College Football betting trends, odds and predictions for Saturday, November 18th, 2017 from various handicappers and websites
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College Football Betting Tips Week 12
By Kyle Hunter
There aren’t many marquee games on the Week 12 schedule, but we don’t need marquee games to find solid scheduling spots. In fact, it is in weeks like this one that I often find the best situational spots.
Let’s take a look at seven scheduling spots to keep an eye on this week.
Utah at Washington – Washington’s bubble has burst. Some thought it would have been very tough for Washington to make the playoffs, but with a lot of top teams losing they did at least have a chance. They don’t anymore. Washington’s poor performance at Stanford last Friday sealed the deal. Chris Petersen is one of the best coaches in the country, so we’ll see if he can keep his guys motivated for this one. This is unquestionably a bad spot for the Huskies. I couldn’t lay the points here. At the same time, Utah had 7 turnovers last week, and turnovers have been the norm for them of late. Let’s see if they can take care of the ball here.
UAB at Florida – Why would Florida care about this game? They’ll probably get up for next weekend’s rivalry game against Florida State, but the Gators aren’t likely to put in much of an effort against UAB. I don’t see this team caring to work hard for Randy Shannon. UAB is at a severe talent disadvantage, but they’ll have a strong motivational advantage. They have the coaching edge as well with Bill Clark on the sidelines.
Navy at Notre Dame – Here’s another bubble burst situation. Notre Dame isn’t making the playoffs. The Fighting Irish were thumped at Miami as a favorite last weekend. Brian Kelly’s team now goes home to take on Navy. The Midshipmen are extremely well-coached, and Navy seems to be motivated for every game. We’ll see if Navy can stop the run enough to cover the number here, but I wouldn’t want any part of laying the points.
Virginia at Miami – Here’s the other side of that emotional Notre Dame vs. Miami game. Miami is coming off a massive win on national television. They have heard the pundits talk them up all week. This is a clear letdown spot for them. The Hurricanes have some tough tests left, but it’s unlikely they see this as one of those difficult tests. This is a pretty young team. Let’s see how they handle this spot.
San Jose State at Colorado State – Colorado State blew a late lead at Wyoming two weeks ago. The Rams then proceeded to blow a 25 point lead against Boise State last weekend. That one really hurt. The Rams led by two touchdowns with three minutes left in the game. How do you get off the mat after a game like that? The positive for them is they play an awful San Jose State team here. The Spartans have been getting worked over on a weekly basis. I can’t take San Jose State here, but laying the points with this spot is dangerous.
UCF at Temple – The roles are reversed in this game compared to a year ago. Temple made a late comeback to beat UCF last season, and that was a game that propelled them to their AAC Championship. Now, Temple wants to get bowl eligible, but UCF is playing for much bigger things. I think this is a difficult spot for UCF just because there is so much riding on this game. Scott Frost’s team is in great position to make one of the major bowl games, but they have to win out. They haven’t played all that well in their last couple games. They need to be better here.
Coastal Carolina at Idaho – I saved the under the radar one for last. Coastal Carolina has had a bunch of injuries this year, and they are coming off games against quality opponents in Arkansas and Troy. What about Idaho? The Vandals have had more than two weeks off. They last played on November 2nd against Troy. Idaho has a huge scheduling advantage here. Idaho quarterback Matt Linehan is questionable here though, and that’s an injury you’ll want to pay attention to before placing a bet on anything in this contest
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NCAAF Week 12
Georgia Tech lost three of last five games; they’re 0-3 on road, losing at Miami, Clemson, Virginia. Jackets need to win this game for a bowl bid- they play Georgia next. Duke lost its last six games after a 4-0 start. Tech won 11 of last 13 games with Duke, but lost two of last three. Tech won five of last six visits to Durham, with four of five wins by 17+ points. Underdogs covered five of last seven series games. ACC home underdogs are 11-8 vs spread this season. Over is 3-1 in last four Tech games; last eight Duke games stayed under the total.
Northwestern won its last five games, three in OT; Wildcats are 4-1 at home, 3-1 vs spread as a home favorite, with only home loss to Penn State. Minnesota lost five of last seven games; they are 1-2-1 as a road underdog. Underdogs are 6-3 vs spread in last nine Minnesota-Northwestern games; teams split last eight series games played here. Gophers were held under 300 TY in three of last four series games, but still won three of those four games. Big 14 home favorites are 15-11 vs spread this season. Over is 5-2 in last seven Minnesota games.
West Virginia won four of its last five games, winning at K-State LW; Mountaineers are 4-1 at home, 3-0 as a home favorite- their only home loss was as an underdog to Okla State. Texas split its four road games; they’re 1-1 as a road underdog. Longhorns win one more win to go to a bowl. WVU won 38-20/24-20 in last two games with Texas; teams split last two games played here, with favorites covering both of those. Big X home favorites are 9-9 vs spread this year. Over is 5-3 in last eight West Virginia games, under is 7-2 in last nine Texas tilts.
TCU senior QB Hill is ??mark here; check status. TCU lost two of last three games; they’re 3-2 on road this year, 2-1 as road favorites. Horned Frogs allowed 533 yards in loss at Oklahoma LW, after holding previous four foes under 270. Texas Tech lost its last three home games, by 7-18-8 points. Dogs covered four of last six TCU-Texas Tech games; Frogs lost two of last three visits to Lubbock- they won 55-52 in last visit here. Big X home underdogs are 7-8 vs spread this season. Last six TCU games stayed under the total, as did three of last four Tech games.
Arizona won five of its last six games, with one loss 49-35 at USC; Wildcats ran ball for 300+ yards in last five wins. Oregon lost four of last five games, allowing 31+ points in all four losses; Ducks are 4-1 at home, with only loss 33-10 to Washington State. Oregon won six of last eight games with Arizona; teams haven’t met since 2014. Wildcats are 2-3 in last five visits to Eugene (2-2-1 vs spread). Average total in last eight series games: 72. Pac-12 home teams are 30-14 vs spread this season. Last six Arizona games went over the total;
Oregon State lost its last eight games; they lost last two home games by total of four points, are 2-1 as home dogs this year. Arizona State is 1-3 on road, despite scoring 34.3 ppg away from home. Underdogs covered six of last seven Arizona State-Oregon State games, with Beavers 5-2 in those games. ASU lost its last five visits to Corvallis- underdogs covered three of last four series games played there. Pac-12 home underdogs are 14-7 vs spread this season. Over is 3-1 in Beavers’ last four games, 3-0 in Sun Devils’ last three games.
Missouri won its last four games, scoring 53.8 ppg; they need one more win to go bowling; Tigers they’re 1-2 on road, allowing 93 points in losing both their SEC road tilts, at Kentucky, Georgia. Vanderbilt lost six of its last seven games; they’re 1-2 as home underdog this season. Missouri is 3-2 vs Vanderbilt in SEC play; underdogs covered three of last four series games. Tigers won 51-28, lost 10-3 in last two visits to Nashville. SEC home underdogs are 7-7 vs spread this season. Over is 5-2 in last seven Missouri games, 6-1 in Sandy’s last seven.
New Mexico State is 2-3 in its last five games, allowing 37+ points in four of the five games; Aggies are 3-3 on road (5-1 vs spread, 2-0 as road favorites). UL-Lafayette is 2-1 at home, with loss 56-50 to UL-Monroe. Underdogs covered seven of last eight New Mexico State-ULL games; six of the eight games were decided by 6 or less points. Aggies split last four visits to ULL, with both wins by a FG. Sun Belt home underdogs are 6-8 vs spread this season. Over is 4-1 in State’s last five games, 1-4 in ULL’s last five games.
Tex-San Antonio lost four of last six games, losing 14-7/24-19 last two weeks; Roadrunners are 1-4 in games decided by 7 or less points. Marshall won six of its last eight games; they’re 3-2 on road, losing at NC State/FAU. Thundering Herd allowed 30+ points in its three losses, 23 or less in its wins. UTSA scored 20 or less points in three of its last four games. Marshall (-14.5) beat Tex-San Antonio 34-10 back in 2013, in teams’ only meeting. C-USA 11-6 vs spread this season. Under is 4-1-1 in last six Marshall games, 5-0 in UTSA’s last five.
Ole Miss is 5-5; they allowed 34+ points in six of last seven games, 219+ rushing yards in seven of last nine. Rebels are 2-2 as home favorites this year. Texas A&M is 2-3 in its last five games; they split their only two road games, losing 45-44 at UCLA, winning 19-17 at Florida- they blew a 44-10 lead in loss at UCLA. Dogs covered four of last five Texas A&M-Ole Miss games, with Rebels winning last three games; Aggies won 23-3, lost 41-38 in last two visits to Oxford. SEC home favorites are 13-16 vs spread this season. Last seven Ole Miss games went over total.
Wisconsin is 6-0 at home, 3-3 as a home favorite; this is first game this year Badgers played with a single-digit spread. Michigan was held to 10-13 points in its two losses; they scored 27+ in their eight wins. Wolverines lost 42-13 in their only game as an underdog this year. Home side won seven of last eight Michigan-Wisconsin games; underdogs covered seven of last ten, four of six played here. Wolverines lost last three visits to Madison, by 21-16-3 points. Big 14 home favorites are 15-11 vs spread this season. Over is 6-2 in last eight Wisconsin games,
UCLA is 3-5 in its last eight games; they allowed 37+ points in four of last five. Bruins are 0-5 on road, 0-3 as road underdogs, allowing an average of 49 ppg. USC won its last three games, scoring 45 ppg; they’re 2-4 vs spread as a home favorite. USC is 14-4 in its last 18 games with UCLA, winning 36-14/40-21 last two years. Bruins lost eight of last nine games in the Coliseum- favorites went 7-2 vs spread in those games. Pac-12 home favorites are 16-7 vs spread this season. Over is 8-2 in UCLA games, 4-1 in USC’s last five games.
Stanford won six of its last seven games; they’re 2-1 as a home favorite. Cardinals upset Washington at home LW. California lost five of last seven games; they’re 1-3 on road, with losses by 21-31-16 points- they won at North Carolina. Stanford won its last seven games with California (6-1 vs spread); Cardinal had 821 rushing yards in last three series games. Cal lost its last three games on The Farm, by 13-50-3 points. Pac-12 home favorites are 16-7 vs spread this season. Under is 5-1 in last six Stanford games, 0-3 in Cal’s last three games.
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ACC Report - Week 12
By Joe Williams
Virginia at Miami-Florida
Miami clinched the Coastal Division last weekend by virtue of Virginia's loss at Louisville, so this game doesn't have nearly the same kind of meaning as it could have. Will the Hurricanes bring the same kind of intensity they have in the past two weekends in huge home games against Virginia Tech and Notre Dame? While the Hurricanes have a ton at stake in terms of the college football playoffs, will the crowd fill the seats and bring their team the same kind of energy as the past two weekends, especially for a noon kick? Attendance hasn't exactly been a specialty of Miami since the days of the Orange Bowl. Miami is favored by 19 as of Thursday, so Vegas feels confident the Canes will be able to bring it. UVA is 4-1 ATS in their past five against teams with a winning record, but just 3-7 ATS in the past 10 league games and 2-5 ATS in their past seven on the road. Miami has covered eight in a row in the month of November and they're 7-3 ATS in their past 10 ACC games. They're also 6-2 ATS in the past eight against winning teams.
Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech
Pittsburgh's bowl hopes took a huge hit with a loss at home to North Carolina last week, so they need to win out if they hope to make the postseason. They're just 3-7-2 ATS in their past 12 overall, but they are 9-1 ATS in the past 10 meetings with Virginia Tech. However, the home team has cashed in five of the past six in this series. The Gobblers have covered four of their past five against teams with a winning record, and they're 7-2 ATS in the past nine in Blacksburg. The Hokies are also 4-1 ATS in their past five at home against teams with a losing road record.
Georgia Tech at Duke
The Ramblin' Wreck heads to Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham to meet the skidding Blue Devils. And, according to StubHub, tickets can be yours for the low price of two bucks! Duke doesn't exactly fill up the stands even things are going well, but they have dropped six in a row and they're also 0-5-1 ATS during the skid after opening the season 4-0 SU/ATS. Total bettors have loved Duke lately, however, as the 'under' has connected in eight in a row. Georgia Tech enters 7-1-1 ATS in the past nine league games, 13-3-1 ATS in the past 17 overall and 4-1-1 ATS in their past six on the road. The Jackets are just 2-5 ATS in the past seven meetings in this series, however. The 'under' has hit in four of the past five between these ACC rivals.
