College Football Weekly Predictions: Week 11
by Alan Matthews - 11/13/2009
Just as I will crow occasionally about nailing a pick, so must I when I completely misread one. Unfortunately, I misread two last week: Penn State -4 vs. Ohio State and Oklahoma -5 at Nebraska. I wasn't totally sold on Penn State, in all honesty, but did think the Nittany Lions would win by a touchdown. But then you look at PSU's schedule and see what a joke it is - their flaws were masked by the competition. As for the Sooners not covering, that is arguably the biggest surprise of the season to me. I realize that Nebraska has a good defense, but three stinking points for OU (by the way, why is it called OU when it's the University of Oklahoma?)? Sooners QB Landry Jones finally looked like a freshman in that one. I did hit on Houston for I believe the fourth time this season, but only thanks to a minor miracle against Tulsa. But a win is a win. I am now 16-14 on the year.
On to this week's picks:
Michigan State at Purdue, Saturday, noon
Current line: Michigan State -2.5. This opened as a pick'em at many books and even Purdue -1 at a few
Who the public likes: Approximately 65 percent on the Spartans. Really this hasn't moved much. Purdue's biggest public lean was slightly more than 40 percent when the line opened, but it has been at about 35 percent for the past few days.
Frankly, I think oddsmakers are giving a little too much respect to Purdue just because it went and beat a sliding Michigan last week. Winning in Ann Arbor is not a big deal anymore. A week before, Purdue was bombed at Wisconsin, and the Boilermakers have even lost to Northern Illinois this season. However, they did beat Ohio State a few weeks back. I can't say I am positive which Michigan State team will show up - it also lost to a MAC team at home this year and really hasn't beaten anyone of substance. One reason I for sure like Sparty is that they are giving less than a field goal and have one of the nation's best kickers in Brett Swenson. MSU also has won two in a row in this series. Both teams will be motivated, as Purdue must win out to earn a bowl spot, while MSU can afford one loss but knows it has Penn State next week. If this were at three points, I'd probably pass.
Take Michigan State and give the points.
Missouri at Kansas State, Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
Current line: Mizzou -1. This has been one of the big movers, as the Tigers opened as 2.5-point dogs
Who the public likes: Approximately 73 percent on Kansas State. This was at about 80 percent for a while but has slowly gone downhill as the line has moved toward Missouri.
This line is one of the big surprises to me. K-State is 5-0 at home (4-0 ATS), while the Tigers just lost at home to Baylor, giving the Bears their first Big 12 road win in three years. This also is KSU's final home game of the year, and I think going unbeaten there will be a motivation - the school hasn't done it at home since 1999. Not that the school needs much motivation, as K-State still is playing for the Big 12 North title. The Wildcats' defense is night-and-day different at home, allowing just 10.8 points, 39.6 yards rushing and 233.0 total yards a game, along with 16 sacks, 32 tackles for loss and 16 takeaways. Missouri has won the past three in the series, but KSU coach Bill Snyder, for what it's worth, has won 13 in a row against the Tigers.
Take KSU and the points.
Texas Tech at Oklahoma State, Saturday, 8 p.m.
Current line: OSU -4. This has moved about 1.5 points toward the Cowboys on average.
Who the public likes: Approximately 57 percent on the home team. This has been pretty steady. It was above 60 percent until the line moved from 3.5 to 4.
It's really a shame neither of these teams is in the Big 12 North, because both would probably win that division this season. But instead they fight it out for second in the South behind Texas. Interestingly, the home team has won the past seven in this series. And the way these teams score, I seriously doubt either wins by a field goal, so that alone bodes well for OSU. Good matchup in the trenches as OSU has allowed a national-low four sacks, while TTU's defense has 30 of them (fourth in nation). It looks like Taylor Potts will start at QB for the Red Raiders with Steven Sheffield still working his way back from injury. OSU allowed 56 points in getting crushed by the Red Raiders last year, but these Cowboys are ranked 33rd in the nation in pass efficiency. Plus OSU has a way better running game.
Take the Cowboys and the points.
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