The Pi-Rate Ratings

November 14, 2007

PiRate Game Previews and Selections for November 15-17, 2007


This Week’s Key Games and Interesting Match-ups

Disclaimer: I am giving advice on pointspreads totally as an act of fun.  I do not personally wager money on these games, and I do not advocate you doing so either.  It’s just a game like Monopoly to me.

About Teasers:  A Teaser allows you to adjust the pointspread in your favor by a certain number of points.  With this adjustment, the odds change in favor of the sports book.  Most college football teasers are 6-7½ points, but you can find 10 and 13-point teasers as well.  If you play a 10-point teaser, you must pick three teams correctly to win the wager at 10-12 odds.  If you play a 13-point teaser, you must pick four teams correctly to win the wager at 10-12 odds.  Some places will allow you to play 21-point teasers on a 3-team parlay at ridiculous odds.  While they look like easy wins, just one loss can cost you 15 to 20 times the amount you were trying to win.  You could win this wager every week until the final one, lose that one, and lose for the season even though you were 14-1!

Last Week Picking Outright Winners:(*)               36-16    69.2%

For The Season Picking Winners:                    411-148    73.5%

(*): Games predicted as tossups (0 points) are not included.


Last Week Picks vs. Spread:                            8-19-0    29.6%

For the Season Picking Winners vs. Spread:      72-97-2   42.6% (over 52.4% returns a profit)

Well, it’s almost time to wave the white flag.  A late turnover by Arkansas against Tennessee prevented the Razorbacks from covering against the spread.  So, what could have been a 17-12 week turned into another nightmare, because I had Arkansas in nine different teasers.

There are several big games and even more interesting games with bowl repercussions this week.  I have a suspicion that there will be a wealth of surprises this week-if not outright upsets, then games that finish much closer than expected.

When it comes to picking games this late in the year, injuries and depth begin to figure as more of a factor.  Teams that absolutely must win in order to stay on track for a bowl (4-6 if they need six wins and 5-5 if it looks like seven wins will be needed) have their backs up against the wall, and if they are healthy, they play a few points better than they normally would.  Teams coming off a huge win last week and facing a weaker opponent prior to finishing with a strong one may bounce more than normal.  However, the emerging champions will steamroller over the lightweights.  So, this may be the week where those looking for trends discover the two truly best teams. 

Watch Oregon and Arizona Thursday night.  If the Ducks sleepwalk through this game and barely win, that may indicate they don’t belong in the big game.  If they win big in Tucson, that may indicate they deserve to be there. 

LSU has a little bit of a tricky game at Ole Miss.  The Rebels have played a couple of tough games at home this year, and LSU doesn’t like to play day games.  The Tigers need to win by three touchdowns to prove they deserve their ranking.  A close win means the Tigers may be not be as deserving as the other five or six teams still in the hunt.

Missouri goes to Kansas State, and the Wildcats have their backs up against the wall.  Missouri has reason to be looking ahead and could be asking for trouble.  If the Tigers win big, then they are championship tough.  A close win against a team that lost by 42 to Nebraska means Mizzou does not belong among the top five.

Kansas hosts Iowa State.  The Cyclones have been tough the last four weeks.  They gave Oklahoma and Missouri fits and beat Kansas State and Colorado.  If the Jayhawks win this one with ease, with Missouri on the horizon in another week, then KU can stay in the thick of the title picture.

Oklahoma, West Virginia, Arizona State, and Ohio State all need help, even though they have just one loss like LSU and Oregon.  It doesn’t make sense that the Buckeyes should be out of the race due to their loss to Illinois.  LSU lost to Kentucky, Oregon lost to Cal, and West Virginia lost to South Florida.  Illinois, Kentucky, Cal, and USF are comparable teams (all bowl-bound).  Nobody will convince me that Ohio State isn’t as worthy as Oregon or LSU right now (even though the PiRate Ratings show the Ducks and Tigers to be one-two).  I believe without any doubts that if you take all these one-loss teams and rotate their schedules so that LSU will have played Oregon, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arizona State, and Ohio State’s schedules and so on, that all these teams would still have one loss.  Kansas is the only team not to have stubbed their toes yet, and they will have to beat Missouri and Oklahoma to stay that way.  If the Jayhawks run the table, they absolutely must be in the National Championship Game for the game to retain even a smidgeon of respect.

There must be a playoff if the BCS is to remain viable among the public.  Either implement a playoff or drop the BCS and go back to the old bowl alignments that frequently produced two or more “national champions” in the same year.

For those of you who follow my pro football computer simulation, I will be conducting a simulated NCAA Playoff here in December.  It will be a 12-team playoff using 11 existing bowl games.  Watch for it just after the conclusion of the regular season.

Point spreads and totals are those listed as of 8:00 AM ET Wednesday.

Thursday, November 15

Oregon at Arizona

Vegas: Oregon by 12½  O/U 67   

PiRate: Oregon by 13  

Mean: Oregon 38 Arizona 22

What a way to start the college football weekend!  One of the current teams projected by the BCS computers to play for all the marbles travels to Tucson to take on an Arizona team that must finish out the season with wins over two top 10 teams to become bowl eligible.

Oregon has enjoyed five extra days to come down from its high from beating Arizona State.  The same goes for Arizona and their win over UCLA.

Aside from the importance of winning the game, Duck quarterback Dennis Dixon is getting to participate in the equivalent of a nationally-televised one-candidate debate.  If he passes the test with flying colors, the Heisman Trophy is more than likely his.  However, if his debate performance is the equivalent of saying “I don’t believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union,” he could lose the debate and lots of votes, especially back in the East where the voters might already have an Eastern bias.

Oregon should win this game, but it isn’t going to be a cake walk.  Arizona’s defense in the end will prove to be too vulnerable and allow the Ducks to quack their way to a 10-0 record.  Look for a double-digit win, but definitely not a blow out.  Arizona could have the ball in the fourth quarter with a chance to take the lead if not add to the lead, but Dixon will guide the Ducks into still waters with a couple of late scores.


Arizona +22½ and +25½ in 10 and 13-point teasers

Oregon -2½ and +½ in 10 and 13-point teasers 

Under 77 and 80 in 10 and 13-point teasers


Friday, November 16

Hawaii at Nevada

Vegas: No Line  

PiRate: Hawaii by 8

Mean: Hawaii 40 Nevada 30

This could be Hawaii’s downfall before they even get to play Boise State.  Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan was knocked silly in the fourth quarter of the Fresno State game, and his status as of Wednesday is still uncertain.

Nevada has enjoyed an extra week to prepare for this game, having last played two Fridays ago.  14 days versus six days added to the quarterback issue means this game should be tight.  The Wolf Pack’s pistol offense could fire a death blow into Hawaii’s BCS bowl hopes.

