All right, so I wasn't able to really keep the momentum of my 5-1 record two weeks ago going last week, and I had to settle for 3-3. I'm not unhappy with last week's outcome, though, because we were actually pretty close to having a great week.
Also, I learned a valuable lesson: No matter how well Eastern Michigan has been playing in comparison to how Eastern Michigan usually plays, never make Eastern Michigan your Lock of the Week. So I've tossed the Eagles into the "Never Again" bin alongside Rutgers.
Another encouraging sign from last week is that we were one game away from hitting the Hail Mary for the second week in a row, so even if I went 3-3 in the Pick Six record, when it came to individual game picks, I was actually 5-3. Combine that with the individual mark of 7-1 the week before, and we've had a nice run around these parts.
A run I have every intention of continuing this week.
Games of the week
No. 13 LSU (+7) vs. No. 1 Alabama: It's somewhat scary picking against Alabama these days, particularly when its on the road where it has gone 3-1 ATS this season and is 6-2 ATS in its last eight games outside Tuscaloosa. Still, I find it hard to go any other direction than LSU and the points right now.
LSU has simply been a much better team since firing Les Miles and replacing him with Ed Orgeron. Not only has it won all three games under Orgeron, but it's covered all three as well, and done so with ease, covering by an average of 14 points per game. So it's really outplaying the expectation.
Furthermore, the last four games between these two teams in Baton Rouge have been settled by an average of four points, two of which went to overtime. So with both teams coming in off a bye with an extra week to prepare for one another, I can't help but believe we're going to see another close game in Death Valley on Saturday night. Alabama 27, LSU 21
Twitter poll: Alabama -7 (78 percent)
No. 10 Nebraska (+15) at No. 6 Ohio State: How often do we see top-10 teams serving as a nine and 15-point underdog in consecutive weeks? Because that's exactly what's happening with Nebraska right now, and while I understand it, I thought the spread was too large last week when Nebraska faced Wisconsin, and I can't help but feel the same way about this spread against Ohio State.
Nebraska covered against Wisconsin, and I think it will against Ohio State, too.
The Cornhuskers are 3-0 ATS this season when on the road, while Ohio State's 4-4 overall and 3-2 at home but has failed to cover in any of its last four games. Simply put, I don't have enough faith in the Ohio State offense right now to be willing to lay over two touchdowns with it. The Buckeyes offense has struggled against the Wisconsin, Penn State and Northwestern defenses, and while Nebraska's defense isn't on the same level as Wisconsin's, it's actually allowing less points per play this season than Penn State and Northwestern's have. It's not a pushover. Ohio State 27, Nebraska 17
Twitter poll: Nebraska +15 (68 percent)
Lock of the week
Northwestern (+7) vs. No. 8 Wisconsin: Wisconsin is probably the third-best team in the Big Ten. Depending how things shake out, it may end up as the second-best team in the league, and it's worthy of its No. 8 spot in the initial College Football Playoff Rankings. Having said that, I'm still not all that confident in it at the moment.
The musical chairs act at quarterback between Alex Hornibrook and Bart Houston is a concern to me because it feels like there isn't a plan there, it's just "Hornibrook hasn't led a touchdown drive lately, let's mix it up for the sake of mixing it up." Now, the defense is stellar, but Northwestern's defense has played well, too, and this is a Wildcats team that has covered four straight coming into this game. It's remarkable how much better this Northwestern team has been after the way it looked in September, and this week, it's taking on a Wisconsin team that's been through the ringer lately (its last four games: Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa and Nebraska) and I can't help but feel like that's going to catch up to it at some point. I wouldn't be surprised if Northwestern wins this outright, though I'm just calling for a cover. Wisconsin 20, Northwestern 17
Underdog of the week
Oregon (+17) at USC: This is one of those cases where I see the line and I just can't believe it's that large. Yes, USC is playing well lately, and it should be favored to win this game. This line, though, I think is more reflective of the way Oregon played before making the switch to Justin Herbert at quarterback. Oregon was crushed in his first start against Washington, which is a rough assignment for any kid making his first start, but in the two games since, the Ducks have lost on the road against Cal in double-overtime and beat up on Arizona State last week. Herbert's thrown 10 touchdowns with one interception in those two games.
USC has a much better defense than either of those teams, but it's not an elite defense, and I think Oregon is going to find success on offense against it. Also, if there's any kind of offense I believe a Brady Hoke defense can have success against, it's a pro-style offense like USC's. So I can't help but believe the Ducks are going to keep this game a lot closer than that spread indicates. USC 34, Oregon 27
Over/Under of the week
South Carolina vs. Missouri (Under 56): There's not a whole lot of mystery behind this pick. In SEC play, South Carolina is scoring 14.7 point per game and allowing 21.2. Missouri is scoring 17.3 points per game, and while it's allowing 36.3 points per game, I'm relying on South Carolina's offense not being that explosive. Honestly, this game may go over, but there's no reason to take anything but the under. South Carolina 24, Missouri 16
Hail Mary Parlay of the week
If you aren't familiar with the HMP, a quick refresher: It's essentially a three-game parlay, but you only bet one game at a time. If the first game wins, you use the winnings on the next game, and so on. It's a play that won't come through most of the time (though it has twice this season, including last week), but when it does, it pays off nicely.
|Last Week||2016 Overall|
|Games of the Week||2-0||10-8|
|Lock of the Week||0-1||4-5|
|Underdog of the Week||1-0||7-2|
|Over/Under of the Week||0-1||5-4|
|Hail Mary Parlay||0-1||2-7|