Friday, November 28
Houston (21.5) by 21.84 over SMU - The computer trend line pushes the Houston advantage to 35. SMU has scored 97 points total in 10 games, while being held to 10 points or less in 7 games. Houston averages 28.6 per game on offense.
Navy (-9.5) by 12.09 over SOUTH ALABAMA - Navy won the only other meeting between these schools, 42-14, last year in Annapolis. This game pits the nation's 4th-ranked rushing offense of Navy against the 78th-ranked rushing defense of the Jaguars.
UCLA (-4.5) by 4.80 over Stanford - This is the only game on UCLA's schedule where the computer has the Bruins improving its projected spread over the preseason assessment. UCLA ranks 5th in the PAC-12 on offense and 3rd on defense. Stanford ranks 1st on defense, but 11th on offense. These last two weeks give UCLA a chance to avenge both of their PAC-12 Championship game losses as the Bruins fell to Stanford in 2012 and Oregon in 2011. Oregon has alerady clinched the North division title.
Saturday, November 29
Baylor (-23.5) by 24.96 over Texas Tech (at Arlington) - The computer's trend line favors the Bears by more than 40 points. Baylor tops the Big 12 in total offense AND total defense. The Red Raiders rank 5th in total offense and LAST (10th) in total defense.
MEMPHIS (-20.5) by 25.84 over Connecticut - The computer's trend line is a whopping 37. The Huskies are coming off a 41-0 loss at home to CIncinnati, while the Tigers enter this contest on the heels of an unimpressive 31-20 home win over USF. UConn won last year's matchup of these teams 45-10 at home, but Memphis (8-3) is +5 victories over last year and UConn (2-8) is -1. Memphis ranks 3rd in the Amercian on offense and defesne. COnnecticut ranks 10th (next-to-last) on offense and 6th on defense.
FLORIDA STATE (-10) by 14.06 over Florida - The computer's trend line says the 'Noles should only get a 2-point edge, but the nature of this rivalry should be just what they need to get out of the gates strong and roll to a 14-point or larger win. The Gators rank 107th in passing, having thrown for 93 yards or less in 4 games. That puts the onus on Florida to amass yardage and points on the ground, but FSU has only allowed 2 rushing TD's in its last 3 games, and has kept 5 different opponents from registering a single score on the ground. The Gators have only scored 1 TD on FSU in 3 of the last 4 meetings.
Texas State (-13) by 18.87 over GEORGIA STATE - The computer's trend line likes the Bobcats by 23. Texas State ranks 24th in rushing and the Panthers are dead last in the FBS (128th) in stopping the run. The flip side is that Georgia State ranks 32nd in passing offense and Texas State's defense is 78th against the pass.
NORTHWESTERN (-7.5) by 11.73 over Illinois - Northwestern was a 10-point favorite in the preseason so that numnber has risen minimally over the course of these teams' campaigns. The Wildcats have won 4-of-6 and 8-of-11 to tighten the overall record of this rivalry to 48-54-5. Both teams are 5-6 so the winner becomes bowl eligible and the loser stays home for the holidays.
INDIANA (-7.5) by 11.73 over Purdue - This rivalry has a propensity for blowouts as 8 of the last 12 meetings have been decided by 17 points or more. The Hoosiers won 56-36 at Purdue last year but trail the series 38-72-6. Even without a passing attack, Indiana ranks 2nd in the Big Ten in rushing. Last week against Ohio State, the Hoosiers averaged nearly 8 yards per carry as Tevin Coleman went for 228 and 3 TD's. The junior enters the game with 1,906 yards and could join fellow Big Ten RB Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin over the 2,000-yard mark for the season. The FBS hasn't had two 2,000-yard rushers in the same season since 2007 when a pair of CUSA backs - Kevin Smith (UCF) and Matt Forte (Tulane) - accomplished the feat.
Louisiana-Lafayette (-10.5) by 13.41 over TROY - Troy (3-8) has won 2 straight, but both came against fellow Sun Belt bottom-dwellars Georgia State (1-10) and Idaho (1-9). Prior to those 2 contests, Troy lost 3 straight Sun Belt games to Appalachian State (6-5), South Alabama (6-5) and Georgia Southern (8-3) by 14 or more. Louisiana-Lafayette (7-4) can claim a share of the Sun Belt title for a second straight year, IF it beats Troy AND gets some help from its staucnhest rival, Louisiana-Monroe, in winning at Georgia Southern.
OHIO STATE (-20) by 21.82 over Michigan - The Buckeyes beat the Wolverines 37-7 in 2010 and 42-7 in 2008. Both of those games were played in the 'Shoe. The 111th edition of this rivalry could get uglier than those. Michigan's offense has performed progressively worse for 5 straight years, steadily dropping from 488.7 yards per game and first in the league in 2010 to 329.5 this year and last in the league. The computer's trend line gives Ohio State a 31-point rout.
Michigan Satte (-13) by 13.44 over PENN STATE - Penn State just doesn't have the offense to keep Michigan State close for the long haul. The Nittany Lions rank next-to-last in the Big Ten on offense and the Spartans rank 3rd on defense. And though Penn State ranks 2nd on defense, the Michigan State offense ranks 1st. The computer trend line puts the projected margin at 17-1/2.
NORTH CAROLINA (-7.5) by 16.11 over N.C. State - The Tar Heels are playing some of their best ball of the season with 4 wins in their last 5 outings over Georgia Tech, Virginia, Pitt and Duke. They can became bowl eligible withn last week's 45-20 upset of the Blue Devils. Meanwhile, N.C. State has only beaten Syrcause and Wake Forest in its last 7 games. UNC leads the series 65-32-6 after winning each of the last 2 two meetings by 8 points.
Uab (-3.5) by 8.42 over SOUTHERN MISS - The Blazers can become bowl eligible with a win and have a modest statistical advantage on both sides of the ball. UAB ranks 4th in CUSA in rushing and USM is 10th in stopping the run. UAB had won 4 straight in the sries until the Eagles prevailed 62-27 last year for their only win of the season.
Washington (-4) by 5.49 over WASHINGTON STATE - Washington owns the series 68-32-6, including victories in 4 of the last 5 meetings. Neither enters this game on a roll as the Cougars have lost 5 of their last 6, while the Huskies have dropped 5 of their last 8 after a 4-0 start.