Week 8: 0-0, (0.00%)
Season: 25-24-1, (51.02%)
Sides: 12-17-1, (41.37%)
Totals: 13-7, (65.00%)
Overall: 25-24-1, (51.02%)
For the first and probably last time this season I had to sit out a week. Just didn’t have enough time to cap the card the way I’d like and I refuse to just throw darts out there. That said, happy to be back in there for week 9. Here’s what I’m going with….
Michigan State (+5.5): Off back to back losses by a combined score of 72-10 this is about as good as buy low spots get for Michigan State. The total in this game is only 43.5 and 5.5 points go further in a game like this as opposed to a game where a total is in the 70’s or so. Penn State is 105th in the nation in plays per game and Michigan State is 84th so both teams are perfectly content to play a slow it down, punch each other in the face kind of game. Lewerke has been taking a lot of heat in the media and while by no means is he a star or anything he’s still a competent QB. He’s completing 58% of his passes and has 11 TD’s with only 3 INT’s. On the other side we have Sean Clifford at QB for Penn State and while he’s had an excellent year this is a tough test for him. So far this year his toughest road game was at Iowa where he had his worst game of the year going 12/24 for just 117 yards. This will only be his 2nd career start that’s been on the road against a tough team and hostile crowd. It’s also worth noting that Michigan State is coming off a bye so you’d figure off two clunkers and now two weeks to prepare you’ll be getting a max, max effort from them. I’m not ready to call for a Sparty win but I see this game being close wire to wire.
San Jose State/Army Un 53.5: It always gets your attention when one of the service academies has a total steamed to the over and that’s what’s happening here. This total opened at 50.5 and has shot up to 53.5. Yes San Jose State’s defense is awful and yes Army should move the ball but I don’t think they’ll be doing it quickly. As always Army is run heavy at 82% of their plays being rushes, and they are 128th out of 130 FBS teams in plays per game at just 63. San Jose State is slightly faster but not by much as they check in at 100th in plays per game at only 67.3. The Spartans throw about 63% of the time and with Love averaging nearly 300 yards per game they do it pretty well. However that’s all the more reason for Army to really slow it down and rip off some of those 7-8 min drives they are known for. I made this total 48 so at 50.5 I probably would have passed but now that it’s up to 53.5 that’s enough for me to get involved on the under. More than anything else I just don’t see enough plays being run to justify a total this high. I see a 28-20 type win for Army.
California/Utah Ov 36: I’ll be the first to agree this should be a low scoring game, but now at 36 I think it’s dropped too much. A large part of this play will be Cal turning up the tempo once they fall behind, which they almost certainly will. As a team they are middle of the pack running 71.2 plays per game and last week they pumped it all the way up to 85 plays. It looks as though Modster will be out at QB for Cal and that Freshman Spencer Brasch will step in. I’ll assume some of the dropping of this total can be attributed to that. Brasch has got some talent, he’s a dual threat guy and to be frank about it I’m not sure there’s much of a drop off going from Modster to him, if any. Modster was playing some awful football so to expect equal or better from Brasch isn’t that wild. On the other side Utah is averaging 32.9 points and 449 yards per game. They can run it, they can throw it, and overall are just a very efficient offense. The Cal rush defense is just middle of the pack and if they can establish things get even easier for Huntley through the air. He’s completing 74% of his passes and has only thrown 1 INT this season. In other words he takes what’s there and rarely makes mistakes. I see a 31-13 kind of win for the Utes here.
Hawaii/New Mexico Un 70.5: I know Hawaii games usually end up pretty wild but it’s tough for me to pass on a under of 70.5 in a New Mexico game. The Lobos have gone under in 4 straight and none of them have even been close to going over the total. They run the ball on nearly 63% of their plays and just aren’t built to play explosive games offensively. New Mexico is dead last in the nation in pass defense and that’s all the more reason I think they do their best to run the ball and slow this game down as much as possible. Pace wise Hawaii isn’t as extreme as most might think. As a team they are 27th in plays per game at 75.3 and in their last 3 games that’s actually down to 70.3 which believe it or not is slower than FBS average. I’m not going to try and defend either defense in this game. They’ll be plenty of points, they’ll be plenty of yards, but I question if the volume of plays is going to be there. It feels like without one (or more) defensive TD, special teams TD, or 70 plus yard TD that it could be hard to get all the way into the 70’s. At the end of the day the Hawaii pass attack should be enough to get them a win and I see it being something like 35-28.
Oklahoma State (+10.5): A little bit of buy low, sell high in play here as Oklahoma State comes in on two game losing streak and Iowa State on a 3 game winning streak. 3 weeks ago I’d have made this line just Iowa State -4 and even now after adjustments based on recent performance I’m still only at Iowa State -7 so at 10.5 taking the road dog is a no brainer for me. The name of the game for Oklahoma State is running the ball. As a team they average 279.3 yards per game rushing and run it on 61% of their plays. It’s been a roller coaster for Spencer at QB but from a 19 year old Freshman that’s to be expected. This is a kid with a ton of talent and has certainly shown some nice flashes too. He’s a dual threat headache who may make a mistake or two along the way but will certainly have his positive moments too. At 38 points per game scoring hasn’t been an issue for the Cowboys whatsoever. On the surface the defense has looked awful but there is a silver lining there. Over the last 3 games they’ve held opponents to 6 for 35 on 3rd down which is just 17.1% and actually best in the nation over that span. If the defense can just keep things from getting out of hand I trust the offense will put up enough points to keep them within the number. I’ll go with 38-31 Iowa State.
Oklahoma/Kansas State Un 59: You wouldn’t think it from the big offensive numbers Oklahoma puts up but pace wise this is actually one of the slowest teams in the nation. Coming into this week the Sooners are 125th out of 130 FBS teams in plays run per game at just 63.8. On top of that they run the ball about 57% of the time. The Sooners have no trouble at all moving the ball or putting up points but they take their time when doing it. Just a few notches above them at 122nd out of 130 in plays per game is Kansas State at 64.6. Personally I made this total 54.5 so 59 is plenty high enough to get in there on the under. Game script also points to the under here. Assuming Oklahoma opens up a big lead they’ll go even more run heavy than they usually are. On the other side if Kansas State falls behind they aren’t really built to comeback through the air as they pass it less than 40% of the time. The early start kind of adds to the what I feel could end up as kind of clunky game. The Sooners should easily take care of business but I don’t think it gets too out of control. At the end of the day we’ve got 2 of the 9 slowest teams in the nation and I’ll dare them to find their way over this number. I see a 38-17 type Oklahoma win.
Michigan State (+5.5)
San Jose State/Army Un 53.5
California/Utah Ov 36
Hawaii/New Mexico Un 70.5
Oklahoma State (+10.5)
Oklahoma/Kansas State Un 59