The picks have been a bit average over the last two weeks and yet at 27-20 overall, there’s no reason for shame. Because I care deeply about you, dear reader, I’ll be offering the lock of the century this weekend and it just happens to be a team that wears green and white.
MICHIGAN STATE (+15.5) at Ohio State: The Buckeyes as 21-point favorites at Iowa didn’t make much sense even before they were blown out. This line is equally perplexing when one considers how well Michigan State played against Penn State and Brian Lewerke’s sudden emergence as a reliable 400-yard passer. No program in the country performs as double-digit underdogs like Mark Dantonio. He struck a deal with the devil, is a witch, or something. He not only covers, he wins outright. And it will happen again Saturday in Columbus. Michigan State 29, Ohio State 28.
NOTRE DAME (-3) at Miami: Perhaps the most impressive part of the Irish’s resurgence is that it hasn’t been gimmicky. Notre Dame is rare in that they tell you what they’re going to do (run the ball), and then succeed over and over again (324 yards/game). Quarterback Brandon Wimbush has made great strides and hasn’t thrown an interception since Sept. 16. Miami has had trouble stopping the ground game this year (67th in yardage) against inferior opponents. Last week’s throttling of Virginia Tech was impressive but the rest of the Canes’ results are either cupcake wins or last-game heroics. Luck’s about to run out and it won’t be pretty in South Beach. Notre Dame 38, Miami 20.
Washington at STANFORD (+6): The Huskies lead the nation in a slew of defensive categories. David Shaw is always reluctant to open things up. Jake Browning has been efficient. Washington is still playing for the playoff. Take all these things and thrown them in the garbage because we’re playing a hunch. Bryce Love maintains his 9.6 yards/carry average and has a huge game. Stanford’s defense follows Arizona State’s blueprint for pulling the late-night upset. Stanford 24, Washington 14.
IOWA (+12.5) at Wisconsin: The Badgers finally have to play someone and that someone just housed Ohio State. Good luck with that. Hawkeyes quarterback Nathan Stanley has quietly put together a 22 touchdown, four interception season. Iowa has played the Big Ten’s finest (OSU, Penn State and Michigan State) tough. They are 16th in scoring defense and won’t be intimidated in Madison. Wisconsin has looked very pedestrian against pedestrian talent. This is more a toss-up than a two-touchdown spread. Wisconsin 20, Iowa 17.
Georgia at AUBURN (+2.5): Both teams will try to do the same thing: control the clock and avoid putting too much pressure on the quarterback. It will be an old-fashioned slobberknocker. And it will be the end of Georgia’s undefeated run. Auburn 19, Georgia 17.