Missouri +3 @ UCF
The Tigers have earned a reputation for explosive offenses putting their last THREE starting quarterbacks (Brad Smith, Chase Daniel, Blaine Gabbert) into the NFL, but they aren’t living up to that rep this year. They are 95th in passing yards and 98th in total offense. But there is this catch, they’ve played Georgia, South Carolina, and Arizona State. It might be the toughest schedule by any BCS team in the country to date. The Knights have many memorable losses to BCS teams over the years, and a handful of wins (Alabama, Georgia, NC State, Boston College). QB James Franklin hasn’t been himself because of an injured shoulder, but I’d expect them to grind this one out against a solid, but not quite good enough UCF team.
Florida State -16.5 @ USF
Before the season, I might have thought this closer to a 10-point spread, but now, with the Noles offense rolling and the USF team sputtering off a loss to Ball State…the dyslexia bowl has never been clearer.
NC State +2.5 @ Miami
The Canes were gift wrapped the first quarter last week in Atlanta, disappeared for two quarters, and then were able to stop the Jackets a couple of times as the offense got rolling. The Wolfpack have the far superior defense, and a balanced offense the equal to Miami’s. If the Canes can’t big-play them through the air, expect NC State to grind out a road win.
NC State 24-19
Baylor +11 @ West Virginia
The Mountaineers first conference game will feature a fun quarterback matchup between Baylor’s Nick Florence and West Virginia’s Geno Smith, both being off to great starts. Neither team’s defense is great, so expect a shootout, but a noon kickoff as opposed to a night game should benefit the Bears in keeping this close.
West Virginia 42-35
Arkansas +14.5 @ Texas A&M
QB Johnny Manziel is quickly becoming one of my favorite players to watch. Such a great feel for the game, and he is just a freshman. The Hogs offense will score however, and this one will be closer than expected.
Texas A&M 38-33
Penn State +1 @ Illinois
QB Nathan Scheelhaase is expected to play this week, the Illini are a different team with him in there. It is an enormous game for them with the Leaders division up for grabs between them, Wisconsin, and Purdue. I think Scheelhaase and the defense get it done.
Tennessee +13.5 @ Georgia
All the questions in this one revolve around injuries on the Dawgs defense. Even without those guys they’ve looked pretty nasty this year. And for my money, I’ll take Aaron Murray over Tyler Bray. And I’ll definitely take the Georgia rushing attack and Todd Gurley.
Virginia Tech -7 @ Cincinnati
The Hokies second adventure into a Big East team’s house, with the last yielding a beatdown at Pitt. The Bearcats on the other hand, crushed the Panthers in their opener. The Hokies inexperienced offense has no business being this big of a favorite, and Cincy has had two weeks to prepare. They’ll be lucky to escape with a win.
Virginia Tech 27-24
Arizona State +1 @ California
The Sun Devils are 3-1 and the Bears are 1-3. I am taking Cal, and here is why: They’ve won 8/9 against ASU and the Sun Devils have oddly played against a backup quarterback who started in all four of their games.
Texas -2 @ Oklahoma State
The Longhorns are a little old school, they run the ball with Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron and play hellacious defense. Before the season I thought this game would be a difference maker for the Horns if they won the Big XII. I picked them as the conference champs, so I think you know where I am going with this.
Oregon State +2.5 @ Arizona
Mike Riley is the best coach in Beavers history, and just when you count him out he starts a season off with wins over Wisconsin and UCLA. The Wildcats were humbled on the scoreboard in Oregon, but were able to move the ball, just stalling out in the redzone repeatedly. Oregon State, despite being a dog, is getting a lot of obvious love in this game, but winning in the conference on the road is tough, doing it two weeks in a row isn’t something I see happening.
Wisconsin +11.5 @ Nebraska
The Badgers feel like Arkansas, except they keep winning, barely avoiding embarrassing losses at home to Northern Iowa, Utah State, and UTEP. The Huskers offense looks like Oregon’s compared to the rest of the Big Ten so far. Wisconsin won’t keep up. Some nice payback after last year’s thrashing in Madison, if you can bear to watch these ugly uniforms that will make your eyes bleed.
Ohio State +3 @ Michigan State
I am going back to the well. I picked the Irish to win in East Lansing against the overrated Spartans, and now I’ll take the Buckeyes. Braxton Miller has made Urban Meyer’s statement of him being more talented than Tim Tebow look good so far. He will have to continue to make plays with his feet, because Sparty’s defense is stingy. Alas that offense is still feeble and just bad enough to get them beat again.
Ohio State 20-16
STRAIGHT UP: 19-7/10-3
AGAINST THE SPREAD: 12-13-1/6-7
UPSET SPECIAL: 2-0/1-0