Thursday, Oct. 16
# 8 BYU (-1½, 46) at #24 TCU (USA Today rankings), (ESPN): This is a game both teams have circled on their schedules all season so expect as much mistake-free football as possible. With the Horned Frogs having one the best statistical defenses in the nation and the Cougars allowing just 0, 0, 14 and 3 points in their last four games, scoring should be scarce. For BYU, this game means staying in the national title race while an upset win by TCU would theoretically put them into the BCS race.
With the Horned Frogs possessing the best rush defense in the nation, BYU and RB Harvey Unga will be limited so expect the Cougars to try and go up top. But in recent games against Utah State and New Mexico, receivers Austin Collie and Dennis Pitta have been less than dependable for QB Max Hall and the Cougars who have mustered just 17 points in its last five quarters against mediocre MWC foes. Prediction: BYU 17-13.
Friday, Oct. 17
Hawaii at # 16 Boise State (-25) (ESPN): The Rainbow Warriors have played pretty good the last two weeks, but in Boise on the Smurf Turf is a completely different story. The last time Hawaii made the trip to Boise, it lost 41-34 but that was in the days of Colt Brennan, Davone Bess and Ryan Grice-Mullen. The Broncos (3-1 ATS) have solid skill players and redshirt frosh QB Moore, RB Johnson and WR Childs and are simply incredible at home against the number, going 17-6 ATS the last four years at Bronco Stadium. This one should get ugly quick. Prediction: Boise State 47-20. BOISE ST. -24.
Saturday, Oct. 18
#4 USC (-41) at Washington State: What kind of idiot would lay 41 points in a game? This kind of idiot. True, the Trojans have looked less than impressive offensively, but this scrimmage will give USC a chance to play everyone and they will all want to strut their stuff here. The Cougars have been outscored by a whopping 223-33 margin in Pac-10 play and probably wish they played in the Sun Belt right about now. Not a big play, but worth a small throw just for the sake of it. And longtime GT maven Richard Saber (Dr. Steubenville), a member of the NLDDC (Never Lay Double Digits Club) is shaking his head as he reads this one I’m sure… Prediction: USC 58-10. USC -41.
Michigan at #3 Penn State (-24): The Nittany Lions (6-0, 4-1-1 ATS) are putting it all together and seemingly score at will with their potent ground and air attacks. With Norwood returning last week, PSU got one of the key cogs in its offense back and he should be good for two TDs in this game. When has Michigan been a 24-point dog? Not for quite awhile, but the number is a true reflection of how poor this young and inexperienced squad really is. And to lose to Toledo in the Big House as a 17-point favorite? Big Blue? More like Little Pink…Prediction: 45-10. PENN STATE -24.
Oregon State (-14) at Washington: The Beavers have been great since getting pummeled at Penn State while Washington, which was off last week, might as well wait until next season with QB Jake Locker out for the season. Sammie Stroughter and Jaquizz Rodgers should have a field day here and the two-TD spread is palatable all things considered. Prediction: Oregon State 46-27. OREGON STATE -14.
# 14 LSU (-3) at South Carolina: Both defenses are stellar and both offenses have QB issues. Last year the Tigers won but didn’t cover. The skinny? LSU needs this game to avoid back-to-back losses and to stay in the SEC hunt. Just take the better team. Prediction: LSU 27-13. LSU -3.
Indiana at Illinois (-17): The Fighting Illini played pretty poorly against Minnesota in Champaign last week but the Hoosiers have played pretty poorly all year long and scored just 7 and 9 points in their last two games. Expect Juice Williams, Nigel Benn & Co. to perform a bit better in this Big 10 tilt in hopes of playing in a bowl game somewhere down the line. Prediction: Illinois 35-13. ILLINOIS -17.
Air Force (-4½) at UNLV: Air Force is now 8-1 ATS in its L9 MWC games after Saturday’s win at SDS and have the kind of potent ground game sure to wear down an emotionally unstable Rebels squad still wondering how they can beat Arizona State but still lose to a team like Colorado State. The Cadets need this win to theoretically stay in the conference race and with such a fair price, let’s fade UNLV. Prediction: Air Force 33-21. AIR FORCE -4½.
North Texas at UL-Monroe (-20): The King Rat in every week of my "Rats 11 List," North Texas (1-5 ATS) has allowed 59.3 PPG in its last three (77-20, 42-10, 59-30) and that was against powerhouses like Rice, FIU and ULL. The Eagles – more commonly known as the Mean Green – has also failed to cover in the FIRST HALF in those three games so take a look at getting a piece of that. UL Monroe is a bit better than people think. LY ULM defeated NT, 31-21 as a 7½-point favorite. This year, it should be even uglier, so bet against this NT team before the lines start really getting out of hand. Prediction: UL-Monroe 50-20. UL-MONROE -20 (BE$T BET).
RATS 11 LIST
LAST WEEK SEASON: PCT. BE$T BET$ PCT.
4-6 46-31 59.7% 11-3 78.6%