It has been quite a strange season so far in college football, hasn't it? Not only do we have teams from Mississippi in the top three in the country, but it seems like there are weekly doses of chaos. It has been a strange season for MC&J as well. Usually the struggles with the record come in terms of the national games. This year the struggles have come more from the B1G games. Hopefully the trend of B1G struggles can be righted this week, as the overall season record was over .500 just a couple weeks ago, now it sits at four games under .500.
Last week ATS: 5-7 (4-3 National, 1-4 B1G)
Season ATS: 45-49 (18-18 National, 27-31 B1G)
#14 Kansas State v. #11 Oklahoma (-7.5) - 12:00 PM - ESPN
If you have backed Oklahoma the last two weeks, the results have been very disappointing. Last week against Texas, Oklahoma looked to have the game well in hand before they allowed Texas to find a little rhythm on offense and get back into the game. This week Oklahoma is a little more than a touchdown favorite against a Kansas State that beat the Sooners the last time they played in Norman a couple years ago. The only blemish on the record of the Wildcats is when they fell to Auburn in a game which they really should've won. With the recent struggles for Oklahoma recently against the spread, the third time has to be the charm, right? The Sooners will play their first game at home in a month, while Kansas State will be playing only their second game on the road this season. Oklahoma gets a little of their mojo back in Norman on Saturday.
Oklahoma 34 Kansas State 24
#4 Baylor (-8) v. West Virginia - 12:00 PM - Fox Sports 1
If you like points this matchup in Morgantown is right up your alley. The last two matchups between these teams have seen one team score at least 70 points. Two years ago West Virginia won 70-63 in Morgantown, while last year Baylor won 73-42 in Waco. Baylor needed a fourth quarter comeback to take down TCU at home and now they have to travel for a noon tilt. Stopping the West Virginia offense won't be a easy task, but the Baylor defense is better than last week showed. Coming into last week's game the Bears had only allowed 62 points in the previous five games this season. The over might be the better play in this game, but I don't think Baylor will need a comeback like last week.
Baylor 55 West Virginia 42
#21 Texas A&M v. #7 Alabama (-11.5) - 3:30 PM - CBS
Texas A&M has to be thrilled that they aren't playing a team from Mississippi this week. The last two weeks have seen the Aggies humbled by both Mississippi and Mississippi State. The bad news is they'll have to travel and face a Alabama team that won't be too happy after struggling to beat a Arkansas team by only a blocked extra point. The honeymoon period looked over last Saturday between Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin on the sidelines and if the struggles for the Crimson Tide continue it'll be amusing to watch how the two interact with each other. Kenny Hill should get top wide receiver Malcome Kennedy back so maybe Kenny Hill will look a little more like Kenny Trill this week.
Alabama 31 Texas A&M 27
#15 Oklahoma State v. #12 TCU (-8) - 4:00 PM - Fox Sports 1
Even though the game has been over since Saturday, I'm pretty sure TCU and Baylor are still racking up points. You figure if you score 58 points in a game and have a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter that a win is pretty much guaranteed. That wasn't the case for the Horned Frogs last week. Meanwhile Oklahoma State somehow almost found a way to lose to Kansas in Lawrence. I'm still not convinced that this Oklahoma State is deserving of their top-15 ranking, and with TCU at home and angry after last week's loss I think Trevone Boykin leads the Horned Frogs to a double-digit win.
TCU 34 Oklahoma State 21
Tennessee v. #3 Mississippi (-16.5) - 7:00 PM - ESPN
Ole Miss certainly showed me last week, didn't they? After I thought they might be in store for a letdown, they left little doubt against Texas A&M. Dr. Bo Wallace was firing on all cylinders as he dissected a pretty poor Texas A&M defense and quieted the massive crowd at Kyle Field. I won't play the letdown angle again this week, but this could be a little bit of a sandwich game for Ole Miss. A trip to Baton Rouge next week lies ahead for Hugh Freeze's team, and while I don't think that they'll be in danger of losing to the Vols, a late backdoor cover could be in play in this game. I am 0-3 against the spread on Ole Miss picks this year so I have to be on the right side this week, right? RIGHT??
Mississippi 28 Tennessee 17
#5 Notre Dame v. #2 Florida State (-11) - 8:00 PM - ABC
It's your weekly "game of the century" with two more undefeated teams trying to avoid having their playoff hopes dashed. There are plenty of questions about whether Jameis Winston signed some crab legs and stood up on a table in the student union and threw those autographed morsels all over the place. Alright, that might not be what happened but excuse me if I have combined all of the Jameis controversies together into one. Notre Dame squeaked by North Carolina last week with a 50-43 win last week, but they'll hard-pressed to score that many against a very good Florida State defense. I'm going to assume that Winston plays in this one, and the Seminoles take out some of their frustrations from the off-the-field distractions out on the Fighting Irish.