Nevada’s weakness is stopping the run, and Hawaii cannot run the ball with much authority.  Their modicum of running success comes from running in passing situations.  With or without Brennan, the Warrior running game is not that strong.

Nevada can slow down the pass and hold Hawaii under 35 points.  The question that must be answered is how Nevada’s offense will fare against Hawaii’s defense.  This version of the pistol may be the strongest in the four-year tenure of Coach Chris Ault’s second go around in Reno.  Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, when he gets protection, is as good as any freshman quarterback in the nation.  He has the ability and the talent around him to lead Nevada to a 40-point game against Hawaii.  I think Nevada can pull off the upset, but even if they fail to do so, they ought to make this game closer than expected.


None available with no line due to Brennan’s concussion


Saturday, November 17

Western Michigan at Iowa

Vegas: Iowa by 14  O/U 46½

PiRate: Iowa by 8

Mean: Iowa 24 Western Michigan 10

Iowa just barely survived against lowly Minnesota.  The Hawkeyes have not only had major issues with injuries this season, the injuries seem to isolate on one unit of the team and then strike in spades.

Western Michigan clinched a losing season last week by falling to Central Michigan, so the Broncos only have pride on the line.  It won’t be enough, even against the injury-riddled Iowa defense.

Iowa’s defense should contain the Bronco offense and hold WMU under 17 points.  Western’s defense is porous, giving up 33 points per game.  Even Iowa’s feeble offense can score more than 21 points, so it is a given the Hawkeyes will win their crucial seventh game.  The question is can they win by more than two touchdowns?  That may be difficult, especially when you consider that the Hawkeyes have only won one game this year by more than 14 points.  Against Northern Illinois, they only won by 13, and WMU is better than NIU.

I wouldn’t want to rely on Iowa winning by 15 or more in order to return a profit, but then again I don’t have a lot of faith that WMU will be up for this game.  So, I’d lay off this one unless you use it in the money line or teasers-Iowa will win and finish the regular season 7-5.


Iowa -4 and -1 in 10 and 13-point teasers

Western Michigan +24 and +27 in 10 and 13-point teasers

Under 56½ and 59½ in 10 and 13-point teasers

Iowa -600



North Carolina at Georgia Tech

Vegas: Georgia Tech by 10  O/U 42½   

PiRate: Georgia Tech by 12     

Mean: Georgia Tech 28 North Carolina 17

North Carolina was eliminated from the bowl chase last week, while Georgia Tech became bowl eligible.  Yet, Tar Heel fans have a tendency to feel good that their school is on the right path, while Tech fans are not enthralled with their team’s results and are campaigning for a new coach.

This game is almost a must-win game for the Techsters.  A loss here followed by an almost assured loss to Georgia next week means the Yellow Jackets would finish the regular season at 6-6 and be in serious jeopardy of missing out on a bowl.  So, the old gold and white have a lot to play for this week.  The players should be ready to give their best efforts Saturday.

This doesn’t mean that North Carolina isn’t capable of winning this game.  The Tar Heels may not run the ball for more than 75 to 90 yards in this game, but they should be able to pick up more than 200 through the air and score 17 to 21 points.  I don’t see Georgia Tech topping 30 points in this game, and they are favored by double digits.  So, even though Tech should win, I think taking UNC and getting the points is the way to go.


North Carolina +10

North Carolina +20 and +23 in 10 and 13-point teasers

Over 32½ and 29½ in 10 and 13-point teasers   



Penn State at Michigan State

Vegas: Penn State by 3  O/U 50½

PiRate: Michigan State by 3  

Mean: Penn State 29 Michigan State 26

Here we have an example of a team that has its back up against the wall and definitely must win this week in order to wrap up a bowl bid.  Michigan State is 6-5, and the Spartans are fighting with Northwestern, Indiana, and Iowa for a bowl bid.  Three of these bowl-eligible teams will not receive Big 10 bowl bids, and only one other is likely to receive an at-large invitation.

Penn State is playing for a chance to go to the Capital One or Outback Bowl, and a loss here will probably send them to a lesser bowl.  The Nittany Lions have the better stats in this game, but Michigan State has played above their statistical showing.  The Spartans have actually fared better in games against common opponents, and this game is being played in East Lansing.  Penn State is the favorite, but once again, I like the underdog.  I really like taking the Spartans as part of a 10 or 13-point teaser.


Michigan State +3

Michigan State +13 and +16 in 10 and 13-point teasers

Over 40½ and 37½ in 10 and 13-point teasers

Michigan State +330 in money line (for parlay use)



West Virginia at Cincinnati  

Vegas: West Virginia by 6½  O/U 55½ 

PiRate: West Virginia by 3  

Mean: West Virginia 26 Cincinnati 24

This could be the top game of the week instead of the one at the Big House.  If you figure that West Virginia will defeat Connecticut in Morgantown, then the winner of this game will become the Big East Champion and recipient of an automatic BCS bowl bid.  West Virginia is still in the national title hunt, but if the Mountaineers have overlooked this game, the Bearcats could be in line for a Sugar or Orange Bowl bid.

Cincinnati will try to force Patrick White to beat them over the top.  They will concentrate on stopping the combination of White and Steve Slaton and the Mountaineer running game.

The Bearcats will also try to control the clock with their spread passing attack.  West Virginia’s defense won’t allow Cinti to do that.  They will mix up their pass defense by rushing the passer heavily on some plays and playing short zone coverage on others.  I don’t see Ben Mauk passing for 250 yards this week.

This might be one game where the underdog isn’t getting enough points, even on their home field.  I would consider not playing either side in this one.  I think there is more value in the totals.  These teams should be a little tight since there is a lot on the line.  I think the score will be lower than expected.  Taking the totals line and adding 10 or 13-points looks like the way to go here.  I don’t like teasing the spread because this game has a wide possible deviation.  West Virginia has the capability of running away from the Bearcats once they get a lead, and Cincinnati has the horses to pull off the upset.  If you must play a side, go with the home underdog (but be careful).


Under 65½ and 68½ in 10 and 13-point teasers  


Syracuse at Connecticut   

Vegas: Connecticut by 18½  O/U 46

PiRate: Connecticut by 28

Mean: Connecticut 37 Syracuse 13

Connecticut must try to bounce back and not look forward to the West Virginia game.  The Huskies can still win the Big East, and they will win this game even if they play below their capabilities. 

Syracuse beat Louisville and gave Pittsburgh a good fight before losing by three.  The Orangemen have virtually no chance to win this game, but they could keep it close for a long enough time to cover the spread. 

