Tuck: Turning The Tide Upside Down
Texas A&M +13.5 @ Alabama
The Crimson Tide are coming off an emotional (see AJ McCarron crying) win at LSU. Their defense was hardly exposed, but at least looked human against the Tigers. The Aggies come in firing on all cylinders with Johnny Manziel at the controls. They’ve lost two games in two different ways. The Gators really dominated the Aggies defensively in the second half repeatedly forcing 3-and-outs, whereas the loss to LSU was more about turnovers for A&M. Manziel may frustrate the Tide more with his arm than his legs. He is a thrower who can run, not just someone to load up the box against like Bama did with Denard Robinson in the opener. The Aggies defense has been torched with big passing plays, so look for the Tide to dial up a couple of those and survive.
FSU -13 @ Virginia Tech
Lane stadium, Thursday night, ahh, what should have been. Most people assumed we’d have a couple top ten teams playing the first of likely two games against each other. Instead the Hokies are just trying to make a bowl, and FSU has been out of sight and mind of the nation since getting upset at NC State. I think Vegas is begging us to take the points, but I just won’t.
Miami +1 @ Virginia
So the Cavaliers won their first conference game last week and are taking on the Coastal division leaders…and are favored? Just a reminder that this “dream season” the Canes are having is a weird dream, the kind that you can’t really put all the pieces together the next day, you just remember parts and thinking that was really strange and what did it mean? Something tells me Miami won’t be 8-4 division champs because that would look too normal.
Wisconsin -7.5 @ Indiana
The Hoosiers control their own destiny to make the Rose Bowl. 1968. There is just no way, right?
West Virginia +9 @ Oklahoma State
A big offense getting points just feels so tempting. But then I remember the Mountaineers have been trampled by a couple good defenses, are coming off a home loss, and have to go on the road against a team that just smothered TCU, while the Frogs just won in Morgantown. You see what I am saying?
Oklahoma State 42-32
Mississippi State +14.5 @ LSU
The Bulldogs are 7-2. They have beaten Jackson State, Troy, South Alabama, Middle Tennessee, Auburn, Kentucky, and Tennessee. That is a sham if I’ve ever seen one. They have lost 10 straight in Baton Rouge to boot.
Kansas State -7 @ TCU
Gary Patterson, TCU’s coach, is a K-State grad. Other than that, not much history between these two of relevance. The Horned Frogs struggles with new faces on defense is the reason I don’t think they’ll pull an upset, but it wouldn’t stun me if they forced some turnovers and got it done. It won’t happen though, as long as Collin Klein is healthy and playing.
Kansas State 35-30
Notre Dame -18.5 @ Boston College
The Eagles had won 6 straight against the Irish before losing the last three. They were a 24 point dog last year and lost by 2. I don’t really see a good reason to give this many points, no matter how bad BC has been.
Notre Dame 27-14
Oregon -28 @ Cal
The Ducks have had 12 straight games with at least 42 points tying Texas for the longest such streak of the BCS era. They have 22 consecutive games with 30-plus points tying an NCAA record. It’s also worth mentioning that QB Marcus Mariota’s 22 touchdown passes are the most by a freshman in Pac-12, 10, or 8 history. The Bears gave the Ducks a scare two years ago along the way to an unbeaten season. This year they are more the Yogi and Boo-boo variety than the Chicago kind.
Georgia -15.5 @ Auburn
With a win, the Bulldogs clinch the SEC East. I have nothing nice to say about the Tigers except I like their uniforms.
Penn State +7.5 @ Nebraska
It will be a starkly different environment this weekend in Lincoln than last year in Happy Valley when the Lions were playing their first game following Joe Paterno’s firing. I like the Huskers defense to control the game, and the running game to win it in the end.
Missouri +3 @ Tennessee
I really had to reach for a 13th game, and this is it. I do chuckle at those that point out Mizzou isn’t built for the SEC, but what does that say about the Vols? They are 1-12 in the conference the last two seasons. Seriously. They are worse than UK, Vandy, and Ole Miss. With that said, I trust Tennessee will simply outscore the Tigers like they did Troy last week.
Oregon State +4 @ Stanford
While there were quite a few underdogs I liked last week, the same couldn’t be said for this week. I have to pick one, so I’ll go with a coin-toss game in Palo Alto. The Beavers receivers should be able to inflect some damage on the Cardinal secondary, and while both QB situations are shaky, I trust Cody Vaz a little more. Plus, Oregon State knows if it keeps winning, it will likely be Rose Bowl bound.
Oregon State 24-23
STRAIGHT UP: 74-30/10-3
AGAINST THE SPREAD: 59-44-1/11-2
UPSET SPECIAL: 6-3/1-2