"Alabama (-14) vs. Northern Illinois - I will ride NIU as long as they get spreads like this. Bama wins by a field goal; they aren't going to score much on the Huskies." Oh well, the Huskies are legit. Anyone that runs the ball like that is legit.
We did hit our LOCK last week as Texas Tech put up some decent stats (many of them after the outcome was obvious) but got thumped by NC State. We are now 4-2 on LOCKS for the year (three in a row!).
5-5 ATS last week or 19-27 overall against the spread.
10-2 straight up (KSU was a shock to me they have some defensive concerns that are not getting straightened out as rapidly as I thought they would) and now 39-13 SU on the year.
On to this week's games.
Thurs. Night, Nebraska (-10) at Southern Miss. I don't think some of these numbers that are thrown out are really all that important but this one jumps out. Nebraska is 8-15-1 ATS since 1993 for games that have been played on grass. If you look at Southern Miss' awful performance against Cal it was based on poor pass defense. I don't see Nebraska exploiting this as I am certainly not sold on their pass game and have concerns about the offense as a whole. USM is coming off a nice win over Memphis and they are adding seats for the biggest game ever in Hattiesburg. This game is a potential upset special but I think the Husker D is good enough to avoid this. The money has been pouring in on Nebraska as this line has been moving.
Pick USM although they lose 17-13
GAME OF THE WEEK- BORDER WAR
MISSOURI (-10.5) at Kansas - Well here comes a big game. The oldest rivalry west of the Mississippi gets national TV (albeit at 1130 AM) and what appears to be a sellout crowd in Lawrence (albeit with a strong Missouri contingent of fans). Watch for the Border War Preview Friday night at 8 PM on Fox Sports Net.
I had this game pegged as a very close win for the Tigers prior to last week. I thought the Tigers would be looking ahead to Nebraska. That is no longer the case. This team has no excuse not to focus on the task at hand after a poor performance on Saturday. MU did a horrible job tackling on Saturday and had to rely on Brad Smith to win the game. (To say the Tigers were "lucky" to win isn't really correct, they had the best player on the field, he was finally allowed to make plays and they won, but it was too close for comfort). The offense on this team continues to impress as does the offense for the Crimson and Blue.
The UNLV win turned some heads about the Jayhawks and while the Northwestern loss is not a good one NW was competitive with Air Force and beat Duke. However I am of the opinion that even with some nice offensive threats (RB Green and WR Gordon come to mind) to go along with Whittemore who was extremely impressive in Columbia last year when healthy this team is still a year away from being competitive in the Big XII Conference. I don't see barely winning at Wyoming as more impressive than winning by ten at Tulsa (as KU was able to do last year). MU has superior players on both lines and by the fourth quarter that will be the difference in this one. Again, Whittemore took a beating last year in Columbia, I look for better protection from KU this year but he is going to take a lot of heat again Saturday. Look for Gary Pinkel to improve to 3-0 in the Border War. I am not concerned about MU putting up points. I will say this for KU, if I am wrong and they win this one I think they are at least headed for 6-6 they are ahead of Baylor and if they have five or more wins when ISU comes to town the Cyclones are in trouble.
Pick MU 41-24
That's the only league game this week. If you can't tell I am somewhat down on the middle of the Big XII pack after last week.
Pitt (-1) at A&M - When McNeal develops a consistent pass A&M will be tough. Pitt's loss at Toledo is why this line is so low. They were preseason Top 15 for a reason and will be focused this week. I am holding off on the lock but I like this pick.
Pitt wins 31-14
Texas Tech (+1.5) at Ole Miss - Two BAD defenses take the field in this one. David Cutcliffe insists on trying to establish the run in a game (Ole Miss is AWFUL at the run). At least Tech won't do that and they should take an early lead. This D is going to kill Tech this year. Symons is getting love from ESPN.com after losing by 28. I think that's ridiculous but he will put up good stats again.
Pick Ole Miss to win 52-45
Iowa State (+6.5) at Northern Illinois - This was my LOCK OF THE YEAR before NIU kept winning games and got favored in this one. That's okay; NIU can really run the ball. ISU is not that good at stopping the run (Iowa had over 400 yards of total offense with a balanced attach) and that is going to be bad for them. It really stinks to schedule the wrong MAC team (as MU and KU did last year with Bowling Green).
Pick NIU wins 28-13
I look for TEXAS (-29.5 at Tulane) to beat up on it's second straight overmatched opponent although Tulane has a much better offense than Rice and this one isn't the no brainer last week's game was.
Pick UT 48-17
I also like TCU (-14.5) over one of the worst BCS conference teams ever in Arizona.
I will take Arkansas (+1) to win outright at Alabama 21-13. The Hogs' are better on both lines (believe it or not!) and with Matt Jones that's more than enough.
Sorry, no LOCKS this week!