Last week ATS: 5-8 (2-4 National, 3-4 B1G)
Season ATS: 68-82-2 (29-35 National, 39-47-2 B1G)
I would say that MC&J was so close to a .500 week nationally after the hook made an appearance in the Clemson game, but we didn’t really deserve to split the week with how far off I was with predictions in the Notre Dame and Washington State games. With the weeks dwindling down, it’s becoming tougher and tougher to get back to a .500 record for the season.
No. 12 Syracuse v. No. 3 Notre Dame (-10.5) - 2:30 PM EST - NBC
This will be the biggest football game for Syracuse in years. Not only have the Orange won four straight games, but they are also knocking on the door of a New Year’s Six bowl bid. Quarterback Eric Dungey has Dino Babers’ offense humming, throwing for nearly 2,200 yards and 14 touchdowns, and rushing for 690 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Notre Dame had little trouble with Florida State last week, even with Brandon Wimbush starting at quarterback for an injured Ian Book. Running back Dexter Williams was a beast for the Fighting Irish against the Seminoles, racking up 202 yards and a couple touchdowns on the ground. Book should be back under center for Notre Dame on Saturday, which could be bad news for a Syracuse defense that is giving up 430 yards per game to opponents.
If we are being honest, Notre Dame should lose this game because of the terrible uniforms they’ll be wearing during the game. I’m a Yankees fan, and even I think Notre Dame trying to implement the famous pinstripes into their uniforms is a bad idea. Sadly, I don’t think the Fighting Irish play nearly as bad as they look. Syracuse will have trouble getting anything going against the stingy Notre Dame defense, while the offense of the Fighting Irish runs wild on the Orange.
Notre Dame 38, Syracuse 21
No. 9 West Virginia (-5) v. Oklahoma State - 3:30 PM EST - ABC
Imagine where West Virginia would be right now if they didn’t lay an egg at Iowa State last month. The loss to the Cyclones was the only game in which Will Grier failed to throw for at least 300 yards. Since losing in Ames, West Virginia has been especially hot, scoring at least 42 points in each of their last three games.
Oklahoma State is a mess right now, and Mike Gundy wants you to get off his lawn. Last week’s 48-47 loss to rival Oklahoma was compounded by Gundy trying to hit BINGO on the crazy rant card. If the Cowboys don’t right the ship soon, they won’t be bowling for the first time since 2005.
A West Virginia win will secure the Mountaineers a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game. Even though it’s never easy to win in Stillwater, West Virginia at least has some defense to go along with their potent offense. Taylor Cornelius and the Oklahoma State offense will put up some points, but they won’t have enough firepower to keep the score within single digits on Saturday.
West Virginia 41, Oklahoma State 27
No. 24 Cincinnati v. No. 11 UCF (-7) - 8:00 PM EST - ABC
What a time to be alive. The best game of the weekend before Thanksgiving in college football is Saturday night’s tilt in Orlando between Cincinnati and UCF. Luke Fickell has found his groove in his second season as the head coach of Cincinnati, with the Bearcats’ only loss coming to Temple. Fickell has channeled Jim Tressel with how Cincinnati has found success this year, using a tough defense and a running game that is led by Michael Warren II; who has rushed for 1,082 yards and 17 touchdowns this year.
UCF has won 22 straight games and is still just ranked 11th in the College Football Playoff standings, which is a joke. The Knights might not be ready to be in the top four of the standings, but they are deserving of being higher. UCF is perfectly balanced on offense, averaging 271 yards per game through air, as well as on the ground.
McKenzie Milton has passed every test thrown at him over the past two years, and he’ll find a way to solve the Cincinnati defense. This game will be tight through three quarters, but the Knights will pull away and win by double digits at home on Saturday night.
UCF 34, Cincinnati 23
No. 16 Iowa State v. No. 15 Texas (-3) - 8:00 PM EST - Longhorn Network
At least this game isn’t on the Pac-12 Network, because then nobody would see it. Since this game is on the Longhorn Network at least the number of people viewing this game should be able to reach a dozen.
After posting an 8-5 record last year in Matt Campbell’s second season as head coach, Iowa State is again putting together another respectable campaign. The Cyclones have a shot at winning eight games in two straight seasons for the first time since 1976-78, when they won eight games in three straight years.
Tom Herman made a name for himself with Iowa State, serving as offensive coordinator in Ames for three seasons before moving on to Ohio State. Herman has been under scrutiny lately after former co-worker Zach Smith just can’t stop drinking and tweeting.
Iowa State has won five games in a row, but they’ll see that streak snapped in Austin. The Cyclones will be without David Montgomery in the first half, after the running back was ejected in the second half against Baylor for fighting. Much like last week against Texas Tech, I could see the Longhorns building a lead against Iowa State and being able to withstand a comeback in the second half.
Texas 34, Iowa State 27
Arizona v. No. 8 Washington State (-9.5) - 10:30 PM EST - ESPN
Arizona has been so tough to read this year. The Wildcats were supposed to make some noise nationally behind quarterback Khalil Tate, but those expectations were quickly dashed after Arizona lost their first two games. Tate and the Wildcats have recovered of late, winning their last two games, but it’s just so weird to see Arizona not let Tate run the football. After rushing for over 1,400 yards last year, Tate only has 153 yards on the ground this year.
Washington State certainly proved me wrong last week. I had the Cougars on upset alert in Boulder, but Washington State dominated Colorado 31-7. Gardner Minshew and his magic mustache are taking the college football world by storm, with the quarterback having thrown for 3,852 yards and 29 touchdowns.
I’m not going to be so bold as to predict an Arizona upset — like I did with Colorado last week — but, I do think that the Wildcats can give Washington State some problems. While Tate isn’t doing much work on the ground, running back J.J. Taylor has rushed for over 1,200 yards. This will be a back-and-forth game, with Minshew winning it late in the fourth quarter to keep Washington State’s College Football Playoff hopes alive.
Washington State 38, Arizona 31