Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! And hopefully your aren’t too wiped out from eating half a turkey or shopping overnight for the retail nightmare known as Black Friday. For me, the Friday after Thanksgiving will forever be about football. This is the day that the Oklahoma-Nebraska game was played every year for as long as I could remember……at least up until 1996. And while I miss that rivalry, I can always count on this weekend for the Iron Bowl, and Ohio State-Michigan. Even if you aren’t a fan of either team, you have to admit that these rivalries are among the best in sports. That alone makes today and tomorrow must see TV! The bad news? This is the last full week of football games. Which means the season is winding down, which is always a sad occasion for me. At any rate, it is time for me to try and build on my best week picking against the spread. Can it be done?
Iowa at Nebraska(-2.5): This looks low. Very low. Nebraska will wear this defense out. I think Nebraska covers this, even if they do turn it over every other possession like they seem very fond of doing.
SMU at Houston(-9.5): I get why Houston is this big of a favorite. I really do. The Mustangs have been playing much better lately, and I still have serious questions about their defense. I have to go with Houston.
East Carolina at Marshall(-3.5): This line is backwards. Marshall straight up!
Toledo(-9.5) at Akron: The Zips have struggled since the Michigan game. That wont change. Toledo should cover this with ease.
Miami(OH) at Ball State(-34.5): Well, I said a few weeks ago that I couldn’t take Miami again. I’m sticking to it. Give me the Lettermans….
Bowling Green(-2.5) at Buffalo: The Bulls have played well for most of the season, but as good as they have been, BGSU has been better. I’m taking the Falcons.
Massachusetts at Ohio(-18.5): I just don’t know if I can take Ohio after the disaster of last week. That said, UMass has been covered in all but two games. This is a tough one. I have to go with UMass not to get covered. The Bobcats’ inconsistency wins out for me.
Eastern Michigan at Central Michigan(-18.5): The Chippewas have proven that they are the best directional school in Michigan. Or at least that they should be. They hammered Western, a team which Eastern beat in overtime. I have to go with Central here.
Texas State at Troy(-6.5): I’m not entirely sure that Troy is this much better than Texas State. The Bobcats had trouble on the road last week. Will that continue? Even if it does, I don’t think Troy can cover them. Give me Texas State.
Arkansas at (17)LSU(-25.5): Will LSU have a letdown after a big win over A&M? Even if they do, I’m not sure Arkansas can stay close. I tend to think that they can’t. Give me LSU.
Florida International at Florida Atlantic(-28.5): Wow, this is a lot! The Panthers have been beyond awful, but this is supposed to be a rivalry game. Is it? Who knows. Give me the Owls. They have at least had a more consistent season….
(16)Fresno State(-8.5) at San Jose State: This line fluctuates up to 2.5 points, even now. That is a pretty rare occurence. I’m not sure why anyone has doubts about Fresno here. They shouldn’t. The Spartans have been given too much credit for most of the season. This is just another case of that. Fresno covers easily.
Miami(FL)(-2.5) at Pittsburgh: The Hurricanes haven’t fallen this far. Even with Duke Johnson out, I think Miami covers, and it might not be close.
Washington State at Washington(-16.5): Forget the onslaught that the Huskies unleashed on Oregon State last week. I am not going to say that Wazzu is better than that, but this is a heated rivalry. If you have never lived in the Pacific Northwest, you wont understand what a big deal this is up there. I think Washington State manages to keep is somewhat close. Give me the Leaches.
Oregon State at (13)Oregon(-22.5): Oregon State is still the little brother in the Civil War. However, that doesn’t automatically mean they will be blown out. I am taking Oregon State for the same reason that I am taking Washington State: these are heated rivalries in their part of the country. No matter how prominent Oregon and Washington have become, a large majority of their players still come from in-state. They understand the magnitude of the game. Give me Oregon State.
South Florida at (19)Central Florida(-26.5): The Bulls have been really really sad. That said, the last time UCF was a heavy favorite they nearly fell flat on their faces against a Temple team that is not much better than USF. I don’t think the Knights let it happen again. A BC$ berth awaits if they can win this game. I have to go with UCF.
Rutgers(-3.5) at Connecticut: I don’t care how much Rutgers has struggled. They are more talented at every single position. Rutgers wins easily.
(2)Florida State(-27.5) at Florida: At some point, the level of talent has to transcend the rivalry. This is one of those cases. Florida just lost to Georgia Southern last week, and are guaranteed a losing record for the first time since I was two years old. This is not a fluke, and Muschamp might be coaching for his job. It wont matter. Seminoles roll yet again!
Minnesota at (11)Michigan State(-14.5): The Gophers have issues throwing the ball, and Michigan State has the best run defense in the country. Can the Minnesota defense create enough opportunities for the offense? I wouldn’t count on it. Give me Sparty.
(3)Ohio State(-16.5) at Michigan: This game seemed like a huge deal a month ago. Now the Wolvies are reeling, and Ohio State is hitting it’s stride. Call me crazy, but I am still taking Michigan at home. I no longer think they can win this game outright, but I think they can – and will – keep it close, especially at home.
(24)Duke at North Carolina(-5.5): Duke is still getting no respect. I guess the bettors are thinking that the pressure will get to them. I don’t feel that way. I think Duke wins ten for the first time in school history. Blue Devils straight up!
Temple at Memphis(-8.5): I don’t buy this. I’m quite sure that Temple will keep this within one score, and I wouldn’t bit one bit surprised if they won it straight up. Give me Temple.
