Auburn (+3) @ West Virginia
After a couple of rough losses, the Mountaineers are rebounding and quietly making headway in the Big East. They'll finish out the season with their two biggest games against Pitt and USF, and a win over Auburn would make them much more a part of the conversation than they've been. But even so, because of the two teams' troubles this game isn't as big as it looked in August. The Tigers need to stop their two-game losing skid to get back on track, but they're biggest remaining games (against Georgia & Alabama) are at the end of the season too. They might be able to stop the Mountaineers a bit, but their O won't get them into this one.
The Call: West Virginia by 7
The Result: West Virginia 34-17
The Tigers are absolutely falling apart right now - they'll be lucky to make it to Shreveport at this rate. The Mountaineers gotta be kicking themselves for that loss at Colorado.
Boise State (-7.5) @ San Jose State
Don't look now, but the Broncos are still undefeated and we're almost into November. Their best win was over Oregon, but they haven't really played anybody else. Don't look again, because the Spartans are sitting at 5-2 with their only losses coming to Nebraska & Stanford on the road. So this should end up being a decent test for Boise State and an entertaining game to boot. So on second thought, go ahead and look.
The Call: Boise State by 10
The Result: Boise State 33-16
And the Broncos keep rolling right along...
Cincinnati @ Connecticut (+1.5)
It's easy to look at the schedules and say that the Bearcats are on the way up and the Huskies are on the way down. And that's part of it, but I'm seeing that Cincy's only loss was at Oklahoma and has had two weeks to prepare for this one. Interestingly, both teams' last games were against Rutgers - Cincy won 13-10 at home while UConn lost 12-10 on the road. That's the scale-tipper.
The Call: Cincinnati by 3
The Result: Connecticut 40-16
Hmmm... the Huskies seem to be back to their early-season form, which was pretty solid. But they've got Pitt, West Virginia, and South Florida as three of their last four. If they can win two of those three, I'll be much more of a believer. Tough loss for the Bearcats.
Boston College @ North Carolina (-3)
The Eagles are having a fine year and don't seem to have missed too many beats after losing Matt Ryan. But the Tar Heels have some bigger wins and seem like the more solid team to me right now. I see the ball bouncing UNC's way a few times in this one...
The Call: North Carolina by 7
The Result: North Carolina 45-24
Or being thrown their way - pick off three and your chances of winning are pretty good. The showdown with Georgia Tech next week should be a great game.
Eastern Michigan @ Ball State (-24.5)
As I've said this season, I like what the Cardinals are doing, and there's no getting around the fact that the Eagles aren't very good. But with that said, I think Eastern Michigan will look at this as their big game of the season and one of their last chances to do something special. Ball State is bound for a letdown eventually (as much as it pains me to write that), but I think they'll pull this one out.
The Call: Ball State wins, but Eastern Michigan covers the spread
The Result: Ball State 38-16
Well, the Cardinals romped again - lucky for me the spread was too high. They should be 10-0 by the time they get to the last two MAC Michigans.
Texas Tech @ Kansas (-1.5)
This will be the first team that the Red Raiders have played that can put some serious points on the board, and I don't know if their D is good enough to handle it. In the meantime, the Jayhawks have played some solid foes (South Florida, Oklahoma) pretty well and can play solid D at times. Texas Tech has a rough next four weeks coming up against Texas, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma after this one, so I gotta believe they're gonna start it off on the right foot. This one'll be a close shoot-out.
The Call: Texas Tech by 7
The Result: Texas Tech 63-21
7, 42 - who's counting? No, that wasn't close at all. I think we can pretty much pen in the Big12 south winner as the conference champion, the way things are going this year.
Minnesota @ Purdue (-1)
I know that the Boilermakers want to send Joe Tiller out on a high note, but that's not happening this season. And the Golden Gophers have been the surprise of the Big10 this season, setting themselves up nicely for a good bowl game. So why is Purdue GIVING points? Do the bookies know something I don't?
The Call: Minnesota by 17
The Result: Minnesota 17-6
Yeah, that's what I thought. How lucky are the Gophers that they miss Penn State this year? They could easily go 11-1 (but does anybody really want them in a BCS bowl?)