Connecticut isn’t the type of team that dominates and blows opponents off the field with a dominating offense.  The Huskies have been out-gained in four of their victories this season.  On the other hand, when the opponent makes a mistake and turns the ball over, UConn makes them pay.  The Huskies have a +1.2 turnover margin per game, while Syracuse has a -0.3 margin.  If UConn wins the turnover battle in this game, it could be a big blowout because Syracuse isn’t likely to out-gain them in this game.  In the four games where the Huskies won the total yardage battle this year, they are 4-0 with an average margin of victory of 30 points.  Now throw in a rash of SU injuries including quarterback Andrew Robinson, and this indeed appears to be a blowout in the making.


Connecticut -18½

Connecticut -8½ and -5½ in 10 and 13-point teasers  

Over 36 and 33 in 10 and 13-point teasers 


Purdue at Indiana   

Vegas: Purdue by 3  O/U 62    

PiRate: Purdue by 3  

Mean: Purdue 30 Indiana 28

Purdue has had the fortune of using the old oaken bucket in their wells for the last five seasons and nine of the past 10 years.  Indiana needs to gain possession of that bucket or they may not be able to play that 13th game that late coach Terry Hoeppner wished for his squad.

The Hoosiers sit at 6-5 and will not get a bowl bid at 6-6.  Purdue could be forced into an at-large bowl position if they lose this game.  So, when you combine an old rivalry with must win situations on both sides, the battle for the old oaken bucket should resemble a Civil War scene this week.

Both of these teams are limping into this game.  Since starting 5-1, the Hoosiers have gone 1-4 with the lone win coming against Ball State.  Since starting 5-0, the Boilermakers have gone 2-4 including a big 17-point loss at home to Michigan State.

Both teams will be missing key components of their offensive lines in this game, and that may open the door for a sneaky play.  If there is a possibility that holes won’t be open for running plays and pass protection could break down, it goes without saying that the score for this game could be lower than expected, especially if the predicted rainfall becomes a reality.  Normally, you could expect to see 65 points tallied by these teams, but I can see them failing to reach 60 Saturday. 


Indiana +13 and +16 in 10 and 13-point teasers

Under 62

Under 72 and 75 in 10 and 13-point teasers



Vanderbilt at Tennessee

Vegas: Tennessee by 11  O/U 52      

PiRate: Tennessee by 16  

Mean:  Tennessee 28 Vanderbilt 16

The last time Vanderbilt played at Neyland Stadium, then quarterback Jay Cutler guided the Commodores to a 28-24 win; this was the Commodores only win in Knoxville in 30 years!

Tennessee got their revenge last year by a 39-10 score in Nashville.  This year, the Vols players remaining from 2005 still have a score to settle.

Like the Purdue-Indiana game, this contest should be a real battle.  Vanderbilt is in a must-win situation.  The black and gold stand at 5-5 and will only go to the Liberty, Independence, or another bowl as an at-large replacement only if their final record is 7-5.  Tennessee can win the SEC East by defeating Vandy and Kentucky.  A loss in either game may send them tumbling all the way to the Liberty, Independence, or at-large Bowl.

Tennessee is a Jekyll and Hyde team.  On the road, they are 1-3 with an average score of 25-42.  At home, they are 6-0 with an average score of 40-17. 

Vanderbilt has been competitive at home.  The Commodores have only played three road games, and in two of them, they were wiped off the field.  Auburn and Florida beat them by a combined 84-29.

The three teams to beat the Vols this season did so with a wide-open attack, using the pass to open up the trenches for the run.  Vanderbilt just doesn’t have the talent on hand to do this, and they will try to control the ball game via the run.  It won’t work, and Tennessee should pick up a convincing win to move within one step of the division title.  Look for at least a two touchdown win for the orange and white.


Tennessee -11

Under 52

Tennessee -1 and +2 in 10 and 13-point teasers

Under 62 and 65 in 10 and 13-point teasers    


Mississippi State at Arkansas (game in Little Rock)   

Vegas: Arkansas by 11  O/U 51        

PiRate: Arkansas by 11  

Mean:  Arkansas 26 Mississippi State 19

Here is one game where the home team has all the intangibles on its side.  Mississippi State is coming off an emotional win over Alabama, while Arkansas took it on the chin last week in Knoxville.  State has the Egg Bowl game coming up in a week, and the Bulldog players know they can win their much-needed seventh game against Ole Miss.  Arkansas must close the season playing at LSU on one fewer preparation day.  A loss to the Bullies will probably cause Arky to finish 6-6, and a .500 record could very easily end their bowl chances with the likelihood that there will be 11 bowl-eligible teams from the SEC.  A 6-6 record will also more than likely end the Houston Nutt era in Fayetteville, so this game is crucial for the home team.

Last year, Mississippi State stopped the Razorback running game, holding Darren McFadden, Felix Jones, and company to just 128 rushing yards on 38 attempts.  This MSU defense is better than last year, so Arkansas will have to have some passing threat in this game.  Jones was hurt against Tennessee, and it’s questionable whether he will play in this game.  Even if he plays, he won’t be close to 100% healthy.

Even though I think the Hogs will win, this is another game where I like the underdog getting points.  Mississippi State may not win, but they can keep this game close enough to cover, especially as part of a teaser.


Mississippi State +11

Mississippi State +21 and +24 in 10 and 13-point teasers

Under 61 and 64 in 10 and 13-point teasers  


Oklahoma State at Baylor   

Vegas: Oklahoma State by 14½  O/U 65½     

PiRate: Oklahoma State by 20

Mean: Oklahoma State 36 Baylor 21

This will be Baylor coach Guy Morriss’s last game in Waco, as he has been informed that his services are no longer needed.  Much like Vanderbilt, being the lone private school in a league of public school monsters is an impossible task for a coach to enjoy longevity.  Morriss is a good coach, but even a staff comprised of Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, Bill Walsh, Hank Stram, John Madden, Don Shula, Bill Parcells, George Halas, George Allen, and Bud Grant wouldn’t be able to turn the Bears into a Big 12 champ or consistent bowl team.  No, it would take 35 players as good as Mike Singletary in order to compete against Oklahoma, Texas, and the rest, and Baylor cannot get that many in four successive recruiting classes.  It’s not going to happen, and maybe Baylor should consider following the path of former SWC brothers TCU, SMU, and Rice.  Baylor and Houston should swap conferences, placing the Bears back in the same league with SMU and Rice.

Oklahoma State now finds itself in a must-win situation.  At 5-5, they must win one of their final two games to earn a minor bowl invitation.  Since the Cowboys finish at Oklahoma, they better win this game.  If Baylor pulls off the upset, then it looks like the Big 12 will fall two teams short in its bowl allotments.

Okie State is coming off two tough losses where they blew leads to top 25 teams.  They should have beaten Texas, while they played over their heads before experiencing the inevitable versus Kansas.  How much focus and energy they have left after those two home losses and with a game at Norman next week is a question.

Since Baylor wants to send Morriss out a winner and OSU is limping badly, I think the Bears will cover against the spread.  I expect a passing shootout with many points scored.  In the end, I expect the Baylor secondary to break down a couple of times and allow OSU to win by about 10 points, even though the PiRates and Mean ratings call for a blowout.  Those ratings cannot factor all the intangibles that are present this week.


