The majority of today's selections come from the "If you tailgated from dawn to 2:30, you'll be passed out before kickoff" section of the schedule. This is largely because apparently I'm a lot better at deciphering the Pac-12 code than Luke is, and I'm not above taking advantage.
That said, we also start entirely too early for polite society, because America. You know what else is American? Picking football games For Entertainment Purposes Only. So, onward:
Air Force (-3.5) over ARMY, 10:30 a.m. CBS
Michie Stadium, West Point NY
JM: Are you freakin' kidding me? Air Force is 5-2, with a win over Boise State on their resumé, and they've also already taken down Navy so they're playing for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. Army is 2-5, and they've beaten... Buffalo and Ball State. For God's sake, they lost to Kent State last week. Five-and-a-half points? Is there a significant digit missing here? Falcons cover.
LT: Jon summed this up pretty well, but I'm just going to add one more thing. We all know how well Air Force runs the ball with its unique flexbone formation and all of that. Well, Army gave up 335 rushing yards in a 49-43 loss to Yale. Yale. For real. Take Air Force and ALL the points.
Texas Christian (-5.5) over WEST VIRGINIA, 2:30 p.m. ABC
Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown WV
JM: Morgantown is not an easy place to play. But TCU isn't afraid of the road; they almost took down Baylor in Waco, after all. This should be a very interesting game, but I think the Frogs are a touchdown better than West Virginia anyway, even on the road. Frogs cover.
LT: I don't think Texas Christian is as good as everyone thinks they are, and at some point they're going to get exposed. Hopefully next weekend in
Manhattan Forth Worth. That defense is not all that good, but the offense at this moment is nothing short of terrifying, even if Texas Tech did just give up last Saturday. The question, then, is whether West Virginia can slow them down enough. In all honesty, I don't think they can. TCU wins and covers in a high-scoring affair.
Arizona (+6) over UCLA, 9:30 p.m. ESPN
Rose Bowl, Pasadena CA
JM: Well, Arizona's not going to be playing in the actual Rose Bowl game this year (for the first time ever, mind you), since it's a national semifinal and they've got no realistic shot to get there. But they're playing at the Rose Bowl against a team I'm still disgusted by. Overrated. Still. Can you explain to me how UCLA, who had only one good win all year anyway, crawled back into the top 25 after beating Cal by two and Colorado in double overtime? WHAT? Ridiculous.
Oh, yeah. This game. Arizona covers. I think Arizona wins outright, but even if they don't... if UCLA can't beat Cal or Colorado by more than three points, why the hell should anyone think they're going to beat Arizona by five?
LT: Jon is mostly right here and I completely agree that UCLA does not really deserve to be ranked or favored in this football game. However, there is one troubling fact Jon barely alludes to in passing because it doesn't make any sense and certainly doesn't fit his narrative about the Bruins. They used a monster second half to absolutely crush Arizona State 62-27, the Sun Devils' only loss of the season. In Tempe. Arizona doesn't have much of a defense. Granted, neither does UCLA, but I think their offense gets into enough of a rhythm here to pull off a surprise cover.
Wyoming (+12) over FRESNO STATE, 9:45 p.m. ESPN2
Bulldog Stadium, Fresno CA
JM: The Cowboys have had a somewhat trying first year under Craig Bohl, but they've played fairly well; it's just that they're not winning games. Their only two "bad" losses were against two teams in the top 10; one might also count losing at Hawai'i as bad, but it wasn't a blowout or anything. The main point here, however, is that while Wyoming's not a great team, at least they don't completely suck. This is not a statement we can make about this year's version of Fresno State. The Bulldogs might win this game. They're not going to win by nearly two touchdowns. Cowboys cover.
LT: It's too bad what Jon says about Wyoming is true, especially since their 3-1 start that featured a win over Air Force looked so promising. Since then, things have gone downhill considerably, but it sure feels like they would have to get a lot worse to lose by two touchdowns to Fresno State. This line must be because the Bulldogs used to be good at one point. Or something. Wyoming covers.
ARIZONA STATE (-5) over Utah, 10:00 p.m. FS1
Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe AZ
JM: I actually sort of hope I'm wrong about this pick, because I've grown rather fond of the Utes this year. But what we've really got here are two teams who are posting solid wins -- but they're both walking tightropes to do it. Utah's tightrope has been thinner. Oddly, the fact that this game is in Tempe apparently works in Utah's favor because the Pac-12 is backward, but still: Sun Devils cover.
LT: Oh, Utah. I'd be willing to bet some good money that this is the only team in the history of ever that would be 7-0 if it hadn't blown a 21-0 first quarter lead at home against a team that is now 2-6. In this case, Washington State. The Utes screwed me last week with that late touchdown to beat USC by three, the week before they needed two overtimes to beat lowly Oregon State, and the week before that they kicked a last-second field goal to beat UCLA by two. Surely that luck has to run out at some point, and Arizona State looks like a team good enough to do it. I hate to have the same pick as Jon for 9 out of 10 games, but he did actually go 4-1 on his slate of games, with the only exception being Tennessee barely covering the spread against Auburn. So....Sun Devils cover.