To continue with this week’s theme of late 80′s and early 90′s hip hop, I’ve chosen Young MC’s iconic ‘Bust a Move’. Why? Because Young MC didn’t win a Grammy for Best Rap Performance for nothing! This man should be honored. That, and I’ve found a handful of games that I think we’ll be able to spin right around the competition and knock out the books, like my friend Edson Barboza does here:
That was just down right mean. I think we have a shot to do the same thing this weekend, so let’s move forward to the picks. I hope you read my mid-week posts this week, or else you missed out on my 1* and 2* plays, both winners. As it stands right now, the record is:
Record to Date: 71-79-3; +42.65 units
W – 1*
Ball State @ # 25 Toledo; Pick: Ball St. +6.5 for 2 units
Final: Ball State 34, Toledo 27
W – 2*
Bowling Green @ Ohio; Pick: BGSU +2.5 for 3 units
Final: BGSU 26, Ohio 14
Thursday, 7:30 pm EST
#10 Florida State Seminoles (8-1) @ Virginia Tech Hokies (4-5); FSU -14 (-110)
Virginia Tech has been absolutely horrible this year. They entered the season as a favorite to compete for the ACC Championship, but they have yet to win a game away from home. One would expect better from a team led by Frank Beamer and defensive coordinator Bud Foster, but no. Meanwhile, the ‘Noles – in typical Florida State fashion – were hyped to be a National Championship contender until they lost on the road to NC State. While FSU has the talent to blow Virginia Tech out, they also have the potential to lay another egg on National TV. The ‘Noles have yet to cover away from home this year, and the Hokies don’t lose at home on Thursday night, they are 17-5 all time and have lost only 1 out of their last 10 at home in this spot. FSU’s D-line is one of the best in the nation and they will look to rush Logan Thomas into some bad decisions, but I feel like 14 might be a little too much. I know the Hokies have burned me all season, and you think I would have learned by now, but no, I haven’t. Over 80% of the public plays have been on the side of the ‘Noles, and I can’t blame them, but there has been a fair amount of reverse line movement in this game. I’m pointing to that to validate my position on this game. I’m taking the Hokies.
Pick: VT +14 (-110) for 3 units
Saturday, 7:00 pm EST
Vanderbilt Commodores (5-4) @ Ole Miss Rebels (5-4); Ole Miss -3 (-110)
While the Rebels have been a surprise team in the SEC this year, the ‘Dores will be coming into Oxford with a better conference record (3-3) and the confidence of having won 4 out of the last 5 meetings against these two teams. Vanderbilt will probably have a little swagger in their step following last week’s 40-0 romp of Kentucky. I know it is Kentucky, but anytime you shut a team out in the SEC, that’s a dominating effort. I don’t care who you are. In fact, since getting whooped on their home turf against UGA, the ‘Dores have allowed an impressive 13.2 points per game to opponents. The Rebels will look to curb that trend as their offense, led by QB Bo Wallace, has averaged nearly 30 points per game (29.8). I may have a little bias here, but I think the Rebs are really starting to jell under Hugh Freeze. They will need a good performance from the football team on Satruday night to make up for an embarrassing display on election night. Also, people in Oxford are tired of losing to Vandy. If you want to take a step forward in the SEC, you have to win games like this at home. I expect the Rebels to do so.
Pick: Ole Miss -3 (-110) for 4 units
Saturday, 3:00 pm EST
Arizona State Sun Devils (5-4) @ #19 USC Trojans (6-3); USC -9 (-110)
What a disappointing season for USC and Matt Barkley. He decides to forego the NFL draft because he had unfinished business as SC (see: National Championship). Well, Chip Kelly and Co. proved that USC is far from returning to their post as ‘the class of the West’ in a 62-51 beat down in the Coliseum. Believe me, the game wasn’t even that close. The Trojans lack of depth has hurt them in the past two weeks and I could see it being a problem this week. Arizona State has a very potent offense, but they are limping into this game on a 3 game losing streak. Naturally, this should be a game where the Trojans take care of business easily and get back on track to avoid their own 3 game losing streak, but that might USC might be a step or two away. I think the Trojans win, but I don’t think it will be so easy. There has also been some reverse line movement to make USC look more attractive even though 90% of the public has played the Trojans. I like fading teams after a big/demoralizing loss, and I get the feeling that this will be a very close game. The Sun Devils have a good shot to win, they’ll have to slow down Robert Woods and Marqise Lee first.
Pick: ASU +9 (-110) for 4 units
Saturday, 7:00 pm EST
#2 Kansas State Wildcats (9-0) @ TCU Horned Frogs (6-3); K-State -7 (-110)
Bill Snyder’s Wildcats, led by Optimus Klein, have been a very pleasant surprise this season and they have proven themselves to be the best in the Big-12 to this point. Bettors have loved the Wildcats too. Since September 22nd, the ‘Cats have covered every game with the exception of Iowa State. They’ve been a solid play all season, especially on the road, but this could be their most difficult road test to date. Gary Patterson made his name as a coach with his exotic, blitzing defenses and high-powered offenses. TCU was overlooked for a long time because of the conference they played in, but they’re in the Big 12 now and they have something to prove. Last weekend the Frogs put together an amazing come from behind victory on the road against West Virginia and they’re riding high back in Fort Worth. I expect this stadium to be a rocking sea of purple on Saturday night, which could cause problems if Collin Klein can’t get back into the line-up. I expect that he’ll play, but he did experience concussion-like symptoms in last Saturday’s game against Okie State and TCU’s defense can be difficult to read, especially with a splitting headache. I think the Frogs will do something that nobody else has been able to do against the Wildcats this season, force turnovers. If that happens, this game is up for grabs. I’m going with TCU at home after a big win.
