Mythical Picks – NCAA – Weekend Of 10/29/16

If I had to attach a descriptor for last week’s NCAA Mythical Picks, I would probably begin with adjectives such as “appalling”, “atrocious”, “dreadful”, “ghastly”, “hideous” and/or “revolting”. I made 15 selections last week and the record for the week was 3-12-0. That takes down the season record to 66-61-0.

The Best Picks of the Week were – not that there were many to choose from:

    Utah +7 against UCLA. Utah won straight up by a TD.
    Colorado +2 against Stanford. Colorado won straight up by 5 points.

The Worst Picks of the Week were – among the many:

    NC State +19.5 against Louisville. NC State lost by 42 points.
    Ohio State – 19 against Penn State. Ohio State lost straight up.

If you have read this far, I should not have to tell you that no one ought to use anything herein as the basis for making a real wager on a real college football game this weekend involving real money. Here is how dumb you would have to be to do that:

    If stupid were dirt, you would be 40 acres.

General Comments:

The Linfield College Wildcats beat Whitworth last weekend by a score of 45-31. That gives Linfield its 5th win for the season and it assures them a winning season in football for the 61st consecutive season. At the moment, their record in the Northwest Conference is 4-0; winning that conference title will likely put Linfield in the Division III playoffs. Their 3 remaining games are all conference games.

This week, Linfield hosts the Bruins of George Fox University. The Bruins bring a 3-game winning streak, a 3-3 record and a 3-1 record in the conference to McMinnville this weekend. Go Wildcats!

Continuing to follow the exploits of Cooper Kupp at WR for the E. Washington Eagles, the team went on the road to play Montana St. last week and came home with a 41-17 wins. Kupp caught 13 passes in the game for 154 yards and 1 TD. For the 2016 season, he has caught 59 passes for 866 yards and 8 TDs in 6 games.

This week, E. Washington hosts the Montana Grizzlies. Montana brings a 5-2 record to the game and an offense that has scored more than 40 points in 5 games this year. Go Eagles!

Notre Dame had last week off – and they needed it. Consider this summary of their season to date from Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:

“Pretzel logic: Try wrapping your head around the very real possibility that Bobby Wilder’s ODU team will play in a bowl this season, while Notre Dame will not. The reeling Irish (2-5) have games against Miami, Navy, Virginia Tech and Southern Cal remaining. They may not be favored in any of them.”

Speaking of bowl games, it is hardly commonplace for all three of the service academies to go to bowl games in a given year. All three have a shot at bowl-eligibility this year albeit two of the academies made things a bit harder for themselves by losing last week:

Army lost to North Texas 35-18. This was a self-inflicted wound; Army lost 2 fumbles and threw 4 INTs in the game. Army’s record is now 4-2 and they have to find 2 more wins with this upcoming schedule; it is not going to be easy:

    At Wake Forest
    Vs. Air Force
    At Notre Dame
    Morgan St. (Division 1-AA)
    Vs. Navy

Meanwhile, Air Force lost last week to Hawaii 34-27. Somehow, the Flyboys need to generate 2 wins from this remaining schedule:

    At Fresno St.
    At Army
    Colorado St
    AT San Jose St.
    Boise St.

Air Force has an easier glide path to 6 wins than does Army. Fresno St. is on the SHOE watchlist this weekend with a 1-7 record and a new coach; San Jose St is also on the SHOE watchlist this week thanks to an e-mail from a reader who noted correctly that I did not have them on the watchlist last week and wondered how they had escaped such notoriety. The reason is that I had not realized that they were as bad as they were.

Navy won last week beating Memphis 42-28. That gives Navy 5 wins for the year and a clear path to bowl eligibility.

Boise St. remained unbeaten last week beating BYU 28-27. BYU had a chance to win the game with a short field goal at the end of the game but it was blocked. BYU recovered the ball and since it never crossed the line of scrimmage and it was not a 4th down attempt, the cougars had one last shot at victory with a Hail Mary pass. That prayer went unanswered and Boise St. came out of the game with a 7-0 record.

Boise St. turned the ball over 5 times in the game and was minus-5 in the turnover stats. The fact that they won the game anyhow is surprising. Here is a stat I ran across to show how unusual that is:

    Since 2004, teams that are minus-5 in the takeovers have a record of 9-231.

