BYU (+1.5) @ TCU
The Cougars have gotten all the press, but the Horned Frogs are 6-1, have a stellar D, and can put points on the board. BYU solidifies their hold in the top 10 if they win, but if TCU does they'll skyrocket into the rankings, maybe as high as #15.
The Call: BYU by 6
The Result: TCU 32-7
Well, at least I got TCU's new ranking right - they just throttled the Cougars right from the first whistle. They're right back in the thick of the BCS bowl argument, if you ask me.
Wake Forest @ Maryland (+1.5)
The Demon Deacons have been stumbling a bit lately, but they're still winning. Maryland is 4-2 (really? who woulda thought), but who know which side of their team will show up Saturday. Wake is more stable at this point.
The Call: Wake Forest by 10
The Result: Maryland 26-0
Yeah, see, that's what having a Jekyll & Hyde team will do for you - you have to win some, I suppose. It's not going to get any easier for Wake in the second half of the season...
UConn (-1) @ Rutgers
UConn was flying high until that pasting by North Carolina two weeks ago, while Rutgers has had a hard time of it all year, having only beat Morgan State. And UConn's only giving up a single point?
The Call: Connecticut by 7
The Result: Rutgers 12-10
Uh-oh. Picking not going so well this week...
Georgia Tech @ Clemson (+2.5)
The story this week is Tommy Bowden's firing, and I'm sure it'll be all the talk of Death Valley for a while, especially if the Tigers continue their slide. But the other story that you haven't really heard people talk about much is how the Yellow Jackets barely escaped by Gardner-Webb 10-7. At home. Gardner-Webb. Yeah. We know Paul Johnson's boys can play, but if they don't bring more than that to Clemson they're gonna get smashed. I think they'll rebound.
The Call: Georgia Tech by 14
The Result: Georgia Tech 21-17
Whew - needed that one. Tech is having a hell of a season, while Clemson is looking as iffy as we thought they would.
Wisconsin @ Iowa (-3.5)
A promising season has turned into a nightmare for the Badgers with three straight tough losses. The Hawkeyes have lost to the few decent teams they've played though, and you know Wisconsin is just itching to get back on track.
The Call: Wisconsin by 10
The Result: Iowa 38-16
Hmmm, it looks like the badgers are going to be scratching for a bit. They're really looking bad, while Iowa moves to a respectable 5-3.
Vanderbilt @ Georgia (-14.5)
This is looking like a really good matchup in some ways. Both teams are looking to get back to where they were a few weeks ago. Vandy only needs a few bounces to go their way to make the most of them, while the Dawgs are one of the most penalized teams in the nation. Will that be the deciding factor? Maybe, but I'd bet the UGA offense vs the Vandy D is going to be the big story here. Logic says the Dawgs score a lot with Moreno & Stafford, but I think the Commodores will hold a few serves here and make it surprisingly close.
The Call: Georgia wins, but Vanderbilt covers the spread
The Result: Georgia 24-14
Georgia kept the penalties down this game, and the Vandy D had an average day. Good call.
Baylor (+16.5) @ Oklahoma State
The Cowboys are coming off a huge win against Missouri, but Baylor isn't the pushover they usually are, sitting at 3-3. Does this have the makings of a trap game? Yes, but I think Oklahoma State will handle their business just fine this week.
The Call: Oklahoma State by 21
The Result: Oklahoma State 34-6
The Cowboys are rolling, but they've got Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma for 3 of their last 5. Ouch.
Southern Miss @ Rice (-3.5)
Both of these two can put points on the board, but both have spotty D's too. They've beaten the teams they should've, and lost to the ones they should've. Tough call... you know who to ask.
The Call (courtesty of the gut - no pressure): Rice by 7
The Result: Rice 45-40
Good job, gut. So you like the starch, huh? I'll remember that.
Kansas (+20.5) @ Oklahoma
Sure the Jayhawks are #16, but just like last year, they haven't played anyone at all (besides South Florida, who they lost to). Also, last year they didn't have the Sooners on the schedule. That helps with the W%, to say the least. The story of the game? Oklahoma's redemption. They can't move up too far, since they're already at #4, but with one loss under their belt, it's all about style points now.
The Call: Oklahoma by 24
The Result: Oklahoma 45-31
Hmmm... I was going to rag on the Sooner's D, giving up over 30 points two weeks in a row. But Texas did the same thing. The good news is that they both have the offense to make up for it.
North Carolina @ Virginia (+4.5)
Yes, the Cavaliers are looking better than they did for the first few weeks of the season. But the Tar Heels have looked better all season.
