College Football Weekly Predictions: Week 9
by Alan Matthews - 10/29/2009
At least I wasn't 0-3! That's about the only positive I take from last week's 1-2 record, our first losing week in the past four. Frankly, I think I picked with my heart over my head in the Miami-Clemson game, and I can almost guarantee you I never pick Idaho again. The Vandals scored 45 points and still didn't cover? That's a WAC game for you. I am now 13-11 on the season.
Southern Miss at Houston, Saturday, 1 p.m.
Current line: Houston -6.5. This opened as high as 7.5 at some books.
Who the public likes: Approximately 87 percent on the Cougars.
Houston has been good to me once this year, and I'm with the public on this one. What I like best about the Cougars is that when QB Case Keenum struggled some last week, the running game put up a season-high 161 yards and scored three touchdowns in the win over SMU. Keenum finished with a season-low 233 yards passing after entering the game averaging 417. Southern Miss has C-USA's top defense and is 4-0 when holding the opposition to less than 100 yards on the ground. Frankly, though, I don't get this line. This is the same Houston team that beat BCS teams Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Mississippi State. USM's best win is over Virginia and it is 0-3 on the road this year; Houston has won 12 in a row at home. The Golden Eagles will try and run the ball all day to keep Keenum off the field, and they are 4-0 this season when rushing for more than 200 yards. But I really don't expect this one to be very close.
Take Houston and give the points.
Kansas at Texas Tech, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Current line: Texas Tech -6. This opened as high as 7.5 at some books.
Who the public likes: Approximately 74 percent like the Red Raiders. As soon as this line jumped under seven points, the public was all over Texas Tech. TTU was getting barely 30 percent when it was at 7.5.
Well, I'm going against public on this one. I am well aware how bad KU looked last week and the week prior, but this is exactly the kind of game the Jayhawks want - a shootout against another defensively average team. Kansas will never beat the Oklahomas of the world, but I would argue it is still the fourth best team in the Big 12 after OU, Oklahoma State and Texas. Plus, Todd Reesing will easily be the best QB on the field Saturday. TTU is reportedly set to start redshirt freshman Seth Doege at QB. He was 18-for-25 for 146 yards in the Red Raiders' 52-30 loss to Texas A&M last week. Former starter Taylor Potts was ineffective against the Aggies, and current No. 1 Steven Sheffield looks out at least another week with a foot injury. That's pretty rare for Mike Leach to juggle quarterbacks like this, so that tells me something. Kansas' defense has struggled this season, ranking 100th in pass defense and allowing eight TD passes in their last four games. But KU, which has dropped two in a row, can't afford another loss and still get to the Big 12 title game. I think the Jayhawks win something like 41-34.
Take Kansas and the points.
Southern Cal at Oregon, Saturday, 8 p.m.
Current line: Southern Cal -3. This opened at four at some books and has moved toward the Ducks a bit, but it hasn't budged at others.
Who the public likes: Approximately 53 percent is on USC. The early lean was nearly 60 percent on the Ducks, but it has been steady where it's at for a few days.
I hate taking games that have just a three-point spread because you are staring at a potential push. This is one you may want to wait right until kickoff before jumping on, as an extra half-point in either direction could make a huge difference. But I love this trend: USC has lost in the state of Oregon in each of the past three seasons - and this will be the Trojans' final chance to do so in 2009. The Ducks are tops in the Pac-10 in both scoring offense and defense. You can never really go by common opponent, but Oregon throttled Washington in Seattle, while of course USC was upset there - albeit without starting QB Matt Barkley. USC's offense seems to be finding itself with more than 400 yards the past four games. But those yards haven't exactly come against defensive powers. The Ducks have rushed for at least 217 yards in five consecutive games. That's what it likely will come down to: the Oregon ground game against USC's rush defense, bit I almost always take the team with the better QB in close games, and the Ducks have that this year in Jeremiah Masoli.
Take Oregon and the points
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