W. Michigan beat E. Michigan last week 45-31 and that gives W. Michigan a record of 8-0 for the 2016 season. Could they run the table here? Here is the remaining schedule for the Broncos:

    At Ball State – record is 4-4 with no “signature wins”.
    At Kent St. – record is 2-6 and on the SHOE watchlist
    Vs. Buffalo – record is 1-6 and on the SHOE watchlist
    Vs Toledo – record is 6-1; this will be an interesting MAC game.

SMU beat Houston 38-16 last week. Houston’s loss to Navy knocked them out of any consideration for the CFP. This loss to a less-than-fearsome SMU team may accomplish one of more of these things:

    1. It may give a really minor bowl game a shot at a Houston team that got loads of publicity earlier this year. Maybe the Bahamas Bowl or the Pinstripe Bowl?

    2. It may drive down the price that Houston coach, Tom Herman, can demand on the football coaching carousel this winter.

Rice beat Prairie View A&M (Division 1-AA) last week 65-44. That means that all 128 teams in Division 1-A now have at least 1 win. That win by itself will not get Rice off the SHOE watchlist, but a loss would have put them in the SHOE Tournament for certain. Congrats to the Owls for keeping alive the possibility of avoiding the SHOE Tournament.

In another bottom-feeder game, UTEP beat UT-San Antonio 52-49. But it took 5 OTs to get that job done…

In Big-12 action, K-State beat Texas 24-21. K-state led this game 24-7 in the 3rd quarter and then developed a bad habit of turning the ball over and let the Longhorns back into the game. State held on to win at the end.

Oklahoma St. beat Kansas 44-20. It was 17-13 at halftime; Kansas was within hailing distance. Then the clock struck midnight …

West Virginia beat TCU 34-10. I guess West Virginia is for real and that their defense has figured out how to play the game. They held TCU to only 317 yards of offense and a measly 148 yards passing. The fact that TCU turned the ball over 3 times did not help the Horned Frogs’ cause even a little bit.

Oklahoma beat Texas Tech 66-59. No, that is not a basketball score. Let me give you some stats here to show that the game was well-balanced:

    Baker Mayfield (OU): 26 for 35 for 541 yards with 7 TDs and 0 INTs
    Pat Mahomes (Tech): 44 for 77 for 655 yards with 4 TDs and 1 INT

      Obviously, the Tech coaching staff did not have Mahomes on a pitch-count for this game…

    Oklahoma: 864 yards total offense
    Texas Tech: 856 yards total offense

      Did the defenses have 11 men on the field all the time?

    Oklahoma converted 6 of 10 third-down situations
    Texas Tech converted 20 of 25 third-down situations

      Tackling drills anyone …?

    Oklahoma: 11.4 yards per offensive play
    Texas Tech: 7.9 yards per offensive play.

Wow! Simply … Wow! An Arena League Football game broke out in Lubbock last week…

In the ACC, VA Tech handed Miami (FL) its third loss in a row last week, 37-16. Tech and UNC now each have 1 conference loss in the Coastal Division of the ACC but Tech holds that tiebreaker having beaten UNC earlier this year. Miami QB, Brad Kaaya was sacked 8 times in this game losing 55 yards in the process.

Louisville beat NC State 54-13. Here is what I said in last week’s Mythical Picks about this game. Could I have been more incorrect?

“… I choose to believe that NC State has figured out how to put its pieces together so they work well together. That means I think they can stay close to Louisville – as they did with Clemson last week – and that their defense can keep Louisville from running wild. I’ll take NC State plus the points and I’ll take the game to stay UNDER.”

Louisville led 44-0 at the half. Louisville rolled up 572 yards of offense compared to NC State’s 256. This was an ass-kicking extraordinaire

UNC beat UVa 35-14 holding Virginia to only 265 yards of offense. Virginia needs to win 4 of its last 5 games to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2011. Things are not looking up on that front because next up for the Cavaliers is Louisville.

In Big 10 action, Minnesota beat Rutgers 34-32 and it took a 28-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in the game for Minnesota to win this one. I know that a win is a win, but this one ought to be embarrassing. Minnesota led 21-3 at the end of the first quarter and let Rutgers – a team on the SHOE watchlist to be sure – come back to lead the game in the final minute of play. Minnesota also allowed Rutgers to convert 10 of 19 third-down tries. Minnesota has 5 wins for the year and will probably be bowl-eligible. However, if I were a “bowl-game honcho” and was looking to find an invitee, I would consider this game as a justification to look for another dance partner.

Northwestern beat Indiana 24-14 but the game was closer than it might appear. Northwestern led 24-3 at the half but they were shut out in the second half. Consider;

    Northwestern had 408 yards total offense
    Indiana had 403 yards total offense.