Syracuse at Louisville
The Orange roll into Louisville looking to keep their bowl hopes alive against the Cardinals. Both of these teams are going in completely opposite directions as far as the spread is concerned. Syracuse is 5-0 ATS in their past five road games, 6-1-1 ATS in their past eight overall and 5-1-1 ATS in the past seven league games. For Louisville, they are just 1-7 ATS in their past eight home games and 3-11 ATS in their past 14 games overall. However, the favorite has hit in four of the past five in this series, and the Orange are 1-5 ATS in the past six meetings overall. The big question heading into this game is health of Syracuse QB Eric Dungey (foot). He missed last week's game against Wake Forest, so Zack Mahoney took over.
Boston College vs. Connecticut
The Eagles and Huskies will square off at Fenway Park and that might be the only interesting thing about this one if you're not a BC or UConn alum. The 5-5 Eagles enter this game as three-touchdown favorites over the Huskies. BC is 6-0-1 ATS in the past seven games overall, and 4-1 ATS in the past five against teams with a losing record. For UConn, they're 5-22-2 ATS in their past 29 non-conference tilts, while going 0-4-1 ATS in the past five against the ACC. Perhaps the 'under' is the bettor play, however. The under is 22-7 in the past 29 against teams with a losing record, 8-2 in the past 10 in November and 35-17 in their past 52 outside the conference. The under is 10-2 in UConn's past 12 non-conference battles, 4-1 in their past five overall and 6-2 in the past eight in November.
North Carolina State at Wake Forest
The Wolfpack head west on I-40/85 to Winston-Salem to battle the Demon Deacons. Both of these teams have been hot against the number lately, with N.C. State 3-0-1 ATS in their past four league games, 5-1-1 ATS in their past seven overall and 3-1-1 ATS in the past five overall. Wake is 4-0-1 ATS in the past five home games, 9-2-1 ATS in their past 12 conference games and 7-2 ATS in the past nine against teams with a winning record. So something's gotta give in this one. Well, the Wolfpack is 1-9 ATS in the past 10 trips to Wake, while the home team is 17-4 ATS in the past 21 meetings in this series. The favorite is 4-1 ATS in the past five in this series, and the over is 4-1 in the past five meetings in Winston-Salem.
Delaware State at Florida State
The Citadel at Clemson
Western Carolina at North Carolina
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Big Ten Report - Week 12
Michigan at Wisconsin (-7.5)
Since getting rocked by Penn State 42-13, the Wolverines have turned it around winning 3 straight. They were obviously expected to win playing lower tier Big Ten teams Rutgers, Minnesota, and Maryland and the Wolverines were favored by 14+ in each of those 3 games. Last week while the scoreboard said Michigan won going away 35-10 at Maryland, the stat sheet told a different story. The Michigan offense was far from impressive putting up only 305 yards on a Maryland defense that ranks dead last in the Big Ten allowing 420 YPG. The Terps, with their 4th string QB under center, actually outgained the Wolverines in the game. New starting QB Brandon Peters, has sparked the offense in the 3 wins, however it’s hard to tell his impact as they’ve asked him to do very little versus 3 inferior opponents. Peters hasn’t completed more than 10 passes in any of the last 3 games while the Wolves have relied heavily on the run. He may have to do more against a Wisconsin defense that leads the Big Ten allowing 81 YPG rushing on 2.8 YPC.
The Michigan defense has been very good against the run all year which is obviously what the Badgers want to do offensively. However, they showed some vulnerability last Saturday as Maryland put up 180 yards on the ground in 5.6 YPC. And remember the Terps were playing their 4th string QB in his first start of the year so the Wolverine defense was set up to stop the run last week.
Wisconsin clinched the Big Ten West and a spot in the Conference Championship game with one of the most dominating defensive performances we’ve seen this year last week vs Iowa. Just one week after the Hawkeyes put up 55 points and almost 500 yards on Ohio State, the Badgers completely shut down the Iowa offense. The Hawks did not score an offensive point as both TD’s were on interception returns. They tallied only 66 total yards on 59 offensive plays! Wisconsin’s defense forced ten 3 & outs in Iowa’s 13 offensive possessions. Iowa’s longest drive was 6 plays. On a negative note, Badger QB Alex Hornibrook continues to make mistakes which they’ve been able to overcome to this point. He threw 2 pick 6’s and he has been intercepted 11 times in Big Ten play which is 3 more than any other QB in the league.
The defense and rushing attack, which averages 245 YPG, have been able to mask his mistakes to this point. The young receivers really stepped up and played well in the absence to top WR Cephus who is out for the season. Having watched Wisconsin football for 40+ years, we’d say this is as skilled and athletic WR group as they’ve had in some time. One key injury to keep an eye on is starting center Tyler Biadasz as he is questionable after a leg injury last Saturday. He is a very key cog in Wisconsin’s offensive front.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS – Last year Michigan topped the Badgers 14-7 in Ann Arbor as 11.5 favorites. Since November of 2009, Michigan has been a dog of 7 or more just 9 times. They are 0-9 SU & 2-7 ATS in those games including a blowout loss at PSU this season. This is just the 4th time in the last 38 seasons Wisconsin is favored over Michigan. The other 3 times were in 2008, 2009, and 2010. They were not favored at all in this series between 1980 – 2007. Since 1993 Wisconsin is 11-3-1 ATS in this series. The host has won 8 of the last 10 outright in this series
Minnesota at Northwestern (-7.5)
The Gophers put together their best Big Ten performance last Saturday in a 54-21 blowout win over Nebraska. The game started with Minnesota returning the opening kickoff 100 yards for a TD and thety didn’t let up from there. They dominated the Huskers in the trenches rushing for 409 yards on 45 carries (9.1 YPC) while holding Nebraska to just 69 yards on the ground. The Gophs nearly had THREE 100 yard rushers in the game with QB Demry Croft rolling up 183 yards (on just 10 carries), RB Smith with 134, and RB McCrary with 93. They outgained Nebraska in total by 134 yards and it was just the 2nd time in 7 Big Ten games where Minny ended the game with more yards than their opponent. Croft was asked to do very little through the air for the 3rd straight game as he completed just 9 passes. In his 4 starts Croft has completed 5, 9, 5, and 9 passes. The Gophers have obviously decided to rely heavily on their ground game. Minnesota only had to punt one time the entire game and scored points on 8 of their 9 offensive possessions.
The win moved them to 5-5 on the season meaning they either need to win at Northwestern this Saturday or beat Wisconsin at home to officially qualify for a bowl game. There is an outside chance they could get a bowl bid with a 5-7 record if other things fall into place but their goal is to earn their way in rather than back in.
Northwestern is officially hot. Their 23-13 win over Purdue last Saturday gave the Cats their 5th straight win AND cover. The good news for head coach Pat Fitzgerald’s stress level is they were able to win this one in regulation after going to OT their 3 previous games. The Purdue defense loaded the box vs the Wildcats in an attempt to stop RB Justin Jackson and force QB Clayton Thorson to beat them. The Boilers were successful in stopping Jackson holding him to 46 yards on 25 carries (1.8 YPC). However, Thorson came through with a big game throwing for nearly 300 yards and a TD and no interceptions on 46 pass attempts. That was the 4th time this season that Thorson has attempted 40+ passes.
The Northwestern defense played a very solid game holding Purdue scoreless for nearly the first 3 quarters allowing the offense to build a 20-0 lead with very little time remaining in the 3rd quarter. They shut down Purdue’s running game to just 40 yards on 22 carries. That effort moved Northwestern to 2nd in the Big Ten in rush defense allowing just 109 YPG on 3.2 YPC (behind only Wisconsin). That should come in handy this Saturday vs a rush heavy Minnesota offense.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS – Minnesota (+1) topped Northwestern 29-12 at home last season. Dating back to 2013 the Cats are 4-9 ATS as a favorite of more than a TD. Since 1996 Northwestern is 8-14 ATS as a favorite of more than 7 in Big Ten play only. The underdog has covered 7 of the last 10 in this rivalry. The Gophers are a money making 16-3-1 their last 20 games as a dog of more than a TD.
Nebrask at Penn State (-26)
Has Nebraska closed up shop for the season? They currently sit at 4-6 for the season and now need to win both at PSU and at home vs Iowa to officially qualify for a bowl game. If they don’t make it to college football’s post-season, it will be the first time since 2011 they aren’t playing in a bowl game. This proud program actually ranks 2nd in all time bowl appearances with 50, behind only Alabama so this is not a spot this team is used to being in. It sure looked like they quit last weekend. Minnesota rolled up over 400 yards rushing and dominated the trenches. Nebraska couldn’t stop them and we’re not sure by the 4th quarter they even wanted to stop them. Head coach Mike Riley will be on his way out in a few weeks as new AD Bill Moos said he’d stick until then but didn’t give him a ringing endorsement moving forward after the season. The players know that and it sure looks to us like this team is playing out the string. Others are most likely seeing the same this as this line opened PSU -23.5 and shot up to -26 fairly quickly. QB Tanner Lee didn’t play in the 2nd half of last week’s 54-21 loss at Minnesota and he is currently in concussion protocol. This will be by far the Huskers toughest Big Ten road opponent this season. The two other top tier Big Ten teams they played were Wisconsin & Ohio State however both of those were at home and turned into 21 and 42 point losses respectively.
Penn State topped Rutgers here in Happy Valley last week by the final score of 35-6. However, they weren’t all that impressive offensively. The Scarlet Knights were able to slow the PSU offense to just 304 total yards and only 90 yards rushing on 2.9 YPC. Once considered the Heisman leader, RB Saquon Barkley was shut down again with just 35 yards on 14 carries. It was the 3rd straight game Barkley has been held to under 64 yards rushing and he’s been held to 75 yards rushing or less in 5 of his last 6 games. It’s surprising to us how little they actually let him run the ball. He’s had 16 or fewer carries in 5 of his last 6 games. For the season Barkley has carried the ball 16 times or fewer in 7 of Penn State’s 10 games. They obviously use him as a pass catcher out of the backfield as well but as far as turning and handing it to him, it seems he is underutilized.
Defensively they continue to shut down teams not named Ohio State. The 6 points allowed to Rutgers was their lowest of the conference season. They have now held 5 of their 7 Big Ten foes to 19 points or less. Rutgers actually scored the first 6 points of the game hitting 2 FG’s in their first 3 offensive possessions. After that it was nada for the Knights as they only had one possession that lasted more than 4 plays.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS – These two haven’t met since 2013 and Nebraska has won all 3 meetings since joining the Big Ten in 2011. This is just the 2nd time since 1980 that Nebraska has been an underdog of 24 or more to anyone. The Huskers have only been an underdog of 21 or more 3 times since 1980 with those games coming against Oklahoma (twice) and Ohio State (this year). Since joining the Big Ten in 1990, the Nittany Lions have been a favorite of 24 or more just 14 times (5-9 ATS).
Purdue at Iowa (-8 )
Another tight loss for Purdue last week as they attempt to secure their first bowl eligible season since 2012. Their 23-13 loss at Northwestern last Saturday was their 5th Big Ten loss however 4 of those setbacks have come by 10 points or less so they have been much more competitive this season. Compare that to last year when they lost 7 Big Ten games by 13 or more points and you can see that progress is being made in West Lafayette. The stat sheet actually showed that Purdue outgained Northwestern 438 to 390 but they simply couldn’t take advantage offensively when they had a chance. They were held stopped on downs 3 separate times inside NW territory and missed a FG on another trip. Starting QB David Blough was lost for the season a week earlier so Elijah Sindelar, who has seen plenty of action this season, got the start. Head coach Jeff Brohm didn’t mess around with Sindelar under center as he attempted a whopping 60 passes in the game completing 37 of them. Sindelar established career highs in pass attempts (60), pass completions (37), and passing yards (376).
The Boiler defense continues to impress holding NW to 23 points. They now rank 4th in the Big Ten in scoring defense allowing only 19 PPG on the season. To put that in perspective, the last time Purdue allowed less than 30 PPG was back in 2011. The Boilermakers need to top Northwestern this week and then beat in-state rival Indiana next week in order to qualify for a bowl game.
