This week, Jon's tactic is to bounce all over the place and pick games which are interesting in the ancient Chinese manner. We've got a great team playing one in recovery, a stout defense facing an explosive offense, a pair of mediocrities, a Big 12 game with an absolutely hilarious pointspread which doesn't even involve Baylor, and possibly the worst football game of 2013. What could possibly go wrong?
As always, this information is provided For Entertainment Purposes Only, and should only be used to display one's superiority to others on Twitter.
Georgia Tech (-10) over VIRGINIA, 11:30 a.m., ESPN3
Scott Stadium, Charlottesville VA
JM: Someone explain to me how a team which started the year with a big win over what's turned out to be an entirely competent BYU squad has since lost a brutal (to watch) slog with Pitt and gotten shelled by Ball State and Duke. Meanwhile, this week they get to play a team which just took out three weeks of frustration on the poor unsuspecting Orange of Syracuse. Thus far, the teams have two common opponents. Virginia beat BYU by a field goal while Tech lost by 18. On the other hand, Virginia lost to Duke by two touchdowns while Tech notched a 24 point win. Advantage Wreck. More to the point, however, the Yellowjackets were right in there with Virginia Tech, and didn't get humiliated by Miami. 34-24 Tech is the baseline; it's going to be worse than that. Take the Jalopy, give the points.
AA: I'm sticking with my normal strategy for Georgia Tech games of checking how the opponent is doing against the run and making my choice off of that. Virginia is 53rd in the country and allowing nearly four yards per rush against a fairly mediocre schedule. Not impressed. Jackets roll.
Western Michigan (+3) over MASSACHUSETTS, 2:00 p.m., ESPN3
Gillette Stadium, Foxboro MA
JM: I already know what the very first word of AA's response to this is going to be, and so do you. But I can't resist putting this game on the docket this week for what it represents. We have a 1-6 team, whose only win is over a team that still hasn't won a game, playing at home in front of what I'm pretty sure will be over 60,000 empty seats. We have an 0-8 team whose season highlight thus far, and I am deathly serious here, is only losing to Michigan State's non-existent offense by 13 points. The only closer game in which the Broncos have been involved this year? They only lost by four to Nicholls State, who I might point out is (a) an FCS team and (b) only 4-3 and (c) only 4-3 because they've beaten a D-2 team and an NAIA team. In other words, this is this year's indisputable version of the Toilet Bowl (or, as they call it in Weymouth, the Turlet Bole), and we should celebrate it. Well, maybe we shouldn't, because this is a K-State blog, and K-State beat UMass, and UMass is going to lose outright. Why? Because UMass has only scored 59 points all year, that's why.
AA: WHAT. THE. F$. I'm not sure what's worse: The fact that you actually picked this game, or the fact that you wrote 200+ words about it, which it looks like is more than you wrote about any other game. I'm going to literally flip a coin for this one. Heads is WMU. Tails is UMass...../flipscoin.....It's heads. I pick the Broncos, and let's never speak of this again.
ALABAMA (-28.5) over Tennessee, 7 p.m., CBS
Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa AL
JM: The combo of the spread and the over/under on this game equals Alabama 40, Tennessee 11. I believe it would be a sign of neglect were I to not point out that no team without Johnny Manziel at quarterback has scored 11 points on Alabama, and Tennessee has given up things like 30 points to Florida and 24 to South Alabama. When you stop laughing, go ahead and take the Tide to cover.
AA: As you can imagine, the people around me here in Tennessee were pretty thrilled with last week's result. Many bandwagon Tennessee fans are starting to come out of the woodwork, often with annoying hashtags like #GBO and #VFL. Basically what I'm saying is, this game could not have come at a better time. The silence after Alabama punishes that offense is going to be great. I will also take Alabama to cover.
ILLINOIS (+10.5) over Michigan State, 2:30 p.m., ESPN2
Memorial Stadium, Champaign IL
JM: Look, I'm not above taking an easy money pick, especially when it allows me to gloat over last week's logic. I spent an inordinate amount of time Saturday explaining to people precisely why the Michigan State/Purdue line was the most ludicrous thing Vegas had perpetrated all year. This week, the line's much closer, and it's still ridiculous. Why? Look, Michigan State only scored 14 points against Purdue, and Purdue is a truly awful team with poor defense. Illinois also has poor defense, but it's not nearly as bad as Purdue's... and they also have an ability to score points, something Purdue sorely lacks. Michigan State has scored over 26 points twice all year, once against an FCS team. Illinois has scored under 26 points twice all year. Guys, it's entirely possible Illinois wins this game outright. Of course, we're not picking that, because we don't have to. All we have to do is pick the spread, and Illinois is going to cover. Michigan State only wins this if they win a slugfest.
AA: Oh, good. A crappy Big Ten game. Just what I wanted. It's hard to argue with your logic here. Illinois seems to be the better team, and they're playing at home, so this line is quite confusing. Definitely take Illinois, probably to win.
Texas (+2) over TEXAS CHRISTIAN, 6:30 p.m., FOX Sports 1
Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth TX
JM: Oh, we could only wish for this line to be accurate, because at this point we could use some Longhorn losses. Here's the kicker: the combo indicates a 27-25 TCU win. Yeah, right. Take the Horns and the two free insurance points, because BWAH-HA-HA.
AA: Texas on the bad side of a strange line. That doesn't make any sense. I think Furnace would warn us not to make any bets on this game. It still seems like UT stands a good chance of losing one they shouldn't at some point, but I don't think it will be this one. Maybe at West Virginia. Take the Horns in this one. They're going to win.