Florida State 38 Notre Dame 23
Iowa v. Maryland (-4) - 12:00 PM - ESPN2
After failing to score more than 24 points in their previous four games, Iowa had an offensive explosion in the first quarter to the tune of 28 points last Saturday against Indiana, on their way to a 45-29 win. The last time we saw Maryland, they were getting worked by Ohio State a couple weeks ago. While the Terrapins had a bye week to try and recover, their injury list is still quite lengthy. Both teams have questions at quarterback, with Iowa using both Jake Rudock and C.J. Beathard, and Maryland countering with C.J. Brown and Caleb Rowe. Maryland's defense is suspect, but a lot of the damage this year has been done by the Buckeyes and West Virginia. While Iowa might not possess the same punch as those squads, the points are still too tempting to pass up.
Iowa 27 Maryland 24
Purdue v. Minnesota (-12.5) - 12:00 PM - Big Ten Network
For as bad as I've talked about Purdue most of the year, they have proved me often most of the time. I thought they were going to get smacked around last week against Michigan State, but the Boilermakers were game and kept things close most of the way against the Spartans. Minnesota won their third in a row last week, and their only loss of the season was to TCU. The Golden Gopher offense hasn't been particularly impressive all year, but they are finding other ways to score. While Minnesota has struggled to score and it might sound crazy to think that they might cover a nearly two touchdown spread, they do have a big advantage. Running back David Cobb has already ran for 800 yards this year and should find some openings against a Purdue defense that is still trying to adjust to losing linebacker Sean Robinson to a torn ACL. It won't be pretty, but Minnesota will find a way to cover the number.
Minnesota 31 Purdue 14
#8 Michigan State (-16.5) v. Indiana - 3:30 PM - ESPN
Sparty may have scored 45 points but how are you gonna allow Purdue to score 31? I thought Michigan State was supposed to have some great defense. I haven't seen it yet. As punishment Mark D'Antonio should've made his team spend the whole week in Indiana. The good news for Sparty is they'll get to go up a Hoosier team that has lost quarterback Nate Sudfeld for the year. This means Michigan State should be able to load up against the run, which means Tevin Coleman shouldn't be able to find the success on the ground that he has so far this season. Sparty's defense bounces back a little, while Connor Cook and the offense have little trouble scoring against Indiana.
Michigan State 41 Indiana 21
#19 Nebraska (-7) v. Northwestern - 7:30 PM - Big Ten Network
The last three meetings between these schools have been decided by a combined seven points, and it wouldn't be surprising to see another close matchup on Saturday night. Last year Nebraska won on a hail mary, so I'm guessing this year Ameer Abdullah will end up running like 85 yards as time expires or do something that we normally on see in video games. The Cornhuskers had a week off after seeing their late comeback fall short against Michigan State. Northwestern suffered their first Big Ten loss last week when they traveled to Minnesota. The Wildcats getting this many points for a night game at home is tasty in a matchup that has been very close lately.
Nebraska 31 Northwestern 28
Rutgers v. #13 Ohio State (-19.5) - 3:30 PM - ABC/ESPN2
While there have been plenty of jokes about Rutgers joining the Big Ten since the move was announced, the Scarlet Knights currently possess a 5-1 record with their only loss coming late against Penn State. Kyle Flood's team will face their toughest task of the season when they travel to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes. What Rutgers does well is put pressure on the quarterback, ranking third in the nation with 24 sacks this season. The question is if they'll have the time to harass J.T. Barrett, who has only been slowed down by the bye weeks recently. The Rutgers offense was hurt by the loss of running back Paul James for the season to injury, leaving the pressure on quarterback Gary Nova, who doesn't always make the best decisions with the football. Nova has 11 TD passes of 60 yards or more in his career, but he also did throw five interceptions against Penn State.
Ohio State's offense is hoping that the bye week won't throw off the rhythm they have been in, as they've scored 50 points or more in three straight games. Barrett has thrown 14 touchdowns over that span, and he is getting all of his receivers involved, connecting with 11 different players against Cincinnati and nine different ones against Maryland. The Buckeye pass defense redeemed themselves against Maryland, picking off four Terrapin passes, including a pick-six for freshman Raekwon McMillan. Joey Bosa seems to be getting better and better each game, so he should be able to get in the face of Nova and force him into some his patented mistakes.
With Urban Meyer's incredible track record off a bye week it doesn't seem like a question on whether the Buckeyes will win this week, but will they cover the nearly 20-point spread? I think they pick up right where they left off a couple weeks ago and continue their roll heading into the three straight night games they have coming up. Rutgers just don't have the pace to keep up with the Buckeyes, and I think that Nova is a lot more bad than good this week. The secondary keeps getting better and they stave off the big play ability of wide receivers Leonte Carroo and Andrew Turzilli. Ohio State by 3+ touchdowns.
Ohio State 54 Rutgers 27