Well, another kiss your sooner sister last week going 2-2. Overall, 24-20-3, up four units for the year. The writeups this week will be short and sweet, mainly because it's a big card and I've had a very busy week.
Wisconsin -7.5 vs. Indiana. After two disappointing road losses Wisky bounced back in a big way smoking Northern Illinois and holding them without a first down for almost an entire half of football. Indiana comes off a heartbreaking home loss vs. Penn State, a game that saw a very pedestrian PSU offensive unit move it to the tune of 400 yards and 4 yards a carry. Conversely, the Hoosiers averaged a meager 2.1 yards per carry at home. When forced to throw, QB Kellen Lewis can be forced into mistakes as evidenced by his 4 picks last week. I like Wisconsin to build on the success they had last week as they continue to get healthier each week. The Badgers will stymie the Hoosier rushing attack and should be able force Indiana into mistakes through the air. On offense, Wisconsin should find lots of room to run against a porous IU defense who has given up an average of 40+ points to offenses the same caliber as Wisky. Sorry but there's no way Wisky is just a field goal favorite on a neutral field vs. Indiana. Lots of value in this line. Wisky wins 31 to 14.
Illinois -13 vs. Ball State. The fighting alumni are coming off two huge losses @Iowa and at home to Michigan. Their last 4 games have been a meat grinder playing the likes of Penn State, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Now it's time to step down in class and play the Fighting Lettermans of Ball State. Time to get well. The matchups in the ball game should obviously favor the more talented Illini squad playing vs. a Ball State team that has yet to play a top 40 caliber club all year. On offense Illinois should be able to run the ball at will since Ball State has, in its last 3 games given up 196 yards rushing to WMU, 222 to Western Kentucky???, and 298 Central Michigan. Illinois should be able to line it up and run for 6+ yards a pop against this BSU's front 7. On the other side of the ball, BSU's strength is Illinois' weakness. Ball State can throw the football and the Illini secondary has been torched on occasion vs. Michigan, Wisconsin, and Mizzu. Let's not confuse Ball State with any of those passing offenses. The Illini front four, with virtually no threat of a rushing attack, should be able to pin its ears back and get to the passer in this game. Simply put, a superior group of athletes along the Dline should make the much maligned Illinois secondary look much much better. Illinois names its score and takes out two weeks worth of frustration on the hapless Cardinals. Illinois 45 BSU 21.
Iowa +3 vs. Michigan State. Seemingly fishy line here considering you have an underachieving Hawkeye club only catching a field goal at home against a Michigan State team coming off a close road loss to the number 1 team in the country. But there's more to this story than meets the eye. Forget that MSU really didn't play tOSU all that close last week getting just 9 first downs and lucking into two defensive scores to turn a 24 to 7 woodshedding into a 24 to 17 "nailbiter". Forget that the Iowa Hawkeyes play considerably better at home with wins over Illinois and Syracuse, and a close loss vs. IU. Focus on the fact that MSU played tOSU last week and catches rival Michigan at home next week. This game, folks, should be considered the mother of all sandwich spots. It doesn't help that the Spartans are historically a schizophrenic team that beats Michigan one week, loses to Northwestern the next. You think they'll get up for Iowa? I don't. Iowa pulls the upset. 17 to 14.
Georgia +9 vs. Florida in Jacksonville. Another good angle if you're a spot bettor. You have a rested Georgia club coming off an idle week going to a neutral field to face a banged up Florida club coming off 3 brutal games with a home loss to Auburn, road loss at LSU, and a physical shootout win on the road at Kentucky in which Tebow was dinged up. Matt Stafford is quietly having a very productive, efficient season and he should be able to move the ball on a Gator secondary that was torched by Kentucky last week. Close game here 24 to 21 Florida.
**Oregon State -13 vs. Stanford. Game of the Week.** In Oregon State we get a team coming off an idle week feeling very good about itself with wins over Arizona and a huge upset of Cal before the off week. The key in those two victories has been the solid if unspectacular play of QB Sean Canfield who hasn't done anything to win games, but certainly hasn't done anything to lose them either, which hasn't always been the case this year. If he can just manage this game and allow the running game to do its thing vs. Stanford, there's no reason why the Beavers can't cover the number. On defense, OSU's front 7 should be able to manhandle a Cardinal rushing attack down to it's 3rd string tailback. If the Cardinal is forced to chunk it around the field, things could get ugly in Corvalis. I like OSU coming off the bye catching a banged up Stanford team on back to back roadies. Beavers big. 31 to 10.
Good luck to everyone.