Death Valley: Where Dreams Come To Die?
Alabama -8.5 @ LSU
The Tigers have won 22 straight home games, longest streak in America. The Bayou Bengals haven’t been a home dog this big since a game in 1992 against the Tide. Under Les Miles, LSU is 57-5 in night home games compared to just 25-14 during the day. LSU will feature by far the best defense the Tide has faced this season. LSU is coming off a bye week, whereas Alabama had to play Mississippi State. If LSU just runs, and runs, and runs, then this game will be close. The Tide receivers will challenge the Tigers secondary, and AJ McCarron has been smart and accurate throwing this year with a comfortable pocket behind one of the best lines in America. Unless turnovers become a big factor, and they might because I don’t trust Zach Mettenberger, then this game will be close. But I don’t trust Mettenberger to make the throws he’ll need to.
Oregon -8.5 @ USC
The Ducks have outscored their opponents by a combined 290 to 56 in the first half this year. They may look even faster wearing their “White Vapor” uniforms in LA on Saturday. The Trojans have really struggling with their tackling in open space and reading keys against read option teams. This is supposed to be the first real test for Oregon. The Ducks will pass it with flying colors. (pun intended)
Oklahoma State +9 @ Kansas State
These two played a thriller last year with the Cowboys coming out on top and staying unbeaten. The difference this year is they have a freshman quarterback and the Wildcats have Collin Klein, the Heisman front-runner.
Kansas State 33-23
Arizona +3.5 @ UCLA
QB Matt Scott played a heck of a game in the Wildcats home win against USC last week and has Rich-Rod’s offense rolling. I had Arizona ranked before the Trojans game because they’ve played the toughest schedule in the country, and just lost games to Stanford and Oregon State close and the other to the Ducks. Their defense has struggled, but if they can contain Jonathon Franklin, then they’ll win on the road. Winner will control destiny in the Pac-12 South. Mini-upset special I.
Arizona State +4 @ Oregon State
Turnovers ended the Beavers unbeaten season last week, but a return to Corvallis, and the return of injured WR Marcus Wheaton should be all they need to knock off the defenseless Sun Devils.
Oregon State 31-24
Missouri +17 @ Florida
The Gators beat themselves in so many ways a week ago against Georgia and it will be interesting to see how up they are and what the Swamp is like post-loss against an opponent not many will be excited to play. QB James Franklin returns for Mizzou and I would be surprised if the Tigers are blown out.
Texas A&M -7 @ Mississippi State
The Aggies are unbeaten on the road with their lone two losses coming at home against Florida and LSU. The Bulldogs were just a few mistakes away from making the Alabama game much more competitive, but I think Vegas has this right. The Aggies are just better.
Texas A&M 38-24
TCU +6.5 @ West Virginia
The two newest members to the Big XII meet for the first time in the regular season ever. The Mountaineers got a much-needed bye week, and should be healthy and ready to rack up big yardage against a Horned Frogs defense that has yielded very mixed results this year. Unfortunately the Mountaineers defense will give up their fare too.
West Virginia 42-37
Nebraska -1.5 @ Michigan State
Sparty boasts a top 5 defense in America. Too bad it’s wasted on an offense that is one of the nation’s worst. I know Nebraska has struggled on the road this year, mostly on defense, but I can’t imagine their defense making Michigan State’s offense look good. Taylor Martinez will do just enough.
Texas +6.5 @ Texas Tech
There probably is no good reason to take the Longhorns, and for that matter why is this spread so low? You can remind how stupid and stubborn I am next week. Mini-upset special II.
Pittsburgh +17 @ Notre Dame
The Irish have squeaked out home wins over Purdue, BYU, and Stanford and are coming off their best performance of the season last week with a road win in Norman. The Panthers could pull an upset. They won’t, but I can’t see the Irish beating them by 17.
Notre Dame 24-9
Oklahoma -12 @ Iowa State
Cyclones coach Paul Rhodes continues to audition for major jobs, while the Sooners have to pull themselves off the mat again.
UPSET SPECIAL III
Tulsa +9 @ Arkansas
The Golden Hurricanes only loss came at Iowa State, while Arkansas continues to stumble and bumble their way through a season that began with such high expectations. Tulsa hasn’t beaten a BCS school since 1998. Has to happen sometime, right? Kick a dying hog while it’s down is what I say.
STRAIGHT UP: 64-27/8-5
AGAINST THE SPREAD: 48-42-1/5-8
UPSET SPECIAL: 5-2/0-1