Baylor +14½

Baylor +24½ and +27½ in 10 and 13-point teasers

Over 55½ and 52½ in 10 and 13-point teasers     


Oklahoma at Texas Tech

Vegas: Oklahoma by 7½  O/U 66  

PiRate: Oklahoma by 9

Mean: Oklahoma 32 Texas Tech 23

Mike Leach is so mad, he could spit.  He is so mad, he’s about to get in trouble with the Big 12.  Last week after his Red Raiders fell to Texas, Leach told the press that the officials had a pro-Texas bias, especially the referee from Austin.  He noted that several big TTU plays were negated by questionable calls by the refs.  He refused to back down from his statements or apologize, so he’s going to be fined big time by the bias cops, er the Big 12 officials.

If Leach feels the refs were helping Texas in order to keep them more attractive to bowls, just think what will happen when they play Oklahoma this week.  The Sooners are in the national title hunt and need to win this game.  If they lose, then the Big 12’s chances of placing two teams in BCS bowls goes down 50%.

Never mind the fact that Oklahoma should cut through the Tech defense like a hot knife through butter.  OU should be able to top 40 and possibly 50 points in this game.  The crimson stop troops will contain Tech enough to win this game by more than a touchdown.  I’m leaning toward a 17-21-point win, even though the PiRates and Mean believe it will be a single-digit win.


Oklahoma – 7½

Oklahoma +2½ and +5½ in 10 and 13-point teasers

Over 56 and 53 in 10 and 13-point teasers   

Oklahoma -300 on Money Line


Iowa State at Kansas  

Vegas: Kansas by 26½  O/U 58

PiRate: Kansas by 25

Mean: Kansas 35 Iowa State 6

Iowa State cannot be overlooked at this stage of the season.  The Cyclones have come to life in the past month, and they are no pushover for anybody.  Look at their last four games.  They took Oklahoma to the wire and had a chance to win.  They gave Missouri all they could handle in Columbia.  They clobbered Kansas State, and then they came from behind to beat Colorado.  They are not your typical 3-8 team.

Of course, this is the most atypical Kansas team since at least 1968.  That 1968 Jayhawk team beat a bunch of mediocre teams until knocking off Missouri in the regular season finale.  This Kansas team has beaten a bunch of mediocre teams and must finish with Missouri next week.

The Jayhawks have not been threatened at home this year.  They have won by 45, 62, 32, 52, 48, and 37 points.  However, Iowa State is playing better right now than any of those defeated opponents were playing when they came to Lawrence.  Iowa State has improved from weak to mediocre and maybe a little better than that.  Kansas should win, but I think this game will be closer than expected.  I look for Iowa State to mount a late charge and beat the spread, while sending the KU players to the locker and 50,000 Jayhawk fans to the parking lots feeling like they dodged a bullet.


Iowa State +26½

Iowa State +36½ and +39½ in 10 and 13-point teasers

Over 48 and 45 in 10 and 13-point teasers   


Idaho at Boise State   

Vegas: Boise State by 33½  O/U 65    

PiRate: Boise State by 39  

Mean: Boise State 42 Idaho 7

These teams should play for a giant Mr. Potato Head.  Of course, the spud could be glued to the Boise State trophy case.  The Broncos have won eight straight games in this series, and they are going to win again this year. 

With Hawaii’s Colt Brennan getting all the headlines, it should be noted that he is only the second-rated quarterback in the WAC.  BSU’s Taylor Tharp has a better QB efficiency mark.  Tharp has completed 215 of 312 passes (68.9%) for 2,557 yards and 23 touchdowns versus eight interceptions.

Boise State should dominate this game from start to finish.  The Broncos are on a mission to put themselves into position to claim a second consecutive BCS at-large bowl bid.  They must beat Hawaii in Honolulu next week, but they also must win this week in a convincing fashion.  They will.

Idaho is down near the bottom in passing percentage for the second year in a row.  Combined with a weak running game, too many of their scrimmage plays end in little or no gain.  The Vandals cannot sustain long drives.

Boise should top 500 total yards in this game and possibly 550, while Idaho should be held to 300 yards or less.  A 250-yard differential should lead to a 30-point or more win.


Boise State -33½

Under 65

Boise State -23½ and 20½ in 10 and 13-point teasers

Under 75 and 78 in 10 and 13-point teasers 


Duke at Notre Dame   

Vegas: Notre Dame by 6  O/U 47½     

PiRate: Notre Dame by 8

Mean: Notre Dame 28 Duke 22

Notre Dame hasn’t played a 2007 opponent as weak as the one they are playing this week in their home finale.  These teams haven’t played since one week before the “game of the century” between Notre Dame and Michigan State in 1966.  Notre Dame won that one 64-0.

Believe it or not, when these two 1-9 teams face off on national television Saturday, it won’t be the worst combined won-loss records for a nationally televised game.  In 2000, 0-10 Navy beat 1-9 Army.

If Notre Dame loses this game, there will be more than a little rumbling for a coaching change.  I think Charlie Weis is safe this year; the Irish will have to go bowling next year, or it’s bye-bye Charlie.

Duke played their best ball in a five-game stretch from early September to early October.  In that run, they lost 24-13 to Virginia; beat Northwestern 20-14; lost to Navy 46-43; lost to Miami-F 24-14; and lost to Wake Forest 41-36.  Since then, the Blue Devils have been blown out four consecutive times by an average of 39 to 13.5 and out-gained by an average of 261 yards.

It’s negligible, but Notre Dame is playing better ball now than they did in September.  The Irish’s 30-point loss to Georgia Tech when compared to Duke’s 17-point loss to the Jackets last week and the Irish’s overtime loss to Navy compared to Duke’s close loss at Navy does not mean Duke should be favored this week.  Duke lost to Navy when they were playing better than they are now, and Notre Dame lost to Georgia Tech when they were clueless on offense.

I look for Notre Dame to break through with a win in their last home game, and I think it will be by double digits.  The Irish will have to win by a touchdown to cover, and I don’t like wagering on a 1-9 team to cover as that much of a favorite.  I’d consider teasing both sides in this game.  Notre Dame should cover as a ‘dog, and Duke should cover as a double digit ‘dog.


Over 47½

Notre Dame +4 and +7 in 10 and 13-point teasers

Duke +16 and +19 in 10 and 13-point teasers

Over 37½ and 34½ in 10 and 13-point teasers


California at Washington

Vegas: California by 7  O/U 58  

PiRate: California by 2

Mean: California 38 Washington 34    

California has dropped to the point where they are now competing for a Sun Bowl berth. The Bears have lost four games since climbing to number three in the polls following their win over Oregon.

