Maryland (+2.5) @ Virginia Tech
Hmmm... this one requires some thought. Instincts and past seasons' performances says that the Hokies are just better. But they're on a two game losing streak and are definitely not as good as they have been in years past. At the same time, the Terrapins have won two in a row (one against a decent though down Wake team) and are better than they have been in years past. But they also seem to drop games they should win. At home, the Hokies need to win to become bowl eligible, and I think the ball will bounce their way.
The Call: Virginia Tech by 7
TCU (-1.5) @ Utah
This is one of the biggest of the week and will basically decide a BCS bowl berth, should the winner win out. I like the Horned Frogs chances in this one, if only because they've played the harder schedule so far this year and have beaten better teams. It'll be a tough one, but they should have the experience to pull it out.
The Call: TCU by 7
Purdue (+9.5) @ Michigan State
Is it possible the the Boilermakers catch the Spartans looking ahead to Penn State? Sure, but even if they do, Michigan State will probably just turn around and be like, "Huh? Game today? Oh okay, sure. Here's four TD's - have a nice day."
The Call: Michigan State by 17
Georgia Tech @ North Carolina (-4)
Been looking forward to this one for a couple weeks now. The Jackets have endured a bit of a rocky last month with every game decided by a TD or less. That might help them in a close one, but it also could hurt them since they haven't been able to put away teams that they should. And you've gotta feel good about what the Tar Heels have accomplished so far this year. Barring a complete collapse, they're going bowling and still have a shot at an ACC title. A win against GA Tech would go a long way towards those goals.
The Call: North Carolina by 7
Baylor @ Texas (-27.5)
The big question in this game is if the Longhorns can rebound from their heartbreaking loss last week. Logic says they'll pile it on the Bears in order to prove their worthiness. The Bears weren't looking like their usual pushover selves at the beginning of the season, but that train's back on track - their only wins are against I-AA Northwestern State, 0-23 Washington State, and 2-7 Iowa State. McCoy retains his good form and passes for four TD's (and runs for one).
The Call: Texas by 35
Illinois (-6.5) @ Western Michigan
Sure the Illini aren't as good as they were last year, and the Broncos are 7-2, but only 6.5? Illinois has played better games and tougher teams - who has Western Michigan played? Nebraska, who they lost to.
The Call: Illinois by 10
Georgia (-10.5) @ Kentucky
The Dawgs got pummeled last week (both by themselves and the Gators), and you can bet they're ready for some revenge. But will they have the energy, knowing that (without a miracle) they can't with the SEC East title, the SEC title, or a national championship? They're most likely going to the Outback Bowl (though who wouldn't want to see them in the Cotton Bowl against a Big12 team?), and I don't know if that's enough to rally the troops. The Wildcats might sense a chance for a big win, and even though they've been off the radar, they're 6-3 with losses only to South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida. This one's ripe for an upset, but I think I'll try to thread the needle.
The Call: Georgia wins, but Kentucky covers the spread
Wyoming (+26.5) @ Tennessee
Will or can Fulmer go balls out in his last three games with the Vols? We'll know after this one.
The Call: Tennessee by 31
Kansas @ Nebraska (-1.5)
In their three losses this year @ South Florida, to Texas Tech, and @ Oklahoma, the Jayhawks still managed to score 34, 31, and 21 points respectively. The Huskers are prone to giving up big points to good teams, though they can put the points up too. The Kansas D is just a bit better this year (sorry Bo - don't get angry).
The Call: Kansas by 10
Clemson (+5.5) @ Florida State
Really? 5.5? Despite last week's scores, I gotta believe the Tigers are tanking and that the Noles are starting to hit their stride.
The Call: Florida State by 17
Alabama @ LSU (+3.5)
Make no mistake, this one is going to be a war. No, not on the field - Bama should win convincingly there. I'm talking about in the swamps, in the parking lot, in the stands... There's gonna so much bad energy directed at Saban that it'll make Death Valley look like the penultimate scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. (Yeah, I know that analogy is a bit of a stretch. But I couldn't think of another time when a former coach has been hated so much by a fan base. You know what I mean.)
The Call: Alabama by 7
Penn State @ Iowa (+7.5)
You think the the Nittany Lions haven't heard you talking? Saying that they're unworthy, that they haven't played anybody this year, that they don't deserve to be in the national championship game? Oh JoPa hears - he's got ears like an eagle, mark my words.
The Call: Penn State by 24
Oklahoma @ Texas A&M (+27.5)
The Sooners got another piece of their puzzle last week in Texas's loss to Texas Tech. If they can beat the Red Raiders, which is more than possible, and if the Longhorns lose one more, the Sooners go to Kansas City. So are they gonna be looking ahead to the Red Raiders? Nah - that's not for two more weeks. And I get the feeling they enjoy pounding teams by ungodly amounts. But the D...
The Call: Oklahoma by 34
Arizona (-40) @ Washington State
Well, another spread involving the Cougars that doesn't break the magic 50 barrier. C'mon, Vegas - give me something to work with here!
The Call: Arizona by 52
Louisiana Tech @ San Jose State (-7.5)
And now for our "Eh, What the hell - why not?" pick of the week. The Spartans are looking pretty good this year, and if it wasn't for that loss to Boise State they'd be sitting pretty in the WAC.
The Call: San Jose State by 14
Notre Dame (+3.5) @ Boston College
Even though they're not ranked, it's tough not to say that the Irish are significantly improved this year. They're going bowling, probably to one they don't deserve and where they'll get hammered by a much better team, but we're not going to think about that right now. The Eagles really shouldn't've lost to Clemson - that one's gonna haunt them. As it is, I think the Irish can pull this one out, but it'll be close.
The Call: Notre Dame by 3
Florida (-24.5) @ Vanderbilt
The Gators are hitting on all cylinders right now, playing better than anyone, arguably. The Commodores are in free-fall, losing their last three and just praying they hang on and get to a bowl game...
The Call: Florida by 31
Oklahoma State @ Texas Tech (-3.5)
The Red Raiders can score, we know that. But their D was uber-solid last week, at least in the first half. That bodes well against the Cowboys potent running game.
The Call: Texas Tech by 14