What a difference a week can make. After piling up nearly 500 yards and 55 points at home vs Ohio State, the Hawkeyes went to Wisconsin last Saturday and ran into a brick wall. The 66 total yards the put up on offense was the lowest total of the coaching career of Kirk Ferentz. They were 0 for 13 on 3rd down and didn’t have a single offensive play gain more than 10 yards. The Hawkeyes two TD’s both came from their defense. Iowa crossed their own 35-yard line, not Wisconsin’s 35-yard line, just TWICE the entire game. The 38-14 loss was by far Iowa’s worst defeat of the season as their other losses came by 2 points (vs PSU), 7 points (vs Michigan St), and 7 points (vs Northwestern). The Badgers were able to shred the Iowa defense for 247 yards rushing which was just the second time this year the Hawkeyes allowed a team to top 200 yards on the ground (PSU was the other). On the bright side, DB Josh Jackson has had himself a fabulous two weeks of football. After tallying 3 interceptions vs Ohio State, Jackson had two more vs Wisconsin and he scored TD’s on both of them. In fact, Jackson’s two interceptions for TD’s last week totaled 95 yards which was 29 yards more than the Iowa offense gained as a whole. A win in their home finale this Saturday would most likely put the Hawkeyes alone in 3rd place in the Big Ten West barring a Nebraska miracle upset at Penn State.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS – Iowa has won 4 straight in this series by margins of 14, 20, 14, and 24 points. The Hawkeyes are just 13-28-1 ATS (31%) their last 42 games as a home favorite of a TD or more. The Boilers have won just ONCE in Iowa City since 1993 (1-7 SU record). Despite their non-cover last week at Northwestern, Purdue has been a big time money maker on the road as of late covering 15 of their last 20 games away from home.
Illinois at Ohio State (-41)
The Illini lost at home 24-14 to Indiana last Saturday to drop to 0-7 in league play with a point differential of -114 in Big Ten games. The Illinois offense failed to top 17 points for the 6th time in 7 conference games. Head coach Lovie Smith continues to play musical chairs with his QB situation. After freshman Cam Thomas started the previous two games, Smith went with Jeff George Jr in this one. Thomas did not play a single snap in the game and we’re not 100% sure if he could have gone or not as he does have an ankle injury. George threw the ball well enough throwing for 261 yards but he continues to be a turnover machine. He had a fumble and two interceptions in the loss. He now has thrown 10 interceptions on the season despite appearing in only 7 games on the year. He has attempted just 181 passes on the season so George has thrown a pick every 18 pass attempts this season. The defense continues to do its part to at least give them a chance to win. They held Purdue to 24 points which was the 3rd time in the last 4 games they’ve given up exactly 24 points. That doesn’t do much good when the offense can’t score however. With the loss the Illini have now only won 3 of their last 23 conference games. They are 0-4 in road games this year losing by margins of 24, 31, 7, and 19 points.
We weren’t completely sure how the Buckeyes would respond last weekend. They of course laid their biggest egg in years a week earlier in a 55-24 loss at Iowa. While that basically took them out of the College Playoff discussion, they still controlled their own destiny in the Big Ten East. Would that be enough to keep this team focused? The answer is yes as they destroyed Michigan State 48-3. After looking lost on offense a week earlier in Iowa City, the Buckeyes scored TD’s on 5 of their first 6 possessions vs a very good MSU defense in route to a 35-3 halftime lead. The Spartans entered the game with the Big Ten’s #1 rush defense allowing just 87 YPG on 2.9 YPG. They exited with the league’s 4th best rush defense allowing 112 YPG. That was of course after the Buckeyes rolled them for 335 yards on the ground on 42 carries for an average of 8 YPC. With the running game clicking, QB JT Barrett didn’t have to do much through the air completing only 14 passes in the game. After a rocky outing at Iowa, the defense also bounced back holding MSU to under 200 total yards on only 2.8 YPP. An OSU win over Illinois would clinch a spot in the Big Ten Championship game if Michigan loses at Wisconsin as well.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS – This is the 9th time in the last 38 seasons that OSU has been tabbed a favorite of 40 or more. Not surprisingly they are 9-0 SU in those games and they have covered 6 of those 9. The Illini, on the other hand, have been an underdog of 40 points or more just ONCE in the last 38 seasons and that was last year at Michigan (-40) which was a 41-8 Illinois loss (but a cover). Since 1980, the Buckeyes are 23-11 SU in this series but just 13-21 ATS (38%).
Maryland at Michigan State (-16.5)
There is not a team in the country that has had worse luck at the QB position than Maryland. After Max Bortenschlager was injured two weeks ago vs Rutgers, the Terps were forced to start their 4th string QB last week vs Michigan. Ryan Brand, a walk on transfer from Air Force, was forced under center last week and actually held his own. While he didn’t have great numbers completing 16 of his 35 passes, he did pose a threat on the ground with 31 yards which helped keep Michigan’s defense guessing at times. While he only led Maryland to 10 points the Terps actually outgained the Wolverines in the game despite the 35-10 loss. The Maryland defense, which ranks dead last in the Big Ten in total defense and 89th nationally, played very well holding Michigan to barely over 300 total yards. The 305 yards put up the Michigan’s offense was the lowest total of the season for this Maryland defense. The Terps now much win their final two games, both against ranked teams, to have a shot at a bowl game.
The Spartans entered last Saturday’s game at Ohio State controlling their own destiny in the Big Ten East. The exited Columbus with an embarrassing 48-3 loss which basically put an end to their Big Ten Championship Game hopes. MSU had leaned heavily on their defense all season long but they couldn’t hold up in this game against a motivated OSU offense that put up 524 yards. After allowing 418 total rushing yards in their first 6 Big Ten games, the Buckeyes gashed them for 335 yards on the ground. Ohio State had 12 offensive possessions in the game, they scored points on 8 of those, threw 2 interceptions, and punted just twice. Offensively the Spartans looked like they had turned the corner as of late scoring at least 27 points in 3 of their previous 4 games. Last week’s 3 point effort was their lowest output in a Big Ten game since the 2011 season. The Spartans now battle PSU and Michigan for 2nd place in the Big Ten East and they have the tie breaker with each of those teams beating them both already this season.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS – These two have met 3 times since Maryland joined the Big Ten with MSU winning all 3. This is the 2nd highest pointspread for MSU this year. They were favored by 17.5 to open the season vs Bowling Green. Sparty is 9-4 ATS their last 13 games as a favorite of more than 14 points. Maryland is now 1-5 ATS their last 6 games losing to the spread by a combined 52.5 points.
Rutgers at Indiana (-11)
Rutgers gave up 35 points at PSU last week but that doesn’t tell the entire defensive story. It was a 35-6 loss for the Knights and while their offense has struggled, their defense has been very solid. They held the potent Penn State offense to just 304 total yards. The only team that held PSU to less yardage this season was Ohio State. The loss dropped Rutgers to 3-4 in Big Ten play but based on the stats they are a bit fortunate to sit where they are on the standings. That’s because this team has been outgained in EVERY conference game this season. They are tied for last in the Big Ten in YPG differential with the same numbers as 0-7 Illinois (-100 YPG). Their offense continues to sputter putting up only 2 FG’s last week vs Penn State. After kicking their 2nd FG with just over 11:00 minutes remaining until halftime, Rutgers went scoreless on 103 yards of total off the rest of the way.
Indiana final got in the win column with a 24-14 victory at Illinois. IU came into the game with an 0-6 conference mark but as we’ve mentioned in previous editions, they have played easily the toughest schedule in the league having losses to Wisconsin, PSU, MSU, Michigan, and OSU. QB Richard Lagow got his second consecutive start in place of injured Peyton Ramsey. Lagow was solid with 289 yards through the air leaving Illinois as the only still winless team in the Big Ten. Ramsey is listed as questionable with a knee injury again this week. We’ve mentioned on numerous occasions that IU’s defense is much better than it had been. They finally got back in form last Saturday allowing 14 points, albeit vs an Illinois team that ranks last in Big Ten scoring. The Hoosiers needed that type of performance after getting scalded for 87 combined points the previous 2 Saturdays vs Wisconsin & Maryland. Even with their 6 straight losses to open the Big Ten season, IU can go bowling if they win here and then beat Purdue on the road to end the season.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS - This has been a high scoring series with the 3 meetings totaling 60, 107, and 68 points. Rutgers is one of the top ATS teams in college football this year at 8-2 while Indiana is one of the worst at 2-7-1. Going all the way back to 1989, the Hoosiers have been a double digit Big Ten favorite only 18 times. They are 5-13 ATS in those games.
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Big 12 Report - Week 12
By Joe Williams
Texas Christian at Texas Tech
TCU has to re-focus after suffering a 38-20 loss at Oklahoma last weekend to effectively end any hope of an appearance in the college football playoffs. The Horned Frogs can still play in a decent bowl game if they continue to win. It's a tough trip to Lubbock and Vegas has them favored by just a touchdown as of Thursday morning. TCU enters 5-2 ATS over their past seven road games, and 5-2 ATS in the past seven games in the month of November. The Red Raiders have covered just once in the past five conference games, 1-4 ATS in their past five games overall and 1-5 ATS in the past six home games against a team with a winning road record. However, the home team has cashed six times in the past eight in this series, with the underdog 4-1 ATS in the past five. TCU is also 1-4 ATS in the past five in this series, and 0-4 ATS in the past four trips to Lubbock.
Texas at West Virginia
The Mountaineers host the Longhorns in an important game in the Tom Herman era. Are the Longhorns back? A win in West Virginia would be a solid victory, but the public doesn't feel it is going to happen. Most money is on the Mountaineers, who are favored by just 3 1/2 as of Thursday morning. The Longhorns are 6-2-1 ATS in their past nine overall, and 4-1-1 ATS in the past six against teams with a winning record. However, West Virginia is 3-1-1 ATS in the past five at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, while going 6-2-1 ATS in their past nine in November. The 'under' might be the better play. The 'under' is 16-5 in the past 21 road games and 24-7 in the past 31 against teams with a winning record. The 'under' is 23-10 in the past 33 league games, and 10-4 in the past 14 November games.
Iowa State at Baylor
The Cyclones have dropped two in a row at West Virginia and at home against Oklahoma State to take a little luster off of their season. They're still an impressive 5-0-1 ATS over their psat six outings, and 3-0-1 ATS in four road games overall this season. It's been a terrible season for the Bears, as they're 1-9 SU. They have been respectable against the spread, however, going 4-3 ATS over their past seven games. However, they're 2-4 ATS in six home games this season. Iowa State has also posted an impressive 15-5-1 ATS in the past 21 games overall, but they're just 1-6 ATS in their past seven trips to Waco.
Oklahoma at Kansas
The Sooners hit the road for Lawrence and they're favored by more than five touchdowns. Can they bring the intensity after a big win against TCU last weekend? The Sooners are 10-4 ATS in their past 14 games overall, and 4-0 ATS in the past four in the month of November. The Jayhawks have cashed in five of their past six in November, but they're just 3-7 ATS over their past 10 and 1-4 ATS in the past five against teams with a winning overall record. Oklahoma has cashed in four of the past five meetings, although the home team has hit in five of the past six in this series.
Kansas State at Oklahoma State
K-State needs to pick up a win at Oklahoma State or at home against Iowa State to qualify for bowl season. The Cowboys are looking to keep winning and qualify for a big pay day in the postseason. The Wildcats are 18-7-1 ATS in the past 26 road games against teams with a winning home record, but they're just 2-5-1 ATS in the past eight overall. The Cowboys haven't been much better, going 2-5 ATS in their past seven overall, and 2-6 ATS in their past eight league outings. K-State has had great success against the number in this series, going 4-0 ATS in their past four trips to Stillwater, and 5-1 ATS in the past six overall. The road team is 6-2 ATS in the past eight in this series, and the underdog is 7-3 ATS in the past 10. The over is also an impressive 10-1 in the past 11 in this series, with the over 5-0 in the past five battles in Stillwater.
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Pac-12 Report - Week 12
By Joe Williams
Arizona State at Oregon State
The Sun Devils look to punch their ticket to the postseason by becoming bowl eligible. They can do so against a team which has lost nine of 10 games overall while going 3-7 ATS. Oregon State also hasn't topped an FBS team all season. The Sun Devils have covered five of their past seven conference battles, but they're just 5-13 ATS in their past 18 on the road and 0-4 ATS in their past four against teams with a losing record. Oregon State has covered eight of their past 11 at home, and they're 6-2-1 ATS in their past nine at home against AZ State. The underdog is 5-1-1 ATS in the past seven in this series, with Arizona State going 0-5-1 ATS in their past six tries against Oregon State.
Arizona at Oregon
Kahlil Tate and the Wildcats hit the road for Eugene looking to add to the woes of the Ducks. Vegas has this game as a pick 'em despite Arizona entering 7-3 SU, while Oregon is 5-5 SU. That's likely because Arizona is just 2-9 ATS in the past 11 road games. However, Oregon is 6-13 ATS in the past 19 home games, 4-9-1 ATS in the past 14 against teams with a winning record and 1-4 ATS in the past five league games. Perhaps the total is a better bet. Trends differ between the teams, however. The over is 4-0 in the past four for Arizona on the road, and 6-0 in their past six league games. The under is 4-1 in Oregon's past five, and 4-1 in their past five league games. However, the over is 26-10 in Arizona's past 36, and 50-18-1 in Oregon's past 69 at home while going 20-5-1 in their past 26 after a straight up loss. Of course, the under is 4-0 in the past four meetings in this series.
UCLA at Southern California
The Battle of L.A. is a primetime battle on national television, and the Bruins look to become eligible for a bowl while damaging their rivals in the process. USC still has an outside chance at a college football playoff spot if craziness happens in the final couple of weeks. The Bruins haven't had a lot of success lately, going 2-7 ATS in the past nine conference games, 3-9 ATS in their past 12 overall and 0-6 ATS in their past six road outings. The Trojans aren't much better, going 2-6-1 ATS in the past nine overall. The home team is 15-6 ATS in the past 21 meetings in this series, though, and favorites are 6-2 ATS in the past eight meetings. The Bruins are 2-8 ATS in their past 10 crosstown trips to the L.A. Coliseum. The 'over' has dominated for both of these teams lately, but the 'under' is the play when these teams take the field against each other. The under is 9-1-1 in the past 11 meetings, and 4-0-1 in the five at the Coliseum.
California at Stanford
It's time for 'The Game', the 120th meeting in this series. Stanford owns a 62-46-11 lead in the series, and they're favored by 16 to add another tally to the win total. Meanwhile, California has dropped 11 consecutive league games on the road dating back to Sept. 26, 2015 when they topped Washington. The Golden Bears have managed just one cover in the past eight road games, and they're 0-6 ATS in the past six road games against a team with a winning home record, too. The favorite has cashed in five straight, although the road team is 6-2 ATS in the past eight meetings in this series.
Utah at Washington
The Utes head to Seattle looking to add to the woes of the Huskies. Washington is coming off a disappointing loss to Stanford which all but ends their chances at a second straight trip to the college football playoffs. They're still favored by 17 to rebound and pick up a ninth victory. The Utes have been hot on the road, going 6-1 ATS in their past seven road games, while posting a 5-1-1 ATS mark in their past seven against teams with a winning record. The Huskies are pretty good against the number, too, going 5-1 ATS in their past six at home, 7-2 ATS in their past nine league games and 5-2 ATS in their past seven overall. The underdog has connected in four in a row in this series.
Colorado, Washington State
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SEC Notebook - Week 12
By Brian Edwards
Let’s get our Week 13 trip across the SEC started in Fayetteville, where there was big news this week when long-time AD Jeff Long was dismissed. Long hired fifth-year coach Bret Bielema and has been his strongest supporter, so this move clearly paves the way for the Razorbacks to simultaneously turn the page from Long and Bielema.
There’s this matter of a $12 million buyout for the former Wisconsin head coach, but money usually isn’t an issue in the Ozarks. Remember, this dude named Jerry Jones is an alum and he’s known to have a few greenbacks at his disposal.
Whatever the case, Bielema’s imminent pink slip has to have put a cloud over a team already coping with the results of a disastrous season. And now here comes Mississippi St., a squad that’s only tasted defeat at Georgia, at Auburn and at home vs. Alabama.
As of Friday afternoon, most books had the Bulldogs installed as 13-point favorites with the total in the 58-59 range. MSU had been an 11.5-point ‘chalk’ most of the week before the line went up to 13 late Thursday and early Friday. The Hogs were available to win outright for a +370 return (risk $100 to win $370).
Arkansas (4-6 straight up, 2-7-1 against the spread) is 6-8 ATS as a home underdog during Bielema’s tenure. The Razorbacks are 3-2 SU & 0-4-1 ATS home this year. They had won back-to-back games until dropping a 33-10 decision at LSU as 18-point underdogs last week.
Arkansas was tied 7-7 with the Tigers at halftime, but things went South in a hurry in the second half. Austin Allen, who had missed four straight games with a shoulder injury, returned to action but didn’t appear to be anywhere near 100-percent healthy. The senior signal caller completed 13-of-23 throws for 140 yards but in the few instances when Allen attempted to throw the ball downfield, he was underthrowing receivers badly.
Allen is the only experienced option Saturday vs. MSU. Cole Kelley, who started the four games when Allen was out, was arrested Sunday morning on DUI charges and has been suspended indefinitely. Arkansas has had o-line issues the last two years and this group already lost All-American center Frank Ragnow to a season-ending injury several weeks ago. Making matters worse, starting guard Hjalte Froholdt is ‘questionable’ with an ankle injury.
Mississippi State (7-3 SU, 7-3 ATS) is clearly the country’s best three-loss team. Dan Mullen’s club is 2-2 both SU and ATS on the road this year, but it is 2-0 ATS as a road ‘chalk’ with easy wins at La. Tech (57-21) and at Texas A&M (35-14).
MSU led for a good chunk of game, trailed for only a brief seven-minute stretch in the 60-minute affair and gave Alabama all it wanted and then some in Starkville last Saturday night. However, Alabama RB Damien Harris scored on a 14-yard touchdown run with 9:49 remaining to knot the score at 24-24.
Then with 38 seconds left and Alabama facing a third-and-15 play from its own 43, Mississippi State DC Todd Grantham decided to bring the blitz. The stat sheet will give credit to QB Jalen Hurts for hitting Calvin Ridley on a quick slant that turned into a crucial 31-yard gain to the MSU 26.
But Hurts and Ridley would have had zero shot at hooking up on the play if not for Harris, who made a sick cut block on an MSU blitzer to give Hurts the time to find Ridley perfectly in stride. At that point, the Crimson Tide was in field-goal range, but it took the lead on a Hurts’ TD pass on the following play.
MSU was able to get into Hail-Mary range despite only having 25 seconds once it received the kick. QB Nick Fitzgerald threw to the end zone and the Bulldogs caught a monster break when the refs called pass interference on the Crimson Tide. Replays clearly showed it was the accurate call, but how many times do you see PI called on a Hail-Mary attempt? Ummm, never! Anyhow, the 15-yard penalty got MSU into ‘Bama territory and now the bomb into the end zone had a much better chance.
But Fitzgerald inexplicably didn’t even give his guys a chance to make a play, throwing the ball well out of he end zone for an incompletion to finish the game. Fitzgerald threw for 158 yards and didn’t commit a turnover, rushing for 66 yards and one TD as well. Aeris Williams ran for 97 yards and a pair of scores on 22 attempts.
For the season, Fitzgerald has a mediocre 13/10 touchdown-to-interception ratio. But the junior QB does his best work with his long legs, rushing for 867 yards and 13 TDs with a 6.3 yards-per-carry average. Williams has run for a team-best 873 yards and four TDs, averaging 4.7 YPC.
MSU junior starting WR Donald Gray has missed back-to-back games and is ‘questionable’ at Arkansas with a groin injury. Gray has 24 receptions for 214 yards and three TDs.
The ‘under’ is 6-4 overall for the Bulldogs, 2-2 in their road assignments. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 52.2 points per game. Meanwhile, the ‘over’ is 6-4 overall for Arkansas, 6-2 in its last eight contests. The ‘over’ has hit in three straight home games for the Hogs to improve to 3-2 when they’re at home. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 63.7 PPG.
Kickoff on CBS is scheduled for noon Eastern.
In another noon Eastern tilt, Auburn will face ULM on ESPN2. As of Friday afternoon, most spots had the Tigers listed as 36.5-point home favorites with a total of 68.
Auburn (8-2 SU, 5-3-2 ATS) is undefeated in five home games with a 2-1-2 spread record. Gus Malzahn’s team is off its best performance of the season, taking top-ranked Georgia behind the woodshed in a 40-17 clubbing as a 2.5-point home underdog. The Tigers enjoyed a massive 488-230 advantage over UGA in total offense.
AU saw Georgia march right down the field on its opening series to take a 7-0 lead, but it would respond with 30 unanswered points until UGA’s Rodrigo Blankenship buried a 47-yard field goal with 5:32 left in the third quarter to trim the deficit to 30-10. The Dawgs wouldn’t get any closer.
Jarrett Stidham completed 16-of-23 passes for 214 yards and three TDs without an interception. Kerryon Johnson rushed 32 times for 167 yards and also caught two passes for 66 yards and one TD. Ryan Davis hauled in four receptions for 55 yards and one TD. Stidham has thrown 12 TD passes compared to only one interception in the last seven games.
With Alabama on deck at Jordan-Hare Stadium in a game that’ll decide the SEC West and determine the division’s representative against UGA in Atlanta at the SEC Championship Game, AU falls into a vintage look-ahead scenario (or sandwich spot, whichever you prefer, since it will be playing the No. 1 team in the CFP rankings for a second time in three weeks) vs. ULM.
ULM (4-5 SU, 5-4 ATS) has played a soft schedule, especially when you consider that its Week 2 game at Florida State was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma. Nevertheless, we’ll point out that the Warhawks haven’t lost by more than 11 points all season. They faced one ranked team, losing 37-28 at Memphis in the season opener.
ULM has a true sophomore in Caleb Evans, who is a dual-threat QB that has enjoyed an outstanding campaign. Evans has completed 65.1 percent of his throws for 2,076 yards with a 12/3 TD-INT ratio. He has also rushed for 465 yards and 11 TDs.
ULM is ranked 18th in the nation in total offense and 19th in scoring with a 37.0 PPG average. On the flip side, the Warhawks are ranked No. 126 in the country in both total defense and pass defense. They are No. 120 in scoring ‘D,’ giving up 37.9 PPG. With those numbers in mind, ULM’s 7-2 overall record for the ‘over’ should come as zero surprise. The ‘over’ is 4-1 in its five road assignments.
Since the ‘under’ cashed in its first three games, Auburn has seen the ‘over’ hit in seven consecutive contests. The ‘over’ is 3-2 for the Tigers at home. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 54.1 PPG.
Georgia (9-1 SU, 6-4 ATS) will be in bounce-back mode for the first time this season when it plays host to Kentucky at 3:30 p.m. Eastern on CBS. As of Friday afternoon, most books had UGA listed as a 21.5-point favorite with a total of 52. The Wildcats were +1050 on the money line at 5Dimes.eu (risk $100 to win $1,050).
Georgia is 5-0 SU and 2-3 ATS at home. Kirby Smart’s team has compiled a 4-3 spread record in seven games as a double-digit ‘chalk.’ The Bulldogs have won seven in a row over UK and they’ve covered the number in four consecutive meetings, including last year’s 27-24 win in Lexington as 2.5-point road favorites. The ‘under’ has cashed in back-to-back head-to-head encounters and is 4-2 in the last six UK-UGA confrontations.
The ‘under’ is 6-4 overall for UGA, 4-1 in its home games. The Bulldogs have seen their games average combined scores of 49.1 PPG.
Kentucky (7-3 SU, 3-7 ATS) owns a 6-2 spread record in its last eight games as a road underdog. Mark Stoops’s team is 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS on the road this year. The Wildcats ended a 0-5 ATS slide in last week’s 44-21 win at Vanderbilt as 2.5-point underdogs.
Benny Snell stole the show in Nashville by rushing for 116 yards and three TDs on merely 17 carries. Stephen Johnson completed 13-of-17 passes for 195 yards, in addition to rushing for 44 yards on nine attempts. The UK secondary intercepted Vandy QB Kyle Shurmur four times, a remarkable feat when you consider that Shurmur had been intercepted only three times in the Commodores’ first nine games.
Snell, a true sophomore, has bagged a second straight 1,000-yard season. He has rushed for 1,013 yards and 15 TDs with a 4.3 YPC average. Johnson has completed 62.8 percent of his passes for 1,800 yards with a 10/4 TD-INT ratio. He has also run for 348 yards and three TDs, averaging 4.4 YPC.
The ‘over’ has hit in three straight UK games and four of its last five to improve to 5-5 overall. However, the ‘under’ is 3-1 for the ‘Cats in their four road assignments.
Florida (3-6 SU, 2-7 ATS) has lost five in a row and has failed to cover the spread in four straight games. The Gators will look to end those skids Saturday at The Swamp, where they take on UAB at 4:00 p.m. Eastern on the SEC Network. As of Friday, most books had UF listed as a 10.5-point home favorite with a total of 48. The Blazers were in the +325 neighborhood on the money line (risk $100 to win $325). We’ll also note that neither the side nor the total have budged an inch since Monday.
In its first season back on the field since the program went on a two-year hiatus due to financial reasons, UAB (7-3 SU, 8-2 ATS) has been one of the nation’s biggest surprises. Bill Clark’s team has won three in a row and five of its last six both SU and ATS. In fact, UAB is 7-1 ATS in its last eight outings.
As underdogs this year, the Blazers own a 6-0 spread record with five outright wins and their lone outright defeat was a 46-43 loss at North Texas, which leads Conference USA’s West Division with a 6-1 record in league play. UAB has won back-to-back road games as a heavy underdog, including a 30-12 win at Southern Miss as an 11.5-point ‘dog on Oct. 28.
Then last week at UTSA, the Blazers won a 24-19 decision while catching seven points. The game wasn’t even that close, with UAB leading by double digits from late in the first quarter until the Roadrunners trimmed the deficit to 21-13 with 13:16 remaining. The Blazers went back up by 11 points just minutes later with a field goal, and UTSA made the score look more respectable with a TD pass with 1:11 remaining.
UF lost another starter to a season-ending injury in last week’s 28-20 loss at South Carolina as a five-point underdog. Center T.J. McCoy broke his foot, becoming the second starting offensive lineman to be lost for the year in a two-week span.
Ole Miss (5-5 SU, 3-6-1 ATS) will play host to Texas A&M at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2. As of Friday afternoon, most betting shops had the Rebels favored by 1.5 points with a total of 68. They own a 4-2 SU record and a 2-4 ATS mark at home this season.
Since Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson went down with a season-ending injury in a 40-24 home loss to LSU on Oct. 21, juco transfer Jordan Ta’amu has been nothing short of sensational in three starts. He has gone 2-1 both SU and ATS, throwing for 368, 382 and 418 yards. The only loss both SU and ATS came when Arkansas rallied from a 24-point deficit in Oxford to win on a last-second field goal.
When Ole Miss was at Kentucky two weeks ago, Ta’amu hit D.K Metcalf for a game-winning TD pass with five seconds remaining. He had three TD passes without an interception in last week’s 50-22 home win over Louisiana, formerly known as UL-Lafayette. Finally, Ta’amu has proven to be a running threat as well, evidenced by his 149 rushing yards and four TDs with a 4.7 YPC average.
Ole Miss WR Vann Jefferson is ‘out’ vs. A&M due to an elbow injury. Jefferson has 42 receptions for 456 yards and one TD.
Like Arkansas, Texas A&M (6-4 SU, 6-3-1 ATS) is a team facing the certain dismissal of its sixth-year head coach Kevin Sumlin in the next two weeks (or days). The Aggies have played just a pair of true road games this year, going 1-1 SU and 2-0 ATS. They lost at UCLA 45-44 after blowing a 44-10 lead late in the third quarter, in addition to winning a 19-17 decision at Florida.
Sumlin’s team avoided a three-game losing streak by stroking New Mexico 55-14 as a 19-point home ‘chalk’ last week. Nick Starkel, the redshirt freshman QB who missed six games in a row after getting injured at UCLA, completed 21-of-30 passes for 416 yards and four TDs without an interception against the Lobos. Christian Kirk had four catches for 120 yards and one TD, and he also scored on a 90-yard punt return. Starkel has thrown six TD passes without an interception in the last two games.
The ‘over’ has hit in seven straight games for the Rebels to improve to 9-1 overall. They’ve watched their games average combined scores of 69.5 PPG.
Totals have been a wash for A&M both overall (5-5) and on the road (1-1). However, we’ll note that the ‘under’ cashed in four straight games for the Aggies until the ‘over’ appeared in their last two contests. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 59.6 PPG.
Missouri is in the midst of a 6-0 ATS tear and takes a four-game winning streak to Vanderbilt. These SEC East rivals will collide at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on the SEC Network. The Tigers had been favored by 8.5 points for most of the week, but most spots had them at nine late Friday afternoon. The total was 66 and Vandy was +270 on the money line.
Barry Odom’s team has won its last four games by margins of 47, 40, 29 and 33. And with a hat tip to Christopher Smith of SECCountry.com who shared this remarkable factoid on my Games Galore podcast this week, Missouri has beaten the spread – closing number at the Westgate SuperBook is how he actually phrased it – by a mind-boggling 113.5 points during its six-game ATS roll. Smith also shared that during Vandy’s 1-6 SU slump (and 1-5-1 ATS slide), it has lost to the number by 97.5 points.
Missouri junior QB Drew Lock is absolutely on fire, posting a 25/4 TD-INT ratio in his team’s last six games. The Tigers smashed Tennessee by a 50-17 count as 12-point home ‘chalk’ last week, gashing the UT defense for 433 rushing yards with an 8.2 YPC average.
Vandy’s defense, which was stellar last season but lost star LB Zach Cunningham when he bolted for the NFL a year early, has issues to say the least. In six SEC games, the Commodores are allowing 46.2 PPG. The ‘over’ is 6-0 in those contests. The ‘over’ is also on a 5-2 run for Missouri.
Despite last week’s four-interception anomaly, Shurmur still maintains a solid 21/7 TD-INT ratio. Senior RB Ralph Webb, who became Vandy’s all-time leading rusher during his junior campaign, will play his last game at home Saturday. The Gainesville, Fla., native, who wasn’t recruited by the Gators, scored on a 31-yard run to open the scoring vs. UK last week. However, Webb was only given nine carries for the game, turning those into 70 rushing yards. He became the SEC’s 10th all-time leading rusher against the ‘Cats.
B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets
Butch Jones finally took a pink slip Sunday after last week’s debacle at Missouri. He was offered the opportunity to coach UT’s last two games but declined. According to multiple reports, the Tennessee brass made a huge presentation and lucrative offer to former NFL coach Jon Gruden on Wednesday night in Tampa. As of late Friday afternoon, Gruden was still mulling the offer (or simply toying with UT yet again, whichever you prefer). Many people believe that MSU’s Dan Mullen will be the Vols’ next target when/if Gruden deals out Heisman treatment (as expected....again!).
LSU is listed as a 16-point road favorite at Tennessee for a 7:00 p.m. Eastern kick on ESPN. The total was 45 or 45.5 as of late Friday afternoon. From a betting standpoint, this is "LSU or pass."
Not that it matters much, but former Ball State, San Diego State and Michigan head coach Brady Hoke is UT's interim head coach.
Alabama and South Carolina’s lines fall into the “Extra Games” section this week. I’ve seen the Tide listed as a 44-point favorite vs. Mercer, while the Gamecocks were favored by 22 vs. The Citadel. Alabama is 5-15 ATS in its last 20 games when favored by 35 points or more.
As for the UF coaching search, my sources tell me that a deal with Chip Kelly could happen at some point this weekend. It’s unclear if an actual offer has been made yet, and the reports of “Ambassador/Former HBC” Steve Spurrier balking at new AD Scott Stricklin’s push to hire Kelly are absolutely accurate. Spurrier is bullish on UCF’s Scott Frost, who is certainly not a given to come to UF even if he gets an offer. The Gators can’t even speak face-to-face with Frost for another 10 days. Frost and his wife just had their first kid last week, and he is a Nebraska alum whose parents live in Lincoln. (The Nebraska job is a given to open up in the next 10 days.) Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy made a push to get the UF job in 2014, but then-AD Jeremy Foley was running the show and made a third terrible football coaching hire with Jim McElwain (shocker!).
My advice to Stricklin and the brass at UF is this: Pop a freakin’ chill pill! Relax for a minute. This is a crucial hire, one that shouldn't be made too quickly. I'm told the criteria for this hire is based soley on two things: First, this coach has to be a proven winner (no more hires of a Mountain West guy with three years of HC experience or a first-time head coach like Muschamp) and secondly and most important, this guy has to be ready, FIRED up and salivating to take on Nick Saban in every single way. Yes, Kelly would be a solid hire and I’m sure there’s a good chance that he wants a strong offer and will only take it if UF comes strong and does it quickly. In other words, I suspect Kelly is out of the equation if Florida wants to wait and interview others that it can't talk to quite yet. But is Kelly the right fit? Would his peculiar act play right with the Florida fan base? UF hasn’t been on probation in more than a quarter-century, but Kelly was given an 18-month show cause at Oregon.
And most, including a close friend of Kelly’s in Chris Landry (check Landry’s podcast out and follow him on Twitter – trust me on that one!), have clearly stated that Kelly would MUCH rather be in the NFL, but he’s realistic and knows that’s not going to happen anytime soon. However, if he thrived at UF (which would be one of those ‘good problems’ after seven of the last eight seasons have been disappointments), who says an NFL owner wouldn’t come calling in 2-3 years? My point is that there are question marks with Kelly. As for Gundy, I saw him at my favorite bar (Local Catch on Highway 30-A in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.) this past summer and recently found out he owns a beach house here, which is a 4.5-hour drive northwest of Gainesville. I’m told his wife loves it here and is sick of Stillwater. Also, Gundy loves the hunting in South Georgia and already wants to buy a hunting camp in that area that's less than two hours from Gainesville.
I've been saying it since mid-October -- Gundy is The Guy for the Gators! He is on his way to a sixth double-digit win total in the last eight years at Oklahoma St., where he gains first downs and scores TDs in abundance with mostly 3-star recruits. He would kill it at Florida and is a better fit with fewer questions than Kelly or Frost. And hey, if talking with Gundy and/or Frost when their regular seasons conclude leads Stricklin to stil prefer Kelly, then go back to him with an offer. And if he feels jilted and doesn't want the job at that point, well, then he wasn't the right guy anyway. Lastly, Knoxville sports radio titan Tony Basilio told me on my podcast this week that he's heard that Chris Petersen isn't happy at Washington. 'Coach Pete' apparently doesn't like competing with the Seahawks and doesn't feel UW offers a real college environement being in the big city. My goodness! I wanted Petersen as the UF coach nearly a decade ago. Make him the next target and absolutely blow him away with an offer and see what happens. Remember, very few college football programs own three national titles, but the Gators do. This is still one of the best jobs in all of football -- college or pro. There's no hurry and there's no getting this one wrong.
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NCAAF Week 12 Picks and Predictions
By: Andrew Caley
Week 11 was a heck of a week when it came to intriguing and important matchups on the college football schedule. Week 12 on the other hand, not so much.
While last week’s slate featured countless games with College Football Playoff implications and Top 25 matchups, this week there is just one. The only Top 25 matchup on the board is a Big Ten matchup between in Michigan and Wisconsin. That’s it.
That may have something to do with the fact next week is rivalry week, but either way it means there is slim pickings this week. That isn’t exactly the best scenario for us considering our ho-hum 1-1-1 stretch last week. (The fact North Carolina State didn’t kick that field goal at the end of the game last week still has me baffled, but I digress).
So, in situations like this let’s go back to the basics when it comes to our picks and keep it simple. We may as well start with the only real Game of the Week in Madison.
Michigan hasn’t had a bad season by any means, heck, they are 8-2 and have one of the best defenses in the country. However, their schedule has been softer than a marshmallow, losing both games to decent teams (Michigan State and Penn State) and their offense couldn’t be more one-sided.
The Wolverines offense ranks 94th in the country and 112th against the pass and unfortunately, they have to go up against the only defense in the Big Ten (and maybe the country) when they take on the Badgers.
Wisconsin ranks first in total defense and third in points allowed, but to make matters worse for Michigan they are ranked No. 1 against the run.
While the Badgers aren’t much of a balanced offense either, they are certainly much better than the Wolverines at moving the ball down the field through the air. I think the Badgers will do just enough and will force a few mistakes from the Wolverines.
Additionally, Michigan is just 1-8-1 ATS in its last 10 games versus Wisconsin, and are 0-4 ATS in its last four trips to Madison.
Pick: Wisconsin -7.5
UCF Knights at Temple Owls (+13.5, 55.5)
One of the only reasons I want the College Football Playoff to expand to eight teams is so that a team like UCF could get in.
There just aren’t many teams in the country that are more fun to watch than the Knights and while they have a New Year’s Six bowl game in their sights, nothing would be better than watching them go up against a Power 5 conference team in playoff team.
UCF a perfect 9-0 after last week’s 49-24 over Connecticut, however the Knights were unable to cover the 39-point spread. In fact, they are 0-3-1 ATS in their last four games after starting the season 5-0 ATS. To their credit however, two of those spreads were 39-points or higher and they barely failed to cover each.
A date with Temple may be just what UCF needs to cash another bet.
The Knights own the nation’s top scoring team at 48.6 points per game and are fifth in total yards and get to go up a middling Owls’ defense that ranks 68th in the country. The Knights will still sling the ball around the field, but expect them to lean on their running game a little more.
Adrian Killins Jr. and Otis Anderson are both averaging over eight yards per carry this season and dual threat quarterback McKenzie Milton should all be able to find success on the ground in this matchup.
While Temple has put up more points on the board the last couple of weeks, they still rank 99th in points for and 89th in total offense, while the Knights defense allows just 20.7 points per game.
This is a lookahead spot as UCF has a date with rival USF on the horizon. That can cause a lot of teams to lose focus, but I don’t think that will be the case with the Knights.
Pick: UCF -13.5
Kentucky Wildcats at Georgia Bulldogs (-21.5)
I thought last week's game between Georgia and Auburn was going to be close. Boy, was I wrong.
However, despite the blowout loss, the path to the College Football Playoff for the Bulldogs is very clear. Win and you're in. Obviously, that's easier said than done and they will likely be an underdog to whomever is left standing between Auburn and Alabama, but first things first. Kentucky.
The Wildcats have one their better teams in recent memory, sitting at 7-3 SU and in third place in the SEC East, but the toughest team they have played this year is probalby Mississippi State, who blew them out by 38.
I'm expecting a similar result in this game. The Bulldogs offense can be balanced behind Jake Fromm and the running tandem of Nick Cubb and Sony Michel. That will be hard to stop for Kentucky's 75th ranked defense.
But where Georgia will have the real advantage on the other side of the ball. The Bulldogs swarming defense ranks 5th in total yards and points allowed and should make life hard for the Wildcats and their 100th ranked offense.
The lights were too bright for Georgia last week, but I think Kirby Smart will re-focus his team with their ultimate goal still within reach. The Bulldogs bounce back.
Pick: Georgia -21.5
Last week: 1-1-1
Season to date: 19-12-2 (61.3 percent)
Heisman Odds Update
Well that ended fast. The Heisman Trophy award has become a one-horse race, at least according to the Westgate LV Superbook.
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield has played in back-to-back huge games at Oklahoma State and versus TCU and responded with two of his best performances of the season, to make him the massive favorite to win the most coveted award in college football.
The Superbook now has the Sooners signal caller on the board as ridiculous -2000 chalk to win the Heisman Trophy and it should be no surprise. In the two biggest games of the year for Oklahoma, Mayfield has thrown for 931 yards and eight touchdowns. In two games. Mayfield now has now thrown for 3,559 yards with 31 touchdowns to just five interceptions, while completing 71.2 percent of his passes and if he leads the Sooners to the Playoff, he'll have this locked up.
Mayfield is followed by Stanford running back Bryce Love at 8/1, who led the Cardinal to a big 30-22 win over Washington last week, racking up another 166 yards and three touchdowns. That brings Love's total to 1,622 yards and 15 touchdowns on the season and is still averaging almost nine yards per carry.
The once favorite Saquon Barkley is now third at 15/1 after more tough sledding last week. Barkley has just 142 rushing yards in the last three games.
If you still want to take a flyer on a long shot, maybe consider looking Arizona's Khalil Tate or Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor, who are both on the board at 25/1.
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Saturday's Week 12 NCAAF Top 25 Betting Cheat Sheet
We enter Week 12 of the NCAA football betting season, with some key conference contests on the board and battle for the Victory Bell. If you don’t have time to handicap Saturday’s biggest matchups, use our college football cheat sheet to point you in the right direction.
(12) Central Florida Knights at Temple Owls (+13.5, 55.5)
* The Knights average 15.05 yards per completed pass, the 11th-best rate among FBS teams. UCF QB McKenzie Milton has accounted for nine touchdowns (six passing, three rushing) over his past three games.
* The Owls rank outside the top 100 in Division I in both rushing yards per game (124.3) and yards per carry (3.5). The Temple defense averages 2.8 sacks per game, 22nd in the country.
LINE HISTORY: The Owls opened this game at most books as 14 point home dogs and have been bet down slightly to +13.5. The total hit the betting board at 57 and was quickly dropped to 56.
* Knights are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a ATS loss.
* Under is 4-1 in Knights last 5 road games.
* Under is 6-1 in Owls last 7 home games.
(18) Michigan Wolverines at (4) Wisconsin Badgers (-7.5, 39.5)
* Wolverines RB Karan Higdon has just 95 rushing yards on 25 attempts over his previous two road games. No team has been stingier on third-down defense than Michigan, which has limited foes to a 23.7-percent conversion rate.
* The Badgers have been the most prolific third-down team in the nation, converting at a 52-percent success rate. Wisconsin averages 35:42 time of possession per game, behind only Navy among FBS programs.
LINE HISTORY: Oddsmakers opened this Big Ten clash with the Badgers as 10 point home chalk and money coming in the road team has seen that number drop as low as -7.5. The total opened at 41 and money on the under has lowered that number to 39.5.
* Wolverines are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games following a ATS win.
* Wolverines are 1-8-1 ATS in their last 10 meetings.
* Over is 10-1 in Wolverines last 11 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
* Over is 9-2 in Badgers last 11 conference games.
Southern Methodist Mustangs at (17) Memphis Tigers (-12.5, 71.5)
* The Mustangs have a plus-12 turnover differential through 10 games, the sixth-best rate in the nation. RB Trey Quinn has just 134 rushing yards over his past two games after reaching triple digits in each of his previous four contests.
* Tigers QB Riley Ferguson has erupted for 1,777 passing yards with 18 touchdowns passes against just two interceptions over his previous five games. Memphis has generated 22 turnovers, tied with Cal for eighth-most in Division I.
LINE HISTORY: Memphis hit the board at most shops as 11.5 point home faves and have been bet up to an even -12. The total opened at 75.5 and money has been coming in on the under all week driving the line down as low as 71.5.
* Tigers are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
* Favorite is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
* Over is 9-1 in Tigers last 10 home games.
(14) Texas Christian Horned Frogs at Texas Tech Red Raiders (+7, 56.5)
* The Horned Frogs have held opposing FBS quarterbacks to a 50.7-percent completion rate, the eighth-lowest mark in the nation. TCU QB Kenny Hill has thrown just one touchdown pass over his previous three games.
* The Red Raiders are the fifth-worst team in all of Division I in red-zone scoring, converting at a 68.1-percent rate. Texas Tech ranks first in the Big 12 in turnovers (22) and overall turnover differential (plus-10).
LINE HISTORY: The Horned Frogs opened as low as 6-point road faves and that number was bet up as high as +7.5 before fading back at most shops to +7. The total hit the betting board at 58 and is down slightly to 57.5.
* Horned Frogs are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 meetings at Texas Tech.
* Under is 6-0 in Horned Frogs last 6 games overall.
* Under is 4-1 in Red Raiders last 5 vs. a team with a winning record.
Virginia Cavaliers at (2) Miami Hurricanes (-18.5, 50.5)
* Cavaliers LB Micah Kiser's 106 tackles rank first in the ACC and fourth in the nation. Virginia's defense has limited the opposition to a 71.4-percent success rate in 28 red-zone trips, the seventh-best mark in Division I.
* The Hurricanes have held FBS quarterbacks to a 49.8-percent completion rate, the third-best mark in the country. Miami is one of only six FBS teams to force at least 24 turnovers so far this season.
LINE HISTORY: Oddsmakers opened the Hurricanes as low as 17-point home chalk and money coming in on 'The U' has seen that line as high as -19.5 before fading back to 19. The total opened at 50.5 and has yet to move off the opening number.
* Hurricanes are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games following a ATS win.
* Under is 7-0 in Hurricanes last 7 games overall.
* Underdog is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
* Cavaliers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings in Miami.
(19) Mississippi State Bulldogs at Arkansas Razorbacks (+13, 57.5)
* The Bulldogs either score or extend drives on 47.3 percent of their third-down situations, 10th-best in FBS. Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald has thrown just six TD passes over his past seven games, but has added eight rushing scores in that span.
* The Razorbacks have permitted opposing teams to convert 46.8 percent of their third-down opportunities; only nine Division I teams have fared worse. QB Austin Allen is in line for another start Saturday following Cole Kelley's DWI arrest earlier this week.
LINE HISTORY: The Bulldogs opened this SEC East matchup as 11.5 road chalk and money coming in on the road team Friday morning saw that line jump to an even +13. The total hit the betting board at 59 and money coming in on the under has driven that line down to 57.5 at most shops.
* Razorbacks are 0-6-1 ATS in their last 7 home games.
* Razorbacks are 1-8 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
* Over is 5-1 in Bulldogs last 6 games following a straight up loss.
* Over is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings.
UL Monroe Warhawks at (6) Auburn Tigers (-36.5, 68)
* Warhawks QB Caleb Evans has thrown for 761 yards while accounting for eight touchdowns (six passing, two rushing) over his past two games. UL Monroe has scored at least 45 points in each of its four wins while reaching 30 just once in its five losses.
* The Tigers have scored on 41 of their 44 red-zone visits in 2017, its 93.2-percent success rate 11th-best among FBS teams. Auburn averages 35.6 penalty yards per game, seventh-fewest in the country.
LINE HISTORY: Auburn opened as high as massive 37-point home chalk and money quickly came in on the road team bringing that line down to -35.5 early in the week before rebounding and settling at -36.5. The total opened at 68 and has yet to move off the opening number.
* Warhawks are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
* Tigers are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games.
* Over is 7-0 in Warhawks last 7 games following a straight up win.
* Over is 7-0 in Tigers last 7 games overall.
Texas Longhorns at (25) West Virginia Mountaineers (-3.5, 53)
* Linebacker Malik Jefferson, who has totaled 93 tackles, including 10 for losses, leads a Texas defense which is the Big 12’s second best in terms of the fewest rushing (115.0) and total yards (367.3) allowed and also is the second stingiest with 21.9 points permitted per contest.
* Will Grier (fourth nationally with 344 passing yards per outing) and the rest of the Mountaineers’ offense, which ranks 12th nationally in scoring (39.0) and seventh in total yards (513.9).
LINE HISTORY: The Mountaineers opened as field goal home faves and has been bet up slightly to -3.5. The total hit the betting board at 55.5 and money on the under has driven that number down to 53.
* Longhorns are 4-1-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
* Under is 6-1 in Longhorns last 7 games following a straight up win.
* Under is 23-10 in Mountaineers last 33 conference games.
Illinois Fighting Illini at (8 ) Ohio State Buckeyes (-41, 53.5)
* The Illini lead Division I in forced fumbles per game (1.6), but have recovered just nine of 16 for the season. Illinois quarterbacks have combined to throw 17 interceptions, second-most in the nation.
* The Buckeyes have gone 20-2 in the month of November under head coach Urban Meyer. Six of Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett's seven interceptions on the season have come over the past two games.
LINE HISTORY: Oddsmakers opened up as 38.5 point home chalk in this Big Ten battle, money coming in on the home team has pushed this number as high as -41 at most shops. The total opened at 56 and money on the under has driven that number down to 53.
* Fighting Illini are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games.
* Fighting Illini are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 meetings in Ohio State.
* Over is 7-1 in Buckeyes last 8 conference games.
* Over is 6-0 in Buckeyes last 6 games following a straight up win.
Kentucky Wildcats at (7) Georgia Bulldogs (-21.5, 51.5)
* The Wildcats have allowed opponents to score on 90.9 percent of their red-zone trips, the 10th-worst rate among FBS schools. Kentucky RB Benny Snell Jr. has 472 rushing yards and nine touchdowns over his previous three games.
* The Bulldogs have made good on 97.4 percent of their red-zone visits (37-of-38), the top rate in Division I. Freshman QB Jake Fromm ranks fourth in the SEC in overall passing efficiency at 163.4.
LINE HISTORY: The Bulldogs hit the board as high as 22 point home chalk against their SEC East counterparts and that line has been bet down slightly to -21.5. The total hit the betting board at 50.5 and is up at most shops to 51.5.
* Wildcats are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
* Bulldogs are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up loss.
* Wildcats are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
* Over is 5-1 in Wildcats last 6 conference games.
(5) Oklahoma Sooners at Kansas Jayhawks (+37, 70.5)
* The Sooners have surrendered an average of 33.8 points over their last seven games, but have gone 6-1 in that stretch. Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield has accounted for 14 touchdowns (12 passing, two rushing) over his previous three outings.
* The Jayhawks have converted 93.3 percent of their red-zone visits into points, good for 10th among FBS teams. Kansas has committed 23 turnovers; only four Division I schools have accumulated more.
LINE HISTORY: The Big 12 leading Sooners opened as huge 35-point road chalk and that wasn't high enough for bettors as money on the road team pushed that line up to +37. The total opened at 70.5 and is down slightly to an even 70.
* Sooners are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games following a ATS win.
* Jayhawks are 1-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
* Under is 4-1 in Jayhawks last 5 games following a straight up loss.
* Sooners are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
Kansas State Wildcats at (13) Oklahoma State Cowboys (-19.5, 65)
* FBS opponents pass the ball a whopping 57.2 percent of the time against the Wildcats, the highest such ratio in the nation. Kansas State ranks 115th out of 129 Division I schools in third-down success rate (31.6 percent).
* Cowboys RB Justice Hill (Big 12-leading 1,198 rushing yards) has reached the 100-yard plateau in six of his last seven games. Oklahoma has picked off 15 passes this season, tops in the conference and tied for seventh-most in Division I.
LINE HISTORY: Oddsmakers installed the Cowboys as 21-point home faves, money on the road team has brought that line down to -19.5. The total hit the betting board at 65 and been bet down a full point to 64.
* Wildcats are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss.
* Over is 5-1 in Cowboys last 6 games following a straight up win.
* Over is 5-0 in the last 5 meetings in Oklahoma State.
* Over is 10-1 in the last 11 meetings.
Navy Midshipman at (9) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-17.5, 58.5)
* Midshipmen sophomore QB Malcolm Perry ran for 282 yards and four TDs in his first career start but suffered an ankle injury late in the win over SMU and is questionable for this week. Navy ranks eighth nationally in third-down conversion rate at 47.6 percent.
* Fighting Irish QB Brandon Wimbush (1,406 passing yards, 12 TDs, 4 INTs) is coming off the first multi-interception game of his career in last week's loss to Miami. Notre Dame ranks 15th in the country in red-zone scoring rate (92.5 percent).
LINE HISTORY: Notre Dame opened as 17.5-point home faves and briefly went up to -18, before returning to the opening number late in the week. The total hit the board as high as 62 and by the end of the week was at 59 at most shops.
* Midshipmen are 2-0-2 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
* Over is 6-1 in the last 7 meetings.
* Midshipmen are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 meetings in Notre Dame.
Maryland Terrapins at Michigan State Spartans (-16, 43)
* The Terrapins have converted just 30.5 percent of their third downs (119th out of 129 FBS teams) while allowing opponents to craft a 48.7-percent success rate (123rd). Maryland also ranks outside the top 100 in completion percentage (55.2).
* The Spartans have played the third-toughest schedule of any FBS team in the CFP, with their opponents sporting a collective 57-30 record. Michigan State averages 34 minutes time of possession per game, the third-best mark in the country.
LINE HISTORY: The Spartans opened the week as 17-point home chalk at most books, money on the underdog brought that number down to -16. The total hit the betting board at 46.5 and money on the under drove that line down to 43.
* Terrapins are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
* Spartans are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 home games.
* Over is 6-0 in Terrapins last 6 road games.
* Over is 9-1 in Terrapins last 10 games following a straight up loss of more than 20 points.
Nebraska Cornhuskers at (11) Penn State Nittany Lions (-26, 55.5)
* The Cornhusker defense has generated just 12 sacks through 10 games, fewer than all but nine FBS teams. Nebraska QB Tanner Lee has thrown for just 399 yards with three TDs and three INTs in his past two games.
* The Nittany Lions have scored 20 or more points in 20 straight games, the team's longest streak since 1993-95. Penn State ranks tied for fourth in Division I in overall turnover differential at plus-13.
LINE HISTORY: Oddsmakers installed the Nittany Lions as 24-point home faves and money on the home team bumped that line up to -26 by the end of the week. The total opened at 57 and was bet down as low as 55, before fading back up to 56.
* Cornhuskers are 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 games following a straight up loss.
* Nittany Lions are 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
* Over is 5-1-1 in Cornhuskers last 7 vs. a team with a winning record.
* Over is 8-2 in Nittany Lions last 10 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
(21) Louisiana State Tigers at Tennessee Volunteers (+15.5, 45.5)
* The Tigers have allowed just 10 first-half touchdowns over their previous 14 games dating back to the end of last season. RB Derrius Guice has racked up 494 rushing yards and four scores over his previous three games.
* The Volunteers have forced nine turnovers over their past four contests, boasting a plus-three turnover margin over that stretch. Tennessee ranks 122th among FBS teams in third-down conversion rate (30.2 percent).
LINE HISTORY: Tennessee opened at most shops as 14-point home dogs and that number wasn't high enough for bettors as money on the road team pushed that number up to +15.5 by Friday. The total hit the boards at 46 and at most books is down slightly to 45.5.
* Tigers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
* Volunteers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games.
* Tigers are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 meetings in Tennessee.
* Under is 5-0 in Volunteers last 5 home games.
(22) NC State Wolfpack at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (-1.5, 63)
* The Wolfpack have scored points on just 72.1 of their red-zone opportunities, the ninth-worst mark in Division I. RB Nyheim Hines has four 100-yard rushing efforts and five touchdowns in NC State's last four victories.
* The Demon Deacons rank 12th among FBS schools in red-zone conversion rate (93 percent). Wake Forest is sixth nationally in total tackles for loss (85), and are one of 16 Division I teams to compile at least 300 yards lost via tackles.
LINE HISTORY: Wake Forest opened this ACC Atlantic division matchup as 1.5-home chalk and the line hasn't moved off the opening number. The total opened at most shops at 63.5 and is down slightly to an even 63.
* Demon Deacons are 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 conference games.
* Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings in Wake Forest.
* Wolfpack are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 meetings in Wake Forest.
* Home team is 17-4 ATS in their last 21 meetings.
UCLA Bruins at (10) Southern California Trojans (-16, 71.5)
* Bruins QB Josh Rosen (3,094 yards, 21 TDs, 9 INTs) returned from a one-game concussion absence to throw for 381 yards and a score in last week's win over Arizona State. UCLA averages 74 penalty yards per game, sixth-most in the country.
* Opponents score on just 70 percent of their trips inside the Trojans' 20, the fifth-lowest success rate in Division I. QB Sam Darnold has thrown 15 touchdown passes in six games since being held without a TD throw against Washington State on Sept. 29.
LINE HISTORY: Oddsmakers opened the Trojans as 15-point home faves over their Pacific-12 rivals and that number wasn't high enough for bettors as money on the home team pushed the line to -16. The total hit the betting board late in the week at 71.5 and has yet to move.
* Bruins are 1-11 ATS in their last 12 games following a ATS win.
* Under is 4-0-1 in the last 5 meetings in Southern California.
* Under is 9-1-1 in the last 11 meetings.
* Bruins are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 meetings in Southern California.
California Golden Bears at (23) Stanford Cardinal (-15.5, 55.5)
* Ross Bowers helped the Bears snap a two-game losing skid by going 24-of-30 for 259 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. Cal has lost 11 consecutive Pac-12 road games dating back to Sept. 26, 2015 at Washington.
* Bryce Love has 15 rushing touchdowns to lead the Cardinal. The offense received a boost against the Huskies from K.J. Costello, who threw for a career-high 211 yards without a turnover in his third career start.
LINE HISTORY: The Golden Bears opened as 17.5 road dogs for this Pacific-12 showdown and at most books that number has been dropped to +15.5. The total opened at 55.5 and has yet to move off the opening number.
* Golden Bears are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 road games.
* Under is 4-1 in Golden Bears last 5 games following a straight up win.
* Under is 5-0 in Cardinal last 5 games following a straight up win.
* Golden Bears are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
Utah Utes at (15) Washington Huskies (-17.5, 46.5)
* The Utes are tied for eighth in Division I in turnovers gained (22) but are 124th out of 129 teams in turnovers lost (23). Seven of QB Tyler Huntley's nine interceptions this season have come in losses to Arizona State (four) and Washington State (three).
* Huskies quarterbacks have completed 68.9 percent of their attempts to date, the fifth-best rate among FBS schools. Washington is one of only four Division I teams allowing 2.8 yards per carry or fewer.
LINE HISTORY: Washington opened as 17.5 home chalk and the line briefly dropped to -17 midweek, before returning to the opening number. The total hit the betting board at 47 and has been bet down slightly at most shops to 46.5.
* Utes are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games.
* Over is 5-1 in Utes last 6 games following a ATS loss.
* Underdog is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
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The Dozen: Avoiding Disaster
By Tony Mejia
It's the calm before the final storm as far as the college football schedule goes. What we'll see beginning on Thanksgiving may as well be the gridiron version of feast week, but there are still some strong offerings this week and obstacles must be overcome by the heavy favorites. Who won't handle business? We begin with the only matchup between ranked teams, which rates just ahead of the QB showdown everyone is talking about. Here's everything you need to know to handicap Saturday's top matchups:
1. Michigan at Wisconsin: Expect this game to be one up front. Both teams are ranked among the nation's top three defensive units, so the element of surprise is likely to matter greatly. Who is going to be less conservative? The Wolverines rank No. 3 while the Badgers are first in total defense, and while the level of competition may not be considered all that great, these units have gotten it done consistently and must be respected. Will Jim Harbaugh show off a bit of a gambler's heart on the road and trust talented freshman Brandon Peters, whose numbers are great in his two starts (329 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs), but will be playing in the most hostile environment he's seen to date? Will the Badgers have faith in their QB Alex Hornibrook after he threw a pair of pick-sixes last week, giving him a disconcerting 11 in Big Ten play? How long the leash is on these guys is likely going to decide this one.
After a night filled with rain and some snow, conditions are actually expected to be above freezing amid sunny skies if my AccuWeather app lives up to billing. The Wolverines won last year's game 14-7 in Ann Arbor and Wisconsin only has LB T.J. Edwards back with T.J Watt and Vince Biegel now in the NFL, so is this the game where their exit finally makes its mark. The crowd at Camp Randall should be a factor as the Badgers attempt to close out their seventh perfect season at home since 2003 to try and clear the first major hurdle of a three-step process to try and land in the national playoffs with a perfect record. The Badgers will definitely miss WR Quintez Cephus, but have worked without him already. Behind a tremendous offensive line, freshman RB Jonathan Taylor has been the most prolific back this season but starting center Tyler Biadasz has been limited in practices. Michigan is hoping top rusher Karan Higdon can play through an ankle injury since they'll need his toughness badly here. Top corner Lavert Hill is in concussion protocol and a major question mark. Stud DE Rashaan Gary is likely to play through a shoulder issue, which makes NT Maurice Hurst even more of a force.
2. UCLA at USC: It's Josh Rosen at Sam Darnold here, or at least it seems that way. They'll be just two of 22 on the field at the same time, but you're unlikely to hear about anyone else. While Darnold entered the season as the presumed No. 1 pick, there's plenty of sentiment Darnold has passed him since he has fewer interceptions and throws a better deep ball. Rosen has answered some concerns over his attitude by being there for teammates all season, playing hurt and bloodied up. He helped take down Arizona State last week and can still get the Bruins to a bowl game if he pulls off an upset here or a Rose Bowl win over Cal next week.
The Trojans are playing for far more. Despite the Darnold dismay, haveey've lost once in league play, having already clinched the Pac-12 South and a berth in the championship game against whatever team wins the North. USC has the more talented group, but that's been the case before and Jim Mora had won the first three meetings as Bruins head coach before Clay Helton stepped in at USC to take the last two. The Trojans have been down a few key offensive linemen and hope future pro Rasheem Green can play, but will have Uchenna Nwosu and top corner Iman Marshall available to try and slow down UCLA. The Bruins look to have key safety Jaleel Wadood back after he sat out last week with a neck injury. The Bruins' No. 1 receiver Darren Andrews, who scored nine TDs this season, tore his ACL earlier this month, making Rosen's task of getting on the board with a win against USC even tougher.
3. Virginia at Miami: This one is all about the U. It's been a great second season for Bronco Mendenhall in Charlottesville since the Cavaliers are bowl eligible for the first time since '11 and playing with house money entering this one and next Friday's date with Virginia Tech. Mendenhall lost to Mark Richt's Hurricanes 34-14 in last season's home finale, so there's some payback involved in this one, since Miami is playing to remain unbeaten and continue momentum on their Senior Day, having turned Hard Rock Stadium into a genuine homefield advantage again.
Losing is no dealbreaker since inclusion in the college football playoff is likely to come down to beating Clemson in the ACC Championship game anyway, which is why you have to be wary here laying the points. After such an impressive performance against Notre Dame, it's easy to throw on that turnover chain, but the atmosphere is going to be different. There won't be that same sense of putting on a show and sending a message in a night game, but rather, staving off an upset in 80 degree weather. The Cavs have a physical defense and that happens to be Mendenhall's specialty, so this is a strong test for QB Malik Rosier to continue proving doubters wrong. Miami has won three of four in this series and last lost at home in 2011.
4. Arizona at Oregon: Rich Rodriguez has bounced back from his first losing season and now looks to pay back the Ducks for a 51-13 Pac-12 title game loss suffered in his most successful season back in '14. The opportunity is there, should QB Khalil Tate finish strong on the road here and next week at Arizona State, for him to get an invite to Manhattan for the Heisman ceremony. In last week's 49-28 win over Oregon State, Tate broke out for his fifth 70-plus yard TD run of the season, and has done it in all but one of the last six games. He finished with 206 rushing yards, but only threw the ball seven times and was picked off once. He'll face a rejuvenated Ducks defense that gets back top LB Troy Dye, who had been in a walking boot. They rank 30th in the nation against the run.
Oregon really benefited from its bye week and is expected to get back talented sophomore QB Justin Herbert, who broke his collarbone on Sept. 30. The Ducks have gone 1-4 without him but can still reach a bowl in Willie Taggart's first season if they win here or against Oregon State next week. With Herbert back, that seems likely, and could set this up as a shootout since he can really sling it and Oregon would likely be in a far better place, record-wise, had he not been injured. Despite being just 5-5 and Tate's electric presence, the Ducks are a 3-point favorite at home and this total has been set at 76.
5. Kentucky at Georgia: Fun fact, there's only one SEC game on this list, and it wouldn't be this high if it weren't for the curiosity over how the Dawgs are going to bounce back from tasting their first loss. Even after being crushed by Auburn, they'll get their shot at a national title in the conference championship game provided they handle business as a heavy favorite the next two weeks. Most of the league's big boys are resting up with overmatched foes, although Nick Saban will be scouting out Mercer's screen game. Georgia dropped consecutive games twice in Kirby Smart's first season, only following up a loss with a win after lengthy preparation prior to a Liberty Bowl win over TCU. He's looking to prove he can get a team refocused to rebound with a conventional bounce-back win for the first time as a head coach, coming in 0-for-2. Freshman QB Jake Fromm was harrassed after leading UGA to a touchdown on its opening drive, so this is a chance to demonstrate some resiliency for him and his offensive line.
Kentucky has won seven games in consecutive seasons for the first time since Rich Brooks departed in '08 and is now looking to shock everyone by running the table and posting a 10-win season if it claims a bowl victory. The Wildcats are 3-1 on the road, but got trounced 45-7 in their most challenging game at Mississippi State. Sophomore RB Benny Snell became UK's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns last week and will look to again spark a rushing attack that did enough damage to put a scare in Georgia last season, losing just 27-24. Most of the key cogs from last year's defense are back for Kentucky, so if there's any hangover from last week's loss, this could certainly get interesting. The 'Dawgs have covered four straight in this series.
6. Cal at Stanford: These next two games are lumped together given the crowded state of the Pac-12 North, as a champion and foe for USC won't be decided until next week. This year's "Big Game" also sees Justin Wilcox looking to get bowl eligible in his first season, something predecessor Sonny Dykes only managed once. Getting it in this rivarly game, on the road at the "Farm" would be all the sweeter, especially since they haven't managed a win in this series since a 34-28 upset back in '09. The Bears opened the season winning at North Carolina but have gone 0-3 since SU and ATS, getting blown out at Oregon, Washington and Colorado. Maybe staying in-state will help, since they'll have one last crack at a bowl berth next week at UCLA should they fail here. Cal's last three games have all gone over the posted total.
Stanford needs help from Washington next week since the Cougs, but beat the Huskies 30-22 last Friday night to create an opportunity to salvage a down season. Bryce Love ran for three TDs to revitalize his Heisman chances, while redshirt freshman QB K.J. Costello threw for a career-high 211 yards. That type of versatility is going to be key against a Cal defense that figures to be well-disguised but gave up 45 points to Arizona and then 44 at Colorado in its first two weeks without top LB Devante Downs, who was lost for the season in mid-October. Last year's game finished 45-31, and the Cardinal has been perfect under David Shaw, scoring at least 35 points in each of the past four games, a streak that began with a 63-13 home win in '13.
7. Utah at Washington: If Cal manages to upset Stanford, the Huskies can win the North by taking care of business here and at home in next week's Apple Cup. They'll know the result by the time this kicks off, so there could be a buzzkill effect if the results come in as expected. Then again, Chris Petersen's teams are typically far too disciplined for that and have followed up their two previous in-season losses over the last two years by scoring 44 points in wins. The Huskies will be without suspended middle linebacker Azeem Victor, who was arrested last weekend, so the defense likely won't be up to its usual standards. Coming off their worst performance of the season, it will be interesting to see how they respond.
The Utes are in the midst of a down season after following up a 4-0 start with a four-game losing streak, but they typically make a habit of hanging around. Kyle Whittingham won in his last trip to Seattle in Petersen's second season, but Washington returned the favor last year, 31-24. Quarterback Tyler Huntley can make plays with his feet and his arm, but missed top target Darren Carrington last week and could against be without him due to a leg injury. Defensive lineman Kyle Fitts and guard Jordan Agasiva may not play, which would seriously impact Utah's chances to pull an upset. A loss here would require the Utes to beat Colorado at home next week to four, which would make 12 in 14 years.
8. Navy at Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish close out their home schedule with this game and play at Stanford next week, but even though they landed at No. 8 in the latest CFP rankings, they need a significant amount of help and some style points to overcome last week's massive disappointment in South Florida. Both teams are looking to run and then strike vial the element of surprise via the passing game, but their styles on the ground are drastically different. It's likely that rain is going to affect the Midshipmen more since they pitch so much more often, but this is certainly a game where fumbles and missed tackles are likely to swing matters.
Irish QB Brandon Wimbush was benched after tossing three picks against the Canes, but he'll be back out there looking to bounce back against a vulnerable Navy secondary if the weather cooperates. There figures to be a heavy dose of Josh Adams whether there's rain or shine. Meanwhile, Navy has major issues with Zack Abey nursing a bum shoulder and Malcolm Perry, who took over last week after typically lining up at slotback, doubtful to play due to an ankle injury. He ran for 282 yards and 4 touchdowns in last week's win over SMU, snapping a three-game losing streak in a 43-40 thriller. Navy doesn't disclose injuries, so unless work leaks out, it's hard to like its chances to pull an upset with its top playmakers potentially sidelined. Navy beat Brian Kelly in his first season back in 2010 and won last year's game 28-27. The Irish are 76-13-1 all-time in the series.
9. Fresno State at Wyoming: The big question here revolves around prized QB prospect Josh Allen, who may miss his first collegiate start for Wyoming due to a shoulder injury. The Cowboys suffered their only Mountain West to unbeaten Mountain Division leaders Boise State, so they have no room for error. Fresno State has a cushion in the West and may reach the league title game regardless of what happens here, but since it faces Boise next week, it can then save all its tricks for some hardware if it takes care of business here.
The Bulldogs do their damage on defense, but Wyoming actually comes in ranking first in the conference in points allowed. While Allen's availability won't be known until closer to kickoff, it's likely that Fresno would contain what has been an inconsistent Cowboys offense if he's unable to go. Since Allen hadn't practiced at all through Wednesday, backup Nick Smith would be prepared to play, but saddled with a major challenge. Head coach Craig Bohl won his only meeting with the Bulldogs at Fresno 45-17 back in '14, but now has to face esteemed counterpart Jeff Tedford, who has executed a swift, impressive turnaround.
10. Nebraska at Penn State: Although a lot of the shine is off this season for the Nittany Lions after grueling back-to-back losses to the Buckeyes and Spartans, they can still pull off the first back-to-back 11-win seasons since Joe Paterno had one last run nearly a decade ago. Nebraska has actually won the last four meetings between the schools, but that was prior to James Franklin's watch, so when you combine that with it being Senior Day in Happyy Valley, they're unlikely to suffer a letdown. Nebraska, on the other hand, appears to have quit on Mike Riley and his staff, which could make next week's home date against rival Iowa quite the scene. After being obliterated 54-21 at Minnesota last week, losing here guarantees the 'Huskers won't have a winning record for the first time since '07.
The Nittany Lions have had major offensive line issues and are hoping to get lineman Ryan Bates back in there for a boost. LB Manny Bowen was suspended for a violation of team rules. Nebraska is expected to start Tanner Lee after he cleared concussion protocol, which moved the massive line a little further under four touchdowns since backup Patrick O'Brien is so inexperienced. Nebraska's only prayer here is to hit a few big passing plays, avoid turnovers and keep Saquon Barkley from getting going, which would mean that Penn State's problems up front in surrendering tackles for loss would spring up again. Rain will be a factor here, which combined with an early sunset, will make for ugly conditions that could affect both teams given their likely interference with both the read-option and downfield passing game.
11. Texas Tech vs. TCU: The final two games that command the most attention both come out of the Big 12 and don't feature Oklahoma, which has a road date against winless Kansas that would sew up their berth in the league championship game. The Sooners are rightfully favored by 37.5 points. TCU remains the favorite to play Oklahoma again since it owns head-to-head wins over the teams its locked in a second-place tie with, Oklahoma State and West Virginia. Both will be rooting for the Red Raiders here, hoping Kliff Kingsbury can avoid a Friday must-win at Texas by taking care of business here to earn their fourth bowl berth in six years. It's expected to be extremely windy here, which is likely to affect both fast-paced offenses.
Gary Patterson will be relying on true freshman backup QB Shawn Robinson, who will replace veteran senior Kenny Hill, who did not make the trip to Lubbock for what appear to be disciplinary reasons. Strong safety Niko Small and kicker Jonathan Song also didn't travel, while LBs Travin Howard and Montrel Wilson did but will be game-time decisions. Leading rusher Darius Anderson is out with a foot injury. The Red Raiders also have some concerns regarding WR Derrick Willies. The Horned Frogs have had issues with Texas Tech in the past, losing at home last year in double overtime. Patterson has been around long enough to that Kingsbury was starting in Lubbock when he got this gig, but never schemed against him since TCU wasn't a Big 12 member in 2001-02. To avoid falling behind 3-2 in head-to-head meetings, he'll need his short-handed team to bounce back in the face of attrition to avoid a third straight road defeat that would derail their season.
12. Kansas State at Oklahoma State: The Cowboys just have to keep winning and see where that leaves them when the dust settles. Luckily, they have slumping K-State and Kansas coming through town this week and next, making it likely they'll be sitting pretty if the Horned Frogs stumble. Wind is going to be a factor in Stillwater as well, but shouldn't be a detriment to Oklahoma State given how well it has run the ball this season. QB Mason Rudolph is the nation's leading passer and faces the worst-ranked pass defense among all Power-5 schools that needs all the help it can get from Mother Nature here. With a 310-yard outing, Rudolph would reach 4,000 for the season.
If wind gusts are indeed a concern, K-State is equipped to win a grind-it-out game given its ability to control possession and slow down the tempo, but it remains to be seen if QB Alex Delton returns to the lineup after missing time. Senior Jesse Ertz hasn't played in over a month due to a knee issue, so redshirt freshman Skylar Thompson is likely to get another start. Bill Snyder hasn't missed making a bowl since returning to the sideline in 2009, but needs a win here or home next Saturday against upstart Iowa State to keep that streak intact. In that span, Oklahoma State has won five of seven meetings, but never by more than 10 points, making this 20-point spread a potential wake-up call to his team, according to Snyder.
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