Kansas State(-17.5) at Kansas: This might even be low. Kansas is probably on the way up, but they aren’t up enough to hang with big brother K-State just yet. Give me the Wildcats.
Wake Forest at Vanderbilt(-13.5): Wake will have all sorts of trouble with Vandy here. I’m going with the Commodores at home.
Maryland(-2.5) at North Carolina State: Heads. Give me Maryland.
Southern Mississippi at UAB(-13.5): Wow. Is UAB really two touchdowns better than anyone? If they are, it has to be Southern Miss. Give me UAB at home.
Air Force at Colorado State(-13.5): I think Bibbs bounces back in a HUGE way. Give me Colorado State.
Colorado at Utah(-16.5): The Utes are money at home. Just ask Stanford. Give me Utah.
Wyoming at Utah State(-23.5): I still hate taking Utah State for lines like this, but given the way Wyoming has struggled and the way Utah State’s defense has looked, I think I have to take the Aggies.
South Alabama(-7.5) at Georgia State: Yes, I am considering Georgia State’s impeccable record against the spread when I pick this. Both Georgia State is getting some respect here finally. Im going with the Jaguars.
North Texas(-4.5) at Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane have been a mess for much of the year. That said, they looked pretty good last week, and they are at home. I think I am actually going to take Tulsa here.
Tulane at Rice(-10.5): I actually think that this one might be a bit too high. Tulane has been solid all year. I expect them to stay within ten, even against a pretty good Rice team. Give me Tulane.
BYU(-14.5) at Nevada: I think this one is too high as well. Both of these teams like to run the ball, which should make for a closer game. Give me Nevada at home.
(1)Alabama(-10.5) at (4)Auburn: It has been a long, long time since the Iron Bowl has meant this much. In fact, if Auburn were to win this game, I think they would jump over Ohio State in the BCS. The schedule is there. I think this line is too high. I think Auburn keeps it close, and they might even win. This is the most talent they have had since the Cam Newton led 2010 squad. I’m taking Aubie.
Georgia(-3.5) at Georgia Tech: Georgia is a MUCH better team. Bulldogs win easily!
Purdue at Indiana(-20.5): I would say this is high, but I can’t after watching Purdue play. Illinois may have struggled against the Boilers, but Indiana wont. I think the Hoosiers cover this.
Idaho at New Mexico State(-3.5): These are two of the five worst teams in division one. Nobody should be forced to pick this game. This is cruelty to animals. Right up there with actually making someone watch this game. Give me Idaho I guess. They at least have a win over a division one team. The Aggies almost lost to Abilene Christian! Vandals straight up!
Boston College(-2.5) at Syracuse: Much like BC’s last three opponents, the Orange wont have an answer for Williams. I like Boston College here again.
Virginia Tech(-12.5) at Virginia: The Cavs have been decent at home, but probably not decent enough to hang with the Hokies, even if they are offensively offensive. Give me VT.
Penn State at (15)Wisconsin(-24.5): At first glance, this looks high. Digging deeper though, Penn State wont be able to stop the Wisconsin rushing attack. I’m taking Wisconsin at home.
Northwestern(-3.5) at Illinois: The losing streak stops here. This is way too low. Give me Northwestern for my lock of the week!
(9)Baylor(-13.5) at TCU: This is also way too low. TCU wont be able to do what the Oklahoma State defense did to Baylor. The Bears are still in the thick of things for a Big 12(10) title, and a BC$ bowl. Give me Baylor.
Louisiana Tech at UTSA(-15.5): Huge line here for the Roadrunners to try and cover, but they were able to beat UTEP, Tulsa, and UAB by this much. I guess I will take UTSA.
UTEP at Middle Tennessee State(-22.5): I can’t take the Miners for anyone or anything. Give me MTSU.
Arkansas State at Western Kentucky(-5.5): The Red Wolves had a few scoring outbursts earlier in the month. The Hilltoppers have been inconsistent for much of the season. I like Arkie State straight up!
Iowa State at West Virginia(-7.5): I don’t buy this for one minute. West Virginia has been good enough to beat Oklahoma State, and bad enough to lose to Kansas. I’m going with Iowa State.
(25)Notre Dame at (8)Stanford(-14.5): This line might end up being low. Stanford has been overpowering at home to teams much less talented that Notre Dame. Give me Stanford.
Tennessee(-3.5) at Kentucky: Way too low. I don’t see any way that Kentucky can stay in this game. Give me Tennessee.
Louisiana-Monroe at Louisiana-Lafayette(-14.5): I think this is too many. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Warhawks won straight up. Give me Monroe.
(6)Clemson at (10)South Carolina(-5.5): The wrong team is favored. Clemson straight up!
(21)Texas A&M at (5)Missouri(-5.5): Franklin looked like he hadn’t missed a game. I like Missouri to finish off a dream season with a trip to the SEC Championship game.
(22)UCLA at (23)USC(-3.5): How much more does Ed Orgeron have to prove to USC? A win here would definitely do it, I would think. Will it be by more than a field goal? I don’t think so. Give me UCLA.
Arizona at (12)Arizona State(-12.5): With the way Arizona has played lately, and the fact that this is a rivalry game, this is too many points. Arizona has a chance to win this game outright. If they don’t, they will definitely keep it closer than this…..
New Mexico at Boise State(-36.5): This is not the Boise team of three years ago. Or three months ago for that matter. I don’t care if Carrier is out. This is way too many. Give me New Mexico.
San Diego State(-3.5) at UNLV: The Rebels have been impressive at times this year. I am going to take UNLV straight up at home.
Army at Hawaii(-6.5): Hawaii is tough on the islands. Give me Hawaii.