For the year 49-18 SU, 4-3 on LOCKS, 28-33 ATS.
On to this week's games.
6 PM - WTBS NATIONAL - Nebraska (-6) at MISSOURI - The first thing I am going to do is place my imaginary wager the day of the game so I am putting this spread subject to change. I feel like the spread will continue to go up as I do not recall ever seeing a spread this low for an MU/NU tussle. As you can tell by my explanation above I am picking the Tigers and I will explain why.
First let's look at the keys to last year's game.
1. DeJuan Groce's punt return finished off the Tigers. That was the key to the game.
Groce is gone and MU probably has the better return man now in Marcus James.
2. Generally poor special teams play for the Tigers.
Brock Harvey has struggled somewhat in windy environments as he did at KU two weeks ago (and he had some horrible luck in that game) but has been excellent at home.
3. An outstanding defensive performance by Nebraska.
This one is harder to explain away. MU offense looked horible at Kansas with some of the worst play calling I have ever seen. (My main suggestions, run play action with Smith under center AT LEAST ONCE during the game and give him the green light or encourage him to throw when he is rolling out of the pocket. IF HE RUNS EVERY TIME HE ROLLS OUT OF THE POCKET it is pretty easy to defend.
Nebraska fans have a lot of confidence in the ability of the new defensive coordinator Pelini and they should, he has done an outstanding job. But he is going to have a hard time gameplanning for an offense that HAS to have been holding back plays for this game. (If I have already seen the entire Missouri playbook someone please let me know so I can stock up on anti-depressants for the rest of the season).
Now let's look at how Nebraska won what was really their only challenging game this year (although the same blueprint was followed in a somewhat difficult trip to Southern Miss). OSU was in command of that game. The Nebraska offense was unable to put together long enough drives to score (in fairness they appear to have fixed their placekicking woes which were a major concern in that game) and they were in trouble. Then OSU just started fumbling the ball! It was unbelievable, certainly you have to give credit to the Nebraska D and I think moreso to the Nebraska crowd (which won't be there Saturday) but it was a self inflicted injury.
MU has turned the ball over TWICE this year. That's it. There is no reason to believe the Tigers will beat themselves.
Why MU will win this game.
1. Zack Abron is the perfect counter to a speed defense that likes to disrupt things. It is hard to disrupt power running behind Droege and Ricker et. al. No one appreciates Zack until they watch him for multiple games always falling forward. He may be the best back in the Big XII.
2. Brock Harvey will have to be big as will Marcus James.
3. Despite the KU debacle this sold out crowd is going to be insane. The 6 PM start is just what the doctor ordered.
4. MU's defense struggles with misdirection and QB's from the shotgun. The option is fairly straight forward. I think the front seven is good enough (at least in this type of situation) MU won't have to bite on the play action and if that's the case Lord can't make the throws if the recievers are at all covered.
MU will win this game. It won't be a fluke or a joke. That's my opinion, of course before you wager anything I picked MU last year (and still would given the same teams in that environment given a nine point spread) and I am sure I picked the Tigers in '99. At times I can be overexuberant, but that's my honest belief.
MIZZOU 21 Huskers 13
On to the other games.
OU (-6) vs. Texas - Oh yeah, there is another big game out there. Rumor has it Vince Young is walking around on a hard cast. I have no idea if that is true but man OU to me is the best team in the country. I will pick them big over MU no matter what happens this weekend. I have to give Brown credit, he made good decisions Saturday but look at what the Hogs did to Texas and multiply it by 5 and that's what happens Saturday. You can't fake dominant line play.
LOCK #1 of the week OU 38 Texas 20
KSU (-3) at OSU - KSU can't throw the ball against top flight opponents. That appears to be clear. One of these teams has played a joke non conference schedule they should be ashamed of and it's going to bite them hard here as they won't be prepared for the speed the other team brings.
Of course I am talking about OSU!
LOCK #2 of the week KSU 35 OSU 13
KU (+7) at CU - Give Whittemore and the bunch credit. They came out with fire and a great gameplan and whipped the Tigers. I look for that type of off balance misdirection playcalling to be effective here. CU's D line got worked by Baylor which doesn't bode well. I can't pick them to lose four in a row though and I think at home they pull this off.
Pick KU they lose 28-24
ISU (+16) at Texas Tech - Okay Tech fans I take it back. Symons is that good given this offense. Instead of spreading the ball within ten yards of the LOS, Tech is going 30, that's scary if you have ISU's secondary.
LOCK #3 of the week TECH TECH TECH 52-13
Baylor (+21) at A&M - Boy, Baylor looked good Saturday but they also have been blown out by North Texas so let's not get carried away. I think this number is a bit high though.
Pick Baylor they lose 31-16
I like Northwestern (-3.5) at Indiana
I like Navy (+6) coming off a big win over Air Force to lose a tight one at Vandy. I can't believe I bet on Vandy last week!
Good luck to your (non Husker) team!