Thursday, October 23, 2008

Week 9: Predictions

Auburn (+3) No-O @ Mo-O 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

Boise State (-7.5) Dark Blue Turf @ Light Blue Unis 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

Cincinnati Bearcats @ Huskies 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

Boston College Eagles @ Tar Heels 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

Eastern Michigan More Eagles @ Cardinals 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

Texas Tech Red Rover Red Rover @ Jayhawks 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

Minnesota Who Woulda Thunk? @ Tiller's Last Hurrah 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

Kentucky Going Downhill @ Tebow Back on Track 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

Baylor (+11) Bears @ It's Huskin' Time, Folks 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.

Oklahoma (-19.5) Ka-Boomer Sooners @ Wildcats 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

UNLV Runnin' Rebs @ Runnin' Cougs 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

Virginia Tech Hokies @ Should I Believe? 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

Virginia (+11.5) Cavalier attitude @ YellowJacket weather 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

Georgia Dawgs @ Tigers 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

Michigan State Spartans @ Hurtin 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

Oklahoma State Are you Men? (I know you're 40) @ Rompin' 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

Wyoming yippee @ the Frightening Frogs 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

Mississippi Ole Miss @ Missing Nutt 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

Alabama (-6.5) Saban @ Fulmer 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

Penn State JoPa's Legs @ the Sweater Vest 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

Notre Dame History @ Bad Blood 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