Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fab Five: Week XII

After consecutive .500 weeks, I only managed a 4-6 record last week. My yearly record is a somewhat better than average 57-49-4. Time to close strong. As always, home teams in bold.

5 Dogs I Like

Last Week: 0-5 (ouch!)
Overall: 24-29-2
Arizona +12.5 Oregon
Out of all the team's with national title aspirations, Oregon has by far the smallest differential between yards per play and yards per play allowed. The Ducks average a stellar 6.6 yards per play (tied for 6th in the nation), but allow 5.4 yards per play (tied for 58th). Their defensive deficiencies will come back to bite them in Tucson on Thursday against an improving Arizona team that can move the ball.

Iowa State +26 Kansas
As noted earlier in the week, Iowa State has improved substantially over the last month by simply taking better care of the football. They still don't have the horses to keep up with Kansas (how weird is it to write that?) and pull the game out, but they will end the Jayhawks perfect season against the spread.

Miami +16.5 Virginia Tech
After closing the Orange Bowl in style with consecutive home losses to Georgia Tech, NC State, and Virginia, the most recent a 48-point drubbing, the Canes must now win one of their final two games (Virginia Tech and Boston College) to even get to bowl eligibility. Miami is a far cry from where they were a few short seasons ago, but even with a par of quarterbacks as horrible as Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman, the Canes getting more than 2 touchdowns on the road are a solid bet.

Tulane +2 Rice
This should be one of the more entertaining games of the weekend. Both teams should be able to shred the other, albeit in different ways. The nation's leading rusher (Matt Forte of Tulane) should eclipse 2000 yards on the season in this game. Meanwhile, the Owls passing attack led by Chase Clement and Jarett Dillard should carve up the Tulane defense. In what should be a toss up, even on the road, take the team getting points.

Northern Illinois +15.5 Navy
The Naval Academy has already accepted a bid to play in the Poinsettia Bowl. This marks their 5th straight bowl bid. Congratulations are in order for the Mids and head coach Paul Johnson. The Mids have a real chance to win 8 games before they line em up for the bowl game. Their shot at win number 7 comes against a team that played in the Poinsettia Bowl last season. The Huskies are struggling through a terrible season; certainly not the norm since Joe Novak righted the ship around the turn of the century. However, Navy has not won a single game by more than 11 points and currently sport one of the worst defenses in Division IA (tied for 116th in yards per play allowed).

Five Faves I Like

Last Week: 4-1
Overall: 33-20-2
Missouri -7 Kansas State
I don't know what to make of the Wildcats. Before the season I thought they would disappoint because most of their success last season was due to special teams and good fortune. At midseason they were 4-2 with their only losses coming to Kansas and Auburn. Since then they have proceeded to drop 3 of 4 with the lone win coming against Baylor. Keep in mind, the Wildcats have only lost once at home (by 6 to Kansas) so a close game here wouldn't be a total shock. Still, any team that lets Nebraska drop 73 should not be trusted, even at home.

West Virginia -6.5 Cincinnati
Don't get me wrong, I'd love for the 'Nati to pull this one out and in all likelihood punch themselves a ticket to the Orange Bowl, but the numbers say West Virginia is the pick. Cincinnati lives by turnovers, currently they are tied for 2nd in the country at +16. Oh by the way, West Virginia is 4th at +12. However, West Virginia has been much more dominant in terms of yardage (outgaining their opponents by over 187 yards per game to Cincinnati's 68 per game) and yards per play--West Virginia averages 6.6 yards per play and allows 4.3 while Cincinnati averages 5.9 and allows 5.0.

Oklahoma -8 Texas Tech
With the national title still within reach, you can bet the Sooners won't be overlooking the Red Raiders especially after their last visit to Lubbock (23-21 Tech win). Instead of blaming the refs for his teams' struggles, perhaps Mike Leach should blame a defense that has allowed 45 points per game in their 4 losses. Expect more of the same against a motivated Sooner squad.

Illinois -13.5 Northwestern
Fresh off their monumental upset of Ohio State, the Illini are primed for a let down. Except they are playing Northwestern. The Wildcats are not a good team, having parlayed the spread offense an easy non-conference schedule (Northeastern, Nevada, Duke, and Eastern Michigan), and good luck (4 of 6 wins have been by 7 points or less) into bowl eligibility. The Illini should roll over them on Saturday.

Louisiana-Lafayette -4.5 Florida International
Florida International has not won since the final game of the 2005 season. That tells you about all you need to know.

Five to Steer Clear Of

Hawaii no line Nevada
The BCS dream ends here for Hawaii. Even with Colt Brennan there is a good chance they will lose this game. Short week. Solid team. Road game. Cold. That's your recipe to end Hawaii's undefeated season.

Wisconsin -14 Minnesota
Minnesota has been every part of terrible this season, losing every Big 10 game they have played. Still, on senior day inside the dome, you never know what will happen.

LSU -19.5 Ole Miss
Keep in mind last year's game was won by LSU 23-20 in OT. In Baton Rouge.

Notre Dame -6 Duke
How sweet would a Duke win be?

Georgia Tech -10 North Carolina
Trust the Jackets to do anything at your own peril.


Scott Albrecht said...

I guess we shouldn't have doubted the Jayhawks. Do you like them in Arrowhead?

matt said...

I do. I think their defense is a shade better than Mizzou's. Should be a great game though.