCS Title Game berth.
Either way, I think this is a Miami team that remains focused on their goal of getting a BCS game themselves…that quest continues with a blowout on the road this week. Pick: Miami -14
Kansas -9 at Colorado
If the Northwestern line was the most perplexing of the week, this one, weirdly enough, made the most sense. I knew that people would give Colorado too much love this week after playing Texas close. It’s like clockwork, this happens EVERY week — one bad team shows up for a week and then the next week gets a ton of action.
And make no mistake, Colorado is a really, really bad team. They just might be the class of the crap in the Big 12. Now, Kansas may not be world beaters, but they are playing good solid football, and the offense is led by a QB in Todd Reesing that, though he doesn’t wow you with his arm, just doesn’t make mistakes. That in itself should be enough to blow the Buffs out of the water, even on the road. My, how the coaching stock of Dan Hawkins has fallen…Pick: Kansas -9
Last Week: 4-0
Season Record: 13-10-1