#17 UTAH at #14 AZ ST. -6: What? These teams are ranked this high? Yeah its true they both are good. I honestly wouldn’t touch this game. However The Lion gives you picks of all the big games. Utah is coming off a big upset of USC last week, 24-21 while the Sun Devils comfortably won at UWash. The Sun Devils outstanding senior college QB Taylor Kelly is finally getting healthy. They have one of the best WRs in the nation in Jalen Strong and I have waked poetic about their RB. While I am a little concerned the Sun Devils could be looking ahead to the Irish next week, I think Utah might be drained from going to USC and pulling off the upset. PICK AZ -6
In case you thought I was refering to Stan at Oregon -7.5 its not a big game. Stan isn’t even ranked. They usually have the Ducks number but if I have to pick this I think the Ducke get the monkey off their back. Oregon.
BIG 12 GOWs
#7 TCU -5.5 at #20 WVU: TCU is in control of its own destiny for the playoffs. If it keeps winning it will get in.TCU QB Boykin has basically gauranteed himself a spot on the Heisman watch list after re-setting his career high in pass yards for a second straight week, throwing a school-record seven touchdowns in only three quarters of the Horned Frogs’ 82-27 blowout win over Texas Tech. Going to Morgantown is hard. Game Day will be there.If this were a night game, I would go with the Mountaineers if this were a night game. It’s at 3:30. Its just too early for the WVU guys to set couches on fire. A Noon game they could stay up for, but 3:30 is that weird nap time for both day drinkers (who pass out) and night drinkers (who get up and get dressed after their nap). How is that for football logic? Seriously though, TCU is unstoppable on offense and they should have beat Baylor. WVU can score with anybody but TCU will win a shoot out by a TD. PICK TCU -5.5
Ok State at #9 KState -14: On paper, you say to yourself, why is the spread this big? Both are good but not elite Big 12 teams. I beg to differ. This matchup is a great example of perception versus reality. Oklahoma State lost to Florida State by only six points, back when we thought FSU was still going to kill everybody and not squeak by teams like it is this year. Following the FSU game, the Pokes then reeled off five straight wins. While the Cowboys have lost their last two games, they are still perceived as a quality team. However, a look at their five wins tells a different story. They beat an FCS team, a disappointing UTSA squad and three Big 12 teams that are a combined 1-11 in conference play. Now, they are on the road for the third time in four weeks, taking on a red-hot Kansas State that has rolled Texas and Texas Tech by a combined 55 points. Bill Snyder is the most underrated coach in the game, and they are at home at night. Their only loss is to Auburn. Dude. One final stat for you to clinch this one. Since Bill Snyder returned in 2009, they are 4-0 ATS as a conference home favorite of 12 or more, covering by 18 points per game. Sold. PICK KSU -14
GAME OF THE WEEK
#3 Auburn at #4 Ole Miss -2.5: This is really the game I want to watch the most this week along with my ND squad. Due to an impromptu Jerkfest, I cannot. This game is basically a playoff game right now. I am going to give you a classic Lion break down of the key matchups this week. This game is awesome because its offense versus defense. Both teams have played amazingly tough schedules. Ole Miss has outgained its foes by 113 yards per game by not allowing teams to move the ball. The Rebel D has given up only 11 points per game. Auburn is outgaining its foes by 134 YPG, by running down their throats. The Tigers are averaging 538 YPG in SEC play. Normally Defense beats offense, but Ole Miss strength is against the pass. When a team runs like Auburn its hard for me to think Ole Miss can stop them. LSU showed us that you can run on the Landshark D last week by going for 264 rush yards on nearly five yards a carry. Lets call it a draw and look to some other matchups in this came.
Both teams have been battle tested and both are coming off emotional games last week as Ole Miss fell to LSU 10-7. On the other side, Auburn faced a South Carolina team that had nothing to lose and played like it; the Tigers escaped, 42-35. I suspect Auburn was looking ahead to this week. Advantage Auburn.
As is often the case when you have a great D vs. a great O, the matchup between each teams non-marquee unit decides the game. Auburn has given up at least 35 points and 469 yards in each of its last two games. Its pretty awful. Advantage Ole Miss right? Not so fast. I have been saying all year Bo Wallace was playing over his head. He played perfect against Bama and I didn’t know how many more times he could do that. He showed the old Bo last week. Advantage Even.
In a game as close and awesome as this it may come down to coaching. Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze had some questionable game management at the end. Freeze is a great recruiter but not a great in game coach. Auburn’s head guy is both. When I look to both teams losses, Auburn should have beat Miss St. they game out and fumbled the game away. It happens sometimes. Fumbles are mostly luck. (See Pitt’s 4 fumbles in the first half last week, I don’t think that happens again and they bounce back and beat Duke and cover -2.5) Ole Miss was lucky the LSU game was as close as it was. LSU was the unlucky fumbly team. In an awesome game that I can’t wait to watch, it looks like the slight advantage is to the Tigers, and I will take the points even though they are on the road. PICK AUBURN +2.5
Football Month is upon us. Rejoice