Kentucky @ Florida (-24.5)
The Wildcats are skidding, courtesy of two losses and a squeaker past terrible Arkansas that the Razorbacks lost more than the Wildcats won. Everyone says the Gators are back after whupping LSU, but as I've said the Tigers aren't as solid this year and I'm not convinced Florida has the depth to go the rest of the way undefeated. With that said, I think they'll win but Kentucky will get some garbage points.
The Call: Florida wins, but Kentucky covers the spread
The Result: Florida 63-5
Apparently the Gators practiced their punt blocking this week. This one was over in the first twelve minutes.
Baylor (+11) @ Nebraska
I was somewhat bullish on the Bears in the first half of the season, but it's time to rethink that a bit. They've got wins over I-AA Northwestern State, worse-than-I-AA Washington State, and a pretty horrible Iowa State. But their losses are to solid teams who are well over .500. So they can beat the bad ones but lose to the good ones - which are the Cornhuskers? Looking at their schedule, it appears that they're in the same position, so which is Baylor? Don't really know what to make of this one, to tell you the truth. But the double-digit spread makes it a bit easier of a call.
The Call: Nebraska wins, but Baylor covers the spread.
The Result: Nebraska 32-20
Aw, c'mon Bears. Would it have killed you to get a safety? Really.
Oklahoma (-19.5) @ Kansas State
The Sooners are sitting pretty, since the loss to Texas is looking about as good as a loss can. The Wildcats have beaten some really bad teams and that's about it. I don't think the home-field advantage is going to help them much here. Even though like USC, Oklahoma have a habit of dropping a game or two a year they shouldn't, they're not going to lose this one.
The Call: Oklahoma by 24
The Result: Oklahoma 58-35
Did anyone in the Big12 decide to play defense today? It's gonna come back to bite one of these South teams in the ass, I just know it. But who? I gotta say the Sooners right now - even Texas Tech and Colorado held K-State to under 30.
UNLV @ BYU (-22.5)
The Rebels are a bit of a mystery, knocking off a couple BCS teams in OT but losing to non-BCS teams they could probably have beaten. BYU is trying to come back from that heartbreaking loss to TCU who took over their place as BCS bowl worthy. Can they rebound and put a whole bunch of points on the board, or will they not play as big without as much to play for? I'm in a glass-half-full kinda mood today, but that spread's pretty big.
The Call: BYU by 24
The Result: BYU 42-35
Yeah, I shouldn't've let my good mood cloud my judgment. Sorry I ignored you, gut. Nice W by the Cougars. Not the prettiest, but they got it done.
Virginia Tech @ Florida State (-4.5)
The Hokies looked like they were back on track after reeling off five straight wins, and their season isn't completely derailed after the loss to BC, but it's not looking great. And Florida State is slowly sneaking their way up in the wild ACC, but that loss to Wake is looking worse as the Demon Deacons flounder a bit. Should I start to believe in the Seminoles? I'm not convinced yet, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt playing at home.
The Call: Florida State by 7
The Result: Florida State 30-20
Really tough loss for the Hokies, losing their #1 & #2 QB's in this game. They're gonna have a hard time hanging on for a bowl berth if they can't get the D working flawlessly. The Seminoles are starting to impress some people, though they don't really have a signature W yet.
Virginia (+11.5) @ Georgia Tech
The Cavaliers are looking better as the year goes on, but the Yellow Jackets have been more solid, though a bit shaky lately. Another tricky call...
The Call: Georgia Tech by 14
The Result: Virginia 24-17
Wow, the Cavs are getting it done, and they control their own fate in the ACC Coastal. I'll bet the Trojans are thrilled right now. Really heartbreaking loss for the YellowJackets, and they're gonna need some help to get to the ACC Championship game.
Georgia @ LSU (-1.5)
It's in Death Valley, but it's not a night game, which should help the Dawgs a bit. Even though the Tigers beat South Carolina last week, they're still looking to rejoin the discussion after their whupping by the Gators. The Bulldogs are seemingly back again and have rebounded from that tough loss to Bama, but they've got a rough last half of the season, especially these next two weeks. Both teams can run, and though I'd give the defensive edge to LSU (barely), Georgia has the seasoned QB and has been tested more. They'll hold up and win through the air.
