It was another stellar week last week going 5-1 to make for a tidy overall record of 33-22-3. Again, we hit our two unit play to go 7-4 which pushes our high water mark to plus 11.5 units for the year. We'll try to keep it going this week. On to the plays.
Rutgers -19 @ Army. Schiano's Fightin' Lumberjacks as well as their mouth-breathing Soprano wannabee fans get another chance at one of the service academies when Rutgers squares off vs. Army this Friday. Lucky for the Scarlet Knights this might be the worst service academy squad in a decade. Lucky for the Black Knights, this game isn't being played in that bastion of warmth and sportmanship known as Piscataway. Lest we forget the chants of f' you Navy, clap clap, clap clap clap. F' you Navy, clap clap, clap clap clap. Nope, this game will be played in West Point, NY, where the only place this solid Rutgers program will be outgunned is in the stands. Expect to hear chants of "Repel them, repel them. Make them relinquish the ball," instead.
Welcome to Jersey.
Bad spot here for Army with Rutgers getting treated like a Hatian cab driver by West Virginia two weeks ago and completely falling apart in the red zone against UCONN in a game closer than the score indicated last week. Expect the Scarlet Knights to name their score because they can. In Army's last 3 games against offenses about as predictable as a Jersey girl's blue eyeshadow, they gave up 430 yards, 510 yards, and 540 yards to Central Michigan, Georgia Tech, and Air Force respectively. Rutgers needs this game to ensure bowl eligibility. They'll take out two weeks of frustration on a hapless Army squad. 37 to 10.
Purdue -4 vs. Michigan State. Here we take advantage of a tremendous spot after Sparty had his heart ripped out by hated-rival Michigan last week. Leading basically the entire game, in classic MSU fashion, the Spartans snatched defeat from the jaws of victory allowing two fourth quarter TD's to lose by 4. Make that two weeks in a row the Spartans have choked away a ball game, but this one really hurts. I cannot think of a better spot to fade these frauds, especially considering MSU has lost 5 out of its last 6.
Purdue on the other hand is coming off a hard fought loss on the road to Penn State in a game that was within a score either way most of the afternoon. With winnable games vs. MSU and on the road at Indiana next week, the Boilermakers have to be feeling really good about themselves and their chances of getting to 9 wins. Their passing attack should be able to move the ball against a Spartan defense that gives up yards through the air as witnessed by a 520 yard aerial outburst by Northwestern using an attack similar to Purdue's. I think MSU opens up its annual can of quit here. 35 to 21 Purdue.
And Spartans, apparently.
Missouri -18.5 vs. Texas A+M. Like the last season of CHiPs, Dennis Franchionne's swan song has been boring, predictable, and downright embarrassing most of the time. Solid wins over Baylor, Nebraska, and Okie State cannot mask the unmitigated disasters that were blow out losses vs. Miami, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma. Throw in a close win vs. Fresno, being out yardaged by Montana State, and a workman like loss to Kansas and you have an Eric Estrada level of bad. This week they catch Texas Tech on steroids in lovely Columbia, Missouri, vs. a Mizzu squad with revenge on its mind after a loss last year in College Station. Can you say blow out, John Baker?
The numbers in this matchup don't lie. Missouri averages 6.4 yards per play vs. a schedule giving up 5.6. More importantly, the Tigers are averaging 7.8 per pass attempt against a schedule giving up 7.0, while the aggies average giving up 9.2 per attempt on the road. That's right folks, the wrecking crew is giving up nearly a first down every time an opposing QB drops back to pass. This will certainly be the best passing offense the aggie defense has faced, and it will do so with out its best cover corner Danny Gorrer who is out with an injury. Expect the aggies to get behind early at which point Fran will continue to run the football because that's what they do. Bad news when you consider the following...
TAMU will be trying to run against a surprisingly solid Missouri defense that allows just 3.6 yards per rush overall and just 3.2 yards a carry at home against a schedule that averages 4.1 yards per rush. So expect alot of 3 runs and punt from TAMU even when they're down 28. If they throw it, that much the better, as Stephen McGee completes 55% of his passes and has thrown for 7 TD's and 4 INT's. Don't worry about a look ahead because Mizzu gets KSU next week and Kansas the week after. Not that it matters to a team that has quit, but TAMU plays Texas next. Mizzu rolls 45 to 10.
Oklahoma State +6 vs. Kansas.Yes, I'm getting out in front of that Jayhawk train again. But alas, this is another bad spot for KU on the road in Stillwater against an Ok. State team that is 4-0 in the game following a Texas loss the last 4 years as well as 4-0 against the spread. I realize Kansas is 9-0 ATS, but even the greatest teams in college history don't cover every week. Hell, if you lined this game preseason, you'd probably have the Cowboys laying a TD. And what would be a better way to get the Texas taste out of their mouths than to knock off the number 4 ranked Jayhawks? That would be truly manly.
I won't get into numbers because on paper the '85 Bears would have a hard time stopping Kansas, but weird, non-incestuous things happen in Stillwater at night. Bad bounces, bad calls, and bad beer always make for a tough trip especially against a team that knows it can score against anyone. I expect a shootout here, with Kansas ripping out what's left of the collective Cowboy's heart in a field goal game. 31 to 30 Kansas.
**North Texas +16 vs. Navy. 2 units**If you're an angle bettor this might be a spot of a lifetime to fade a team. In Navy we get a club who went on the road to knock off a Notre Dame team that it hadn't beaten in 43 years. Hell, Navy cared so much about that game it managed to lose to the Delaware Blue Hens the week before 59 to 52. Yes, Delaware dropped 59 on Navy at Annapolis posting 581 yards of offense and 434 through the air. Think Navy will be flat against the Fightin' Kathy Irelands this week? I do.
Numbers wise, coach Todd Dodge has to be licking his chops. North Texas comes off a bye week getting to play against everyone's favorite Cinderella Navy, which is a team with of one of the worst pass defenses in college football. Navy gives up 9 yards per pass attempt against a schedule that averages 7 per attempt. This includes the Delaware game in which the Pollo de Azul averaged 10.2 yards every time they chunked the rock. Yikes. Dodge and his spread attack should find success through the air.
On defense, there isn't alot to hang your hat on if you're the mean green. UNT gives up 5.4 yards per carry against a schedule that averages 4.6. Ofcourse those numbers are somewhat skewed considering Oklahoma ran for 265 and Arkansas ran for 446. The good news is the Navy rushing attack won't be able to just line up and physically manhandle North Texas like those other two programs. If North Texas can play assignment football they're athletic enough to atleast be able to slow down the Naval Academy. And with two weeks to prepare for this game, they should be more familiar with the option attack than most defenses. I don't expect North Texas to stop Navy or even win outright, but they will score enough to keep the game close against a disinterested Navy team. Navy 42 to 38.
Let's go Mean Green.
Good luck everyone.