West Virginia @ UConn (+3.5)
Now things are really getting heated up in the Big East - there's some games this weekend that will go a long way towards deciding the conference. The Mountaineers are looking good, but they need to stay solid against a stout UConn team. The Huskies won big last week against Cincinnati to get their season back on track, but can they hang with a team that's gonna play 60 solid minutes and not panic if they get behind? I still like Pat White.
The Call: West Virginia by 7
The Result: West Virginia 35-13
The Mountaineers seem to be peaking at just the right time - they're looking solid in a shaky BigEast.
Wisconsin (+4.5) @ Michigan State
The Spartans showdown with Penn State looks to be a huge opportunity, since a lot of the Big10 Rose Bowl tiebreakers fall their way. But they've gotta get past Wisconsin & Purdue before then. The Boilermakers shouldn't be too bad, but the Badgers could be tricky... But Michigan State has avoided their usual late-season collapse, and I think they'll hang in there.
The Call: Michigan State by 10
The Result: Michigan State 25-24
The Spartans are still rolling along in the Big10 and should secure a nice bowl spot, but they've gotta be a bit worried (only 25 yards rushing?). The Badgers are just lost. They could still make a bowl game, maybe, but what bowl is gonna want a Big10 team that went 3-6 down the stretch?
Miami (FL) @ Virginia (-2.5)
Who would've thought in September that the Cavaliers would be controlling their destiny in the ACC? Miami hasn't been too shabby either - their three losses were to much better than average teams, and they've been on a bit of a roll themselves. This one could make things in the ACC Coastal very hairy.
The Call: Miami by 4
The Result: Miami 24-17
Too many mistakes cost the Cavs this one, but the Hurricanes didn't play that well either. Does anyone besides Florida State actually want to win the ACC this year?
Auburn (+6.5) @ Mississippi
I know that Auburn is turrible this year, but the Rebels aren't anywhere near the cream of the crop either. Sure they beat Florida at the Swamp, but that was their only decent win and was more luck than anything. At the same time, the Tigers don't have any good wins either. But can you really not take Auburn if you're getting almost a TD? With a bowl appearance probably on the line?
The Call: Auburn by 7
The Result: Mississippi 17-7
Well, even Shreveport must be looking pretty good to the Tigers right about now. In order to get to a bowl, they're gonna have to beat either Georgia or Alabama - I don't see it happening. But Ole Miss is looking like they've pretty much locked up a bowl - one more win & they're in.
Kansas State @ Kansas (-10.5)
The Jayhawks have lost a couple in a row, but to top ten teams. They can score, sure, but they need to play some D, which they haven't done. The Wildcats' best win was 44-30 over Texas A&M, which isn't saying much at all. The tide has turned in the state of Kansas, at least for now.
The Call: Kansas by 17
The Result: Kansas 52-21
Tulsa (-6.5) @ Arkansas
Yeah, the Hurricanes are undefeated and have been slaughtering teams, but they haven't played a single BCS-conference foe. I'm not sure that the Razorbacks count as one this year, since the only BCS-conference team they've beaten has been Auburn, but they've slowly worked themselves into games, keeping it close if not winning these last three weeks. They'll have home field advantage in this one, but that spread looks awfully small for a Tulsa game. I might be kicking myself for this one Sunday...
The Call: Arkansas by 3
The Result: Arkansas 30-23
Nice, made the right call on this one. But the future isn't so rosy for either of these two. Tulsa will now probably drop out of the collective football consciousness, while the Razorbacks need to win two of three against South Carolina, Mississippi State, and LSU to make a bowl (and even then, they're not that attractive this year).
Pittsburgh (+5) @ Notre Dame
The Panthers seemed to be rolling along until that debacle at Rutgers last week. Notre Dame is putting together a fine season, but their best win was probably the one over Stanford. Even so, you know they bowl reps are already knocking...
The Call: Pittsburgh by 7
The Result: Pittsburgh 36-33
Long, tough game for both teams. Nice job by the Panthers to keep it together and come back from three turnovers - they keep getting it done. This one puts a bit of a damper on the Domer's season, since they're probably looking at a 7-5 season, but they'll go bowling (of course).
Oregon (+3) @ California
These two are having better seasons than most people think and are flying under the radar it seems. The Bears' win over Michigan State is looking better and better, though the loss at Maryland is still inexplicable. The Ducks' losses have been to undefeated Boise State and USC, and their running game has stepped up in liu of all their QB problems. Home field should help the Bears, but the Ducks are just more solid this season.
The Call: Oregon by 3
The Result: California 26-16
If the Panthers get props, then you gotta give them to the Bears too. Sure they were helped by three Duck turnovers, most of them due to the horrible weather, but they hung in there and made plays when they needed to.
Florida State @ Georgia Tech (-1.5)
The Seminoles are 6-1 and climbing up the ranks. But their wins aren't looking as good lately since Colorado tanked and the Hokies seem to be heading downward. The YellowJackets took a hearbreaker from Virginia last week and need some redemption to get back into the conversation. Bobby keeps rolling.