Wisconsin beat Iowa 17-9. It was a defensive game and Wisconsin had the better of it for most of the time. This was Iowa’s 3rd loss this year; at least, this one was not as surprising as the other two were – – North Dakota State and Northwestern.

Nebraska beat Purdue 27-14 after Purdue led at halftime 14-10. Nebraska is 7-0 for the season with two really tough road games coming up in the next two weeks:

    At Wisconsin this week
    At Ohio State next week.

Michigan beat Illinois 41-8 but it was not that close. The Wolverines led 31-0 at the half; Michigan gained 578 yards while Illinois only managed 185; Michigan ran 87 offensive plays and Illinois only snapped the ball on offense 38 times.

Maryland beat Michigan St. 28-17. The last time Maryland beat Sparty was in 1950. To put that in perspective for you, Harry Truman had not yet fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur in 1950.

In the most shocking result of the Big 10 season to date, Penn State used a blocked field goal that was returned for a TD to beat Ohio State 24-21. Ohio State dominated the stat sheet gaining 446 yards (to Penn State’s 278 yards) and the Buckeyes ran 83 plays (to Penn State’s 60). Ohio State also won the turnover battle 1-0. Nevertheless, the scoreboard shows Penn State as the winner and the scoreboard is all that matters.

Lots of analysts said in the aftermath of this game that Ohio State still controlled its destiny. Ignoring the fact that destiny cannot – by definition – be controlled, Ohio State does NOT “control its destiny”. If Ohio State wins out, they will have 1 conference loss. But if Michigan loses before facing Ohio State and if Penn State wins out, then Ohio State will not make it to the Big 10 Championship Game – – let alone the CFP. Remember, Penn State owns the tiebreaker with Ohio State.

    Do I think Michigan will lose before playing Ohio State? No.

    Do I think Penn State will win out? If they beat Iowa in 2 weeks they might.

It may not be likely, but you cannot say the Ohio State controls its destiny if in fact their ultimate success depends on the successes and failures of a bunch of other teams.

Down in SEC-land, Alabama remained unbeaten for the year handling Texas A&M easily 33-14. This was the 10th consecutive game for Alabama where they scored a defensive and/or a special teams’ TD. That is such a long streak that you can no longer ascribe it to “luck” unless you also admit that what appears to be “luck” is often the outcome of “planning and practice”. Alabama gained 285 yards rushing and averaged 5 yards per carry. They were clearly the better team here.

Auburn beat Arkansas 56-3. Here is what I said about that game in last week’s Mythical Picks:

“I like Auburn but I really wonder if they are 2-scores better than Arkansas. I’ll take Arkansas plus the points.”

My wonderment is over. Auburn was not 2-scores better than Arkansas, they were 8-scores better. Auburn had 632 yards offense and dominated every phase of the game. Arkansas had to punt 10 times here. The only Arkansas score was a 54-yard field goal with 4 seconds remaining in the first half. Perhaps Auburn/Alabama will be a great way to end the regular season in the SEC this year?

Kentucky beat Mississippi St. 40-38. There was about as much joy in Starkeville on Saturday as there was in Mudville back when Casey took gas in the bottom of the ninth. A 50-yard field goal as time expired took Kentucky from losing to winning. Kentucky led 34-24 in the 4th quarter but surrendered that lead until the final seconds. Kentucky needs 2 more wins to be bowl-eligible for the first time since 2010. Here is their schedule:

    At Missouri – underdog on the road but the game is winnable
    Vs. Georgia – underdog at home but the game is winnable
    At Tennessee – not much hope for this one
    Vs. Austin Peay – they have to win this game and they will
    At Louisville – Fuhgeddaboudit !!

I mentioned Missouri as this week’s opponent for Kentucky so let me remind you what Missouri did at home last week. It was Homecoming and they had scheduled a nice “Homecoming Opponent” in Middle Tennessee State. Then Missouri took the pipe and lost the game 51-45. Missouri ran 104 offensive plays and generated 629 yards on offense. That usually wins football games. The problem was that Missouri lost 2 fumbles (leading to 10 points for the opposition) and did not do much on defense allowing Middle Tennessee State to amass 584 yards offense of its own. Oh, and those 13 penalties for 125 yards walked off against Missouri did not help either.

