Ordinarily, I avoid Thursday games, but this week there are two fantastic match-ups that I just can’t ignore.
More on that in a second.
Let’s recap last week. First off, I almost NAILED that Georgia-Florida score. I predicted the Dogs to win 24-21. They decided that 23-20 was a little better, but most importantly I got the spread.
I also got Florida State’s destruction of Miami right, though I once again whiffed when I foolishly thought Texas Tech might pull an upset. Still, I had a good week: 5-1 straight up, and 3-3 against the spreads.
That brings me to 42-18 straight up and 23-39 against the lines.
So just know that I can pick winners like a champ, but I really can’t…put my money where my mouth is!
That’s enough lame jokes for today. Let’s pick a few games. I’m thinking six is a good number.
1) Appalachian State @ Georgia (UGA -31.5): Call me Yogi Berra, but Mark Richt teams either beat the spread or they don’t. What I mean by that is that the Bulldogs either destroy the spread in games like this or come up way short. I’m thinking they’ll miss this spread (App. State is an FCS powerhouse), but still win comfortably. Aaron Murray will make a few plays, and Todd Gurley will make a few more. Hutson Mason might even get a few series in the second half. I think Todd Grantham’s defense gives up a few points, though. Georgia wins, but give me the Mountaineers and the points. Georgia 48, App. State 21
2) #10 Oklahoma @ #6 Baylor (Bay -13.5): Imagine if you could travel back to 1955. You go find an Oklahoma fan and say “Your team will be a two-score underdog to Baylor. Oh, and you’ll be playing on a Thursday night in front of a national TV audience.” GREAT SCOTT! That’s also my reaction to the Bears’ offense. It’s simply a blur. Perhaps quarterback Bryce Petty is kin to Richard Petty, and speed is in his genetics. The Sooners have taken their licks with injuries, and they’ll get exposed on the road. Give me Baylor and lay the points! Baylor 52, Oklahoma 38
3) #3 Oregon @ #5 Stanford (Ore -11): The second Thursday game on the docket, and it’s a classic revenge game. Last year the Cardinal knocked the Ducks out of the national title race (and put Alabama back in) with a 17-14 overtime upset. The game comes back to Stanford Stadium this time around, and the Cardinal are more battle tested. They’ve already beaten four ranked teams. Oregon has only played one. I’m smelling another upset this year. UPSET ALERT: Stanford 45, Oregon 42
4) #13 LSU @ #1 Alabama (Bama -11.5): Two years ago this was dubbed “the game of the century.” It’s a little different this time around. Sure, the Tide are rolling (see what I did there?), but the Tigers have done a switcheroo. Where they once had a super star defense paired with a mediocre offense led by a mistake-prone quarterback, they now have a so-so defense paired with a powerful offense led by a future NFL quarterback. The Alabama secondary has been shaky this year. Texas A&M shredded them earlier, but Nick Saban has had two weeks to prepare for this one. And he has his home crowd (for sixty full minutes!). Bama wins, but give me LSU and the points. Alabama 31, LSU 27
5) BYU @ #24 Wisconsin (Wisc -7.5): The Badgers have been an odd team this year. They boast the nation’s No. 5 scoring defense at 15 points per game, and yet they’ve surrendered 30 points three times. The Cougars have been similarly strange. They have two losses to two mediocre teams: Virginia and Utah. Were it not for those (huge) hiccups, they’d be undefeated and most likely ranked, especially with dominant wins against Texas, Georgia Tech, and Boise State. I don’t think it’ll be enough on this long trip to Camp Randall. Wisconsin 27, BYU 17
6) #9 Auburn @ Tennessee (Aub -7.5): I think it shows what a turnaround Gus Malzahn has done at Auburn when his team is 8-1 and ranked in the Top 10. This time last year they were 2-7 and the wheels had long since fallen off. I must admit that I’m a bit perplexed, though. They’re heading to Knoxville against a Volunteer team that just got crushed by Missouri and who is starting a true freshman at quarterback…and Auburn is only a 7.5-point favorite. I really don’t see how this one isn’t going to be a blowout, frankly. Give me Auburn and every one of those points. Auburn 35, Tennessee 14
That’s all we’ve got for this week. I’ll have a pretty good grasp on my record for the week by the end of Thursday night, so hopefully I’m sitting pretty going into the weekend.
My guess is I continue my trend: picking the winners accurately but falling flat on my face against the spread.
Maybe this is my breakthrough week.