Virginia Tech @ Miami (FL) (-3.5)
So we're starting off with a tossup, huh? Might be a tough week. Both of these two are looking decent but haven't had the success they normally do. They're both still in the running to make it to the ACC championship game (but who isn't, really?), so this will be a de facto elimination game. I can't really see too many areas where one should dominate the other. Since it's in south Florida, gotta give the edge to the Canes.
The Call: Miami by 7
The Result: Miami 16-14
The Canes and Hokies are both looking solid, and Miami will prove to be a tough opponent for whoever they meet in a bowl. Virginia Tech should be okay too, but there's no denying they're not as formiddable as they've been years past.
Northwestern @ Michigan (-3.5)
Except for losing to Indiana by 2, the Wildcats have looked really good this year. The Wolverines? Not so much, especially in the Big House where they're 2-4. Could they pull the upset over Northwestern (and yes, it would be an upset - how odd is that to think about?) Maybe, but like the other Big 10 teams who Michigan has beat down over the last few years, you know the Wildcats are more than happy to kick the Wolverines when they're down.
The Call: Northwestern by 7
The Result: Northwestern 21-14
We knew that Rich Rod's early year(s) at Michigan were going to be turbulant, full of transition, a building process, etc. But I don't think anybody expected the Wolverines to be this bad. Sure they've got potential, but right now they're terrible. Props to the Wildcats for pulling it out.
Duke (+11.5) @ Clemson
Let's just look at the schedules for this one, shall we? Clemson has exactly one good win - over BC two weeks ago. They don't really have any terrible losses though, which means that they do about as well as they should. The same can sorta be said for Duke - wins over mediocre Virginia & Vandy, but they lost to a bad NC State team last week. Clemson has more talent, and though they've been up and down they're hanging in there. Duke's season looked to be promising at 4-3 after the Vandy win, but they've dropped two in a row and their last three are @ Clemson, @ VA Tech, and vs North Carolina. I'm thinking they'll finish 4-8, but this one might be close...
The Call: Clemson by 13
The Result: Clemson 31-7
The expectations were that the Tigers would be a top ten team this year - obviously that didn't pan out, but you have to admire how they've stuck together and not given up on the season, especially after Tommy Bowden was fired. Now they're almost bowl eligible, which would be a great cap to the season. The Dukies, which looked promising after they started 3-1, have gone 1-5 since September. Cutcliffe has his work cut out for him.
Ohio State @ Illinois (+9.5)
With the exception of the USC & Penn State games, the Buckeyes have taken care of business. The Illini were riding along fine until they dropped two of three to Wisconsin & Western Michigan - ouch. They need one more win to be bowl eligible, so they're gonna have to beat Northwestern next week.
The Call: Ohio State by 17
The Result: Ohio State 30-20
Well, I've lost a few calls against the spread by half a point, so winning one by that much makes up for it. If Wells doesn't bolt to the NFL after January, thinking about he and Pryor together for another year will certainly put the Buckeyes in the top five of the preseason poll next year. Gee, won't that be fun. The Fightin' Zookers have fallen pretty far from their Rose Bowl appearance of a year ago - they need to beat Northwestern, no easy task, to just become bowl eligible this year.
Georgia @ Auburn (+8.5)
Ahhh, just what the Dawgs need to stem their D's bleeding - a game against an inept offense. Their offense should be able to score too, which sets them up nicely for the game against Georgia Tech in two weeks. The Tigers need to beat either Georgia or Alabama to become bowl eligible. Good luck with that.
The Call: Georgia by 17
The Result: Georgia 17-13
Really, Dawgs - that's no way to play against Auburn. Just like against Kentucky last week, the D gave up more points than they should've (yes, giving up 13 to Auburn is too much) and the offense could've done more too. Hell, Tennessee-Martin scored 20 on the Tigers. This doesn't bode well for the Dawgs, against either Georgia Tech or their bowl opponent. The Tigers chances for a bowl (and Tuberville's job security) are quickly diminishing...
Texas (-13) @ Kansas
Now that the Jayhawks have gotten into the meat of their schedule, they're starting to fold, losing three of their last four and giving up a ton of points. The offense can still score, but not like the other offenses in the Big12 can. Texas just lost another center, so they're counting on a freshman to get the ball to McCoy. They might have a few problems there, but I don't think it'll derail them.
The Call: Texas by 17
The Result: Texas 35-7
The Longhorns are still looking elite, but it might not be enough. In order for them to have a good chance to make the Big12 title game, Oklahoma has to beat Texas Tech next week, and Texas would prefer the game be ugly as all get out. But, the Big12 south has been pretty wild this year... a lot can happen in the next two weeks.
