To do some homework I watched the NU/KSU/MU block of coaches shows (Well I taped them) on Fox Sports Midwest on Tuesday at noon. Nebraska at the very least has a solid running game but the QB does not appear to focus on more than one receiver very often. Defensively last week they were fairly solid. It appears that KSU has real problems on the line (I saw this game on TV anyway) ant that is the only coaches show I have seen where the coach doesn't really talk about the plays on the TV much, he just visits with the host. Not really a bad approach but different. MU panicked on the play calling, if we run the ball more we win that game, period, and let's try running out of different formations from time to time. The Tigers appear to have the necessary talent to be in the middle of a Big XII North race that Kansas (!) has had the best performance so far in. I think they have a solid D at the very least and 60 on Toledo is impressive.
On to this week's games. Lines from Thurs. KC Star
KU (+3) at Northwestern - I ought to make this a "lock" to jinx KU. Northwestern isn't bad though, they probably should have beaten TCU if not for kicking problems. A very good test for KU's defense and I think they pass.
La. Lafayette (+31) at KSU - Again, KSU has some frustrations to take out here and I think they will do so. The Rajun Cajun's had a decent loss to La. Tech but they have lost to a 1AA team this year. I have gone back and forth on this one but I think KSU has enough trouble on offense to miss what should be an obvious cover.
Pick La. Lafayette, they lose 35-7
Ball State (+25) at MIZZOU - Hey, the game of the year is 10/2 against CU! This is the one game of the year that I won't make it to Columbia, this is predetermined before the season and has nothing to do with last week's loss. It's just a tough drive to make all the time. BSU gave BC all they wanted but I don't think they can stop the run. Look for MU to learn from their mistakes and not have some of the flukey bad things happen to them that hit them in Troy.
Pick MU 41-6
Clemson (-1) at A&M - This spread is ridiculous, I know Kyle Field is a tough place to play, that's really an understatement but Clemson is a top 30 team, A&M isn't even close.
LOCK OF THE WEEK #1 - Clemson 34, A&M 17
North Texas (+20) at CU - CU is winning with turnovers but not by putting up many yards. North Texas is as good as CSU despite the loss to FLa. Atlantic. Why this spread has gone way up I don't know but thank you Vegas!
Lock of the WEEK #2 - CU wins barely 24-20
Northern Illinois (+2) at ISU - ISU looked very good on D against Iowa, NIU barely beat a 1AA team last week. But that is probably the best 1AA team in the country. I should pick the 'Clones, they impressed me last week, but this is the type of game a young team loses often. Northern Illinois is a pretty solid team.
Pick NIU they win 28-24
Nebraska (-3) at Pitt - Look, losing at home to Southern Miss is a cause for concern no matter how many times you turn the ball over, but I will give Nebraska the benefit of the doubt here. They lost Incognito for the year this week, he wasn't on the team but losing an All Conference lineman is a blow long term. Pitt looked bad beating Ohio as I understand it and they were decimated by graduation particularly on offense. This would be a good team for MU to play home and home, the Big East is overrated every year and beating these teams gets you proportionally way too much respect. I can see the loss to USM, but there is no excuse for Nebraska not to win this one going away if they have anywhere close to the team I think they do.
Pick Nebraska 31-13
Oregon (+28) at OU - Why pick Oregon who just lost to IU? Well, they dominated that game except for turnovers, the line has moved 4 points, I'll take those points.
Pick Ducks, but they lose 42-17
SMU (+35) at OSU - Tough to win by 35 without a passing game.
Pick SMU, they lose 38-10
TCU (+6) at Texas Tech - This game should be a pick 'em. This is not the same QB at Tech. Sonny Cumby is really not very good, thereby answering the question about Leach's offense. It's mostly the system, until you throw a big country stiff into that system. He's an offensive genius, not a deity!
TCU wins 24-23
Give me Iowa (+1) at Arizona State.
I watched an Arkansas team which was much better than I thought last week. They cover (31) against La. Monroe.
Memphis (-22) at Arkansas State looks good to me on the Tigers.
Good luck to your team!