Last week’s 14-4 mark was the major comeback promised after the minor setback. 68-63-4 total on the year.
Pitt (-9) vs. North Carolina
After an abysmal start, Pitt has somewhat righted the ship and the Panthers have a chance for a bowl. The Tar Heels, on the other hand, have gone from bad to worse.
UNLV (-4.5) vs. BYU
Like UNC, BYU is in the midst of one of the worst seasons in program history. The Cougars managed to get their first win over an FBS opponent last week vs. San Jose State, but the Spartans are annually one of the worst FBS teams. After disastrous loss to Howard to commence the season, the Rebels are 4-5 and will be too much for the Cougars in Las Vegas.
#24 LSU vs. Arkansas – O/U: 56 – UNDER
The Tigers will have a post-Alabama hangover and the Hogs offense will be held in check by the LSU defense. Combine those factors with the rare 11 AM local kickoff in Baton Rouge and you have a sluggish game in store no matter how much Coach O pleads with the fans to put some extra stuff in their morning coffees.
South Carolina (-5.5) vs. Florida
The Gamecocks more than held their own in Athens last week, while Florida showed no fight at Missouri. Randy Shannon hasn’t brought the interim uptick to Florida and the Gators have no chance in Williams-Brice.
#13 Ohio State vs. #12 Michigan State (+17)
This is such an absurd line, that Vegas is just suckering me, but I am taking the bait. Michigan State’s offense is limited, but the Spartan defense is stout against the run and forcing turnovers. The Buckeyes will bounce back after the rout at Iowa last week, but Sparty keeps it close.
#14 Penn State vs. Rutgers (+31)
Rutgers is bad, but they aren’t as bad as they have been in recent years. The Scarlet Knights actually represent Michigan’s best win. Penn State will come out lethargic with nothing left to play for in the season and while the Nittany Lions will win handily, Rutgers covers.
Boston College (+3) vs. #23 N.C. State
The past two weeks, the Wolfpack have played marquee games against top-10 teams in raucous atmospheres and now they travel to Chestnut Hill for a noon start. BC is one of the most improved teams in the country and N.C. State will be lulled to sleep by the quiet atmosphere and the Eagles pull the upset.
Syracuse vs. Wake Forest (+1)
Wake may be 5-4, but all four of their losses have come against strong teams. After their upset of Syracuse, the Orange have come back to earth. John Wolford and the Wake offense will win big in the Carrier Dome.
#16 Mississippi State (+14) vs. #2 Alabama
The Crimson Tide always all into a post-LSU hangover. Alabama also suffered a lot of losses on defense vs. the Tigers and although they have tremendous depth, those replacements don’t have the experience. One of the few kryptonites of Alabama under Nick Saban is a competent dual-threat quarterback. Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald is the type of QB who can give the Tide fits. The Bulldogs are undefeated in StarkVegas and have won each game by an average of 30.6. Bulldogs with the outright upset.
East Carolina vs. Tulane (-5.5)
The Green Wave aren’t as bad as their 3-6 record would indicate and the Pirates are worse than their 2-7 record would indicate. Tulane has had close calls this year and their running game will power them to a convincing road win.
#7 Miami vs. #3 Notre Dame (-3.5)
Frankly, I’m surprised this line is as small as it is. The Irish have proven themselves against elite competition all year, while the Hurricanes notched their first major win last week vs. an overrated Virginia Tech squad. The Notre Dame running game will wear down the Miami defense and run away in the second half.
#5 Oklahoma vs. #6 TCU – O/U: 62 – UNDER
The Horned Frogs have the only defense in the Big XII that can slow down the Sooners. These matchups are annually tight and look for TCU to slow the pace on offense and keep OU’s offense in check.