The Call: Florida State by 7
The Result: Georgia Tech 31-28
Hmmm... perhaps I overestimated the Seminoles at the same time I was beginning to underestimate the Yellow Jackets. Not a good combo. Oh well, at least the ACC race is fun to watch.
Florida @ Georgia (+5.5)
This one could be really high scoring, considering what these two did last week. And even though nobody wants to talk about the Dawgs end-zone escapades last year, you know it's at the forefront of everyone's thoughts (especially the Gators). Urban Meyer really wants this one, you just know it. But will he have the restraint to just hold back and let Harvin & Super-Tebow do their things? The difference will be the D, and though I'm really not sold on Florida's unit as a whole, Georgia's D has been less impressive than they need to be.
The Call: Florida by 14
The Result: Florida 49-10
Well, Florida brought their points, but it looks like the Dawgs left theirs in Athens. Some questionable calls & plays from UGA, which I didn't really expect to see, but give credit to the Gators. They let their playing do the talking and are primed for a great finish to the season.
Duke (+7.5) @ Wake Forest
Since their win over Florida State, the Demon Deacons have looked rather shaky, losing three of four. Plus they can't seem to put points on the board - less than 18 points in five straight games. The Blue Devils can score, and they've notched some solid W's on their belt, which has definitely boosted the confidence in Durham. And really, if you can't pick the Devils over the Deacons on Halloween weekend, when can you?
The Call: Duke by 3
The Result: Wake Forest 33-30
Tough, tough loss for the Dookies. Now they've gotta win two of four against NC State, @ Clemson, @ Virginia Tech, and North Carolina to be bowl eligible. Gonna be tough. Solid W for the Demon Deacons, and it keeps them in the race for the ACC Atlantic.
Washington State @ Stanford (-30.5)
Laying the points against the Cougars this year is like taking candy from a little baby team that can't do anything on offense or defense. The Trees are gonna run.
The Call: Stanford by 35
The Result: Stanford 58-0
The Cougars kept the Farm under 60, so I guess that's something. Really, when are the bookies gonna break the 50-point spread with Washington State? It's gotta happen.
BYU (-14.5) @ Colorado State
The Cougars seem to be back on track, while the Rams have a tendency to lose big to good teams. Easy call.
The Call: BYU by 21
The Result: BYU 45-42
Whew, that was close. But really, what did you expect to happen with the confidence in my call? Point taken, lesson learned.
Washington @ USC (-44.5)
Aw hell, here we go again with the ginormous spreads for the Trojans to cover. Look, I know it's against the Huskies who are really, really bad this year, and I know that Washington is probably in disarray this week with Willingham announcing his resignation, and I know it's at the Coliseum, and I know that USC has a ton of weapons on offense, and I know that their D has been shutting teams down. But did you know that the Trojans' offense sputters at times, usually when it shouldn't?
The Call: USC wins, but Washington covers the spread.
The Result: USC 56-0
Well, with three shutouts in four games, the Trojans' D is looking stellar - who wouldn't want to see how they'd do against some Big12 offensive firepower at this point? The offense looked fine, but against a Huskies' D that's pretty thin. The folks in Seattle just need this season to be over.
Nebraska @ Oklahoma (-22.5)
Speaking of sputtering, is this the week the Sooner's offense has an off-game? I know the Huskers' D isn't anything great, especially against good teams, but they can put points on the board and haven't gotten blown out except for that Missouri game. (And I don't think Pellini has been running his mouth about shutting out the Sooners this week...)
The Call: Oklahoma wins, but Nebraska covers the spread
The Result: Oklahoma 62-28
35 points in the first half? I guess the Sooners' offensive off-week will be later...
Texas (-3.5) @ Texas Tech
I've been solid with my Longhorn picks this year, and I don't see a reason to stop now. Sure the Red Raiders can score, but their D has been less than stellar against less than stellar opponents. Texas controlls the ball and the game - I don't think it'll be that close. Exciting, maybe, but not close.
The Call: Texas by 17
The Result: Texas Tech 39-33
That was a great game. Very entertaining, great atmosphere, solid play. Does it throw a monkeywrench into the BCS? Sure, a little one. Chalk up another top five team going down, but was it an upset of the 2007 variety? That's a stretch.
TCU (-14) @ UNLV
Let's just look at the last four games, shall we? TCU 41-7, 13-7, 32-7, 54-7, all W's. UNLV 49-27, 41-28, 29-28, 42-35, all L's.
The Call: TCU by 24
The Result: TCU 44-14
Good way to end up. The Horned Frogs are still looking solid - is a top ten ranking in the cards this week?
Not a horrible week - 12 for 17 straight up, 9 for 17 against the spread. Season totals are still good and the percentages stay the same - 118 of 164 (72%) straight up, 93 of 164 (57%) AtS.