The good news -- I went 10-1 last week picking the games straight up. The unbelieveably bad news -- I went 0-5-1 against the spread. This week, I'll try to get the spread picks right before I pull a Costanza and go against my instincts. Here we go (all lines as of Thursday afternoon):
ILLINOIS STATE AT NORTHWESTERN (no line)
SOUTH DAKOTA AT MINNESOTA (no line)
WESTERN ILLINOIS AT PURDUE (no line)
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS AT ILLINOIS (no line)
STRAIGHT UP PICKS: ALL THE BIG TEN TEAMS
SAN JOSE AT WISCONSIN (-35)
Well, here's another one I'm going to lose. 35 points is a lot, but Wisconsin won by at least half that against a team with a pulse on the road, so I think they can pull it off. If you bet on this game, you're either a Badger and
/or a degenerate.
STRAIGHT UP AND SPREAD PICKS: WISCONSIN - MISS OF THE WEEK
FLORIDA ATLANTIC v. MICHIGAN STATE (-28) AT FORD FIELD
I'd say this would be a home crowd for Michigan State, but with ticket sales around 25,000 for this game currently, the Spartans will be lucky if it's much of one. I think State will put up a lot of points and win, but the pass defense is still shaky enough for me to shy away from a spread pick.
STRAIGHT UP PICK: MSU SPREAD PICK: FAU
MICHIGAN AT NOTRE DAME (-4)
Oof. One team's fanbase will be obnoxious when this game is done, and the other's will be extremely obnoxious. Notre Dame's defense played well at Purdue, with the offense turning in an adequate effort. At Michigan, Denard Robinson turned in his best game yet, and possibly the best one he'll ever have. Even if Robinson slips a bit, he should still be healthy enough at this point in the season to help Michigan past the Fighting Irish.
STRAIGHT UP AND SPREAD PICKS: MICHIGAN
IOWA STATE AT IOWA (-14)
A dangerous pick no matter what the spread is, given Iowa's proclivity to self-destruct in this rivalry about a third of the time. Bet at your own risk, but my hunch is that the Hawkeyes' defense is too experienced to allow a meltdown, and Stanzi keeps the Rick Sixes (copyright: BHGP) to a minimum (read: 2). Iowa covers.
STRAIGHT UP AND SPREAD PICKS: IOWA
PENN STATE AT ALABAMA (-11.5)
The injuries/suspensions have broken well in Penn State's favor, with Mark Ingram still out and defensive end Marcell Darius suspended for receiving improper benefits. The crux here is an almost all-new starting defense for Alabama against a freshman quarterback in Robert Bolden and a green Penn State offensive line. A raucous Tuscaloosa crowd equals a two touchdown victory for the Tide.
STRAIGHT UP AND SPREAD PICK: ALABAMA
MIAMI AT OHIO STATE (-9.5)
Yes, Jacory Harris is awesome. However, the Ohio State fans on Saturday afternoon will make The Gathering of the Juggalos look like a debutante ball, and with Terrelle Pryor now given the green light (he had more than 20 passing attempts against Marshall), I think the Buckeyes win this one decisively.
STRAIGHT UP AND SPREAD PICK: OHIO STATE - LOCK OF THE WEEK
YEAR TO DATE:
STRAIGHT UP RECORD: 10-1
SPREAD RECORD: 0-5-1
LOCK OF THE WEEK: 1-0 straight up, 0-1 against the spread
MISS OF THE WEEK: 0-1 straight up and against the spread