We’re going to be rolling the dice on sides getting free candy against superior talent this weekend. In the words of Lee Corso: expect things to shake out much “closer than the experts think.”
Auburn at TEXAS A&M (+15): The Tigers’ soul-crushing run game and the Aggies’ inconsistency gives one pause. But Kevin Sumlin’s back is up against the wall and he’s at home. Texas A&M is second in sacks, has been stout against the pass, and is getting stops on third down. It’s tough to trust Jarrett Stidham if he finds himself behind the sticks. When Alabama came into College Station earlier this year, it turned into a tight 8-point game. Bank on Sumlin’s guys to show up and put up a fight. Auburn 31, Texas A&M 24.
Ohio State at IOWA (+18): The Buckeyes’ furious comeback last Saturday saved playoff hopes. That it was required means Ohio Statehas some flaws. They’ve fallen behind by two touchdowns at home twice this season. Are we really confident they’ll go to hostile Kinnick and simply push around a physical Iowa team? When Penn State visited earlier this year, it came down to the final play. The Hawkeyes have allowed 21 points or fewer in seven of eight contests and have been excellent defending through the air. This line is about 8 points too high. Ohio State 27, Iowa 17.
Northwestern at NEBRASKA (-1): It’s weird to be taking so much from a win against Purdue, but the Cornhuskers’ dramatics last weekend suggest this team still has some fight. Northwestern is coming off two straight overtime victories and could be fatigued. The Wildcats rank 116th in yards/completion and 112th in yards/rush. Don’t bank on them exploiting Nebraska’s porous defense. Nebraska 28, Northwestern 24.
LSU (+21) at Alabama: It takes a very foolish man to go against Alabama, especially at home, but I’m just the guy. The Tigers have the athletes on defense to corral Jalen Hurts & Co. They’ve rebounded from early struggles with impressive showings against Florida, Auburn, and Ole Miss. Will Danny Etling lead a drive into the end zone? My answer is yes, and more than once. Alabama 23, LSU 17.
Iowa State at West Virginia (OVER 59.5): The Mountaineers have been involved in shootouts all season. Twice the total has stalled at 55. All others zipped into the seventies and eighties. Will Grier can throw on any defense, including this touted Cyclones unit. West Virginia is allowing 460/yards per game. This is an even more attractive line with the possibility of overtime in play. West Virginia 38, Iowa State 35 (OT).
2017 Record: 25-18.