(Ed. Note: We're a day late this week, all blame for which belongs to your benevolent despot.)
I know I threatened Luke with fell and dire consequences for sticking me with Ohio State, but we all know I was just kidding, right? There's only one Big 10 game on today's plate, and it's actually... well, an interesting one, if nothing else. In fact, it's probably the most interesting game we've got for you today.
As always, be reminded that this exercise is merely for bragging rights between your slightly esteemed prognosticators, and is For Entertainment Purposes Only.
MINNESOTA (+1.5) over Iowa 11 a.m. ESPN2
TCF Stadium, Minneapolis MN
JM: Iowa. I'm still just not sold, and maybe that's just because they're Iowa, but whatever. Minnesota proved to be overrated themselves, and the last two weeks have been painful. Still, I feel like the Gophers are going to regain Floyd in this series' most meaningful game in a long time.
LT: With apologies to 00, I'm not sure how this game qualifies as interesting. Minnesota and Iowa are two mediocre or maybe just straight-up bad football teams, and most importantly, they play in the B1G. Also, the high in Minneapolis is 38 degrees for Saturday with snow in Sunday's forecast and for some reason the Gophers play at an outdoor stadium, so they should probably just cancel this game. But since that's not going to happen, I'll take Iowa to cover, just because I can't pick a team coming off a loss to Illinois.
Iowa State (-4) over KANSAS, 2:30 p.m. FSN Regionals
Bill Snyder Family Stadium East, West Shawnee Mission KS
JM: Iowa State has not covered itself in glory since that WTF moment up in Ames that some people are still holding over K-State's heads as we speak. But they showed some semblance of life against Baylor and Oklahoma State, and they scared the pants off the Longhorns. They're playing Kansas. Clones cover.
LT: The only sentence that really matters is the second-to-last one there. Even if the Jayhawks were good enough to win — and they most certainly are not — I couldn't pick them. Iowa State covers, probably by a lot.
West Virginia (-3.5) over TEXAS, 2:30 p.m. FS1
Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin TX
JM: I'm not sure what Vegas is smoking here, are you? West Virginia was spotty against TCU, and they're not the best-coached team you'll find, but Texas is swirling down the drain at this point. A solid win over a team which is desperately hoping Kansas doesn't upset Iowa State just so that they can ensure they don't end up in a tie for last place... well, that isn't exactly the sort of thing one points to as evidence of turning things around. Mountaineers cover.
I did just notice something, though. K-State beat Texas 23-0. Texas beat Kansas 23-0. Tee hee hee.
LT: So does that mean K-State will beat Kansas 46-0? I might be a little disappointed if it's that close. As for this game, West Virginia proved it can play on the road with that 34-10 rout of OSU. Meanwhile, Texas has been at its best (which is still not great) at neutral sites, while barely beating ISU and getting embarrassed by both Baylor and UCLA in Austin. That leaves me with no good reason to defend a mediocre UT squad, so Clint Trickett and the Moutaineers cover.
AUBURN (-21) over Texas A&M, 2:30 p.m. CBS
Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn AL
JM: I kinda didn't want to have to go here, but I ran out of options. This is a really big line for an SEC West divisional game, but damned if the Aggies didn't go out and earn it last week. This is a team in disarray, with a starting quarterback under suspension and, rumor has it, pretty displeased with the program. Auburn, meanwhile, has just kept right on rolling, that small detail of a loss to the current number one team in the nation notwithstanding. Under normal circumstances, there's no way you'd ever take a 21-point favorite against a team that's already bowl eligible. These are not normal circumstances. War Eagle, and don't feel sorry for CBS. After all, while the rest of us will have tuned out of this one by halftime, the SEC crazies will hang in there until the final whistle.
LT: Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi State all put up more than 280 yards rushing against the Aggies. Now just imagine what Auburn's going to do against that defense. Yeah, it's going to be a lot of fun to watch, and as Jon alluded to, the Tigers still have a lot to play for. No reason for them to stop at 21. Auburn covers.
Louisville (-3) over BOSTON COLLEGE, 6:15 p.m. ESPN2
Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill MA
JM: At first, you'd be inclined to question someone's sanity here. But that would be leaning on preconceived notions. Boston College has, quietly, lurched along to a 6-3 record, and only one of those three losses is "bad" (Pitt). They came within a field goal of preventing Colorado State from beating a one-loss team as we speak, and only lost by four to Clemson. Not bad. What's not good is their wins, outside of that USC game which, more than anything, signaled to us that USC was grossly overrated. There is not one single other decent win in the Eagles' ledger. Louisville has the same problem really; two good losses, one bad loss, and really no good wins. However, one of those good losses was to the #2 team in the country last week, and frankly we're still trying to figure out how they lost that game. It's really a crap shoot here. But I think Louisville manages to cover.
LT: You know what the weirdest thing about Boston College is? The Eagles are 4-0 on the road and their only home win in four games against FBS teams is that stunning (more so at the time) upset of USC. That odd record is mostly a function of scheduling and not especially helpful in picking this game, but it's worth pointing out, especially before BC's perfect road record comes crashing down at Florida State on Nov. 22.
Anyway, the matchups here don't exactly favor the Eagles here, since the Louisville defense that is good at pretty much everything except protecting a 24-7 second-half lead vs. FSU specialized in rush defense. BC ranks 10th in the nation in rush yards, but the Cardinals defense ranks 3rd in FBS with 78.7 yards allowed. Louisville also looks like a team very capable of going to the air and scoring more than enough to cover this remarkable low line.