Let’s address the elephant in the room. I really screwed up last week in anointing Michigan State the lock of the decade. Las Vegas is fairly good at setting lines, as it turns out. So, my hand is up. It’s on me. There will be no such bold proclamations this week as we try to improve on the 29-23 record.
ILLINOIS (+41) at Ohio State: Lovie Smith’s team isn’t very good, but they haven’t been getting embarrassed. The Illini have held their last four opponents under 30 points, so that’s something. The Buckeyes are playing a sandwich game here, coming off a demolition of Michigan State and looking ahead to Michigan. Perhaps Urban Meyer takes his foot off the pedal once things get out of hand. Perhaps the Illini defense gets a turnover or a fluke score. Forty-one points is too tempting not to take. Ohio State 52, Illinois 14.
Louisiana State at TENNESSEE (+16.5): Everyone knows that you throw out the records when Ed Orgeron and Brady Hoke match wits. The Tigers’ offense isn’t entirely explosive (86th) and is ground-based (122nd in time/play), meaning possessions could be at a premium. Shedding the weight of Butch Jones will mean hope in Knoxville for the first time in a long time. If there was ever a time for a fighting spirit to emerge, this is it. LSU 27, Tennessee 13.
Purdue at IOWA (-8): The Hawkeyes allow 18.1 points/game and have an underrated quarterback in Nathan Stanley. Purdue got out-muscled last weekend against Northwestern and is too young and inexperienced to handle Kinnick. Not counting on a side ranked 90th in scoring to light up the scoreboard. Iowa 28, Purdue 10.
Texas at West Virginia (OVER 53): Will Grier has quietly put together an astonishing year (34 touchdowns) and the Mountaineers average 513 yards/game. Texas’ defense has show the ability to be stout but also gave up 27 points last weekend to lowly Kansas. There are worse ways to go to the poor house than taking Big 12 overs. West Virginia 35, Texas 28.
TCU at Texas Tech (OVER 57): Again, there are worse ways to go to the poor house. The Horned Frogs average over 34 points/game and the Red Raiders over 38. Too easy. TCU 34, Texas Tech 31.