Once or twice a year I go a little crazy. Suddenly picking four games in a week just doesn’t seem nearly enough and I need more to satisfy my degenerate needs.
This is one of those weeks.
Usually the insanity is triggered by a losing record. I get into a hole that even a 4-0 record can’t dig me out of and the faithful followers of CFP demand more.
This week I’m faced with a different dilemma. Deadline looms and I don’t have time to get into any cute or detailed intros. Well that, and the fact there are so many big games on the board this week it would probably be best if we just stick to Saturday’s action.
So at the risk of throwing a hard-earned 17-15 against the spread record into the turf after going 2-2 last week, let’s have some fun.
North Carolina at Wake Forest (-5 ½, 49)
The fact Wake Forest lost the first two games of the season may have been a great thing for Deacs bettors. Now oddsmakers and seemingly everybody else have forgotten all about last year’s ACC championship season.
Those first two losses had more to do with quarterback Riley Skinner’s separated shoulder than anything and now Wake has whipped off five straight wins and five straight overs. Skinner and standout receiver Kenneth Moore are set up to have a field day against a thin UNC secondary that just got thinner after the suspension of starting corner Jermaine Strong.
Pick: Wake -5 1/2
South Florida at Connecticut (+4, 46)
The Big East needs to start a new statistics column for football, abbreviated by the initials FCPRY: Fair Catch Punt Return Yards. The non-call on Larry Taylor’s 74-yard punt return touchdown on which he clearly signaled for a fair catch may have taken the place of most disgusting officials’ performance in college from last year’s Oklahoma-Oregon fiasco.
I am extra bitter because I had Louisville at +3 ½.
UConn can expect to have gotten its last call for awhile but that’s not the only reason for picking this game. USF is angry after losing to Rutgers last week and the Huskies defense will struggle against the first decent mobile QB they’ve seen this year.
Pick: USF -4
Ole Miss at Auburn (-18 ½, 45)
Serious letdown spot here. Auburn must be devastated after last week’s last-second loss to LSU that likely cost them a shot at the SEC crown.
Ole Miss can relate. The Rebs got crushed last week by Arkansas following a heartbreaking loss to Alabama and they should bounce back with a better game this week.
Pick: Ole Miss +18 ½
West Virginia at Rutgers (+6, 57)
West Virginia likes to score early and often so Rutgers has a plan: keep the Mountaineers offense off the field as long as possible. Easier said than done, but when you have a running back like Ray Rice it becomes a little more possible.
Pick: under 57
Rice at Marshall (-9, 70)
I don’t mean to pick on Marshall for a second straight week, but this line just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.
I know Rice’s defense is the worst in the nation and suffered more injuries last week but Marshall’s isn’t exactly the picture of security. The Herd are giving up 37.4 points per game and 469 yards. Any time you’re that bad you’re going to have a tough time covering a 9-point spread - especially when you haven’t won a game yet this season.
Pick: Rice +9
USC at Oregon (-3, 60 ½)
We had to dig deep into the Covers.com archives to find out the last time USC was a dog in a conference matchup. Turns out it was billions of years ago – 2001, in fact.
The Trojans ended up beating UCLA in that game but I think this time oddsmakers got it right. Oregon is merely a couple of inches from being undefeated this season and you’ve gotta love the way Dennis Dixon has the Ducks’ offense rolling.
Pick: Oregon -3
Ohio State at Penn State (+3 ½, 39 1/2)
The last time the Buckeyes traveled to Happy Valley I incorrectly predicted they’d cover the same spread. It was a dark and stormy night, as Snoopy would say, and the Nits won in a collision of two battering-ram defenses.
Troy Smith was just starting to get his feet under him and Michael Robinson had one of his gutsiest games for the Nits, playing the role of running back more than quarterback. This time Penn State doesn’t have much of a running game to speak of and pocket passer Anthony Morelli is still inconsistent. Throw that up against the nation’s top scoring defense and I have to go with Ohio State again at my own peril.
Pick: Ohio State -4
Jon Campbell is the senior editor for Covers.com and he watches and wagers on enough college football to make any degenerate proud. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.