Each week, the Eye on College Football crew scans the point spreads for a straight-up shocker or two -- for entertainment purposes only, of course. For more weekend predictions, check out our expert picks.
CHRIS HUSTON: LSU (+9.5) over Alabama.
Let's face it, Alabama has not been tested yet this year by a team with the kind of athletes LSU possess. While the Tigers aren't proficient on offense, they have enough playmakers to pop an occasional big play and a nasty enough defense to keep the Tide at bay. Both teams play a ''pack-it-in'' style that emphasizes field position, turnovers and punting.
In that kind of matchup, any team of equal talent can beat another team if the ball bounces the right way. And we know that with Les Miles, the ball will usually bounce exactly where it needs to go. Look for Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron to finally throw his first interception and for LSU to execute one or two crazy plays to upset the Tide in Death Valley.
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Last Week: Hit on UCLA (+6.5) over Arizona State. Season: 5-for-9.
TOM FORNELLI: Mississippi State (+7) over Texas A&M.
I know Mississippi State got beat up by Alabama last weekend, but a lot of good teams get beaten up by Alabama. It's kind of what Alabama does. So when I see that the Bulldogs are getting a touchdown at home against a Texas A&M team that has never played in Starkville, I have to take the points. A&M might have "Johnny Football," record-setting quarterback Johnny Manziel, but he's still Johnny Freshman, as well, and the Aggies have struggled to put away even bigger underdogs on the road at Louisiana Tech and Ole Miss.
Combine that with a Mississippi State defense that's still pretty darn good, and I feel like this is easy money.
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Last Week: Missed on TCU (+7.5) on Oklahoma State. Season: 4-for-9.
CHIP PATTERSON: Maryland (+7.5) over Georgia Tech.
Maryland has lost four quarterbacks to season ending injuries this season, five if you include the offseason transfer of Danny O'Brien. With a freshman linebacker starting at quarterback Saturday against the Yellow Jackets, there is no way the Terps can pull off a touchdown-plus upset -- right?
Wrong. This is just the type of weird circumstances that calls for the unexpected in an ACC game in November. Maryland's linebacker-turned-quarterback, Shawn Petty, ran a "60-40 run-pass" option offense as a high school quarterback, and I expect they will run a similar package to the one Devin Burns -- he was QB No. 3, remember? -- ran in the Terps' 20-18 loss to NC State, a game decided by a missed field goal in the final seconds. With both teams favoring the ground game, I'll take the explosive player on the field (freshman wide receiver Stefon Diggs) and a much-improved Maryland defense under the direction of first-year coordinator Brian Stewart. Georgia Tech's defensive woes have already led to the midseason dismissal of coordinator Al Groh, so this is likely one of the most favorable match-ups left on the schedule for the injury-plagued Terps.
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Last Week: Missed on Temple (+6.5) over Pittsburgh. Season: 4-for-9.
JERRY HINNEN: TCU (+7.5) over West Virginia.
The Mountaineers are 5-2 (2-2 in Big 12 games), and Baylor is 3-4 (0-4), but are they really such different teams? Both have cover-your-eyes awful defenses, they played virtually the same game against each other in September, and both played another one-score game against similarly defense-starved Texas; give the Bears a couple of more breaks versus the 'Eers and 'Horns, take the same ones away from West Virginia, and maybe the records are the same. At least Jeff Sagarin thinks so -- the computer guru's "Predictor" power rating has the Bears as a neutral-site favorite over the Mountaineers.
And what did the Bears do when they hosted the Horned Frogs as 7-point favorites last month? They lost, 49-21, TCU's fourth straight win when listed as a road underdog. The Frogs' loss at Oklahoma State last weekend snapped that streak, but the hapless WVU defense (combined with a Frog defense that's due for a good outing) should give them a real chance at starting a new one.
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Last Week: Missed on Texas Tech (+7) over Kansas State. Season: 2-for-9.
MATT HINTON: Texas (+7.5) over Texas Tech.
You have to go way, way back to find the last time anyone needed much convincing that Texas Tech was smart money to beat Texas, but this time around gamblers are doubling down on the Red Raiders: Since Tech opened as a 2.5-point favorite, lopsided betting has moved the spread a full five points in favor of the home team. Not only does the money think the Raiders are going to win: It doesn't think it's going to be all that close.
Uninspiring as the Longhorns were in the month of October, though, they still managed to limp out with a 6-2 record off back-to-back wins, and already have solid road wins under their belt at Ole Miss and Oklahoma State in September. Meanwhile, Texas Tech was last seen being trounced by 31 points at Kansas State, a sobering reality check on the heels of a 6-1 start, which must have sparked at least a few fleeting flashbacks to last year's November collapse on the heels of a 5-2 start. Texas' cameo in that skid came in a 52-20 beatdown in Austin in which the Longhorns piled up 439 yards rushing and scored every time they touched the ball. The gap might have closed over the first two-thirds of this season, but not by that much.
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Last Week: Missed on NC State (+7.5) over North Carolina. Season: 1-for-9.