Finally, we've begun to make our way out of the mostly boring but slightly dangerous nonconference woods, with conference play arriving for a few and the majority of the "money games" behind us.the game that could either solidify Johnny Manziel as a superstar or send him on the fast track to destroying his draft stock and shaming his family. OK, maybe not that last part, but you get the idea.
Still, if my games aren't all that great, it might be more because I'm wary of the dirty tactics Jon employed last Wednesday. Honestly, I didn't know the result of a couple of those games until just now as I sat down to write this.
Naturally, I got only one of those five games right (thanks for sucking, KU) and had a miserable 3-7 week to fall to 7-11 overall, while Jon went 5-5 to jump ahead of me overall at 8-10. He got 4 of those 5 right. Clever move.
This is the point where we should emphasize these are For Entertainment Purposes Only, and not just because betting on college games is illegal. Anyway, let's get to the games, and feel free to add your own prop bets on what kind of punishment Oklahoma State receives once all of this week's SI allegations get sorted out.
TEXAS TECH (+6) over TCU 6:30 p.m., ESPN
Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock TX
AA: Welcome to Big 12 weeknight football, everyone! This one would have likely been a much bigger line if played in week one, but Texas Tech's walk-on freshman quarterback experiment has gone much better than expected and TCU's quarterback back from rehab experiment hasn't done as well. That being said, Trevone Boykin looks to be ready to start in place of the injured Pachall this week, which could help TCU's offense more than hurt it. Nonetheless, I believe in the hype of this Red Raiders team after two big wins against bad opponents, despite the history that tells me that's a bad idea. TTU wins.
JM: I'm not at all sure that Tech is going to win this game, because they're playing the one team left in this conference which has both the desire and ability to play defense. (A couple of teams have the desire but lack the horsepower, and the rest have the talent but just don't care.) That said, I think Tech's going to get some points on the board here, and with TCU's offense taking a hit it's going to be enough for the Red Raiders to at least cover the spread.
LOUISVILLE (-7.5) over Kentucky, 11 p.m. ESPN
Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington KY
AA: This could end up being the toughest game on Louisville's schedule. Stop laughing. I'm serious. That's how bad the rest of the American Athletic Conference looks this year, particularly after Illinois dismantled Cincinnati last well. Kentucky is an SEC team, and they looked much improved last week in a convincing 41-7 win. Miami of Ohio had just 23 yards of passing offense, which Teddy Bridgewater will probably surpass on his first drive. Still, I think the Wildcats cover here.
JM: I actually am laughing, because there is still one decent team in the American besides Louisville. I mean, Central Florida hasn't played anyone yet, but they've destroyed the two teams they have played. But I digress. You're overrating Kentucky based on a win over a formerly solid program drowning in its own flopsweat; Louisville is going to cover easily.
Alabama (-7) over over TEXAS A&M, 2:30 p.m., CBS
Kyle Field, College Station TX
AA: Watch enough ESPN this week and you might be inclined to make the mistake of thinking this is the only game of the weekend. Or at least that the winner gets an automatic berth in the national championship. It is neither of those things, but it is most certainly a game worth watching for a whole bunch of reasons you surely already know. It's hard to believe Johnny Football can overcome the pressure and live up to the hype against a Saban defense with two weeks to prepare, even if not all is well in Alabamaland. Look for the Crimson Tide to pull this one out by a couple touchdowns, at least.
JM: Yeah, this has faceplant written all over it. One: Alabama's offense has spent two weeks getting waterboarded by Nick Saban, and they're not going to stumble around like they did against Virginia Tech. Two: A&M can't play defense anyway. Three: Alabama's defense is going to be out to commit mass murder on Saturday, starting with JFF. Bama wins, and by more than a touchdown.
Ole Miss (+3.5) over Texas, 7 p.m.,
LHN The channel no one gets
Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin TX
AA: Of course this game has to be included. If you thought Texas fans had a meltdown last week, just imagine what will happen if Longhorn loses to Ole Miss in Austin. Then again, if no one outside the stadium can see it, will it really have the same impact? Only one way to find out. Texas has to be better this week, because, well, how could they be worse? But despite struggling some against a terrible Southeast Missouri team last week, Mississippi does have a capable offense with a decent running quarterback in Bo Wallace (390 yards, 8 TDs last season) and a third team preseason All-SEC running back in Jeff Scott. That's good enough for me to pick the Rebels to pull off the "upset."
JM: You can't gain ground on me by agreeing with me before I even express my opinion, man. Texas won't look as hopeless as they did last Saturday, but this is a team on the ledge. And let's face it: you can't rework an entire defense in one week with a new coach, not in college anyway. Greg Robinson, if we're being honest about this given the timing of the moves in Austin, has one team on his mind right now and it's not Mississippi; you know and I know what the effect of K-State running down the Longhorn throat is going to be if it happens. Take the Rebels here, because the spread only helps your cause.
OREGON (-20) over Tennessee, 2:30 p.m., ABC
Autzen Stadium, Eugene OR
AA: I'm leaving you at least one battle of ranked teams in favor of this one just because you wouldn't believe how delusional fans here in Tennessee are right now. After two big wins over lowly Austin Peay and much-better-but-still-not-good Western Kentucky, some people seem to think Butch Jones can beat anyone. WKU had one stretch with five turnovers in six plays, including two straight INTs returned to the house. Think about that. More importantly, though, Oregon's offense is completely different and about 100 times better than either of Tennessee's first 2 opponents.
Three years ago, Oregon visited Knoxville and utterly destroyed the Vols 48-13. This Saturday in Eugene, it could be even worse, and I can't wait to hear the reaction on the local sports radio.
JM: I'm going to go out on a limb here... Oregon is going to win, but I think they will fail to cover. Barely. This has the feel of one of those games that ends up 44-27 because Oregon let the other team score late while dicking around. That is to say, still a manhandling, but twenty's hard to cover.
Tomorrow: Blechshirts, Cornadoes, an outright FCS upset, and a betting line that any sane person will be blinking at in abject confusion. All part of the next thrilling episode... of FEPO!