Week 8: After Oregon Wins Big, Oklahoma and Auburn Face Big Tests This Weekend
At any rate, things are as wide open at this point in the season as I can remember in a while, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see any combination of Oregon, Boise State, Auburn, Oklahoma, TCU, Alabama, Ohio State, or Michigan State (no OSU on their schedule this year) wind up playing in Glendale. I suppose you could even throw undefeated Missouri and LSU into that conversation as well although I think both of them are out of it before we’re finished on Saturday.
We again have quite a few teams on open dates this week so in turn fewer games, but that’s more than made up for by two major matchups of undefeated teams with very real title implications in Oklahoma at Missouri and LSU at Auburn. In fact, you could easily make the argument that this is the biggest game in the history of the Missouri program, so it should be great to see what their fans bring to the table in a night game at home.
As always, lines from Bodog.com, asterisks denote my bets, and late updates via Twitter @Michael_J_Cox. From here on out rankings, will be the BCS rather than the Coaches’ Poll since that’s really all that matters now.
What the Top 5 Are Doing
#1 Oklahoma -3 over #11 MISSOURI*
Something still doesn’t feel right about this Oklahoma team, but that’s not enough to get me onboard with a Missouri bunch that might be the most overrated team in the nation not coached by Les Miles. Sure, they’ve put up some decent numbers in the passing game and are allowing the second fewest points in the nation, but look at their schedule: Illinois, McNeese State, San Diego State (27-24 nail biter), Miami (OH), Colorado, and Texas A&M. Not exactly elite competition. They’re primed for a return to earth against a premium conference opponent much like Nebraska last week.
#2 OREGON 60-UCLA 13 (Thursday Night)
I’m writing this as I watch Oregon cruising over UCLA midway through the fourth quarter, making me feel pretty f*cking stupid about doubting them just enough to lay off half of my bet to a friend right before kick-off. What’s not to like about this team? They’re as explosive as they’ve ever been on offense and have conjured a solid defense this year as well. I just hope they don’t sport these chartreuse-yellow uniforms in the National Championship game because I’m having a hard time looking at the screen for more than 10 seconds at a time.
#3 Boise State (Idle)
Sadly I’m preparing for a heroin-esque withdrawal situation this weekend without having these guys around to wager on. Oh well, we’ll have them against LaTech on the home video feed next week.
#4 AUBURN -6 over #6 LSU*
Even though no amount of winnings can counteract the disgust all Gator fans feel when they see Cam Newton ripping through the SEC West, I still don’t feel bad about cashing in here. LSU isn’t in the top 30 in any major offensive statistical category, and their defense isn’t that good. Their big wins are against a half-suspended UNC team, West Virginia (whose biggest win is Maryland), and a Florida mess that might be the worst Gator squad in 20 years (hold on… need to wipe the tears from my keyboard… O.K., all done). That’s not much of a resume for the #6 team in the country.
Auburn on the other hand has consistently outplayed expectations and looks like they could be a genuine contender on the national scene. I’ll happily jump on the War Eagle bandwagon. Hell, it’s all I’ve got now. I think I’d rather go bungie port-o-potying with Steve-O at this point than spend another Saturday with Addazio & Friends.
#5 TCU -18.5 over Air Force
You should probably bet Air Force here given my track record so far with TCU games so far. Just a thought.
Games of Note
#15 IOWA -6 over #13 Wisconsin
A letdown special here, although Vegas isn’t making it easy by asking for odds to the tune of -115 on Iowa. To cover here, Iowa just needs to do two things they usually do well: rush the passer and play consistent offense with limited mistakes.
#16 Nebraska -6 over #14 OKLAHOMA STATE
Tough to stake money with confidence on either side here, which means it’s probably a stay away. Nebraska looked awful last week at home against Texas—too awful to feel good about giving away almost a full touchdown on the road—but Oklahoma State hasn’t played a team yet with any kind of credibility, so it’s hard to know what to expect from them in their first big game of the season.
#7 Michigan State -6 over NORTHWESTERN**
It’s taking a while for me to get used to the idea that Michigan State is a top-10 team, and apparently Vegas is having the same problem. The only thing nagging me about this bet is that it has a lot of the same hallmarks as last week’s South Carolina disaster. That’s still not enough to back me off this one and I may add more before game time.
TENNESSEE +16.5 over #8 Alabama
Forget for a second who these teams are, and just pretend that I told you that you could get 16.5 points by betting on a mediocre team at home coming off a bye against a struggling conference powerhouse that just followed up a streak of three brutal games with a sluggish non-cover performance against another mediocre team. That said, I can’t muster the nerve yet to stake cash on Tennessee here. Good thing the game’s at 7 p.m. so I have time to build up some liquid courage…
UNC +6.5 over MIAMI*
There aren’t too many attractive underdogs on the board this week, but UNC is one of them. I’m still undecided on the bet size here, but Miami has been very mediocre ATS at home (10-21-1) while UNC has been solid recently ATS on the road in conference (6-2). Plus, UNC’s pass defense has shown the ability to create turnovers (10 INTs in their last four games), which plays right into Jacory Harris’s skill set.
Rutgers +13 over PITTSBURGH
Tino Sunseri is rounding into a solid QB for the Panthers, but Rutgers has won their last two games on the road in Pittsburgh and shouldn’t be getting almost two touchdowns here. Plus, who isn’t rooting for Rutgers this week?
Money Plays: 2-2
Units: -2.4 (Fuck Steve Spurrier)
Money Plays: 21-22