WEST VIRGINIA (-3 1/2) at Connecticut: What gives with these two? West Virginia started the year ranked highly, then lost to ECU and Colorado, and now seem to be rolling again after trouncing a faltering Auburn team last week in Morgantown. UConn is much the same way – after climbing into the top 25, they dropped some clunkers against Rutgers and UNC. I think WV QB Pat White is the best player on both teams and he has proven time and again to be a game breaker - I’ll be a front-runner here and stick by the Mountaineers.
MIAMI (+2) at Virginia: Both teams are 5-3 and angling for position in a suddenly crowded ACC Coastal Division. Virginia is scoring just 17.8 points per game and they’re giving up 22.3 points to their opponents, yet somehow they have won 4 in a row. As Dubya would say, that’s fuzzy math that can’t possibly hold up. I like Miami’s ability to score (39 ppg) and I like the fact their getting points here. I’m going with the ‘Canes.
AIRFORCE (-8) at Army: Army football hasn’t been good in a long, long time. Go with Air Force and lay the points.
Pittsburgh at NOTRE DAME (-4 1/2): This game is tailor made for the ‘Stache to lose. Outside of playing spoiler against West Virginia last year, Pittsburgh has a tendency to lose big games like this. It’s not that I’m so impressed with Notre Dame, it’s just that I would be scared to death to actually wager that Dave Wannstedt could win a game that matters.
#23 OREGON (+3) at California: Cal has had their share of problems with high-powered offenses (see their 42-27 loss at Arizona). That’s not so great for the Bears considering the Ducks are scoring 41.5 points per game. Give me the Ducks and the points.
Iowa at ILLINOIS (-2 1/2): The Big Ten season ended last week with Penn State winning at Ohio State. If you’re betting this game you either a) attended one of these schools, b) have been a lifelong fan for one team or the other, or c) you are a hard-core gambling addict that needs help.
Tennessee at SOUTH CAROLINA (-5 1/2): The orange apocalypse is soon to come for UT coach Phil Fulmer. Things are real bad right now in Knoxville – they played competitively in spurts last week against Alabama, but overall the Vols just looked to be outclassed and outcoached. It doesn’t get any better for the Vols considering that South Carolina still boasts a great D. UT only scored 9 points last week; I can’t see them exceeding that total by much, if at all, this week. I’m going with So. Carolina.
#16 FLORIDA STATE (+2 ½) at Georgia Tech: If you haven’t been paying much attention to the ACC this year (and let’s be honest, who outside the mid-Atlantic really has been watching?), Florida State has played well enough to this point to sit tied with Maryland atop the Atlantic division. Although Florida State isn’t blowing teams out and running up the score like they once did, the ‘Noles are winning close games that in recent years they always seemed to lose. Plus, I read that Bobby Bowden has never lost to Georgia Tech. Considering he’s been coaching for 200 years, that’s not very good for the Yellow Jackets. I’m taking Grandpa Bobby and the ‘Noles.
#1 TEXAS (-3 1/2) at #6 Texas Tech: Texas Tech has played very impressively to this point, and their 63-21 beatdown of Kansas last week was an exclamation point heading into their matchup with the Longhorns. Texas is certainly a little more battle tested that the Red Raiders, having knocked off Oklahoma, Mizzou, and Oklahoma State (all top 10 teams) in consecutive weeks. The common denominator in all of those Longhorn wins was their defensive performance, and they will be – by far – the best defense Tech faces all year. These two could very well trade scores all day long, but I really think the Texas D will force a couple of costly turnovers that decide this game.
#5 Florida vs. #8 GEORGIA (+6 1/2) (at Jacksonville, FL): What was more embarrassing for Florida last year: watching the ‘Dawgs jump around like crazy in the endzone or watching the scoreboard at the end of the game? Georgia ultimately won this game in a walk, cruising past the Gators 42-30. Emotions obviously always run high in this rivalry game, but last year’s pasting really seems to have gotten under the Gators’ skin. Georgia has been on notice since the SEC football media days this summer that Florida was gunning for them, so I highly doubt they’ll be caught off guard or fail to match the Gators’ intensity. Florida may well win the game, and I expect that they will. However, I think this game will be much closer than last year, and 6 ½ points is just a tad too much to give away. Take the ‘Dawgs and the points.
Last week: 4-6