Pick: TCU +7 (-110) for 5 units
Saturday, 3:30 pm EST
Penn State Nittany Lions (6-3) @ #16 Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-2); Neb -7.5 (-110)
Both teams enter this match-up coming off of relatively impressive wins last week. Penn State played at Purdue and easily dismantled the Boilermakers’ squad with a 34-9 win getting them back on track after a bad loss at the hands of Ohio State. On the other side, Nebraska and Taylor Martinez put together a thrilling comeback against Michigan State and won 28-24. T Magic, as they say, is a very tough person to count on at QB. He has always been amazing on the ground, but he is just now learning to throw with some consistency. He’ll still have those games with a low completion percentage and interceptions, like last week, but they are less frequent than in previous years. The Nebraska defense hasn’t been the ‘Blackshirt’ defense of old, as they are allowing 30 points per game over their last 5 games. One may argue those numbers are a little skewed because of the 63 that the Buckeyes hung on them, but that’s still a lot of points (Penn State allowed 35 to Ohio State). The Nittany Lions are a very well-coached team, especially on defense, and I expect them to put together a solid effort in this one. If they can make Taylor Martinez try to beat them with his arm, they have a shot to win outright. Michigan State contained T-Magic for 3 quarters before bailing him out and letting him run wild all over the place. He struggled during those 3 quarters, and I think Penn State will look to have similar success using their linebackers to spy on him. I’m taking Penn State, after all, they do have the nickname ‘Linebacker U’.
Pick: Penn State +7.5 (-110) for 5 units
#9 Louisville Cardinals (9-0) @ Syracuse Orange (4-5); Louisville -2.5 (-110)
Charlie Strong has the ‘Ville in the middle of a historic season. They are 9-0 for the first time ever, and the Cardinals have a great shot to run the table en route to a BCS bowl game. Their opponent, the Orange, has been less than stellar this year and is looking to get back to .500 with a big upset at home. To the common eye, this looks like a no-brainer Louisville play, but I’m not so sure. Louisville has only played 3 games on the road this year and they are 1-2 against the spread in those 3 games including a narrow victory over a win-less Southern Miss squad. I think this could be a reflection of having an 18 year old starting QB. Teddy Bridgewater has been fantastic this year, but it’s a lot harder to win on the road and that is something that takes a little time to learn. The Carrier Dome will be packed to the gills and this could be a very hostile environment for young Teddy. Syracuse’s only loss as the home team came early in the year against USC, but that game was not in the Carrier Dome, it was in MetLife Stadium. The Orange still kept it close for most of the game, and I think they will in this one too. With Vegas setting the line like this, I believe they think this is the week that the Cardinals fall. 73% of the public seems to think that they will cover, but there has been some reverse line movement in favor of Louisville and I get the feeling Syracuse can pull out a win in this one. Remember what I said about the ugliest girl on the board? Well, here’s one of them.
Picks: ‘Cuse +2.5 (-110) for 6 units
Saturday, 3:00 pm EST
Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-4) @ NC State Wolfpack (5-4); NC State -7.5 (-110)
Now, why the hell would this be one of my most highly rated games of the weekend? This game is equivalent to a dumpster fire, not that impressive and pretty gross to be around. However, I think there is a great chance to make some money in this spot. Both teams come in at 5-4, but have been equally unimpressive in their last 5 games (2-3). At least the Deacons are coming into this game after a win, they beat BC 28-14, but the Wolfpack can’t even say that. NC State just got their asses handed to them in a 33-6 drubbing at home against Virginia. I will now lay out for you why I am playing this game:
- I like fading teams after a demoralizing loss. (Check)
- I love it when the public is overwhelmingly on one side of a game. (81% on NC State, Check)
- I really love it when the books react to the public with reverse line movement. (from 10 to 7.5 in 2 days, Check)
- I like picking the ugly ones, and this is about as ugly as they get. (Check)
If you can’t tell what side I’m on by now, you may need to ask your 5th grader to spell it out for you. The result of these teams’ games against their most recent common opponent, Virginia, should say a little something too. Wake beat UVA in Charlottesvile, 16-10, while NC State got bent over by the Cavaliers at home, 33-6.
Picks: Wake +7.5 (-110) for 6 units, Wake ML (+240) for 3 units
Saturday, 12:00 pm EST
Iowa State Cyclones (5-4) @ #17 Texas Longhorns (7-2); Texas -10 (-110)
That’s right, my 10* play and I won’t even be able to watch it. That’s pretty sad, but the Longhorn Network has had its say. Maybe I’ll be able to find it online somewhere.
This is more than just a game for the Longhorns. This week, Darrell Royal died. His name is on the stadium, his name is on 3 National Championship trophies in the Texas trophy room, his name is on the Wishbone offense that changed the landscape of college football. The ‘Horns have a plethora of pregame festivities planned with a flyover and parachute team dropping in carrying the Stars and Stripes in honor of Veterans’ Day, and now they will also remember a legend. In their first play from scrimmage, the ‘Horns will line up in the Wishbone. Mack Brown does a few things very well and respecting the game is one of them. Any Iowa State fans reading this may feel a bit snubbed. After all, their team is on the up and up and they have a solid defense, a lost art in the Big 12, but I don’t think there is any way the ‘Horns don’t send off Coach Royal in style. I think the defense will play inspired and they will shut down the Cyclones offense. Also, I think Texas’ running game will be a huge factor in this one; they should wear out ISU on the line. I’m taking the ‘Horns behind a solid effort from the defense and a dominating rushing attack – a fitting victory.
Pick: Texas -10 (-110) for 10 units
“I didn’t want to stay until I had used up all the enjoyment, because that’s too long to stay anywhere.” -Darrell Royal
**Also, be sure to check out this article about Darrell Royal on One-Point Safety, a blog by Travis Normand: