This is the best college football Thursday ever. Not that we have been playing college football on Thursdays for decades and decades, but still, this one gives us a blockbuster doubleheader the likes of which we haven't seen on many Saturdays this fall. Baylor hosting Oklahoma is the undercard. Oregon at Stanford for your main event. The top two offenses in college football get their biggest challenges of the season.
Last week, I was 4-1 straight up and 3-2 vs. the spread. For the season, I'm 44-15 overall and 30-27-2 against the spread.
Oklahoma at Baylor (-15): Here's what we know about Baylor: Nothing. The Bears have put up video game score so far. The statistics are gaudy. They've put up 64 points a game, more than a touchdown more than No. 2 Oregon. They have rolled up a ridiculous 718 yards per game. But they have done that against the 81st-ranked schedule. It's Nov. 7 and they haven't been tested yet. The Bears needed almost all 60 minutes to beat the best team they have played so far, Kansas State.
Well, now we find out about Baylor. Oklahoma comes in with the top defense in the Big 12 and will get physical with the Bears on both sides of the ball. The Sooners aren't perfect, especially on offense, but this is a team that has won in South Bend and knocked off a previously undefeated team its last time out. This isn't just the biggest game of the year for Baylor, it's one of the biggest games in the history of the program. It's big for the Sooners too, and while "Big Game Bob" Stoops hasn't lived up to that name as much lately, I like Oklahoma's experience in games like this.
Oregon at Stanford (+10½): Stanford's style gives the Ducks problems. The Cardinal will be the most physical team Oregon will see this season (barring a shot at Alabama). Stanford won't just get tough with Oregon's offense, it will try to pound the ball against the Ducks' defense too.
Oregon lost this game last year at home and has a lot at stake. A win here gets the biggest road block to a second BCS title game appearance out of the way. The Ducks got a taste of what to expect from Stanford's defense last time out against UCLA, which is also physical but with younger players. The Ducks will get their payback. Oregon wins and covers.
Virginia Tech at Miami (-6½): Miami is licking its wounds after getting stomped in the second half at Florida State last week. Also, Duke Johnson, the Canes' best weapon on offense, is gone. The Hokies have stunk up the past two weeks. Despite that, a win here pulls them (and possibly two others) into a tie in the loss column for the Coastal division lead. Miami wins, Virginia Tech covers.
Houston at Central Florida (-10½): Louisville will be watching this game intently. A win by Houston puts the Cardinals in position to create a three-way tie when they play Houston, and would win the tiebreaker for a BCS bid. However, UCF has beaten better and is on a roll. UCF wins, covers.
Nebraska at Michigan (-7): We probably won't see a lot of defense in this game. This isn't a BCS impact game for the two teams involved, but a Michigan win gives archrival Michigan State a two-game lead in the division, so you might see a few people in green saying something they almost never say: "Go Blue." Michigan wins and covers.
BYU at Wisconsin (-7½): The Badgers step out of conference to face a pretty decent opponent in the Cougars. Wisconsin coach Gary Anderson is familiar with BYU from his days at Utah State. This will be a fast game as both teams like to run, run, run. Wisconsin does it better. Badgers win and cover.
UCLA at Arizona (+1): This game is the third out of four on the road for the Bruins. The first two were Stanford and Oregon, so this will seem like a cakewalk. I'm kidding. Probably. Arizona is 6-2 but still looking for its first win of significance. It won't be this week. UCLA wins, covers.
LSU at Alabama (-12½): Home-field advantage means nothing in this series. Alabama has lost six of the past eight meetings in Tuscaloosa, and the Tide won at LSU last year. LSU is the one team left on Alabama's schedule best equipped to take down the Tide, and if Zach Mettenberger has a big game, the Tigers might very well do that. But when it comes down to it, champions find a way to win. Alabama wins, LSU covers.
Fresno State at Wyoming (+10): On a neutral field, this is a blowout for Fresno. In decent weather, this is a blowout for Fresno. But it's in Laramie, and it'll be pretty nippy. The Bulldogs have been playing with fire lately. I don't think the Cowboys have enough defense to pull this off, but they'll make Fresno uncomfortable. Fresno State wins, Wyoming covers.