With next week being rivalry week, there’s not a lot of great games to pick from on the college side. But we will look at the in-state teams and best college matchups outside the state before diving into NFL games.
•Memphis (-14) at South Florida
The Bulls have been one of the toughest picks against the spread this year.
They get blown-out by SMU and Navy, and then totally dominated by Temple, but come back last week and give nationally ranked and heavy favorite all they can handle. Can they do the same against another good team in Memphis? In hoping last week’s effort gave them enough confidence to cover selection: Memphis 27, USF 24.
•Notre Dame (-19) at Boston College
Florida State could not stop the running game of Boston College and still won.
The thinking here is the Notre Dame defense will stop the run and cover. Notre Dame 42, Boston College 17
Miami (-18) at Florida International
After an uneven start, the Canes have won three in a row and dominated both FSU and Louisville. Miami (6-4) will be looking for a big win to keep the momentum going heading into 2020. Taking the Canes to win and cover. Miami 38, FIU 10
•UCF (-6) at Tulane
After a week off to think about an embarrassing loss to Tulsa, UCF and Josh Heupel will want to erase those memories as quickly and decisively as possible. UCF 35, Tulane 20
•Texas at Baylor (-6)
Smarting after blowing a 25-point lead last week against Oklahoma, the Bears will face another stiff challenge when Texas comes to town. Will take Baylor at home to both win and cover the spread. Baylor 35, Texas 27
Penn State at Ohio State (-18)
Ohio State is one of the best, if not the best team in the country.
They have pretty much dominated every opponent they have faced this year. Other than 24-point wins over Florida Atlantic and Michigan State, no team has stayed within 30 points of the Buckeyes. But….Penn State is the best defense they have seen this year. That said…the freight train rolls on. Ohio State 45, Penn State 21
•Miami (+10.5) at Cleveland
Was Miami’s two-game winning streak in November a fluke? Yes and no. I think it was a case of a less talented team playing hard and sneaking by an average team. Had Myles Garrett not been suspended and if their receivers were healthier, I would take the Browns to both win and cover, but since that is not the case will take the points. Cleveland 24, Miami 17
•Jacksonville (+3) at Tennessee
Titans have won three of four and remain viable for a playoff spot, Jacksonville, not so much. Tennessee 30, Jacksonville 14.
•Tampa Bay (+4) at Atlanta
Two weeks ago, this spread would have been flipped, but Atlanta is coming off both surprising and dominating victories over Carolina and Saints. In a Jameis Winston tries to outdo Phillip Rivers as the league’s turnover machine: Atlanta 30, Tampa Bay 20
•Dallas (+6.5) at New England
In a word, New England’s offense has not looked too good this year. Brady is finally starting to look his age and his receivers and running backs have been average at best. Dallas on the other hand has been healthy and rolling on offense. Normally. I would think this might be the week to take an upset, however I can’t get past the fact that a lot of the Cowboys wins (Lions, Giants (2), and Redskins) have been against bad teams. So in the defense does it again, New England 24, Dallas 17
Season Scoreboard: College picks were spot on last week, going 5-0 straight up and an admirable 4-1 against the spread.
But then Sunday and the pro games came, and my faith in Jacksonville and Miami to keep playing well was severely shaken. Still went 6-3 straight-up and a 5-4 winning record against the “jelly.”
Brings the season totals to 81-35 straight up (.698) and 53-61-2 (.466) against the spread.