LSU beat Ole Miss 38-21. Welcome back to the field, Leonard Fournette. After sitting out two games with an injury, he dominated the Ole Miss defense in this game. Check these stats:

    12 carries for 254 yards and 3 TDs

That is not a lot of work for a RB, but that is a lot of offensive output. LSU’s record now stands at 5-2 despite all the fussing and fuming in Baton Rouge earlier this year. However, the 4 opponents left for the Tigers are:

    Alabama – in Baton Rouge
    Arkansas – in Fayetteville
    Florida – in Baton Rouge (the postponed Hurricane Matthew game)
    Texas A&M – in College Station

LSU could win out – but it won’t be easy…

Way out west in the PAC-12, Colorado beat Stanford 10-5. The last time Colorado beat Stanford was in 1990. Colorado is bowl-eligible now and is not out of the running for the PAC-12 South Division title and a slot in the PAC-12 Championship Game. Coach Mike MacIntyre’s agent just might be fielding calls from ADs at some of the blue-blood schools that will be seeking coaches in the offseason such as USC, Texas, LSU, Notre Dame… Stanford turned the ball over 4 times in this game; Colorado seemingly tried to keep the game as close as possible by missing 3 field goals and having a TD called back for a penalty. Stanford has now lost 3 of their last 4 games and is not a shoo-in for bowl eligibility. Since September 24, Stanford has not scored more than 17 points in a game; over that 4-game span, they scored a total of 44 points – – 11 points per game.

Utah beat UCLA 52-45. Here is what I said about this game in last week’s NCAA Mythical Picks:

“Short and sweet here. I think the oddsmaker has it right with that Total Line; this will be a defensive game. Therefore, I’ll take Utah plus the points.”

Well, I got the game right in the end, but not for anything related to the reason I took Utah in the first place. That proves that it is better to be lucky than smart. The game started with Utah returning the opening kickoff for a TD and what followed was a “Points-a-Palooza”. Utah RB, Joe Williams, scored 3 TDs in the game on runs of 43 yards, 55 yards and 64 yards. He totaled 332 yards and 4 TDs on 29 carries. UCLA threw 4 INTs and lost a fumble in the game; nonetheless, they only lost by a TD. It was as if a Big-12 game broke out in Southern California…

Cal beat Oregon 52-49 – – but it took double OT for them to get to that score and to cover a Total Line that got all the way to 90 points by kickoff. Cal recorded 40 first downs and 640 yards in the game; Oregon had 27 first downs and 456 yards offense. Cal ran 118 offensive plays and Oregon ran 85. Fans got their money’s worth in Northern California for this game…

Washington remained unbeaten cruising to a win over Oregon State 41-17. The Huskies averaged 7.5 yards per offensive play and the outcome was never in doubt. The score at the half was 31-0.

Washington State beat Arizona State 37-32. Washington State had 398 yards passing in the game which is only slightly above the average yardage allowed by the Sun devils in a game (386.1 yards per game). And yes; that is the worst pass defense in the nation. It still appears as if the Apple Bowl game at the end of the season between Washington and Washington State will determine the PAC-12 North division winner.

This week’s slate of games has an interesting twist to it. As of today, there are still 9 undefeated teams in Division 1-A football. Two of those teams, Alabama and Western Michigan have BYE Weeks this week. Here is the schedule for the other 7 undefeated teams:

    Baylor (6-0) is AT Texas
    Boise St. (7-0) is AT Wyoming
    Clemson (7-0) is AT Florida State
    Michigan (7-0) is AT Michigan State
    Nebraska (7-0) is AT Wisconsin
    Washington (7-0) is AT Utah
    West Virginia (6-0) is AT Oklahoma State

That’s right; all seven of the undefeated teams playing this week are on the road. Even more interesting is the range of spreads on these games. Michigan is a Ponderosa Favorite on the road at Michigan State while Nebraska is an 8-point underdog at Wisconsin. Should be interesting …

The Ponderosa Games:

Last week there were 5 Ponderosa Games and – just as it was a bad week for Mythical Picking – it was a bad week for favorites covering in Ponderosa Games. The record for favorites covering last week was 0-4-1. That brings the season record for favorites covering in Ponderosa games to 28-27-1.

Western Michigan was a PUSH.

Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma St. and Washington did not cover.

This week, there are 6 Ponderosa Games:

New Mexico State at Texas A&M – 44 (72): If the Aggies go by bus to get to this game, they will have to travel about 750 miles across some bleak parts of West Texas just for the opportunity to get a mud-hole stomped into their collective butt.

Kansas at Oklahoma – 40 (68): Hey, don’t blame OU for scheduling this one; it’s a conference game.

Louisville – 33 at Virginia (70): Hey, don’t blame Louisville for scheduling this one; it’s a conference game.

Northwestern at Ohio State – 27.5 (53.5): This spread opened the week at 21.5 points; it jumped to 24 points almost immediately and has climbed quickly to this level. One sportsbook has it at 28 points. Oh, and it is a conference game.

Rice at La Tech – 28.5 (72): Rice won its first game last week playing down a level against a Division 1-AA opponent. Welcome back to Division 1-A…

Michigan – 24.5 at Michigan St. (54): This is one of the games with an undefeated team on the road this week. This too is a conference game… Remember, however how Michigan lost to Michigan St. last year and ask yourself if Jim Harbaugh has reminded his team of that disastrous ending to that game.

The SHOE Teams

The Watchlist of 16 teams has a few modifications this week based on play from last week and from a reader making me aware that I had completely ignored the poor play by San Jose St. I will just list the teams here in alphabetical order; the blanket assessment is that not one of them has earned “mediocrity” as a label.

    Bowling Green
    Florida Atlantic
    Fresno State
    Iowa State
    Kent State
    Oregon State
    San Jose State
    Texas State

Games of Interest:

(Fri Nite) Navy at USF – 6.5 (64.5): I think both defenses can be exploited here and that both teams will move the ball efficiently and effectively. If Navy can win “Time of Possession” convincingly, they will win the game and may even cover. What I am more confident about is that there will be lots of scoring by both teams. I’ll take the game to go OVER.

(Fri Nite) Air Force – 14.5 at Fresno St. (54): Fresno will play its first game under its interim coach. The team played well – while losing – against San Diego St. and if the new guy can get the team excited to play, they might make this very interesting at home. Purely a hunch, I’ll take Fresno St. plus the points.

Army at Wake Forest – 7 (41): Low scoring game upcoming here. In low-scoring games, I generally like to take points. Ergo, I’ll take Army plus the points.

Minnesota – 9 at Illinois (no Total Line): I will not make a pick here but the game is of interest because Minnesota just squeaked by Rutgers last week in Minnesota with a field goal in the final seconds (see above). Two weeks ago, Illinois beat Rutgers handily at Rutgers. So, why is this a 2-score game in the spread? Illinois is a bad team; Minnesota is marginally better. I’ll just watch for the results to come in…

Texas Tech at TCU – 9.5 (86.5): Texas Tech is the second-highest scoring team in the country with the top-rated passing offense and the top-rated passing offense in the country. Nonetheless, Texas Tech is 3-4 for the year and its wins have been over unimpressive company:

    Stephen F. Austin (Div 1-AA) by 52 points
    La Tech by 14 points
    Kansas by 36 points

Not a lot of top-shelf opponent points in that mix. The TCU pass defense ranks 106th in the country so it would seem that Tech is destined to put points on the board in large quantity. I think the line is fat; I’ll take Texas Tech plus the points.

Penn State – 13 at Purdue (57): The $64,000 Question here is this:

    Can the Penn State coaches keep the players grounded after the amazingly emotional win over Ohio State in Beaver Stadium last week?

I think this will be a defensive game and I do not see where the 58th point will come from. I like this game to stay UNDER.

Clemson – 4.5 at Florida St. (60): This is one of the games with an undefeated team on the road this week. Florida St. had a BYE Week last week presumably used to get its defense right; there is plenty of physical talent there but the defense has taken lots of “time off” in games this year. Against Clemson, that would be fatal. Clemson allows only 166.1 yards per game passing and FSU’s QB is a freshman. Moreover, Clemson only allows 15.3 points per game. I think Clemson is too much here so I’ll take them to win and cover even on the road.

K-State – 6.5 at Iowa St. (50.5): Iowa St. is not very good on either offense or defense – but neither is K-State. My first reaction here would be to take the underdog at home but I just do not trust Iowa St. I do think that both teams can score on the opposing defenses. So, I’ll take the game to go OVER.

W. Virginia – 3.5 at Oklahoma St. (64.5): This is one of the games with an undefeated team on the road this week. The West Virginia defense has made a believer out of me over the past couple of games. I think they are the better team here and I’ll take them to win and cover on the road.

Miami (FL) – 2 at Notre Dame (58): The spread opened with Notre Dame as the -1point favorite but it has flipped to this number. If you are old enough, you remember when a Miami/Notre Dame game had serious weight when it came to determining the National Champion for a season; often those games were referred to as Catholics vs. Convicts. That is not the case here; neither team will get a millisecond of consideration for the CFP. As noted above, Miami has lost 3 games in a row and has really looked discombobulated doing so. As lackluster as Notre Dame has looked this year – particularly on defense – I just cannot take Miami as a road favorite against anything other than a Sun Belt team. Purely a venue call, I’ll take Notre Dame plus the points.