Washington was eliminated from the bowl picture last week, and in the loss to Oregon State, quarterback Jake Locker left with an injured neck.  His status for this week is uncertain, but even if he plays, don’t expect the typical Locker performance.  Former starter Carl Bonnell started against Cal last year and led the Huskies to a regulation tie before losing in overtime.

Cal should be able to control the line of scrimmage when they have the ball.  UW cannot consistently stop the Bear ground game, and that will allow Nate Longshore to burn the purple secondary for some big passing gains.  Cal should score 35 points or more.

The Huskies still have the Apple Cup game with Washington State and a road game against Hawaii.  They are collapsing as the season progresses due to a brutal schedule earlier in the season.  I’m not sure they have much left in the tank for this game, and I’m picking them to lose at home.  As a touchdown ‘dog at Husky Stadium, I still think UW can cover with the aid of a teaser and might be able to cover straight up.


Washington +17 and +20 in 10 and 13-point teasers


L S U at Ole Miss

Vegas: L S U by 19½  O/U 53½    

PiRate: L S U by 27

Mean: L S U 38 Ole Miss 14

Looking at the statistics and results so far this season, it looks like LSU should win by four or more touchdowns.  However, I believe that Ole Miss is going to play their best game of the season and make a run at a monumental upset this week.

The Rebels enjoyed a week off following a game against Northwestern State two weeks ago.  Nobody is giving them any chance to even keep this game close.  Not only do they face one of their top rivals at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, they get a chance to face the number one team.  LSU cannot possibly get up for this game the same way Ole Miss will get up for it. 

Look at how Ole Miss fared at home against Missouri, Florida, and Alabama.  They could have won two of those games, but crucial plays went the other way at the most inopportune time.  Ole Miss is the only SEC team without a big victory this year.  I think they are due for their big victory this week, even if it may have to be a moral victory.

When Ole Miss has the ball, expect the Rebels to isolate on LSU middle linebacker Jacob Cutrera, who is subbing for regular Darry Beckwith.  Expect to see running back Benjarvus Green-Ellis get several carries up the middle with a threat of a fake and rollout by the Ole Miss quarterback.  This brings up an interesting question:  who will that Ole Miss quarterback be?  Starter Seth Adams may be benched in favor of 2006 starter Brent Schaeffer, who is more mobile and able to get wide quickly.

LSU is still the top team in the nation (according to the AP and BCS polls), and they aren’t about to lose this game 28-17.  No, I expect the Tigers to survive with a closer-than-expected win at best and possibly be upset by a field goal at worst.  So, since the Bayou Bengals are favored by 19½  points, I’d recommend going with the double digit home underdog.  This is the Rebels’ bowl game.


Ole Miss +19½

Over 53½

Ole Miss +29½ and +32½ in 10 and 13-point teasers    

Over 43½ and 40½ in 10 and 13-point teasers 


Kentucky at Georgia  

Vegas: Georgia by 7½  O/U 61  

PiRate: Georgia by 12

Mean: Georgia 36 Kentucky 28

When Florida beat South Carolina last week, it ended any chance for the Wildcats to win the SEC East.  Georgia can still win the division crown by beating Kentucky and hoping Tennessee can be defeated by either Vanderbilt or Kentucky.

The Bulldogs would be better off if the Vols win out and take the East flag.  If Georgia can win this game and take care of business against Georgia Tech, they are almost guaranteed a BCS at-large bowl bid.  Coach Mark Richt has done a great job with this team after they were blown away in Knoxville and just barely survived in Nashville a week later.  UGA has some revenge punishment to extract against Kentucky, as the Wildcats beat them 24-20 last year in Lexington.  Look for running backs Knowshon Moreno and Thomas Brown to combine for 200 yards rushing, while Matthew Stafford shows Andre Woodson he can throw just as competently as him.  I’m picking Georgia to win with authority this week.

Kentucky should produce 100-140 rushing yards and 200-225 passing yards, but they will only score about 24-28 points.  The blue and white defense will give up 400+ yards in this game, and I expect Georgia to top 35 points.  Vanderbilt was able to run the ball well against Kentucky’s defense, so the ‘dogs should be able to destroy it.  Give Stafford that type of complementary running game, and he will have a big day overhead.


Georgia -7½

Georgia +2½ and +5½ in 10 and 13-point teasers



Missouri at Kansas State

Vegas: Missouri by 7  O/U 68½    

PiRate: Missouri by 17

Mean: Missouri 34 Kansas State 24

Kansas State lost to Nebraska by 42 points and lost to Iowa State by 11 in their previous two games.  Missouri beat Nebraska by 35 points and Iowa State by 14.  To make matters worse, the Wildcats are hurting on the defensive side, especially in the line where two key contributors are ailing.

Kansas State is 5-5, so this game could be considered close to a must win game for them.  The Wildcats conclude their season at Fresno State next week, so they still could get to a bowl with a win over the Bulldogs.

Missouri is one of a handful of teams remaining with legitimate national championship hopes.  If they can win this game convincingly, and then take care of business against Kansas and Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game, the Tigers could vault into one of the top two spots.

Missouri has played four games away from Columbia this year, and they have covered all four times.  Kansas State has won four of five home games, but the best of the wins came against 5-5 Colorado. 

The Wildcats are in over their head this week, as they will not have an answer for Chase Daniel and the Tiger offense.  There is a chance that KSU will get their offense untracked and ride the arm of Josh Freeman to a high-scoring day.

Missouri only has to win by seven to meet the spread, and I think the Tigers are quite capable of doing just that.  I believe the teams will score around 60 points, so you can use that in teasing the totals.

Note: If Oregon’s Dixon plays poorly against Arizona, then Daniel has a chance to vault to the Heisman Trophy frontrunner spot with a good showing in this game.


Missouri -7

Under 68½   

Missouri +3 and +6 in 10 and 13-point teasers

Under 78½ and 81½ in 10 and 13-point teasers


Ohio State at Michigan

Vegas: Ohio State by 4  O/U None

PiRate: Ohio State by 9

Mean: Ohio State 26 Michigan 20

Can you believe it’s been a year since these two teams played “The Game of the Century” in Columbus?  Now, because these teams both lost last week, this game isn’t even the top game of the week.  Sure, the Rose Bowl is on the line this week, but unless LSU, Oregon, Missouri, Oklahoma, and West Virginia all lose again, Ohio State is out of the national championship picture.

Michigan quarterback Chad Henne and running back Mike Hart are expected to play this week, but they are vulnerable and can be easily removed from the game with one hit.  Ohio State running back Chris Wells is banged up, but he should be close to 100% by Saturday.

This could be Coach Lloyd Carr’s final chance to beat Ohio State as rumors of his forced retirement could become a reality if the Wolverines don’t win this game and the Rose Bowl as well.  The Wolverine players should be ready to go (when are they not ready for this game) and ready to play above their heads.

