Luke won't pick the Thursday games on his own; I have to make him. See how he is? But we've got two serious contests this Thursday night, and they're both interesting, in a sort of Chinese proverb sort of way. Unfortunately, we've also got a lot of garbage, but hey, that's what Wednesday FEPO is all about, right?
And while what's left isn't the stuff of legends, there's still some pretty good games on the board we can discuss. So we'll do just that, with the ever-present reminder that these selections are For Entertainment Purposes Only.
Mainly the entertainment you're going to get watching me slowly melt down if I don't get back in front of Luke here. What a revolting development.
OKLAHOMA STATE (-13.5) over Texas Tech, 6:30 p.m. THURSDAY, ESPN
T. Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater OK
JM: It's not much, but I'm still baffled that since the line opened at -14, it's moved back a half-point. Sure, that's probably a push avoidance maneuver, but I'd expect it to go the other way because Texas Tech is just not very good at the footballing this year. Oklahoma State can run the ball, and we all know what that means for the Red Raiders. Cowboys cover.
LT: Yeah,, I'm still very high on Oklahoma State and their schedule (no Oklahoma, no Baylor) makes it very possible they'll be riding a 7-game win streak when they get to Manhattan in early November. That's a little scary. Tyreek Hill is an excellent running back and Daxx Garman is just going to keep getting better. Meanwhile, Kliffy hasn't really figured things out yet in Lubbock. Cowboys cover easily.
ARIZONA STATE (+5) over Cal-Los Angeles, 9 p.m. THURSDAY, FS1
Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe AZ
JM: After last week's bloodbath where I engaged in excessive hubris, you'd think I would learn. No, sir. UCLA is overrated. Arizona State is solid, and in case you've forgotten they're also the defending Pac 12 South champs. Yes, both teams are having issues at quarterback, with Taylor Kelly definitely out for the Sun Devils and Brett Hundley ailing but probable for the Bruins. Still... UCLA is overrated. They beat Memphis by seven, Texas by three, and Arizona State's better than both of those teams even with Kelly out. Arizona State covers.
LT: Yeah, UCLA really hasn't done anything impressive so far this season, and the Sun Devils are at home. Arizona State still has a very good running back in D.J. Foster, and the Bruins gave up 164 rushing yards and three touchdowns to Memphis. That's really all I need to know. ASU covers.
Texas A&M (-9.5) over Arkansas, 3:30 p.m. CBS
AT&T Stadium, Arlington TX
JM: Your first reaction to this would probably be "Man, that line is low." It opened at -15.5, folks. That right there should tell you something, but I think the lesson it's teaching you is that nobody trusts Texas A&M's defense. The problem is that Arkansas isn't substantively better, and Kenny Hill... guys, he's better than Johnny Manziel, primarily because he doesn't just chock the ball up there and pray. There, I said it. Come at me, bros. Aggies cover.
LT: Remember last week when Jon picked Northern Illinois to cover against Arkansas and the Huskies got destroyed? Or maybe the week before when I picked Texas Tech to knock off the Hogs and Arkansas won in a 3-touchdown rout? Well, I'm not making the same mistake again today. Sure, A&M looks like the better team and might still win, but I think Arkansas finds a way to cover.
Duke (+5.5) over MIAMI (FL), 6:30 p.m., ESPN2
An Empty Stadium, Miami FL
JM: Baffled. Duke is now a legitimately good football program, as weird as that sounds. Although they haven't played anyone yet, they haven't even remotely struggled with their cupcake competition; they've won all four games by an average of 32 points. Miami has done absolutely nothing this year to convince anyone that they're any good. They've lost -- badly -- to a Louisville team which is a shell of its former self, and while they weren't abjectly horrible against Nebraska, we're still not sure whether Nebraska's any good either. Duke's not just going to cover. They're going to win.
LT: Yeah, this line doesn't make any sense. Duke has an 11-game regular season win streak right now, you guys. Sure, they haven't really played anyone great during that stretch, but the Blue Devils basketball team hasn't done that since 2012. Meanwhile, yeah, Miami is quite terrible. Duke covers.
Notre Dame (-13) over Syracuse, 7 p.m. ABC
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford NJ
JM: Hey, it was either this or Ohio State-Cincinnati. This is another baffling line. As much as we rag on Notre Dame for being perennially overrated, it might surprise you to hear me say that this year we may be selling them short. I'm not referring to their position in the polls, which is about right, but rather the national narrative -- in which they've been strangely quiet thus far, even after choking the life out of Michigan. Yes, they only beat Purdue by 16, and Purdue's sort of god-awful. But what's Syracuse done? An overtime win over Villanova, which in case you're confused is an FCS team. A loss to Maryland, which if you're confused is coached by Randy Edsall, making them the equivalent of an FCS team. Yeah, they curb-stomped Central Michigan on the road, but then again Kansas beat Central Michigan so I'm unimpressed. Point is: Syracuse is not good. Notre Dame is. And the Irish are going to cover.
Side note: This is the second game in a row the Irish are playing on a neutral field, which -- with a bye week in between -- has to be a little weird for them.
LT: Wait, I'm supposed to be impressed by a team blowing out Michigan? After the Wolverines lost by 16 at home to utah last week? I don't think so. Notre Dame might actually be good this year, but I'm not totally convinced. Plus, this neutral field should be considerably less friendly than a week ago when they went to Indianapolis to take on Purdue, who doesn't have any football fans. Syracuse may not be all that great, but they do have two guys averaging 7 yards per carry. They won't get that against a fairly stout ND defense, but it should help them maintain enough ball control to cover the spread in this one.