After creeping over the .500 mark heading into last week, the time on the plus side didn't last long. The week was looking decent until Rutgers and Michigan State bombed at the end. The Michigan State loss was especially tough since the Spartans held such a big lead, and also missed a late field goal that would've restored the spread. Anyway, onto the action this week, where MC&J has picked a couple extra national games to try and make up for the lack of action in the B1G.
Last Week ATS: 4-7 (2-3 National, 2-4 B1G)
Season ATS: 40-42 (14-15 National, 26-27 B1G)
#10 Georgia v. #23 Missouri (-1) - 12:00 PM - CBS
Which Missouri team will we get on Saturday afternoon? The Missouri team that lost to Indiana at home? Or the Missouri that pulled off a comeback win two weeks ago against South Carolina? The winner of this matchup will get a leg-up in the SEC East, that somebody allegedly has to win. Georgia comes in off three straight wins after their loss to South Carolina, but the loss of Todd Gurley is huge. Keith Marshall and Sony Michel are also going to be out, which means Nick Chubb will have to shoulder the load. I'm just not seeing how Georgia will be able to keep pace with Maty Mauk and Missouri.
Missouri 31 Georgia 21
Texas v. #11 Oklahoma (-15) - 12:00 PM - ABC
Saturday in Dallas will be the first Red River Rivalry game for Charlie Strong, and hopefully it is nice to him and he doesn't try to dismiss it. TCU didn't do Strong any favors last week when they upset Oklahoma, so you know that the Sooners will want to take out their frustrations on the Longhorns. Texas is 2-3 on the year, with their only wins coming against North Texas and Kansas. The defense has been strong for Texas, but the offense hasn't been able to do much. The Sooners know they have to impress in the rest of their games if they want to get back into the playoff hunt, and don't leave much doubt against their rivals.
Oklahoma 35 Texas 17
#12 Oregon (-2.5) v. #18 UCLA - 3:30 PM - Fox
Before the season this game looked like it would be one of the best games of the early season, with the winner having a edge on playoff position. Instead after losses by both teams last week, the Ducks and Bruins are trying to avoid a loss that would essentially eliminate them from the playoff race. Oregon hasn't lost back-to-back games since 2007 and has owned UCLA of late, winning the five meetings between the schools. Both teams have strong quarterbacks but very shaky offensive line play was a major reason for their losses. This has all the makings of an offensive explosion for both teams, but I'll take the team that knows how to bounce back from losses.
Oregon 44 UCLA 34
#9 TCU v. #5 Baylor (-8.5) - 3:30 PM - ABC/ESPN2
How quickly one win can change things. Last week TCU was ranked 25th, and then they beat Oklahoma and shot all the way up into the Top-10 of the rankings. While the Horned Frogs were beating the Sooners, Baylor was shutting down Texas to the tune of 28-7. While it wasn't the normal 40+ point performance that we've become accustomed to from the Bears, their defense did look dominant against a struggling Texas team. Baylor should be happy to be home after playing their last three games on the road, but the last time they played TCU in Waco was the last time they dropped a game at home. This feels like it is just a few points too many and Trevone Boykin should be able to lead TCU to keep things close with Bryce Petty and the Bears.
Baylor 45 TCU 41
#2 Auburn (-3) v. #3 Mississippi State - 3:30 PM - CBS
How good has Dak Prescott and the rest of Mississippi State looked this year? Even I didn't expect them to be where they are right now this season. They left little doubt (aside from a late comeback) against LSU and last week against Texas A&M. The Bulldogs have been dominant against the run this year, allowing less than 100 yards per game on the ground. They'll need to be just as good against Nick Marshall and the rest of the Auburn attack. Where Mississippi State has shown some holes is in their pass defense, which has allowed 328 yards per game, but a good portion of that has come late against LSU and Texas A&M. Auburn struggled in their only road game this year against Kansas State, and only won because K-State hates nice things. If the Bulldogs get Auburn on the ropes expect them to sweep the leg, unlike Kansas State was able to do. Starkvegas rings their cowbells well into the night after another big win for CLANGA.