Looking at the stats for this game, Ohio State clearly has the advantage in most areas.  Ditto that for games played against common opponents.  However, I don’t think looking at the stats for this game is the way to go.  Michigan’s seniors are 0-3 against the Buckeyes, and this is their final chance.  I think the maize and blue will be the hungrier team, especially since Ohio State’s players might be caught sulking a little bit now that they probably know they won’t play in the National Championship Game.  While the PiRates and Mean Rating believes the Buckeyes will win and cover, I personally believe Michigan will at least cover against the spread and probably pull off the mild upset.  I’m taking the Wolverines to beat the spread and also going with Michigan in teaser plays.


Michigan +4

Michigan +14 and +17 in 10 and 13-point teasers

Michigan +160 in money line


Miami-FL at Virginia Tech  

Vegas: Virginia Tech by 16½  O/U 42     

PiRate: Virginia Tech by 22   

Mean: Virginia Tech 31 Miami 12

We have two teams going in opposite directions in this game.  Miami has dropped four out of five games including a 48-0 pasting to Virginia in last week’s home finale and final game at the Orange Bowl.  Virginia Tech has won seven of eight games including a 41-23 win over Clemson.

Add to that the fact that Miami doesn’t really like to play when the weather isn’t tropical, and the forecast for Blacksburg Saturday afternoon calls for temperatures in the upper 40’s at kickoff, falling into the low 40’s and maybe upper 30’s by the fourth quarter.

Virginia Tech doesn’t really need much added help to win this game, but I’m sure the Hokie players will be confident they can win big, while the Hurricane players have thoughts of another blowout loss in their collective subconscious.

Whether it’s freshman Tyrod Taylor or junior Sean Glennon in at quarterback for Tech, he’s much better than whoever plays for the Hurricanes.  Neither Kyle Wright nor Kirby Freeman will find much success against the VT defense. 

I look for the Hokies to control this game much like Virginia did last week.  Whereas the Cavaliers burned the ‘Canes with the pass first, VT should dominate them with their running game.  If Taylor plays the majority of the game, I look for him to run for close to if not more than 100 yards and pass for another 150-200 yards. 

The Miami defense is decimated with injuries, and there just isn’t much depth left.  If they stay on the field too long, they are going to break down much like they did last week against Virginia.  Since the Hurricane offense isn’t likely to hold the ball for time-consuming drives, the possibility that the defense will become overextended is quite high.  So is my predicted margin of victory in this game.  Look for Tech to turn the Hurricanes into a tropical depression.



Virginia Tech -16½

Virginia Tech -6½ and -3½ in 10 and 13-point teasers

Over 32 and 29 in 10 and 13-point teasers    


Boston College at Clemson   

Vegas: Clemson by 7  O/U 52½  

PiRate: Clemson by 14

Mean: Clemson 30 Boston College 23

After moving to number two in the BCS Polls, Boston College is on the verge of losing their third consecutive game.  When the Eagles travel to Clemson, they will be facing one of the two hottest teams in the league.

In the past four weeks, Clemson has out-gained their opposition by close to 200 yards per game.  The Tigers’ running game has improved since the beginning of the year, and it isn’t that far behind where it was last year.  That has made Cullen Harper’s throwing arm more lethal, and CU has averaged 48 points per game since their loss to Virginia Tech.

Boston College couldn’t stop Maryland’s Chris Turner last week, allowing him to throw for 337 yards and three touchdowns on 21 of 27 attempts.  They allowed Florida State’s Drew Weatherford to have a career day two weeks ago.  How are they going to stop Harper when they have to concentrate on stopping the Tigers’ newfound running game?

The seven-point spread makes this one a tough call.  I think Clemson will win, but one mistake could make this game closer than the line.  So, I’d go with Clemson in a teaser play.  At 10 or 13 points, you get the Tigers at home as underdogs.  Teasing the totals might be wise as well, as I expect ideal football weather to allow these teams to score a lot of points.


Clemson +3 and +6 in 10 and 13-point teasers

Over 42 ½ and 39 ½ in 10 and 13-point teasers


Maryland at Florida State

Vegas: Florida State by 7  O/U 45   

PiRate: Florida State by 8

Mean: Florida State 28 Maryland 21

In a way, this game could be one of the top three of the week.  This is a true bowl elimination game.  Both teams are 5-5 and must finish their seasons on the road against better opponents after this game.  The winner may get the honor of spending late December in Boise, San Francisco, or Nashville. 

Both teams are coming off emotional games.  Florida State had the lead at Virginia Tech and then as quick as a hiccup, the Hokies scored and scored and scored to turn the game into a rout.  Maryland pulled off a huge upset over Boston College when quarterback Chris Turner imitated Boomer Esiason for four quarters.  Usually, but not always, when a team wins a big home game and then plays on the road the following week, they bounce somewhat.  Additionally, when a team blows a road game one week and returns home the following week, they recover and play admirably more times than not.

Both of these teams have numerous injuries, most notably the concussion to FSU quarterback Drew Weatherford and the knee injury of Terp wide receiver Danny Oquendo.  The injuries should even out and become a non-factor this week.

Since I think these two teams would probably split a 10-game series on a neutral field, I have to favor the Seminoles by a few points.  Throw in home field advantage, and you can add a few more points.  It adds up to about a touchdown victory for Bobby Bowden’s boys, which is exactly what the spread is for this game.


Florida State +3 and +6 in 10 and 13-point teasers

Over 35 and 32 in 10 and 13-point teasers


New Mexico at Utah   

Vegas: Utah by 14½   O/U 44½     

PiRate: Utah by 24

Mean: Utah 25 New Mexico 14

Two things I can predict here is that Utah will not kick onsides if they lead by a lot of points in the fourth quarter, and New Mexico Coach Rocky Long will not shoot the Utes a one-gun salute at any point in this game.

What Kyle Whittingham did last week against Wyoming reminds me of when Woody Hayes went for two points against Michigan in 1968 and his team led 48-14.  Hayes said he went for two because he couldn’t go for three.  That feat came back to haunt him a year later when Michigan beat what was considered the best college team in over 20 years.  Whittingham won’t have to worry about it for another year, but I have to believe that the rest of his league’s coaches wouldn’t mind seeing Utah lose their last two regular season games.

Since losing to UNLV 27-0, Utah has recovered to win six straight games by an average score of 34 to 14.  Included in that winning streak are victories over Louisville and TCU.

Long always gets the most out of his Lobo teams.  UNM is 7-3 and more than likely headed to a 13th game in a repeat visit of their home bowl game.  New Mexico has enough talent to win on the road, but Utah is the hottest team in the West outside of Oregon.

14½ points is a lot to cover against a 7-3 team, and I don’t recommend you wager on the Utes covering.  I like the underdog to cover in this one, but as a 4½ or 1½ point favorite, the Utes can be played in a teaser.    


