After Ahearn's picks yesterday, the remaining buffet has the decided stench of lutefisk. There are some interesting SEC games, of course, but the lines are strange and mysterious. Besides, you know I'd rather go off the beaten path.
So with that, let's venture forth into the land of the mind-boggling and pretend to make some money. Pretend, because this is, of course, For Entertainment Purposes Only.
Clemson (-12.5) over SYRACUSE, 2:30 p.m. ESPN
Carrier Dome, Syracuse NY
JM: I'm entirely unsure what Vegas is thinking here, unless they've figured out the key to determining when a Clemsoning may be about to occur. Clemson's only shaky defensive performance has been against a Heisman candidate quarterback, and they still won. Meanwhile, what's Syracuse done? They've lost to Penn State and Northwestern, that's what. Take Clemson and gladly give the points.
AA: I really need to make "Clemsoning" a regular part of my vocabulary. That being said, I also don't see it happening this week. Tajh Boyd is just too good for that, and it would seem the Tigers also have a pretty staunch defense. Teams with great senior QBs and strong defenses are usually the ones least susceptible to letdowns, and like Jon said, Syracuse isn't really capable of beating anyone on their own merit. Clemson wins big.
MICHIGAN (-16.5) over Minnesota, 2:30 p.m., ESPN3
Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor MI
JM: Now wait a minute. A team which barely beat Akron (a very bad team) and Connecticut (only a somewhat bad team) is a three-score favorite over a team who's not awesome, but has done what you're supposed to do against really bad teams? (You know: win convincingly.) Michigan's probably going to win the game, but really, guys... take Minnesota and the points.
AA: Remember last week when you were all, 'oh, yeah, Minnesota is totally going to beat Iowa because (honestly I don't remember, but there was probably a reason).' Well, I do. Then Iowa went out and crushed the Golden Gophers by 16. Why? Because it's Minnesota. With apologies to our Minnesota commenter(s), I just don't trust them at all. Michigan (who also beat Notre Dame by 11) wins by 3 touchdowns or more.
Central Florida (-10) over MEMPHIS, 3:30 p.m., ESPN News
Liberty Bowl, Memphis TN
JM: I'm sorry, but I can't understand how a team who would be undefeated save for a three-point loss to the #13 team in the nation is only favored by 10 points over Memphis. Memphis has lost to Middle Tennessee State and Duke. Hello? Take the Knights and give the points.
AA: Good God, man. This is awful. Everything I just said about Minnesota goes double for Memphis, and I can still remember when Central Florida was actually pretty solid. Actually, the early indications are they may be pretty good this year. Central Florida easily covers here, making it very interesting to see what next week's opening line will be for UCF's big game at Louisville next Friday.
South Alabama (+2.5) over TROY, 12:00 p.m., ESPN Game Plan
Veterans Memorial Stadium, Troy AL
JM: This is a particularly curious line. South Alabama is 2-2, with wins over Western Kentucky (who beat Kentucky) and a two-point win over Tulane which isn't very special, and most importantly a loss to FCS Southern Utah. Troy is also 2-2, with wins over a horrible UAB squad and everyone's favorite example of why FBS teams shouldn't play FCS teams, Savannah State. Their losses? A touchdown loss to Arkansas State, who's not very good this year, and an absolute spanking by Mississippi State. There's one result we haven't mentioned yet though, and that's last week's game in Knoxville... where South Alabama only lost to Tennessee by a touchdown. Let's compare: the Jaguars lose to an SEC team by seven. Troy loses to an SEC team by 56. Take South Alabama and the points.
AA: This is stupid. I still remember the time Troy beat Missouri, so for that reason alone, I'll say that Troy will be better than South Alabama for this one 60 minutes. They don't have to beat them for 365 days. Just this one 60-minute segment in history. Ole Mo will jump on their caboose.
Arizona State (+6.5) over Notre Dame, 6:30 p.m., NBC
AT&T Stadium, Arlington TX
JM: Here's the question you have to ask yourself: which is more telling, Arizona State getting plowed by the #5 team in the country while still taking care of business in every other game this year, or Notre Dame squeaking past the worst team in the Big Ten and getting beaten pretty convincingly by a team just outside the top ten? This is not last year's Notre Dame team, and I'm pretty sure this line is solely the result of Notre Dame being Notre Dame. Take Arizona State and the points, because I think the Sun Devils are going to win outright.
AA: Notre Dame overrated? Surely you jest? This has probably never happened before in the history of them losing pretty much every bowl game they've ever played. I can't wait for this new progressive Pope to come out and tell everyone that Notre Dame sucks and Touchdown Jesus is a disgrace on par with believing the sun revolved around the Earth for most of the 20th century. In the meantime, take Arizona State and all the points.
Texas Tech (-14) over KANSAS, 11:00 a.m., Fox Sports 1
Some place with a track around the field, West DeSoto KS
JM: I don't know why Ahearn wanted me to pick this game. We all know what's going to happen, and it's going to happen by more than 14 points. Let's never speak of this again.
AA: First of all, my Mizzou friend who briefly worked at the newspaper in DeSoto is really going to appreciate that description. Well done. Secondly, of course I'm picking Texas Tech to cover. I think we're obligated to keep doing this until Kansas proves us wrong, right?