Posted: 1:00 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013
By Brett Ludwiczak
In the last year of college football action MC&J; has seen anything and everything along the road to compiling at 103-90-2 record ATS so far. Last week was no different as we got the week off to a rough start with a loss on the UCLA/Utah game by a hook, the complete miss on the Maryland/Florida State game, and a late loss on the spread of the Washington/Stanford game. While all that seems like it would be pretty rough to handle, it was all made easier to stomach by the Buckeyes not only coming from behind to win, but getting a miracle cover on the last play of the game. Like a Bosa, right?
With the Buckeyes on a bye this week and a birthday to celebrate, I threw in a couple extra national games as a gift to the readers. Now whether the gift is an ugly sweater or a copy of GTA V underneath the wrapping, we'll just have to wait and find out. Either way, thanks for a great first year and I'm looking forward to many more to come.
Last Week ATS: 4-6 ATS (2-3 National, 2-3 B1G)
Season ATS: 35-39-2 (15-15-1 National, 20-24-1 B1G)
Rutgers vs. #8 Louisville (-19) - Thursday 7:30 PM EST - ESPN
Somebody in the AAC scheduling office must be taking the Rutgers move to the B1G really hard, because just a few days after the Scarlet Knights won in triple-overtime 55-52 at SMU, they have to travel to Louisville to take on the undefeated Cardinals. While normally we see Rutgers teams with a strong defense and a suspect offense, this year we are getting the opposite. Now the Rutgers defense has the unenviable task of trying to slow down Teddy Bridgewater and the rest of the Louisville offense. But how good is Louisville? There is no doubt that Louisville is a mighty fine football team, but are they really 19 points better than a solid Rutgers squad. The Cardinals defense has allowed a FBS-best 6.8 points per game but the opposition hasn't been terribly challenging. Rutgers QB Gary Nova is no Bridgewater, but he still can sling it and I can see him finding some holes in the Louisville defense. While the short week hurts Rutgers, I think they at least keep it respectable.
Louisville 45 Rutgers 31
#25 Missouri vs. #7 Georgia (-8.5) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN
If Georgia suffers anymore injuries Mark Richt is going to have to use Uga to pull around a little red wagon with a copy of the hefty injury report. I've lost count but it feels like the Bulldogs are down to their 9th-string running back and 12th-string wide receiver. With the injuries on offense, problems on defense, a nail-biter at Tennessee last week, and a hot Missouri team coming into Athens this week, most would think this game has Missouri cover written all over it. Behind QB James Franklin, Missouri's offense is averaging over 250 yards/game both rushing and passing, and is averaging 46.6 points/game through five games. The more I look at this game, the more I expect Georgia to come out and answer the gut-check that they are facing will all these injuries. Missouri comes back down to earth a little bit as Franklin and company can't keep up with Aaron Murray.
Georgia 42 Missouri 28
#12 Oklahoma (-14) vs. Texas - 12:00 PM EST - ABC
When they changed the name of this rivalry game a few years ago, they might as well have changed it to the Red River Smackdown. The last two years has seen Oklahoma outscore Texas 118-38, and if the early season is any indication, that trend looks like it will continue this year. Both teams are averaging just a hair under 460 yards/game of total offense, the big difference is the Texas D is giving up 465 yards/game while Oklahoma is only giving up 281 yards/game. It's really hard to find any strong reasoning to back Texas in this matchup. Case McCoy is starting his second consecutive game for the injured David Ash, but I can't see him doing any significant damage against the Sooner defense. In what will most likely be Mack Brown's last Red River Rivalry, Oklahoma sends him off with his third straight big loss to the Sooners.
Oklahoma 51 Texas 27
#17 Florida vs. #10 LSU (-7.5) - 3:30 PM EST - CBS
Something has got to give in this matchup with Florida's nasty defensive going up against a LSU squad that hasn't put up less than 35 points in a game so far this season. Nine out of the last ten matchups in this series has seen either a Florida win or if LSU won it was by four points or less. The only game that didn't fit those parameters was the 2011 meeting when LSU won 41-11 in Baton Rouge. Quarterback Tyler Murphy is making his third start for Florida in replace of Jeff Driskel, and so far the Gators have won Murphy's first two starts by a combined scored of 54-17. LSU and Death Valley presents a little more of a challenge than Kentucky and Arkansas, but this isn't the LSU defense that we are used to. The Gators offense will want to grind it out on offense and keep LSU's offense off the field, while the Gator defense should be able to make Zach Mettenberger look human and force him into some mistakes to keep the Gators in the ballgame.
LSU 20 Florida 17
#15 Baylor (-18) vs. Kansas State - 3:30 PM EST - Fox
Baylor has played four games so far this season and their lowest scoring output has been the 69 points that they scored against Wofford. Baylor is averaging almost double the yards/game on offense (782.3) that Kansas State is (391.4) on the season. So far this season Baylor has outgained every opponent they've played by over 400 yards. Now you're telling me that you want me to back a team that no longer has Collin Klein and was beaten last year 52-24 by Baylor? I like to stir the pot and all, but even that seems a little too crazy for me. The only upset that Kansas State has a shot at puling this week is holding Baylor under 60 points, and even I think that's asking just a little too much.