The Call: North Carolina by 10
The Result: Virginia 16-13
The Tar Heels are still looking solid, but Virginia is making a nice comeback this year. If they can keep it up in their next five games, against tough opponents, they'll be solid.
USC (-42.5) @ Washington State
Yeah yeah, the last time the Trojans were such big favorites they lost to Stanford at home. And for the last few seasons, upsets of the Trojans by other Pac10 teams have come in pairs. But don't get your hopes up, Cougar fans. Your team is really, really bad, and the Trojans are really, really pissed. Pissed enough to beat you by more than 42.5? Well, lesser-pissed teams have, and USC knows they're in style points territory too. The gut is screaming at the size of that spread though. I gotta go with probabilities and math here.
The Call: USC wins, but Washington State covers the spread (barely, in garbage time)
The Result: USC 69-0
It appears that "garbage time" against the Cougars consists of the whole game. Go figure.
Mississippi @ Alabama (-12.5)
Sure the Rebels beat Florida, but I'm going to chalk that one up to luck - they haven't beaten anyone else of note, and that's not gonna start this weekend. Bama has had two weeks to prepare and rest up, which should be plenty of time to dominate.
The Call: Alabama by 17
The Result: Alabama 24-20
Are the Tide wearing out? Can they're young class handle a long season? What can Saban do to make sure there isn't a second half slide like there was last season? Still, they're winning - good for them.
Pittsburgh @ Navy (+3.5)
As I said last week, Pitt is rolling right now, but Navy isn't far behind, reeling off wins against Wake Forest & Air Force the last two weeks. This'll hopefully be a really good game, but I gotta think the Panthers will pull it out.
The Call: Pittsburgh by 7
The Result: Pittsburgh 42-21
Pitt is looking like the class of the BigEast right now, that loss to BG a faint memory.
Michigan (+23.5) @ Penn State
The Nittany Lions have been rolling, while the Wolverines have been getting rolled. Sounds like a spread covered to me.
The Call: Penn State by 28
The Result: Penn State 46-17
This week's game against Ohio State should really be the Nittany Lion's only remaining test of the season. They're looking ridiculously tough to stop.
Virginia Tech (+2.5) @ Boston College
The Eagles haven't really played anybody this year with the exception of Georgia Tech, who they lost to. And they let NC State hang around a long time last week. The Hokies have some solid wins, including one over said Yellow Jackets, and I like that they've seemingly found themselves.
The Call: Virginia Tech by 10
The Result: Boston College 28-23
...But they didn't capitalize on the Eagle's turnovers, which killed them in the end. You gotta CAPITALIZE, son! Who knows what's going to happen in the ACC week to week? Certainly not me.
Missouri @ Texas (-5.5)
I'd say the stunner of last week was the Tiger's loss, while I had an inkling that the Longhorns would be solid. This week, I think that while Texas might win the battle at the line of scrimmage, Daniel will be able to pick them apart and run when necessary. On the other hand, Colt McCoy can bring some points of his own, and the Mizzou D is still suspect...
The Call: Texas by 7 (and they go over 70 in total points)
The Result: Texas 56-31
The Longhorns are looking like the complete package right now. Who else has looked better? Really? (I'm adding my correct call of the over 70 as .5, just to get my season totals back to a whole number.)
LSU (-2.5) @ South Carolina
If LSU loses this one, the SEC West belongs to Alabama because the Tide aren't going to lose more than one conference game (maybe to the Tigers, but not to anyone else). South Carolina has reeled off some wins after starting 1-2, but against so-so competition. The Tiger's D needs some redemption after getting decimated by the Gators last week, and their O is going to pound the ball. What trickeration will the OBC pull?
The Call: LSU by 14
The Result: LSU 24-17
Yeah, the OBC can't be too happy right now. Maybe we should give Les Miles the title of OBC until Spurrier earns it back.
Cal (-2.5) @ Arizona
The Wildcats were looking good for a while, but I'm not sold on them - they just haven't done anything great. The Bears on the other hand lost to Maryland but beat 6-1 Michigan State. I think Cal can play bigger when they need to, and they're looking a lot less shaky than Arizona this year.
The Call: California by 9
The Result: Arizona
Oh dear. It appears that the Pac10 is determined to not have anyone ranked except for USC. Who looks like they want it, really? None of them. (I wonder if we'd be talking about their parity if USC didn't exist to show us how mediocre the others are...)
Not the best weekend, but I'm still hanging in there. 10 of 18 straight up, 8.5 of 18 AtS. Overall, I'm 87 of 126 (69%) straight up and 70 of 126 (56%) against the spread.