New Mexico +14½

New Mexico +24½ and +27½ in 10 and 13-point teasers

Utah -4½ and -1½ in 10 and 13-point teasers



Oregon State at Washington State

Vegas: Oregon State by 2½  O/U 49½   

PiRate: Oregon State by 2

Mean: Oregon State 21 Washington State 21

This game is one of the most interesting games on the schedule this week.  The Pac-10 is in danger of coming up at least one and possibly two teams short in their bowl allotments.  WSU is 4-6 with two games to go.  If the Cougars can win their home finale and then take the Apple Cup game in Seattle, they are bowl bound.  It will allow Coach Bill Doba to keep his job.

Oregon State is one of those teams that must play a solid game to beat any opponent.  They will lose this game if they commit more turnovers than they cause.  They will lose this game if they suffer any mental letdowns and allow Cougar quarterback Alex Brink to connect on a couple of long passing plays.

I consider this game a tossup.  The opening line for this game was a pick’em, and the line has moved to WSU -2½ .  If I had to pick this game as a tossup, I’d go with the home team.  Two and a half points are not much, but I much rather would prefer to go with WSU in a teaser at +12½  or +15½.


Washington State +12½ and 15½ in 10 and 13-point teasers

Over 39½ and 36½ in 10 and 13-point teasers



North Carolina State at Wake Forest

Vegas: Wake Forest by 6½   O/U 49     

PiRate: Wake Forest by 9

Mean: Wake Forest 28 North Carolina St. 20

Here is a game where I really like the underdog.  Wake Forest is a 6½ point favorite against a team that has won four straight games.  North Carolina State has defeated East Carolina, Virginia, Miami-F, and North Carolina.  The Wolfpack needs one more win to gain bowl eligibility, and I think they will get there by either winning this week or next week.

Wake Forest has dropped back-to-back games.  Their offense hasn’t fired on all cylinders, and their defense fell apart last week against Clemson.  On the other hand, State’s offense and defense have both improved in the past month.

I’m not only going with NCSU to cover in this game, I think they will win outright.  Tom O’Brien has the Pack focused and hungry to win out and finish 7-5, and I think chances are good they will do just that.  While the PiRates and the Mean Rating say otherwise, I’m picking State to win this game.


North Carolina St. +6½

North Carolina St. +16½ and +19½ in 10 and 13-point teasers

Over 39 and 36 in 10 and 13-point teasers

North Carolina St. +200 on the Money Line (good for a parlay)  


Louisville at South Florida

Vegas: South Florida by 7  O/U 62      

PiRate: South Florida by 7

Mean: South Florida 38 Louisville 30

Louisville is the biggest disappointment of the season.  If they lose this game, they will probably be out of the bowl picture, as they won’t get a bid this year at 6-6 with five conference teams headed to winning records and just five conference bowl allotments.

South Florida stopped the bleeding last week by snapping a three game losing streak.  Even though the win came against lowly Syracuse, USF has regained some of the confidence they had four weeks ago when they were the number two ranked team in the BCS poll.

Brian Brohm at quarterback always gives Louisville a chance to outscore their opponent.  The senior star has completed better than 67% of his passes for 357 yards per game.  He has a TD/INT ratio of 28-9.  If he throws for 357 yards in this game, the Cardinals are going to pull off a big upset and place themselves back into bowl contention.

USF’s defense allows less than 20 points per game and just a little over 300 yards per game.  The Bulls have played three conference games against teams with wide open offenses and have gone 1-2 (beat West Virginia and lost to Cincinnati and Rutgers).  Louisville’s offense will be the toughest one they will have faced, and I have a suspicion that the Cardinals just might pull off the upset.  Needless to say, I like UL at +7.


Louisville +7

Over 62

Louisville +17 and +20 in 10 and 13-point teasers

Over 52 and 49 in 10 and 13-point teasers

Louisville +225 on the money line (here’s another parlay choice)


Wisconsin at Minnesota   

Vegas: Wisconsin by 14  O/U 57

PiRate: Wisconsin by 19

Mean: Wisconsin 44 Minnesota 27

This is the nation’s longest rivalry, spanning 115 games to date.  The winner of this game gets possession of Paul Bunyan’s Axe.  Minnesota has already lost out on the Little Brown Jug and Floyd of Rosedale this season.  They haven’t possessed the axe all that often as of late, losing this game 10 of the last 12 years.

On paper, this is a major mismatch.  The stats show that UW could win this game by 24 to 28 points.  Let’s look at the comparative scores in this game.  Against Michigan, Wisconsin won at home by 16, while Minnesota lost at the Big House by 24.  UW lost at Ohio State by 21, while UM lost to the Buckeyes at home by 23.  UW slaughtered Indiana at Camp Randall by 30 points, while the Gophers lost at Indiana by 20.  The Badgers lost at Illinois by five points, while Minnesota lost to the Illini at home by 27.  UW defeated Iowa in Madison by four, while UM lost to the Hawkeyes by five in Iowa City.

Wisconsin is coming off a huge, emotional win and now must play on the road against their biggest rival.  Minnesota has crashed to a 1-10 record, and this game is their bowl game.  Coach Tim Brewster may actually find himself in danger of getting canned after just one season in Minneapolis.  The Gophers have never lost 11 games in a season, and you have to go back to 1983 to find a season in which they won just one game (that 1983 team was weaker than this team).

The Badgers are favored by 14, and that is a tricky number.  Since this game is their season finale, and it is against their arch-rival, I expect Minnesota to make a game of it.  While the Gophers may eventually lose, I expect them to lose by less than two touchdowns.  Minnesota should score 21 to 28 points in this game and threaten to pull off the upset, but in the end, Wisconsin’s running game should prove to be too much for the Gophers.

I think the smart play in this game is to take Minnesota and receive 24 or 27 points as part of a teaser.  Wisconsin at -4 and -1 in an opposite teaser is an intelligent play as well. 


Minnesota +14

Minnesota +24 and +27 in 10 and 13-point teasers

Wisconsin -4 and -1 in 10 and 13-point teasers

Over 47 and 44 in 10 and 13-point teasers


Pittsburgh at Rutgers

Vegas: Rutgers by 11½   O/U 49    

PiRate: Rutgers by 19  

Mean: Rutgers 30 Pittsburgh 18

Pittsburgh is 4-5 and theoretically can still make it to a bowl game.  However, the Panthers have games against South Florida and West Virginia remaining after this one.  A 4-8 record is more likely than a 6-6 record.

Rutgers isn’t as strong as last year, but the Scarlet Knights are going bowling for the third straight season if they win this game.  RU QB Mike Teel has been battling a thumb injury on his throwing hand, but he should be ready to go Saturday.  He should be able to turn and hand the ball to Ray Rice 25 times.

