After a couple weeks of futility, I finally came back on the winning side last week, albeit only in one game. Stanford covered in Corvalis against Oregon State, who played better than I expected they would, which hopefully they can continue to this week (Spoiler Alert!). The Air Force pick was risky going in, I knew it, and I got burnt. Clemson came out in the first half of their game against Maryland like they were still cleaning up after the Florida State mess, but came back in the second half, only to win by 13, against a 13.5 point spread. Damn you Vegas. For the record I have done pretty well in my over/under predictions, which I don’t include in my overall record, but I am 3-0 in those in the past two weeks. Regardless, 1-2 is at least a step in the right direction. This week’s games, to put it bluntly, don’t look very good. There are some tough lines to look at but we will fight through and find a couple to go with. On to the picks.
I’m starting off with the Friday night special, featuring a resurgent USC heading into Corvallis to battle the Beavers of Oregon State. Like I alluded to earlier, OSU didn’t play terribly last week against Stanford, and had it not been for four turnovers on downs inside the Stanford 35 yard line, the result of the game may have been different. The one concern for the Beavers was the lack of offense they were able to produce against Stanford’s defense. USC has been playing much better since the dismantling at Arizona State and subsequent dismissal of Lane Kiffen. They have won two of three, only losing at Notre Dame two weeks ago. Oregon State is giving 3.5 points Friday night, and while I think the Trojans will be in the game into the fourth quarter, the Beavers offense is strong enough to score against Southern Cal, and they should win by at least a touchdown, take the Beavers and the points.
In the second pick of the week we will head to historic Ross-Ade Stadium in beautiful West Lafayette, Indiana. Ok who are we kidding here, I don’t even think Purdue grads think West Lafayette is all that beautiful, but hey, they are playing a football game this weekend, so they have that going for them. Unfortunately for the Boilermakers, Ohio State and coach Urban Meyer are rolling into town like General Sherman heading towards Atlanta. OSU absolutely dismantled Penn State last week, going as far as putting second and third stringers in pretty early in the third quarter, and still virtually scoring at will. Purdue on the other hand, well, they are Purdue. They have won a single game this year, and that game wasn’t against a FBS opponent, and they only won by 6 points. Last week’s result against Penn State should show that Urban the Terrible has no qualms about putting some style points up on the board against an inferior opponent, and Purdue is the definition of inferior opponent, take Ohio State and the 31.5 points.
In my final game this week I am going to keep it in the state of Indiana, Bloomington this time where the Hoosiers are giving 8 points to Minnesota this week in a clash of, um, basketball schools I guess? Vegas knows what they are doing more often than not, but something about this line seems odd. Keep in mind every time I say that, I generally lose, but I digress. Minnesota is not great, but they are coming off two decent conference wins against Northwestern and Nebraska. Indiana is just the opposite, coming off two losses, granted they were to two much different teams in Michigan and Michigan State. These two teams couldn’t be much different on paper. Indiana loves to throw the ball, Minnesota adores the running game. Indiana gives up a ton of points (but also scores almost as many), Minnesota gives up almost two touchdown less per game than the Hoosiers. That being said, the 8 points Indiana is giving up just seems like a lot. I don’t doubt that they can win the game, as Minnesota is better than many expected, but still not in the upper echelon of B1G teams. The Gophers should be able to keep it close against the Hoosiers this weekend in Bloomington, and cover the 8 points.
If you are still reading, you can tell by the last game I picked that I was struggling to find decent games this week, as there just aren’t many, at least with decent spreads. Another one that stuck out was Southern Miss getting 31.5 points at Marshall. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing deceiving about Southern Miss and there losing streak that dates back two seasons, they are horrible. With that being said, 31.5 points is a lot of points, and Marshall isn’t that great in their own regard. Southern Miss has given up 55 points in consecutive weeks against a couple of teams (East Carolina and North Texas) that aren’t very good in their own right, and by looking at those scores it seems as if they have all but given up on winning this season as well, but I just have a feeling on this one, no reason in particular. In this week’s Texas A&M over/under we sit at 76.5, and much like the previous two weeks where the over has hit, I say pound it again. aTm’s defense isn’t getting any better, and while UTEP isn’t great, they should have limited success moving the ball against the Aggies.
Oregon State -3.5 over USC (oops)
Ohio State -31.5 over Purdue
Minnesota +8 over Indiana