The Call: Georgia by 10
The Result: Georgia 52-38
52-38? What, did these two decide to join the Big12 today? The Dawgs are pumped and ready for their cocktail party next week, and the showdown with the Gators is pretty much for the SEC east. LSU is really not looking too solid this year - their best win so far is over 5-3 South Carolina.
Michigan State @ Michigan (+3.5)
Aw, isn't that nice of the little brother to give their big brother some points at home? If there was ever a season for the Spartans to take it to the Wolverines, this is it.
The Call: Michigan State by 14
The Result: Michigan State 35-21
Yeah, a bowl game or winning season probably isn't in the cards for the Wolverines this year. The Spartans will savor this one, no matter if Michigan stinks this year.
Oklahoma State @ Texas (-12.5)
It's true, the Longhorns are looking like the complete package this year and are no doubt the best team so far. So far. But they haven't faced a running team anywhere near the caliber of the Cowboys, so this is gonna be a test. Sure OK State beat Missouri (and that's the only quality W they have), but Texas beat them worse. Still, I've got my eye on that spread... It'll be high scoring and close.
The Call: Texas wins, but Oklahoma State covers the spread
The Result: Texas 28-24
Certainly not as high scoring as I thought it would be. Both should get credit for this one - the Longhorns will stay #1, while the Cowboys won't drop too far for hanging with the top team pretty well.
Wyoming @ TCU (-31.5)
Even though I missed the call on BYU-TCU last week, I have no doubt that the Horned Frogs are quality. They deserve to be in the Top #15 and have been absolutely stomping people. Unfortunately, the Cowboys are used to getting stomped this year.
The Call: TCU by 35
The Result: TCU 54-7
The Horned Frogs in the Top 10? I'd be okay with it, the way they've been playing.
Mississippi @ Arkansas (+5.5)
Of course Houston Nutt is the story here, and his return to Arkansas will prove to be electric. The Rebels aren't that good, but Arkansas is terrible this year, and electricity isn't going to help them that much.
The Call: Mississippi by 9
The Result: Mississippi 23-21
Well, the electricity helped the cover the spread. I guess that's something.
Alabama (-6.5) @ Tennessee
This one's a biggun, and I'm not just talking about the egos on the sidelines. Bama has been barely hanging on in the second half this year, and with Cody out their D-line is going to have to work harder. Will they have any gas left in the second half? Fulmer needs this one really, really bad. But he's not going to get it.
The Call: Alabama by 10
The Result: Alabama 29-9
Solid second half by the Tide - at least they scored some. Could Tennessee be joining Michigan staying home this bowl season? Sure looks that way.
Penn State @ Ohio State (+2.5)
The Buckeyes are looking pretty solid in October, and they're really getting the love from the computers. But the Nittany Lions are on a mission this year, paying about as well as they can every week. This one stays on the ground.
The Call: Penn State by 7
The Result: Penn State 13-6
Not the prettiest game, but the Nittany Lions got the job done. More sighs of relief from the college football nation, now that they're (almost) positive they won't have to watch the Buckeyes lose a third straight national championship game. Penn State's win over Oregon State is looking better and better each week, and might be a wildcard if they find themselves near the top of the race.
Notre Dame @ Washington (+11)
You know that Willingham would love to have this one. He's probably done at U-Dub after this season, and some sort of going away win has to be in order. Weis is on firmer ground, and the Domers are looking better this season, but they're still not great. This one might be a bit sloppy.
The Call: Notre Dame wins, but Washington covers the spread
The Result: Notre Dame 33-7
The Irish are sitting at a firm 5-2, but they still don't have any real signature wins - their best is probably over 4-4 Stanford. Oh, Huskies - what can you say?
Really great week - 19 of 21 straight up and 14 of 21 against the spread. Sweet. The ratchets up the season totals to 106 for 147 (72%) straight, 84 for 147 (57%) AtS.