#1 Ohio State -3.5 @ #18 Wisconsin – The Bucks go into the Badger Den to play a talented team in a nasty mood after being upset by Michigan State 2 weeks ago. The key to the game will be the Badger running game which is 11th in the nation (241 yards a game) against the 5th ranked OSU D. Look for the Bucks to run the ball more against Wisconsin to keep RBs Clay and White off the field. OSU has changed RBs with RB Saine becoming more of a receiver and RB Herron becoming the runner. Too much of the running game has been QB Pryor. The Bucks have to get better run blocking from the O line. OSU got an additional incentive when ESPN projected the team 5th in the BCS rankings. OSU wins and covers.
#5 Nebraska -9.5 vs. Texas – The Horns have not lost 3 games in a row since George Washington was inaugurated or it seems that long. Texas want the game more than Nebraska but has too many holes to win the game. Nebraska has nightmares about last years Big 12 Championship game they felt was stolen by Texas. The Huskers are 1 dimensional ranking 2nd in rushing but 106th in passing yards. The key is can Texas stop the run. Nebraska faces their toughest test in the next 3 weeks. After this game, they go to #20 Oklahoma State, then host #21 Missouri. The Huskers win but it could be very close.
#12 Arkansas @ #7 Auburn -4 – Auburn may be the most under rated team in the top 25. They were ranked 22nd and 23rd in the preseason polls. The next 2 game will tell us a lot about them. After hosting the Hogs they host #9 LSU. Then at the end of the season they go to Alabama. Given the fact they play in the SEC and they have such a tough schedule, they are in a position to challenge for a spot in the BCS Championship game. Auburn has already beaten #10 South Carolina. Arkansas lost to the only ranked team they have played. Auburn will use QB Newton to challenge the Hog D which is 13th in points allowed. The Hogs will use their 3rd ranked passing game with QB Mallett. The Hogs passing game threatens the Auburn D but Auburn wins.
#15 Iowa -3 @ Michigan – The Michigan O ranked 14th in points faces the #1 D in points against. The Blue will find the Iowa D too tough. The Blue running game is way too dependent on QB Robinson and the very tough Iowa D line will limit him. The Iowa O takes maximum advantage of the non-existent Blue D and Iowa wins and covers.
Illinois @ #13 Michigan State -7 – MSU has come through a very tough and emotional period with the wins over Notre Dame #11 Wisconsin and #18 Michigan and the heart problems of their coach. Now they face an under rated Illini D that gave OSU problems. Illinois is 21st in points against. This is the kind of game the the Spartans have struggled with in previous years.
NFL Key games:
Ravens (4-1) @ Pats (3-1) -3 – The Ravens lead the NFC North and bring a top D against a Pats O that has struggled. Take the points.
Eagles (3-2) E @ Falcons (4-1) – The Falcons got a gift last week vs the Browns. Now they get the Eagles D that will be blitzing every chance they get. The Browns got some pressure on QB Ryan. The Birds will get more. But without QB Vick, the Eagle O won’t go. Falcons win.
Saints (3-2) -4.5 @ Bucs (3-1) – The Saints need to win this division game badly particularly after a bad loss against the Cards last week. The O has moved the ball in the air (5th in passing yards) but is 31st in rushing yards and all their RBs are hurt. They can not take another division loss. The Bucs have had a lucky season so far. That luck ends and the Saints win.
Colts (3-2) -3 @ Redskins (3-2) The Colts D has been MIIA (Missing In In-Action). They are 3rd in scoring but 16th in scoring D. They also don’t seem to win the close games anymore. The running game has fallen and can’t get up. It is 28th in yards. The Redskins have been playing well but the Colts win.
Teams in trouble:
Chargers (2-3) -7.5 @ Rams (2-3) – SD needs to start winning if they want to get into the playoffs. They are notoriously slow starters and this is about the time they kick into gear. They will get pro bowl LT McNeill back but not WR Jackson. The problem has been the D which is 21st in scoring D. LB Merriam is on “minor injury” IR and must be cut when he recovers. The team is not getting a good pass rush. That should not be a problem against the Rams. SD wins.
Cowboys (1-3) @ Vikings (1-3) -2.5 – Boys owner Jones said he would not fire HC Phillips “as of now.” If that doesn’t scare Phillips, nothing will. The Boys have been finding new ways to lose. They are not mentally tough enough to win the close games this year. I did an analysis of what is wrong with the Boys on this weeks edition of NFLDraftDog.com’s News Notes and Rumors.
The Vikes have problems of their own. Their 89 year old QB Farve has elbow trouble. They are 21st in passing yards and 29th in scoring O with just 15.8 points a game. The D has been playing well and are in the top 7 in total yards and scoring. The Farve turnovers have killed key drives and ended the team’s chance to win games.
The Vikes are mentally tougher than the Boys and win the Desperation Bowl.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. His first non-fiction work is at the publisher now and he has also published several novels on
and edits .