Pitt may have just enough defensive might to hold Rutgers under 24 points and 350 total yards.  The Panthers don’t have enough offensive firepower to top 21 points in this game, but they could easily lose by less than 12 points.  I like Rutgers in a 10 or 13-point teaser, as it basically just requires them to win the game.  I expect this game to produce less than 50 total points, so teasing the totals could be a good idea.  


Rutgers -1½ and +1½ in 10 and 13-point teasers

Under 59 and 62 in 10 and 13-point teasers    


Northwestern at Illinois

Vegas: Illinois by 14  O/U 56½       

PiRate: Illinois by 22 

Mean: Illinois 40 Northwestern 22

Northwestern needs this game to move from bowl-eligible to seven-win team.  Illinois needs this game to secure a New Year’s Day Bowl berth.  So, this is another one of those really interesting games between intrastate rivals.

Obviously, the Illini are bounce prospects this week.  How can a team not have problems getting ready to play a lesser opponent one week after knocking off the top-ranked team and on the road to boot? 

Illinois has much better defensive statistics than Northwestern, and they should hold the Wildcats below their normal points (26) and total yardage (432).  Figure on NU picking up about 370 yards and 20-24 points.

It will be up to quarterback Juice Williams and running back Rashard Mendenhall to rip the Wildcats’ defensive front seven to shreds Saturday.  If they can do it, then Illinois could be headed to the Capital One or Outback Bowl.

Illinois is a two touchdown favorite in this game, and both of the computer ratings above say they should top that.  I am a bit leery picking the Illini to cover at this spread.  By adding 10 or 13 points to this line, Northwestern looks like a nice choice.


Northwestern +24 and +27 in 10 and 13-point teasers

Over 46½ and 43½ in 10 and 13-point teasers  


PiRate Predictions For All Games

This Week’s Games

Home Team in Caps (N) Denotes Neutral Site



Thursday, November 15



Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score




ARKANSAS ST. North Texas





Friday, November 16



Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score









Saturday, November 17



Favorite Underdog

Pred. Spread

Approx. Score

IOWA Western Michigan



TEMPLE Kent State



GEORGIA TECH North Carolina






West Virginia CINCINNATI









TENNESSEE Vanderbilt



BUFFALO Bowling Green



Tulsa ARMY



Brigham Young WYOMING



AIR FORCE San Diego St.



ARKANSAS (in Little Rock) Mississippi St.






Oklahoma St. BAYLOR



Oklahoma  TEXAS TECH



KANSAS Iowa State









Central Florida S M U



RICE Tulane



HOUSTON Marshall



NAVY Northern Illinois



MEMPHIS Alabama-Birm.









GEORGIA  Kentucky






Missouri KANSAS ST.






CLEMSON Boston College



FLORIDA ST. Maryland



UTAH New Mexico








32-31 OT

WAKE FOREST North Carolina St.









T C U U n l v



Southern Miss. U T E P



RUTGERS Pittsburgh



ILLINOIS Northwestern









FLORIDA  Florida Atlantic





This Week’s “Picks”


What’s a person to do?  This was my worst season since 1981 heading into last week.  Now, it’s my worst ever.  It’s several people’s worst season in years because so many games have been “surprises.”  Here’s one final strategy to consider this week.  If so many games are surprises, why not just pick a bunch of underdogs against the spread?  I cannot think of any reason not to try it, so here is a heavily-laden underdog play-card.  Late in the season, when teams play their rivalry games, scores tend to be lower than expected, so playing the totals can be an intelligent plan, especially when you tease them and take the Under.


Straight Plays Against the Spread

# 1:  North Carolina +10 vs. Georgia Tech

# 2:  Michigan State +3 vs. Penn State

# 3:  Tennessee -11 vs. Vanderbilt

# 4:  Mississippi State +11 vs. Arkansas

# 5:  Baylor +14½ vs. Oklahoma State

# 6:  Iowa St. +26½ vs. Kansas

# 7:  Ole Miss +19½ vs. L S U

# 8:  Michigan +4 vs. Ohio State

# 9:  North Carolina State +6½ vs. Wake Forest

#10: Louisville +7 vs. South Florida

#11: Minnesota +14 vs. Wisconsin


Straight Plays Totals

#12: Tennessee and Vanderbilt Under 52

#13: Boise State and Idaho Under 65

Money Line Picks

#14: Iowa -600 vs. Western Michigan

#15: Oklahoma -300 vs. Texas Tech

#16: Georgia -300 vs. Kentucky

#17: Missouri -260 vs. Kansas State

10-point Teasers

#18: Arizona +22½ vs. Oregon

        Arizona and Oregon Under 77

        Michigan State +13 vs. Penn St.

#19: Baylor + 24½ vs. Oklahoma St.

        Notre Dame +4 vs. Duke

        Washington +17 vs. California

#20: Ole Miss +29½ vs. L S U

        Georgia +2½ vs. Kentucky

        Tennessee -1 vs. Vanderbilt

#21: Michigan +14 vs. Ohio State

        Washington St. +12½ vs. Oregon State

        Minnesota +24 vs. Wisconsin

#22: Tennessee and Vanderbilt Under 62

        Arkansas and Mississippi State Under 61

        Iowa and Western Michigan Under 56½      

13-point Teasers

#23: Michigan State +16 vs. Penn State

        Indiana +16 vs. Purdue

        Michigan +17 vs. Ohio State

        Minnesota +27 vs. Wisconsin

#24: Tennessee +2 vs. Vanderbilt

        Ole Miss +32½ vs. L S U

        Georgia +5½ vs. Kentucky

        Tennessee and Vanderbilt Under 65

#25: Baylor +27½ vs. Oklahoma State

        Iowa -1 vs. Western Michigan

        Iowa and Western Michigan Under 59½

        Michigan St. and Penn State Over 37½

#26: Connecticut and Syracuse Over 33

        Clemson +6 vs. Boston College

        Rutgers +1½ vs. Pittsburgh

        Connecticut -5½ vs. Syracuse

#27: Washington +20 vs. California

        Washington State +15½ vs. Oregon State

        Notre Dame +7 vs. Duke

        Arizona and Oregon Under 80

Underdog Money Line Parlay for the fun of it:

This one would make you wealthy if it hit, and you could argue that any of these four upsets are possible.  And, what are your odds if you take these four in a parlay?  Merely: 108 to 1!  That’s right, a $10 wager here could make you $1,080!!!  Here it is.

Michigan State +330 vs. Notre Dame

Michigan +160 vs. Ohio State

North Carolina State +200 vs. Wake Forest

Louisville +225 vs. South Florida       

1 Comment

  1. […] PiRate <b>Game</b> Previews and Selections for November 15-17, 2007 […]

    Pingback by Late breaking news — November 14, 2007 @ 6:19 pm

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