Baylor 63 Kansas State 31
#2 Oregon (-14) vs. #16 Washington - 4:00 PM EST - Fox Sports 1
Oregon hits the road, but lately that hasn't been any problem for them. The Ducks hold the nation's longest current road winning streak, notching 18 straight victories away from Autzen Stadium. So far this season Oregon is blowing opponents off the map, winning by an average of 47.4 per game. The Huskies provided a jump in competition from some of the teams that Oregon played so far this season, but Washington is coming off a physical three-point loss in Palo Alto. De'Anthony Thomas might not be able to go on Saturday, but the way this Oregon is clicking it feels like I could take his point and the Ducks would still throw up 50 points. Keith Price and Bishop Sankey have been impressive this season, but Oregon has owned this rivalry lately. The Ducks have won the last nine games, all by 17 points or more. While Washington is much improved over some of their recent teams, right now Oregon is in Baylor territory for me. Until someone shows that they can stop the Ducks, I'll keep laying the points. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Oregon 54 Washington 35
#9 Texas A&M; (-6) vs. Mississippi - 8:30 PM EST - ESPN
After playing four of their first five games on the road this season, and spending the last two weekends in the state of Alabama losing to the Crimson Tide and Tigers, Ole Miss has to be ready to be back in Oxford this weekend. The prize for the Rebels being such road warriors so far this year? A date with Johnny Manziel and the rest of the Aggies. Imagine where the Aggies would be without Manziel to cover up the sloppy defense that Texas A&M; has played so far this year. I'll take the team that actually has a semblance of a defense along with some playmakers on offense that should be able to keep up with the Aggie scoring attack.
Mississippi 41 Texas A&M; 38
Indiana vs. Michigan State (-9.5) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN2
After five games in Bloomington this season, Indiana hits the road for the first time this season. The Hoosiers will be looking to take the Old Brass Spittoon back home with them for the first time since 2006. The task won't be easy as the explosive Indiana offense will have to try and solve the stout Spartan defense. Michigan State leads the nation in total defense, rushing yards allowed, and pass efficiency defense. Those rankings will get a test as the Indiana offense is the best that Michigan State will have faced so far on the season. Even with that tough defense, I'm wary to lay nearly double digits with Michigan State since their offense is so pedestrian. Last year Indiana was able to jump out to a 17-0 lead on the Spartans before Michigan State pulled out the win 31-27. I have a feeling that with all the weapons on offense that Indiana can find a few holes in the Sparty D to keep this contest close.
Michigan State 24 Indiana 21
Nebraska (-14.5) vs. Purdue - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
It feels like it's to the point where if anybody mentions that they are even considering taking Purdue it should be acceptable to swat them across the nose with a rolled up newspaper. The only win so far this season for Purdue is against FCS Indiana State, and the Boilermakers most recent contest saw them lose to Northern Illinois by 31 points at home. During the bye week Darrell Hazell made a change at quarterback, benching Rob Henry and starting freshman Danny Etling. Of course after Hazell makes that move, he loses a starting WR. B.J. Knauf was arrested on Monday and is suspended for Saturday's game. On the other side, Nebraska dominated Illinois last week, and didn't seem to miss a step with Tommy Armstrong behind center for the injured Taylor Martinez. After his career-high 225 yards rushing last week, look for Ameer Abdullah to have another big day.
Nebraska 34 Purdue 14
#19 Northwestern vs. Wisconsin (-10) - 3:30 PM EST - ABC/ESPN2
Both teams are coming off a loss to Ohio State, but the schedule makers did Northwestern no favors in this one. While Wisconsin had a week off to recover for the 31-24 loss, Northwestern not only didn't get the benefit of the bye week, but now they have to head to Madison. Will Northwestern still be suffering a hangover from the loss or will they come out focused to try and run the table and get another crack at the Buckeyes in December? After watching what Carlos Hyde did to the Northwestern defense last weekend, the Wildcats know that they'll get a heavy dose of running backs Melvin Gordon and James White. Key on Gordon and White and you risk leaving Jared Abbrederis open. On the season Abbrederis has been on the receiving end of over half of Joel Stave's passing yards. The thing that will keep Northwestern in this game is their ability to force turnovers on defense. So far this season Northwestern defense is leading the Big Ten with 14 turnovers forced. Northwestern is a tough team and I see them keep this game tight.
Wisconsin 30 Northwestern 27
#18 Michigan (-2.5) vs. Penn State - 5:00 PM EST - ESPN
There is just no winning when it comes to try and get a handle on Michigan games lately. Against Akron and UConn I thought Michigan would win big, and we all saw how that worked now. Then last week I thought Minnesota could keep it within the spread, and they did for about 57 minutes. Take all that and then add in this strange line from Vegas and I'm all kinds of confused. This is the biggest game on the Penn State home schedule this season, so you know the stadium in Happy Valley will be rocking. The problem is that the team on the field isn't what it has been in years past. On offense the Nittany Lions have Christian Hackenberg and Allen Robinson and that's about it. The duo got their yards last week against Indiana, but the rest of the team didn't get much. Indiana's defense doesn't exactly strike fear in anybody either. It wouldn't surprise me to see the Penn State defense force Devin Gardner into turnovers to stay in this game, but I just don't think Penn State has quite enough to pull out the win. At least look at it this way, since I'm taking Michigan that should mean Penn State is a lock to win now. I'll take one for the team on this one.
Michigan 31 Penn State 21