Mississippi State 37 Auburn 34
#7 Alabama (-9) v. Arkansas - 6:00 PM - ESPN
The last two years these teams have squared off have seen Alabama win by a combined score of 104-0 behind two 52-0 victories. That shouldn't be the case this year as the Razorbacks are greatly improved under BERT, and they also had a bye week to prepare for Alabama after a tough 35-28 loss in overtime to Texas A&M. The Crimson Tide are banged up after last week falling victim to Katy Perry's prediction that Ole Miss would win. I do like getting this many points with Arkansas. Alabama might pull out the victory, but the Razorbacks will find holes against a good Alabama rushing defense to at least keep it within double-digits.
Alabama 30 Arkansas 23
#3 Mississippi v. #14 Texas A&M (-2) - 9:00 PM - ESPN
Are we sure there still aren't goalposts going through the streets in Oxford? Ole Miss is coming off one of the biggest wins in school history, and now after pulling the upset, they are trying to avoid having an upset pulled on them. The defense for Hugh Freeze's team has been fierce, only allowing 51 points in five games this year. Texas A&M is averaging 47.8 points per game this year. The Aggies dropped their first game last weekend in Starkville, and really should've lost the week before that to Arkansas. This just has the feel of a "let-down" game for Ole Miss as the Aggies are finally able to find some cracks in that vaunted defense.
Texas A&M 35 Mississippi 31
Northwestern v. Minnesota (-4.5) - 12:00 PM - Big Ten Network
If before the season somebody told you that coming into this matchup these two teams would be a combined 3-0, you probably would've thought they were drunk. Two Northwestern upsets later and Minnesota taking the "Little Brown Jug" and here we are. This game doesn't figure to have much offense, with Northwestern not having scored more than 29 points this year, and Minnesota not being able to pass the ball at all. The one standout offensive player is David Cobb of Minnesota, who has rushed for more than 200 yards in a number of games this year. Even with Cobb's ability it is hard to back the Golden Gophers in a game that shouldn't be decided until late.
Minnesota 20 Northwestern 17
Illinois v. Wisconsin (-27) - 12:00 PM - ESPN2
Wisconsin just had Melvin Gordon run for 259 yards and they still only scored 14 points in a loss to Northwestern that dropped them from the Top-25 rankings. Worse than that, Illinois just lost to Purdue, which means Tim Beckman should probably start packing up his stuff. Somehow Illinois has the Big Ten's leading passing offense, but most of that was with Wes Lunt at quarterback, who will miss the game due to injury. Gordon has another big day as Wisconsin rights their ship a little bit.
Wisconsin 44 Illinois 13
Indiana v. Iowa (-3.5) - 12:00 PM - ESPNU
Something has to give in this game. Will a Iowa rushing defense that only allows 93 rushing yards per game be able to stop the Indiana rushing attack that is averaging 300 yards per game this season? Or will the Hawkeye offense finally be able to do something productive and exploit a suspect Indiana defense? Iowa has slopped together four wins this year but really hasn't been impressive in any of them. Indiana has been up-and-down, following up their big win against Missouri with a dud against Maryland. The Hoosiers keep Iowa guessing on offense and add to the frustrations of Hawkeye fans with Kirk Ferentz.
Indiana 27 Iowa 21
#8 Michigan State (-21.5) v. Purdue - 3:30 PM - ABC/ESPN2
Break up the Boilermakers! With their win against Illinois last week, Purdue now has three wins on the season. They have tripled their win total from last year, so maybe the Boilers aren't quite as bad as we all thought. KIDDING. Michigan State is no Illinois so Purdue shouldn't be expecting to add to their win total. Sparty looked dominant most of the way in East Lansing Saturday night against Nebraska, except for the last quarter (/shakes fist at Michigan State not covering). I wouldn't be surprised to see Mark D'Antonio have his team take out some of the frustrations from the near-fourth quarter collapse out on the Boilermakers. It certainly won't be a 14-0 struggle like last year's game between these teams.
Michigan State 38 Purdue 14
Penn State v. Michigan (-1.5) - 7:00 PM - ESPN2
Nothing can seem to go right for the Wolverines this year. First the whole Brady Hoke/Shane Morris controversy and now running back Derrick Green is out for the year. Even though Penn State has a much better record than the Wolverines, they haven't been overly impressive this year. Take out their win against UMass and the Nittany Lions have only won their other three games by a combined 23 points. The good news is that Penn State had a week off to regroup from a 29-6 pasting by Northwestern. Still at one point you think that Michigan will have to somewhat show up and get a win. I'll take my chances with that happening on Saturday night under the lights in Ann Arbor. It won't be pretty but they'll find a way to get it done.
Michigan 23 Penn State 17