Posted: 12:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, 2013
By Brian Favat
Slowly working my way back up to ... respectable. Also, what has ATL done with ATL? This is just getting ridiculous at this point. #jinx #jinx #jinx
2013 Standings below: (All-Time Standings here)
North Texas Mean Green at Georgia Bulldogs (-33.5) - Georgia started the season with a very tough schedule playing at Clemson then playing South Carolina at home. Now, even though North Texas is not terrible, they'll enjoy this game and cruise to an easy victory in front of a huge home crowd.
Utah State Aggies at USC Trojans (-7) - Are you telling me Utah State is 3 touchdowns better than BC on a neutral field? I don't think so. Boston College can at least compete with unranked teams this year unlike last year. USC will show that the Washington State game was a little fluky and they're not nearly as bad as everyone thought they were after that loss.
Michigan Wolverines (-19) at Connecticut Huskies - I might have taken Michigan -39. I don't know if UConn will win many games this year and that's against American Athletic teams. Against Michigan, UConn should be scared. UConn is still a big enough name that the Michigan players probably won't completely overlook the game like you worry about when they play MAC teams like Akron. It's also not the week after the Notre Dame game for Michigan anymore. Michigan will roll.
Kansas St. Wildcats at Texas Longhorns (-5) - Texas is not the Texas that Texas is used to being. But that does not mean they are terrible. Kansas State is not even a fraction of what they were last year when they made it to #2 in the BCS. Texas will win this game so I'm willing to bet it will be by at least 5 points.
Michigan St. Spartans (+4.5) at Notre Dame Fighting Irish- Basically I'm expecting a 3-2 game here. Either way, that gives Sparty the cover. Notre Dame struggled to put away ostensibly the worst team in the Big Ten last weekend, needing 21 fourth quarter points to rally past Purdue. Michigan State's offense is pretty mis, but they are still a much better team overall than Purdue. While they haven't been challenged yet, Sparty's D ranks tops in the nation through three weeks. Notre Dame's D isn't anything special this year (how'd you like your Bob Diaco now?).
Tennessee Volunteers at Florida Gators (-16) - Florida has had a week off to prepare for the Vols, while Tennessee is coming off a cross-country trip to Eugene and the worst program loss since 1910. The Gators offense is nothing special, but neither is the Vols. Florida's defense is among the best in the country. Tennessee's D is not.
West Virginia Mountaineers (+5) at Maryland Terrapins (Baltimore, Md.) - Maryland is untested, having rattled off three wins against teams ranking 175th (FIU), 125th (Old Dominion) and 86th (UConn) in this week's Sagarin ratings. West Virginia is unproven. The Mountaineers struggled to put away William & Mary, fell to Oklahoma 16-7 in week 2 and dominated a very bad Georgia State team 41-7. The Terps are seeking their first win over the Mountaineers since the 2004 Gator Bowl -- seven straight losses. Like the Mountaineers to cover here if not win outright.
Arizona St. Sun Devils at Stanford Cardinal (-5.5) - This is an intriguing matchup of strength on strength, with the Sun Devils high-powered, up-tempo offense going up against a stout Stanford defense. Arizona State rolled up 468 yards of offense (352 through the air) and 32 first downs in a 32-30 home win over Wisconsin, but surrendered 441 yards (210 passing, 231 rushing) and nearly lost on a poorly officiated and truly bizarre game-ending play sequence. The Sun Devils offense will put points on the board, but the D is nothing special. I don't expect ASU to be able to keep up with Stanford with the Cardinal lines dominated in the trenches.
Marshall Thundering Herd at Virginia Tech Hokies (-7.5) - The Hokies turned in a dominant defensive performance last week befitting future stone helmets. Virginia Tech had seven sacks, 11 TFLs and three INTs in a 15-10 win at East Carolina. It's the Hokies offense you need to be worried about here, which currently ranks among the worst in the FBS. Despite the lack of offense, the ECU game final score is a bit misleading as Tech kicker Cody Journell missed two FGs and an XP which would have given the Hokies the cover (sorry, Jeff). Marshall is much improved this year and should challenge for the C-USA East Division title, but suffered a 34-31 loss at Ohio last weekend to fall to 2-1 on the year. This line feels like a bit of an overreaction to the ECU game and expect the Hokies to win by double digits here.