LA-Monroe (+21.5) @ Mississippi
I know that the Warhawks play in the Sun Belt, but they put points on the board, even in their losses. The Rebels score just about as much playing in the SEC, so they get the nod for the win, but I don't think it'll be a blowout.
The Call: Mississippi wins, but LA-Monroe covers the spread
The Result: Mississippi 59-0
Yeah, that was a bad call on the spread. Really bad.
South Carolina @ Florida (-22.5)
Like their counterparts in nature, the Gators could swallow the Mean Chickens whole. What's the over/under on how many visors Spurrier goes through this game? Four? Five?
The Call: Florida by 28
The Result: Florida 56-6
The Gators are looking ridiculously good right now. There's not much more to say.
North Carolina @ Maryland (+2.5)
Both of these two lost to the Virginia schools, UVA & Tech. Other than that, they're pretty solid and have some good wins to their credit. (Yeah, the Terrapins lost to Middle Tennessee too - fluke.) Maryland is undefeated at home, but I think the Tar Heels have the better coach right now.
The Call: North Carolina by 7
The Result: Maryland 17-15
You gotta wonder how the Terrapins, now 7-3, ever lost to Middle Tennessee State. It becomes more baffling each week. They seem to get up for big games, so the season closers against Florida State and BC should be comptetive, good contests. The Tar Heels are still 7-3 and going to a good bowl game, and any way you slice it the season has been a huge success. But that's not much consolation when you're watching your ACC title hopes take a major hit.
California (+3) @ Oregon State
The Beavers are in the middle of their usual late season winning streak, while the Bears are looking to regroup after their loss to USC. They should be able to put up more points, and their D is solid, but I don't know that they'll be able to stop the Oregon State attack. Might be close, but I don't think so.
The Call: Oregon State by 14
The Result: Oregon State 34-21
Damn, the Beavers are looking really good right now. I'd give them a decent chance to beat Arizona & Oregon and get to the Rose Bowl. That win over USC back in week five is looking less and less like a fluke or upset.
Minnesota @ Wisconsin (-13.5)
What jumps out at you about this matchup? The fact that the Gophers have lost two in a row? Or maybe that the Badgers have seemingly halted the huge slide they were on? Sure, all of that is fine. But I'm looking at that spread - I can understand if the Badgers are favored, since they're at home and have some momentum, but giving two TD's to a 7-3 team? There's something wrong there.
The Call: Wisconsin wins, but Minnesota covers the spread
The Result: Wisconsin 35-32
Yeah, that's what I thought.
BYU (-4.5) @ Air Force
This is a big'un. Nobody's talking about the Falcons, who have put together an impressive 8-2 season in the MtnWest. But that's probably because they're talking about the Cougars as a potential BCS team. Do the talking heads have it right?
The Call: BYU by 10
The Result: BYU 38-24
It appears so. The Cougars have another big one next week against undefeated Utah for the MtnWest title and (most likely) a spot in a BCS game. Huge.
USC (-23) @ Stanford
This game is, like, sooooooo last year. I mean, really. We know the Trojan's D will probably hold the Cardinal to under 10 points, but if their offense gets going, you know Carroll isn't going to let up. If the offense sputters... nah, it won't this game.
The Call: USC by 31
The Result: USC 45-23
Well, the offense did sputter. Truth is that even though they have a bunch of talent, the Trojans' offense just isn't very reliable. They put the ball on the ground and just don't seem able to hit on all cylinders. It's a good thing the D is so solid. (If you bet on this one, you've gotta be pissed at Harbaugh for that last-second fake FG touchdown - that beat the spread. Pisser.)
Mississippi State @ Alabama (-21.5)
Bama's won the SEC west and has their sights set not only on the championship game against Florida but also the national championship game. The Bulldogs have an outside chance at getting bowl eligible if they win out, but that means winning this one. They usually play the Tide tough though, and Saban's boys might be looking ahead... It won't be enough, but they'll make it interesting.
The Call: Alabama wins, but Mississippi State covers the spread
The Result: Alabama 32-7
The Tide turned in a good second half, which they haven't always been able to do this year. So that's a good sign for you Bama fans. Still, I can't help but think they're gonna get Tebowed in the SEC championship game.
UCLA (-7) @ Washington
Slick Rick's return to U-Dub should be a good one, seeing as how inept the Huskies are this year. The seven point spread makes this an easy call.
The Call: UCLA by 17
The Result: UCLA 27-7
Really good week - 14 of 15 straight up, and 9 of 15 against the spread. Can't complain about that. Keeps the overall numbers up too - 143 for 197 (73%) straight up, 111 for 197 (56%) AtS.