Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cinq Pour Samedi

The Saturday before Thanksgiving used to be arguably the best college football day of the year, but now thanks to the drawn out regular season we are forced to wait until next week for a great college football weekend. Of course, spots are still up for grabs for Championship Saturday, but the only possible really intriguing storyline for this week would be if a top team or two had a slip-up. Home teams in CAPS.

The Wolverines are undefeated at home this year and are playing much better defense than anyone had expected of them since Week 2. I'm not crazy about the extra half point on the line (this game was an even 3-pointer if I've ever seen one), but if you like the favorite to win, covering 3.5 is the same as covering 3 (I moonlight as Captain Obvious, it's fun), so no huge deal in the end. These teams are very evenly matched but I think Denard Robinson is a better overall dual threat than Taylor Martinez, as long as he doesn't add to his alarming stack of 13 INTs on the season. Overall, I don't know if Nebraska will have the speed on defense to keep Michigan under 28 points.

OHIO STATE (-6.5) over Penn State
All of a sudden, some bling, cars, and tattoos don't sound so terrible do they? The Buckeyes are still incredibly hard to root for but I'll grin and bear it for this week and this week only, for reasons that I think I made clear last week.

Oklahoma (-16) over BAYLOR
I really wanted to give Baylor a puncher's chance here, but they've been beaten handily by every competent team they've played since the upset of TCU in Week 1, and are coming off two squeakers over Kansas and Missouri. We all know how the Sooners like to light up the scoreboard (especially when they need a few more style points for the BCS), and I expect them to put up a basketball-type number against a Baylor defense that gives up an alarming 36 points a game (40.5 if you take away the Week 2 shutout against Stephen F. Austin). Robert Griffin III won't be able to do it alone for Baylor against Oklahoma, so I'm comfortable giving this many points on the road.

Kansas State (+8.5) over TEXAS
First off, this line looks 3 points too high right off the bat. Second, it opened at 7.5 and has gotten all the way up to 9 and 9.5 in some books, meaning considerable money has come in on Texas. I must be missing something here. The Longhorns are still rebuilding and don't exactly score the way they used to, so I can't really see them getting up quickly on K-State and forcing them out of their game offensively. Kansas State is too good to be this big an underdog to anyone who is ranked outside the Top 10, let alone a team who isn't ranked in either poll and is hanging on for dear life at #23 in the BCS.

OREGON (-14.5) over Southern California
You could make the argument that right now, Oregon is playing the best football of any team in the country. Now that Oklahoma State has fallen off, the Ducks, whose only loss this year came to #1 LSU in Week 1, are in a dead heat with Alabama for the soon-to-be-vacant #2 ranking. It's just a matter of taking care of their business from here on out for Oregon, who played a very impressive game at Stanford last week and will host the Pac-12 Championship Game if they can get past USC this week and Oregon State next week. USC has a chance in this game, and it wouldn't even surprise me if it is a one-score game in the 3rd quarter. But Oregon just does not stop scoring.

Last Week: 2-2-1
Season: 24-29-2

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