Friday, October 21, 2011

Week 8 Predictions

Oklahoma State @ Missouri (+7.5)

With such a potent offense, the Cowboys don't need to be great on defense. They're giving up around 4 TD's per game, which Mizzou should be able to take advantage of. The problem is that the Tigers themselves aren't great on D either - and I don't think they'll be able to keep this one close.

The Call: Oklahoma State by 14

The Result: Oklahoma State 45-24

Great overall night for the Cowboys - their path to a possibly berth in the title game just got a whole lot easier.

North Carolina @ Clemson (-10.5)

Hmmm... how do I keep from jumping on the Tiger bandwagon here... Well the Tigers are 6-1 against the spread this season, 6-0 against FBS schools, while the Tar Heels are just 3-4, 2-4 against FBS. Game in Death Valley... that's gotta be worth a FG.

The Call: Clemson by 13

The Result: Clemson 59-38

The Tigers came crashing out the gate in the second half, effectively putting the game away with 20 minutes to go. The biggest road block they may face in the next few weeks may be heightened expectations and the pressure that comes with a top-5 ranking & trying to preserve an undefeated season.......

Kansas State @ Kansas (+10.5)

Sure the Jayhawks are back to their cellar-dwelling ways, but I'm not entirely sold on the Wildcats. I know they're 6-0, but they haven't really played anyone. They'll get to the meat of their schedule in a week, and I think they'll drop at least 2 of those 3 against Oklahoma, OK State, and Texas A&M, but for now they can still live high.

The Call: Kansas State by 17

The Result: Kansas State 59-21

Now comes the tough part...

Illinois @ Purdue (+3.5)

Did Ohio State provide a blueprint for how to beat the previously unbeaten Illini last week? Probably not, in that I expect the Boilermakers to pass the ball more than three times. Whether or not that's going to help them remains to be seen. Both of these two are about .500 against the spread this season, but I think 3.5 is just too low...

The Call: Illinois by 7

The Result: Purdue 21-14

It was a good try at a comeback, but the Boilermakers had just enough to hang on for the W - props to them. The Illini are in a tough spot - they're bowl eligible, and should beat Minnesota to end the season, but they have three ranked teams coming up in their next three games. Gonna be tough to get to 8-4, much less 9-3.

New Mexico @ TCU (-43.5)

So back in week week 2 the Lobos didn't cover a 37 point spread against Arkansas. This one's 43 points, and the Horned Frogs are no Arkansas this season.

The Call: TCU wins, but New Mexico covers the spread

The Result: TCU 69-0

Really, Lobos? You just made the Horned Frogs look like LSU's big brother. You had the ball for more than 30 minutes and could only muster 85 total yards? I guess I have to give some of the credit to the TCU D - bringing back the old ways feels good sometimes, doesn't it?

Auburn @ LSU (-20.5)

Okay, okay - I'll give Auburn some props. I believe. There, I said it. They're much better that we thought and haven't crumbled without Fairley or Newton. You were right.

The Call: LSU by 24

The Result: LSU 45-10

Okay, so that's a bit of a step back. Now the Tigers are 5-3, and with Ole Miss & Samford on the schedule, 7 wins are guaranteed. But the game against Georgia will be a tough one, and the one against Bama... well, don't expect the Tide to take their foot off the gas - that's gonna be ugly. Props to LSU for rolling yet again - I think they've got a solid shot in two weeks to knock off Alabama and plant themselves in the #1 spot for the rest of the season.

Tennessee @ Alabama (-29.5)

Listen, at some point the magic contained within Dooley's orange pants has to kick in. It just has to - why else would he wear them all the time?

The Call: Alabama wins, but Tennessee covers the spread

The Result: Alabama 36-9

Ah - c'mon, pants! You can't summon enough juice for a single point in the second half? I'm not saying Dooley needs to go with the bland khaki, but maybe black, maybe a dark brown... something else has gotta be better than the orange.

USC (+9.5) @ Notre Dame

If the Trojans can put a full game on both offense and defense together they have a shot in this one. I don't think that'll happen, but with rivalry games you never know - I wouldn't be surprised if the Irish revert (at least for a quarter or so) back to their early-season shenanigans.

The Call: Notre Dame wins, but USC covers the spread

The Result: USC 31-17

Yup - that's exactly what the Trojans needed to happen. They'll jump into the AP rankings, probably #15-18, but have a dominant Stanford team to tackle next. The Irish just can't seem to get out of their own way at all - the timely penalties, the turnovers... it's just a lack of discipline. They'll get better, probably, but not before finishing this season with 4+ losses.

Texas Tech @ Oklahoma (-28.5)

Both of these two are 4-2 against the spread this season, and even losing their last two games the Red Raiders have put up over 34 points in every game this season. The Sooners are good, but that spread's just too big.

The Call: Oklahoma wins, but Texas Tech covers the spread

The Result: Texas Tech 41-38

A bit of a stunner, there. We knew that the Sooners would come storming back in the second half, but that was a gutsy performance by the Red Raiders. They were able to counterpunch that whole second half, which can be hard to do. Well done, boys. The Sooners still might have a chance at the title game, but with other unbeatens out there, they're gonna need a lot of help.

Washington @ Stanford (-20)

The Huskies have surprised a lot of people this season, bolting to a 5-1 start against an admittedly weak slate. The Cardinal are where people thought they'd be, but they haven't been tested either - this'll be the toughest matchup so for for either team. Amazingly, these two are a combined 11-1 against the spread and 11-0 against FBS teams in the spread. Something's gotta give - I think Luck will be too much for the Husky D and the Stanford D will be able to contain.

The Call: Stanford by 21

The Result: Stanford 65-21

I don't care if their schedule is weak - these Cardinal are dominating anyone they play right now. Now that Oklahoma and Wisconsin are out of the way, they stand a reasonable shot at getting to the title game if they can continue their ways. It'll be trickier against USC, Oregon, and (maybe not so much) Notre Dame, and I think they'll be taken to the wire in at least one of those, but things are looking much better today than they did yesterday for their chances.

Wisconsin (-7.5) @ Michigan State

I've been bully on the Badgers all season, but the Spartans have been flying under the radar with a stellar D. I'm curious how their tactics against Michigan last week are going to change - extremely physical bordering on dirty at times. If there was a game they needed to play that way again, it's this one. But will the refs been looking to throw more flags against them after the backlash last week? Will the Badgers be able to counter after having time to dissect the game tape? Will the Spartans be as fierce without Gholston? So many questions... I'm not ready to waver on the Badgers just yet...

The Call: Wisconsin by 9

The Result: Michigan State 37-31

Wow - that was a hell of a game, and a hell of an ending. Some big questions got answered, but the biggest one now is How did the Spartans lose 31-13 to Notre Dame? Knocking off Ohio State, Michigan, and Wisconsin, the big 3 of the Big10 for decades, all in three weeks is fantastic - one more against newcomer Nebraska is about the only thing standing between them and a conference championship. The Badgers are still a great team, and I'm still on board - 11-1 and a BCS berth is still a good bet.

Not bad this week - 7-4 both straight up and AtS. With the upsets that happened, I'll take it.

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