What I’ve learned this season–so far, anyway–is that I should never gamble on sports.
Last week my numbers managed to improve and drop at the same time. I went a solid 5-1 straight up, and a gooey 2-4 against the lines.
That brings me up to 10-8 straight up on the season, and down to 5-13 against the spread, so there’s room for improvement.
I know now that Tennessee can’t be trusted with hype, and that Nebraska (all Bo Pelini jokes aside) isn’t up to snuff. Same goes for Alabama. Sure, they beat A&M, but couldn’t quite beat that spread. Kudos to Johnny Football for striking another needle into some poor guy’s wallet with that last minute score.
It’s a new week, though, and I can keep working my way back up. Let’s get started.
1) North Texas @ #9 Georgia (UGA – 33): An off week is followed by…well, essentially another off week. Aaron Murray and company will surely use this as a tune-up for next week’s matchup against LSU. I suspect both sides of the ball will show a few new looks to give the Tigers something to worry about, and the defense will play hard and gain some confidence, finally having a good game. We’ll see plenty of back-ups in the second half. Dawgs win, and cover. Georgia 52, North Texas 14
2) North Carolina @ Georgia Tech (GT -4): Elsewhere in the Peach State, the Yellow Jackets will be hosting the Tar Heels. Georgia Tech is already 1-0 in the ACC with a 38-14 thumping against Duke last week, but UNC has had two weeks to prepare for Paul Johnson’s triple-option scheme. The Jackets installed a new offensive look–the “Diamond” formation–where quarterback Vad Lee actually stands in this wacky shot-gun, which allows him to do this unusual play called a forward pass to a player called a wide receiver. My gut tells me that Tech is going to run (geddit?) away with this one thanks to their improved defense. They win and cover. Georgia Tech 37, North Carolina 24
3) Auburn @ #6 LSU (LSU -18.5): Winning in Death Valley is extremely hard to begin with, and even harder at night. According to ESPN, the Bayou Bengals are a staggering 39-2 in home night games under Les Miles. And they look scary good with Zach Mettenberger under center, who turns a potent running game into a deadly play-action passing game. Still, I don’t think Auburn is going to roll over. Even last year’s dreadful squad almost beat LSU. The Tigers will win (since, you know, they’re both Tigers). I’m taking Auburn and the points, but LSU takes it straight up. LSU 31, Auburn 20
4) #23 Arizona State @ #5 Stanford (Stan. -7.5): If you haven’t watched the ending of the Sun Devils’ last game against Wisconsin, you should. They escaped thanks to some poor officiating and a dash of luck. I’m not really impressed by Stanford, though. The Cardinal soundly beat San Jose State to open the season, but really had a tough time with Army last week. Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly is averaging 326 yards per game, and he’s thrown five touchdown passes against just one interception. I think he can pull it off. UPSET ALERT: Arizona State 34, Stanford 31
5) Tennessee @ #19 Florida (UF – 17): The Gators are favored by 17 points. Based on both team’s performances this year…will they even combine for 17 points? The Gators are absolutely awful in the red zone, and the Vols are….well just awful in general. Florida has been waiting to get back on the field after their loss to Miami two weeks ago, and Tennessee is looking to erase their 59-14 demolition at the hands of Oregon from their memories. Will Muschamp’s defense will make all the plays, and running back Matt Jones will wear down the Vol defense. Take Florida and lay the points. Florida 27, Tennessee 7
6) Michigan State @ #22 Notre Dame (ND – 7): If you thought Florida and Tennessee had anemic offenses. Wait until you see the Spartans. They average 160 passing yards per game (105th in the nation), 209 rushing yards (47th), and 34 points (50th). That’s against a schedule of Western Michigan, South Florida, and Youngstown State. And most of their production came in the 55-17 win over FCS Youngstown. The Irish just escaped a tough game against Purdue, and I think they’ll take down Sparty, too. Notre Dame wins, and covers. Notre Dame 24, Michigan State 10
Hopefully by Sunday morning my record will be looking a little better than this week.