Super Bowl 50

Sun, Feb 7, 2016

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Oregon-Washington and Louisville's toughest test highlight schedule

The action gets started early this week as Louisville faces Rutgers, which might be the toughest opponent the Cards face all season. It's either the Scarlet Knights, or the other Knights (UCF), which will be in Louisville next week. That kicks off a busy slate of interesting games this week.

Last week, I was a perfect 6-0 straight up and 4-2 vs. the spread. That makes the season total 25-6 overall and 17-12-2 against the spread.

Rutgers at Louisville (-19), Thursday: The Scarlet Knights have seen one high-powered offense already this year at Fresno State, and they had no answer for the Bulldogs. Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals are another step above that. Louisville wins and covers.

Arizona at USC (-5.5), Thursday: If Lane Kiffin were still coaching the Trojans, this would be a no-brainer pick for the Wildcats. It will be interesting to see how USC responds to the energetic Ed Orgeron. Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey is one of the most unsung running backs in the country. Looking at the Trojans' schedule, this may be a must win if they want to go to a bowl. Their most beatable opponents remaining are almost all on the road. USC wins, Arizona covers.

Oregon at Washington (+14): This is definitely the marquee game of the week. Washington is coming off a near-upset at Stanford last week, which proved that the Huskies' 4-0 start was no fluke. Keith Price is playing at a very high level, which will need to continue if they hope to keep trading punches with the prolific offense of the Ducks. I see this going one of two ways: down to the wire or a huge Oregon blowout. Ducks win, Washington covers.

Baylor at Kansas State (+17.5): The Bears have been putting up video game scores against video game defenses in four home games against opponents that could combine rosters and probably still not keep Baylor's offense under 70. Now, they hit the road to face a disappointing Kansas State team that did show some life last week at Oklahoma State. Baylor wins, covers, but doesn't score 70.

Oklahoma vs. Texas (+13.5): The Mack Brown Firing Watch is in full swing this week as the annual Red River Shootout takes place. Oklahoma has stuck it to Texas good the last couple times these teams have met, and would be happy to do so again. Even if that happens, I don't think Brown is going anywhere with a lame duck AD in place and a big fight going on among the Board of Trustees and the university president. Sooners win and cover.

Michigan at Penn State (+2.5): The Nittany Lions entered a new era last week. That is the era of "Losing to Indiana," which was something that had never happened before. It took Michigan a half to get going last week against Minnesota, but they found a good rhythm in the second half and won going away. If the Wolverines offense can keep that up, they have a chance to win the division. Michigan wins and covers.

Northwestern at Wisconsin (-10): Northwestern showed a lot of fight in their 40-30 loss to Ohio State at home last week. That wasn't just a game, it was a big event that expended a lot of energy not just on the field, but off. It's going to be hard to match that this week at Madison when the Cats take on Wisconsin. More troubling is that the Buckeyes' Carlos Hyde ran roughshod over the NU defense. Badger backs Melvin Gordon and James White must be licking their chops. Wisconsin wins and covers.

Missouri at Georgia (-7.5): Mizzou is the most disrespected undefeated team in a major conference. The Tigers have barely cracked the top 25 of the AP poll and remains unranked with the coaches. Part of the problem is they haven't really played anyone of substance yet. That changes this week. Georgia's offense is held together with bubblegum and duct tape after a slew of injuries to running backs and wide receivers. However, they still have Aaron Murray and seem to have found the "whatever it takes to win" quality that elite teams have. Georgia wins, Missouri covers.

Florida at LSU (-6.5): I have felt all along that if Zach Mettenberger had a good year, LSU could win the whole thing. The loss at Georgia sets the Tigers' quest to do that back a bit, but Mettenberger has been great this year. SEC teams used to win with defense, but now they are putting up big numbers on offense. Florida hasn't gotten on board with that plan yet. The Gators still win with defense, and theirs is especially opportunistic. It's going to have to be very much so to win this one. LSU wins and covers.

Texas A&M at Ole Miss (+6): Nobody has a goofier schedule than Ole Miss. The Rebels played their first four FBS opponents, including three conference games, on the road. This week is the beginning of a six-game homestand, which is what happens in baseball, not football. Ole Miss got off to a hot start, but slowed down the last couple weeks on its Alabama swing. I'm not sure they have the confidence right now to give the Aggies a run. Texas A&M wins and covers.

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