Michigan at Penn State is the most interesting game on the national slate this week.
Although he is 5-1 this season and has won close to 80 percent of his games in his five seasons Michigan, that has not been good enough for the Big Blue Faithful. They continue to complain about Harbaugh’s inability to win the “Big Game,” which I assume only means the Ohio State game. Still, this has to qualify as a big game, as Penn State is undefeated and ranked in the top 10. That said, I don’t think Michigan fans are going to be any happier after this one is played.
•Georgia Tech (+16) at Miami
Canes finally beat a quality opponent last week against Virginia, now they get to play a really bad Georgia Tech team at home. Taking the Canes to win and cover.
Prediction: Miami 36, Georgia Tech 10
•Florida State (+2.5) at Wake Forest
If Willie Taggert is to show any improvement off last year’s 5-7 result, this is a must win game for the Seminoles. After last week’s shellacking at the hands of Clemson, the uncertainty at quarterback, and having to play a decent Wake Forest team on the road, it is hard to see that happening. It will be close, but I will take the home team.
Prediction: Wake Forest 24, Florida State 21
•East Carolina at UCF (-33)
UCF should roll in this game, but 33 points is a lot to give, especially after picking up their second loss of the season. UCF could be a little flat or unmotivated in this one. Take the Knights to win but not cover.
Prediction: UCF 49, East Carolina 28
•Florida (-6) at South Carolina
This game features more layers than a Vidalia onion. South Carolina is coming off arguably the biggest win in program history. Florida had national championship aspirations set back in loss to LSU. Former Gator Coach Will Muschamp would like nothing better than to get back at his old team and knock them out of the SEC East race. Will the Gators regroup from last week’s loss? Can the Gamecocks rise to the occasion against a team with superior personnel two weeks in a row? When you play as many big games as SEC teams do, I am throwing any home field advantage out the window. Gators will win and cover.
Prediction: Florida 24, South Carolina 14
•South Florida (-14) at Navy
The Bulls played a pretty solid game against BYU last week and finally established a running game, paving the way for former Gator Jordan Cronkrite. An 1100-yard rusher a season ago for the Bulls, Cronkrite gained a season-high 158 yards on 26 carries. If they stick with that plan, they may not beat the Midshipmen but they should be able to cover the spread.
Prediction: Navy 31, South Florida 28
•Michigan (+9) at Penn State
Is there any coach in America that gets more heat for a 5-1 record than Jim Harbaugh? Granted he brought a lot of that heat on himself with his bravado and outspoken personality that all but guaranteed Michigan would be in the national title hunt every year. Since coming to Michigan, Harbaugh has recorded a 43-12 record. Still, that has not been enough to satisfy fans, who say Harbaugh can’t win the “big” games. Michigan has beaten Penn State four of the last five years. But the 2019 Penn State defense has yet to give up more than 14 points in a game. One trend will continue the other will not.
Prediction: Penn State 27, Michigan 14
•Miami (-17) at Buffalo
Somewhat of a rivalry game as both these teams played in the old AFL before the merger. Like Buffalo to win but will take the points in this one.
Prediction: Buffalo 24, Miami 10
•Jacksonville (-3.5) at Cincinnati
The effect – in any – of the Jalen Ramsey trade on his Jacksonville teammates is hard to figure out. What we do know is that Cincinnati is not good and Jags should be able to control the ball behind the running of Leonard Fournette.
Prediction: Jacksonville 28, Cincinnati 20
•New England (-9.5) at New York Jets
Everything points to the Patriots winning this game. But I am going to go back to what a wise old football coach with 40 years of professional experience once told me. The sage Perry Moss once said, “In pro football, it is near impossible to win every game and it is near impossible to lose every game.” In a salute to Perry, upset special prediction: New York 26, New England 21
•Philadelphia at Dallas (-2.5)
Highly doubtful that either team thought it would be 3-3 at this point of the season. If Cowboys lose this game at home, there will be immense pressure on Jerry Jones to show Jason Garrett the door. All things being equal though, Dallas should be able to squeeze out a win at home.
Prediction: Dallas 24, Philadelphia 21
Season Scoreboard: Hey, some tough games last week but I went 7-3 straight up. Smart. On the other hand, I was 2-7-1 against the spread, which is why I tell you these picks are for entertainment purposes ONLY.
Last week brings the season total to 47-21 straight up (.681), but an ugly (and getting uglier) 30-36-2 (.456) against the money line.