Baylor – 3.5 at Texas (72): This is one of the games with an undefeated team on the road this week. Baylor had last week off and it seems as if the Baylor offense is getting back in gear about now. That means the Texas defense – such as it is – will be under duress and that means the Texas offense will have to play fast just to keep up. Texas ranks 94th in the country in Total Defense and Baylor ranks 16th. On the other side, Texas ranks 34th in the country in total offense whereas Baylor ranks 4th. All the signs point to Baylor here; I’ll take Baylor to win and cover.

Washington St. – 13 at Oregon St. (57): This Total Line opened the week at 65.5 points. The current line represents a huge line movement and it likely reflects the fact that Oregon St. will play without its starting QB in this game and possibly in all the games for the rest of the season. Oregon St. was a poor team with the starting QB; it just seems unlikely that they will improve with whoever comes in to play QB. What is interesting here is that while the Total Line was dropping, the spread was also dropping from 15.5 points last weekend to the current level here. I have no idea what that reflects so I’ll make no pick here but I will watch for the results.

Stanford – 6 at Arizona (49): Stanford’s offensive woes are outlined above. In Total Offense, Stanford ranks 128th – that is DEAD LAST – in the country with 299.1 yards per game. [The Cardinal scoring offense rating is slightly better at 126th in the country topping such powerhouse programs as Buffalo and South Carolina.] However, maybe the Arizona defense is coming to Stanford’s rescue. The Wildcats’ defense ranks 114th in the nation giving up 474.6 yards per game. I will refrain from a pick here but I want to see if Stanford can indeed move the ball and score on a mediocre-at-best Arizona defense.

Nebraska at Wisconsin – 9 (43): This is one of the games with an undefeated team on the road this week. Wisconsin has the better defense here (9th in the country giving up 300.6 yards per game) but the Nebraska defense is not chopped liver (21st in the country giving up 342.9 yards per game). On offense, Nebraska is averaging 10 more points per game than Wisconsin. I know that Wisconsin enjoys a big home field advantage but that line looks obese to me. I like Nebraska plus the points here.

Georgia “at” Florida – 7.5 (43) [Game is in Jax]: The spread opened at 5.5 points and shot up to this level quickly. Florida is a defense-driven team; that defense needs to stop the Georgia run game here. I think they can do that. Georgia’s QB, Jacob Eason, is a freshman and I do not think he is ready to beat a good Florida defense by throwing the ball a lot. I am certainly not enamored with the Florida offense but I think it is good enough – Florida scores an average of 30 points per game thanks to contributions from its defense and special teams – to beat a rebuilding Georgia team. I’ll take Florida and lay the points here.

Auburn – 4.5 at Ole Miss (63): Auburn is on a 4-game winning streak and Ole Miss has dropped 2 in a row. Of late, the Auburn offense has become a monster; early in the year it was a squeaky little mouse. Ole Miss does not win with its defense. I think the game sets up just right for Auburn. I’ll take Auburn to win and cover even on the road.

Boise St. – 13.5 at Wyoming (64.5): This is one of the games with an undefeated team on the road this week. Wyoming brings a 5-2 record to this game with one of the wins over Air Force; moreover, Wyoming is undefeated in the MWC as is Boise St. obviously. I like the Boise St. defense to control this game so I’ll take the game to stay UNDER.

Kentucky at Missouri – 6 (70): This game is interesting only because Kentucky needs a win somewhere to be in bowl-eligible mode. Both teams are bottom-feeders in the SEC. Do not wager on this game but watch for results to see if Kentucky can win an important game on the road. Oh, by the way, after losing last week at home for Homecoming, it may also be interesting to note if Missouri can beat a mediocre opponent at home.

Washington – 10.5 at Utah (54): This is one of the games with an undefeated team on the road this week. In fact, I think it is the Game of the Week. Washington has been dominating opponents this year. Except for a 7-point win over Arizona a month ago, Washington has won the other 6 games by 24 points or more. However, Utah brings a 7-1 record to this game and they have won games by slugging it out on defense and by playing helter-skelter games too (see above for last week’s UCLA game). Fortunately for me, this game will kick off at 6:30 Eastern Time meaning I will not have to stay up until 2:30 AM to see its conclusion. I like Utah at home plus that generous helping of points.

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………