Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fab Five: Week VIII

I just can't win. After going 1-4 with dogs two weeks ago, I managed a 4-1 mark this past week. After going 4-1 with favorites two weeks ago, I went 0-4-1 this past week (thanks Steve Spurrier). My yearly mark is now 30-39-1. Time is running out to dig out of this hole. As always, home teams are in Bold.

5 Dogs I Like

Last Week: 4-1
Overall: 15-20

Missouri +7.5 Oklahoma State
If you read my SDPI post on the Big 12 from Monday, you know that my numbers really like Missouri despite their 3-3 record. Similarly, while the numbers like Oklahoma State, they do not appear to be a top-10 team. This game is in Columbia, and the 'better' team by my ratings is getting a touchdown. What do you have to lose?

Georgia Tech +3 Miami
Speaking of SDPI, the numbers hate Miami. The Hurricanes have the worst defense in the ACC, and that may be just the antidote Georgia Tech needs after struggling on offense for the past two games.

Michigan State +8 Wisconsin
Who was the last team to beat Wisconsin in the regular season? Sparty. After watching the Spartans totally manhandle Michigan, I'm a believer. Their defense is legit and will probably be the best one Wisconsin faces all year (unless they meet up with Alabama or LSU in their bowl game). The Spartans are playing at home and getting nearly 10 points. Roll with them here.

Auburn +22 LSU
I know LSU is playing at home and has look-ed nigh unbeatable as of late, but hear me out. The Tigers (LSU variety) are 5-1 ATS (Against the Spread). Under Les Miles, the Tigers have had exactly one winning season ATS. They went 6-5-1 against the number in Miles' first season (2005). Methinks Auburn will at least keep this one somewhat close (17 points or so).

Cincinnati +3 South Florida
The bloom has certainly fallen off the South Florida rose. The Bulls seemed headed for the top-10 until a Thursday night beatdown at the hands of Pitt, followed by an upset loss at lowly Connecticut. At 0-2 in the Big East, the Bulls have now gone 8-15 in Big East play over the past three and half seasons, while going 21-2 in non-conference. Those non-conference games have not been all gimmes either. The Bulls are 6-2 versus non-conference BCS foes (and Notre Dame). Meanwhile, Cincinnati has rebounded from their poor 2010 season and are a win away from bowl eligibility. Outside of their game in Knoxville, the Bearcats have played very well defensively, and against a limited passing attack, the Bearcats have a real shot of pulling off the outright upset.

Five Faves I Like

Last Week: 0-4-1
Overall 15-19-1

Clemson -11 North Carolina
The SDPI numbers love Clemson, hailing them as the best team in the ACC on both sides of the ball. Honestly, I thought this spread would be closer to 17 or 20 points. North Carolina is a decent team, but not anywhere near Clemson's class.

Nevada -10.5 Fresno State
The winner of this game will have a leg up in the race for the WAC title. Nevada has played very well this season when not facing elite teams. Oregon and Boise State outscored them by a combined 69 points, but the Wolfpack have won 3 of their other 4 contests, with the lone loss coming by a single point to Texas Tech. Meanwhile, Fresno has the indignity of losing at home by double-digits to arguably the worst team in the SEC (Ole Miss). Nevada should win by at least a pair of touchdowns.

Louisiana-Lafayette -3 Western Kentucky
The Ragin' Cajuns are 4-0 in the Sun Belt and have a chance to match their high-water mark for Sun Belt wins after just 5 games (won 5 in 2005 and 2008). Meanwhile, Western Kentucky is coming off their first two-game win streak since joining IA in 2008. Louisiana-Lafayette is one of the upper-echelon Sun Belt teams (along with Arkansas State, Florida International, and Louisiana-Monroe) and should be able to beat the Hilltoppers by at least a field goal.

Northern Illinois -14 Buffalo
Outside of their game against Wisconsin, the Huskies from Northern Illinois have put at least 40 points on the board against each opponent. They currently rank as the best offense in the MAC by a mile. Outside of an upset of Ohio two weeks ago, the Bulls from Buffalo have been relatively non-competitive this season. Northern Illinois should get to 40 again and win this rather handily.

Virginia -5.5 NC State
If you buy into the SDPI numbers, Virginia is a real sleeper in the ACC. With the luck I have had this year, I will be taking a flyer on them to take out the Wolfpack at home.

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