Miami (FL) (+3.5) @ Georgia Tech
Another Miami Hurricane game to start the week. I like them just as much as I did a week ago - let's hope they can cover the spread this week, both on the field & on the scoreboard.
The Call: Miami by 4
Buffalo (+3.5) @ Bowling Green
Way back before week 5 I called that now-eligible Buffalo was going bowling, but I admit that was more wishful thinking and luck than prognosticating skill - I'm a sucker for a good underdog story. If they lose the next two they'll be 6-6, which really puts them on the bubble, but they're not gonna lose to 3-8 Kent State, c'mon. In any case, this one against BG will pretty much determine who meets undefeated Ball State in the MAC championship. Buffalo going to a bowl is a great story, but beating the Cardinals & winning the MAC? That'd be huge.
The Call: Buffalo by 7
NC State (+11.5) @ North Carolina
The Tar Heels are having a great year, by most any measure, and I've covered them a lot, so let's focus on the Wolfpack this week. They started the year pretty bad, and were just awful - 2-6 with wins against William & Mary and East Carolina. But in the last two weeks they've beaten Duke & Wake Forest, which shows definite improvement. It's too little too late, since they are one of the few teams to not have a shot at the ACC title, but they could go bowling if they win their next two against UNC & Miami to finish 6-6. I don't see that happening this year, sorry.
The Call: North Carolina by 14
Michigan @ Ohio State (-20.5)
After this week, the Big10 gets to settle down for a long six week slumber (you can't tell me that doesn't effect their bowl play, seriously). But this last hurrah of the conference season has lost a lot of luster this year - Ohio State could win the Big10, sure, but they're not a top 10 team, and Michigan is barely a top 100 team. A 20+ point spread in a rivalry game? One of THE rivalry games? It shouldn't be close, and it won't be, but the Wolverines might get some garbage points to make it respectible.
The Call: Ohio State wins, but Michigan covers the spread
Clemson @ Virginia (+2.5)
Both of these two are at 5-5, so one of them is going to get bowl eligible, which is definitely something to play for for both - Clemson has had the roughest of seasons, while Virginia has been way up & down, needing to hang on. I think the Tigers will run the ball a whole lot for the W.
The Call: Clemson by 10
Tennessee @ Vanderbilt (-3)
How do you top becoming bowl eligible for the first time in 26 years? Beating down your in-state rival is pretty close, and you know the Commodores aren't going to let up on the Vols. Another rivalry game, and I don't think this one will get out of hand either, but Vandy will win convincingly.
The Call: Vanderbilt by 14
Syracuse (+20) @ Notre Dame
This one is potent, so let me get a little stream-of-conscious on you. Syracuse is bad. Really bad. Fire-their-coach-in-the-middle-of-the-season bad. But Robinson, while fired, is coaching these last two games, and they did beat Louisville. A 20+ point spread seems about right, and you'd think that the Irish would easily be able to cover. But after last week's debacle at Navy, I wouldn't put it past them to lay an egg. They're not gonna beat USC next week, putting them at 6-5, so they really need this one to get to a bowl-respectable 7-5 instead of 6-6. (But even then they'll go to a bowl above them that they don't deserve and get beat down by a better team, that's a given.)
The Call: Notre Dame wins, but Syracuse covers the spread (somehow, barely)
Washington (-6.5) @ Washington State
It's saying something that your game is garnering national attention because people just want to see how bad one of the teams ends up being. These two are already in the "worst teams ever" discussion, and one of them will undoubtedly rise to the top. In a bad way. If there's any points scored, which is a big if, it'll be...
The Call: Washington by 9
Stanford (+9) @ California
This is the Cardinal's last chance to get to six wins, and I gotta think they've got a good enough team to get to .500. But the Bears are more solid this year, and I think they're really liking this whole "not falling apart at the end of the season" thing.
The Call: California by 12
Mississippi @ LSU (-4)
Yeah, LSU came back from 27 down to beat 6-4 Troy at home, but the fact is that they never should've been that far down to that team. That's just embarassing. They need a better QB than General Pick-Six, and while they might get to 9-3 if they win their next two, winning their bowl game (especially if they play a Big12 south team) is gonna be really tough. The Rebels have quietly gotten themselves into contention by winning their last three, against pretty poor competition though. I can see them surprising their bowl opponent and walking away big. But for this one, I think Miles has the ability to fire his boys up. It'll be closer than LSU-Mississippi should be, but the Tigers will get back on track.
The Call: LSU by 7
Michigan State @ Penn State (-14.5)
This one will decide the Big10, sending either Penn State or Ohio State to the Rose Bowl. (Yeah yeah, the Spartans could get there too with a win and a Buckeye loss, but do you really believe the Wolverines are gonna win that one? Back on topic.) Penn State has absolutely pounded people at home this year, winning by an average score of 46-12. I like the Spartans, but the Nittany Lions are just better this year. Close one that comes down to the end.
The Call: Penn State wins, but Michigan State covers the spread
Marshall @ Rice (-9.5)
The Owls are having a phenominal year compared to their recent history, going 7-3 and losing only to Vandy, Texas, and Tulsa. The Herd on the other hand are 4-6 and haven't beaten anybody of note. If the Rice fans decide to all wear one color to the game, will they call it a "white on" instead of the usual "white out"? (Yes, I decided to call this game just so I could make that joke. If you can't amuse yourself, who can you?)
The Call: Rice by 14
Air Force @ TCU (-19.5)
I really don't want to call this one because the two teams are verrrry similar. Both are having stellar seasons, but both lost their last games to take some of the shine off. I'm hoping both of them get paired with a (non-Pac10) solid opponent for their bowl games. So why is the spread 19.5? I know TCU's D is great, but the Falcons' offense isn't chopped liver.
The Call: TCU wins, but Air Force covers the spread
BYU (+7) @ Utah
I guess the only way to top the #3 vs #4 MtnWest matchup is the #1 vs #2. If the Utes win, they're in the BCS, but if the Cougars do the spot probably goes to Boise State, provided the Broncos win out. So there's a lot of money riding on this one, and the conference can use the dough. Utah has a significant edge in my achievement rankings, so I've gotta go with them. On a side note, I can understand that this is a huge game for the MtnWest network, but the fact that a huge majority of the country won't get to see the game definitely hurts the conference. They're gonna have to figure out something to avoid such situations in the future.
The Call: Utah by 10
Oregon State @ Arizona (-2.5)
The Beavers are so close to the Rose Bowl they can smell it. The Wildcats won't be a pushover, but Oregon State has it together right now.
The Call: Oregon State by 14
Florida State @ Maryland (+1.5)
The Noles are better than lately this year, but they're a tad erratic, to say the least. And Maryland, while good, is just plain hard to predict. I need you on this one, gut.
The Call: Florida State by 7
Texas Tech @ Oklahoma (-7)
And finally the big one. This is the one that could throw a huge monkeywrench into the BCS. We know that it's gonna be the SEC champ vs a Big12 team, most likely, but if that Oklahoma wins, the Sooners, Longhorns, and Red Raiders all are legit - how do voters decide which one gets to face Missouri in the Big12 Championship? I have a solution on hand, but I'll wait to see if the Sooners can pull it off... Oklahoma has the home field advantage in this one, and that'll be a huge help, but Texas Tech has the better D - that'll be the difference.
The Call: Texas Tech by 10