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Took it on the chin last week, my worst performance of the season. It's the second losing week of the year, and second in three weeks, so I'm a little shook. Slumps are bound to happen, but I'll openly admit I'm struggling to find the right angles and am just in a funk.
Except when I pick against my Hurricanes. I told y'all Duke wouldn't be easy. And they were better than that, smoking Miami. I think UVA is a very lively home underdog against my 'Canes again this week. Miami's offensive line is a joke. They'll be starting Jake Garcia over the injured Tyler Van Dyke, and Garcia is likely going to be pressured from start to finish. UM has no run game either. I don't trust UVA's offense, but a low-scoring game surely is favorable to the Cavaliers catching points at home.
Boston College (-8) at Connecticut
Boston College has major issues across their offensive line, leading to no running game and equal struggles in the passing attack. They sit at 2-5 SU and ATS, but do we really need to overthink this? It's a Power 5 school against UConn with a less than 10 point spread. It's arguably the Eagles' last chance to win this season, so if they fail to do so, at least we know we can target against them weekly moving forward. UConn has played three Power 5 schools to date, and lost by a combined 148-24. BC isn't remotely in the tier of Michigan, Syracuse or pre-injury North Carolina State, but the duo of QB Phil Jurkovec and WR Zay Flowers will still score at will.
Georgia (-22.5) vs. Florida (Jacksonville)
When struggling, why not back the Bulldogs, who are 6-1 ATS? I absolutely loathe publishing this Thursday when I actually bet it Sunday night at it's opening of -14.5, and taking a line that's moved that much seems blasphemous. Crazy things have happened in this rivalry, but I just don't see how Florida can score. They aren't going to find consistent running lanes, and if they take shots downfield, it may hit twice. Georgia will do what they do, dominate physically, make timely passing plays and score 30+ while giving up 14 or less. It'll ultimately be worth a 3+ score victory.
Illinois (-7.5) at Nebraska
That's a header I didn't expect to type whether it was when the season started or when I sat down to write this week. I even gave some thought to Nebraska as a home dog to start with. But I can't get there. Nebraska has beaten Indiana, Rutgers and North Dakota. They rank 115th against the run, allowing 190.4 ypg and 4.9 ypc. Illinois is still the top-scoring defense nationally, allowing just 8.9 ppg, with only one opponent topping 14 points against them. Chase Brown should have his way on the ground en route to a two-score victory.
Coastal Carolina (+2.5) at Marshall
Coastal is coming out of a bye, giving them two weeks to stew on their shocking home loss to Old Dominion. But they also don't have a marquee win and maybe their prior success has me with too high of expectations. On the other hand, Marshall just beat their first FBS team since September 10 when they shocked Notre Dame. Their defense is very impressive, but the offense isn't. As such, I'm going to back Chanticleer QB Grayson McCall to go on the road and lead a game-winning drive. Getting points makes me feel a little safer to boot.
North Carolina (-3) vs. Pittsburgh
I won't sit here and suggest North Carolina's defense has improved. It hasn't, and that makes taking them as favorites a tad scary. There's absolutely a scenario where Pittsburgh hands the ball off to Israel Abanikanda and the Heels' offense doesn't get enough opportunities. But I know UNC will key on him and force Kedon Slovis to beat them, and/or match points, something he hasn't proven capable of doing. Pitt is on the road for the second straight week while UNC is coming off a bye as well. I expect Drake Maye to put up points at will as he's done all season.
Last week: 1-4; season 25-20
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Well, that was a close one. After building a winning streak for the first time all season, it nearly came to an end this past week, but fortunately, I was saved by the hook on the California game. Considering I lost by the hook on the Kansas total, I think it evens out. Admittedly, I didn't like the card this past week, so to get three wins was a bonus. A quick recap…
The two losses were polar opposites, and I lost the Kansas over by half a point, although I wasn't too upset with that one as the line had actually jumped back to 63.5 by game time with word that Blake Shapen was suiting up. This would be a good spot to mention this again, though the line may change, we always use the line of when the article was written or the line as of writing, for good or bad. I almost got lucky there, but it wasn't to be. The other loss was Clemson which was never close to covering. Heck, the Tigers barely won, that's a bad loss. The wins: Penn State was a cakewalk and the Purdue over was fairly easy. The California game was obviously close, and the Bears scored with six minutes left to cover, but considering they were tied going into the 4th quarter, it's not exactly a miraculous cover.
Onto this week, it's more of a mixed bag for me. Some games look good, but most look like though calls. Here are my top-5…
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Ohio State (-15.5) at Penn State
The Buckeyes are wrecking everything in their path this season and I don't see how that changes this week. Penn State got back on track by whooping a one-dimensional Gopher team that had a first-time starter at QB this past week, but I think that will only serve as false confidence this week. Penn State has historically played Ohio State pretty tough, but the Nittany Lions have historically had some good defenses, which is something they can't claim this year. Sure, they can shut down punchless teams like Northwestern and Auburn, but Michigan carved them up and now they are about to face the best offense they've seen all year. The 11AM CDT start is going no favors for Penn State either as the crowd won't be as much of a factor, especially after Ohio State gets out to a lead.
Syracuse (-2.5) vs Notre Dame
Are we still giving some respect to Notre Dame because they played Ohio State tough two months ago? Since then, the 'Irish have been a train wreck, losing at home to Marshall and on the road at Stanford. They're win against a ranked BYU team three weeks ago is now tarnished because BYU has lost three in a row. There's just not much to like about this team, which makes me wonder why they are less than a three-point dog at a ranked Syracuse team that just gave everything Clemson could handle this past week. I faded Syracuse this past week, largely on the reputation of Clemson, but I'm not falling for that again, I don't care what the name on the front of the jersey says, this is not the same Notre Dame team of years past nor is it the same 'Orange squad.
Iowa State (+1) vs Oklahoma
Iowa State has a reputation as a giant killer in the Big 12 and while this version of the Sooners is nowhere near giant status, I still expect the Cyclones to treat this game as a David vs Goliath matchup. Oklahoma seemingly got back on track two weeks ago when it toppled Kansas, but the problems with the defense remain. Kansas without Jalon Daniels does not have a prolific offense, yet the Jayhawks were still able to move the ball quite easily. This is the worst type of matchup for the Sooners because Iowa State has the defense to slow down Oklahoma and a good enough offense to take advantage of their defense.
Illinois (-7.5) at Nebraska
This is a line that I never thought I would see in my lifetime, but it's indicative of where these programs are currently. At first blush I thought it was a bit too high, after all, Illinois doesn't exactly have the firepower to cover this much on the road, right? Actually, the Illini already beat Wisconsin by 24 on the road, so yeah. What makes this a good play is Nebraska's defense, which will be bar far the worst unit that Illinois has seen all year in conference play. To make matters worse for the 'Huskers, they are allowing 190 yards on the ground per game this season and Illinois loves to run all day. I'm not sure how the 'Husker defense gets off the field without the aid of a turnover. If Illinois sticks to the script, this should be a fairly easy victory.
Oregon (-16.5) at California
There is certainly a letdown in play here this week, but I think the Ducks are going to use last week's pasting of UCLA as more of a springboard to bigger and better things. The talk is already surrounding whether or not the committee could overlook the Ducks' opening week blowout against Georgia and the only way to make that happen is to destroy everything in their path. California is just okay this season, the Bears fought hard against Notre Dame earlier this season and they put up a fight against Washington this past week, but remember, that came a week after getting embarrassed at Colorado. Without that motivation this week, I don't see the Bears putting up much of a fight.
Last Week: 3-2-0, Last Season: 23-20-0