We've got four double digit lines in the Big 12 this week, so it's really no wonder the conference doesn't want to showcase any of these games in primetime. David Ubben says the K-State Baylor line is too small at 18.5 and well...it's hard to disagree with him.
Of course, we won't be making that pick here For Entertainment Purposes Only, and fortunately we do have some other good games going on in the big conferences. It's an especially big week for the SEC, and two of the nation's remaining undefeateds will be tested this Saturday.
Apparently I got a little overconfident last week and paid for it with a 6-6 week to drop to 33-24-3. Thank goodness for the reliability of Clemson and Baylor (wait...what?). I did at least stay ahead of Jon, who went 7-5 to get to 32-25-3 on the season.
This will be the only installment of FEPO this week because Jon's having a particularly trying few days. Before we get to the picks, one quick thought for our Minnesota commenter(s): I told you so. There, that's me being mean.
USC (-5.5) over Arizona, 9:30 p.m., Thursday, Fox Sports 1
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles CA
AA: It's time to decide how much of USC's problems came from Lane Kiffin. He's gone now, and unfortunately for the Trojans, so is Marquise Lee. Still, Arizona hasn't really given us much indication they are a good football team, so in this case, I think the Trojans' superior talent will win out. It could be close, but USC will even cover the spread.
JM: This is one of those situations where the line is just about right. I am of two minds here: on the one hand, Kiffin is gone. On the other, the interim replacement is DaCoachO. Man, I just don't know. I'll go with USC to cover, but the Trojans could be just as likely to lurch into a tailspin for the rest of the year as they are to right the ship.
Missouri (+9) over GEORGIA, 11 a.m., ESPN
Sanford Stadium, Athens GA
AA: I made the mistake of picking against the Tigers at Vanderbilt last week, and they made me feel happy, stupid and embarrassed all at once after a dominating victory. That's not happening again. Sure, James Franklin will find it's much tougher to move the ball this week, and an offense led by Aaron Murray is approximately 154 times better than one led by Austyn Carter-Samuels. But at some point, Georgia has to start feeling the affects of this brutal early schedule, right? It happens this week, and Dorial Green-Beckham catches a touchdown in the final minute to steal the outright upset on the road and stay unbeaten.
JM: No. It's not going to happen. Sorry. However, I do think it's plausible that the Tigers will cover, so even though you're going to have to live with the shame of having picked them to win outright, at least you won't lose any ground to me on this one.
Oklahoma (-14) over Texas, 11 a.m., ABC
Cotton Bowl, Dallas TX
AA: It's always fun to see all the sad Texas fans and the Mack Brown face after a big loss to Bob Stoops, and it seems likely to happen again this year. UT still doesn't have enough weapons offensively to stick around for long, and the Sooners will eventually Belldoze all over a questionable Texas defense. The only way Texas covers this spread is if Stoops decides it would be in his best interests because it would help Mack Brown stay in Austin. I don't expect that to happen, so give the points and take OU.
JM: Did you know that Oklahoma failed to record a first down for the first 20 minutes of the second half on Saturday? I don't see anything that ridiculous happening against the Longhorns, but the Sooner offense is capable of completely stalling out. Granted, it was against TCU, but when you've got Blake Bell and strike out on three consecutive possessions, something's awry. Still, this game has blowout written all over it, and the real question isn't whether Texas can cover but whether Mack will still have a job on Monday.
TCU (-25) over Kansas, 11 a.m., Fox Sports Net
Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth TX
AA: If there was ever a week to pick Kansas, this might be the one, if only because TCU doesn't appear to have the offensive firepower to blow out a lot of teams. But I've made a pledge, and there's nothing that bolsters the confidence of an offense like 60 minutes against the Jayhawks defense, so I'm trusting Trevone Boykin to go out there and get the job done.
JM: You did it. You dirty scoundrel, you actually did it. You made me pick Kansas against the spread. I hope you're satisfied. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go take a shower. And then another one.
Oregon (-14) over WASHINGTON, 3 p.m., Fox Sports 1
Husky Stadium, Seattle WA
AA: This will be the first game even resembling a test for the undefeated Ducks, so maybe they'll actually be held under 55 points for once. But honestly, I kind of doubt it. Washington's defense has been decent but not dominant, and they're probably not fully recovered from that close loss at Stanford last Saturday. As soon as you've had enough of Baylor's offense taking Kansas State out behind the woodshed, flip on over to FS1 to watch Oregon do the same thing to another purple team. On the other hand, that might not be the best idea, especially since it may look eerily familiar. Oregon covers. Easily.
JM: Right. Having subjected myself to the torment of watching Washington play Illinois, I thought perhaps the Huskies were pretty good. That was before I realized how not very good at all Illinois remains. (Do you think Nathan Scheelhaase is destined for the pantheon of Really Good College Football Players Doomed By Their Uniform?) Oregon's going to cover without much trouble.