Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cinq Pour Samedi

A flurry of great-looking games are in store this week as conference play hits full swing. The only bad thing about the NCAA streak I've been on is that I never had actual money on any of these games. Will the run continue? Only one way to find out. Home teams in CAPS.

Texas (+3.5) over Oklahoma (Neutral Site)
The Red River Rivalry never fails to be intriguing, and this year we're all wondering which two teams are going to show up in Dallas on Saturday. Texas was caught napping at home last week by UCLA, while Oklahoma beat Cincinnati and Air Force by a combined 5 points in the past two weeks. I really wonder what the line would have been if the Longhorns didn't fall into the trap against UCLA, because the 3.5 on a neutral field seems like a public overreaction to that game. Come for the classic uniforms, stay for the great quarterback names - Garrett Gilbert and Landry Jones. Smells like October to me.

ALABAMA (-8) over Florida
The Tide was in a real tough spot last week at Arkansas but escaped 24-20. I was kind of surprised to see a line this high but the gut says to go with Alabama at home in a game that is equally big for both teams. The under is a good play here as Bama is likely to give the Gators a hefty dose of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson to keep the clock churning and the game under control. Despite the downfield ability of Julio Jones, I don't like Alabama in a touchdown-trading game if it gets to that point. The Crimson Tide defense, as has been its knack, should be able to create a turnover or two and cover this thing 24-13ish.

MICHIGAN STATE (+2) over Wisconsin
As most of you have probably heard, Spartans coach Mark Dantonio will return and coach this game from the booth, two weeks after the mild heart attack he suffered following the win over Notre Dame. This is Wisconsin's first game this year where they are not a huge favorite, and the Badgers could have their hands full if Michigan State comes out swinging like they are expected to. If you're one for cliché and traditionalism, then expect a close, old fashioned Big Ten brawl.

Stanford (+7) over OREGON
My popcorn is ready for good old fashioned shootout in this one. Neither team has scored fewer than 35 points thus far in going a combined 8-0. I said last week that I wasn't ready to buy Stanford, and I should have been. This game has the feel of a "last team to have the ball wins" matchup, one where it sometimes looks like the field is 75 yards wide and there's only 9 guys on defense. I'll take the team with the better pure passer.

IOWA (-7) over Penn State
My anti-Penn State bias is pretty well pronounced, but how is this line only 7 points? Did the oddsmakers not see the Nittany Lions play 3 quarters shadow-boxing with Temple and Kent State at home the past two weeks? It maybe because Iowa is considered a ground-and-pound team, but Ricky Stanzi is quietly averaging 250 passing yards a game and we've already seen what Penn State does against quality competition, especially in prime time.

Last Week: 4-1-0
Season: 14-4-2

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