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Black Shoe Degenerates - Week 12 Against the Spread

Stop going so fast, college football season!

As good as last week's on field action was, the action at the betting window was....not as good. After back to back down weeks, it might be easy to quit and just find something else to write about every week. But, not this degenerate. There is not the plethora of top-10 games with huge playoff implications, but I think we will have fun this weekend anyway.

Ohio State (-12) at Minnesota

Believe it or not, this is a top-25 game with the Gophers coming in at 25th in this week's college football rankings, coming off a dominating win over Iowa last week. Ohio State heads to frigid Minneapolis with their biggest win of the Urban Meyer era in their back pocket, and a possible shot at the playoffs should they win out and get some help.

On paper, this looks like it could be the perfect letdown game for the Buckeyes. Second straight road game, good opponent, and coming off a big emotional win. I would love to say I see it, but I just don't. Jerry Kill has the Gophers playing tough football, but they just don't have the athleticism, especially on defense, to slow down a potent OSU offense. I will give all 12 of those points.

Nebraska at Wisconsin (-6.5)

What's this? A second Big 10 game featured? I may be a conference homer (it happens when you grow up going to Ohio State and Michigan games as a kid), but when the B1G scheduling gods give us two league games involving top -25 teams, I am left with little choice. Anyway, the Huskers head to Madison for what could amount to a B1G West title game. And don't look now, but Bo Pelini's squad still has just the 1 loss to Sparty. A playoff spot seems unlikely, but if they win out...? The Badgers are not any slouch, but Nebraska is their biggest test of the year since LSU opening weekend

We'll see another spread like this a just a few minutes, but it's odd to see a 1-loss team as a touchdown underdog at this point in the season. There is some uncertainty when it comes to Heisman running back Ameer Abdullah, but Nebraska has playing solid, if not spectacular football.  I won't be shocked to see Wisconsin win, but 6 points feels like too much.

Auburn at Georgia -2.5

Did Auburn's ridiculous luck finally run out last week in a loss to Texas A&M? Two fumbles on potential game winning drives, including one at the goalline, likely ended the Tigers' playoff aspirations. But in the wild world of the SEC West, their conference title hopes do remain, albeit with long odds. After a month long odyssey, Georgia will welcome back one time Heisman front runner Todd Gurley in their biggest game of the year. Gurley's return is key as the Bulldogs still entertain their own hops of an SEC title, but trail Mizzou by a game.

Between Gurley's return, and the home Georgia crowd, I expect UGA to come out fast, especially against an Auburn defense that is still smarting from the 45 A&M points from a week ago. I love the home team giving just 2.5. GO DWAGS!

Florida State (-1.5) at Miami

Don't look too closely, but Al Golden has Miami sitting at 6-3, with freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya looking better by the week. Florida State comes to town at 9-0, but clearly more vulnerable than they were a year ago, or even a couple months back. Golden and the Hurricanes have been looking for a signature win for years, and there might not be a better chance than Saturday night in Dolphins Stadium. Also, we're #TalkinBoutTheNoles!

Past results are most definitely not a sign of things to come, but after dominating against the spread a season ago, the Noles are just 2-7 this year against the line. The home field isn't really worth much with a 50/50 split in support probably optimistic for Miami, but with pressure mounting on Golden, they have played better football for the last few weeks. I'd love to see Golden get that big win, and sooner or later FSU's luck runs out, but neither come this week.

Mississippi State at Alabama (-8.5)

The #1 team in the country is over a touchdown underdog. In November. Sure, it's Mississippi State going into Bryant-Denny Stadium against a very good Alabama team, but I cannot recall seeing the consensus top team in the country facing such a big spread this late in the year. Alabama is coming off that tough OT win in Baton Rouge, with the Bulldogs having last week off knocking off UT-Martin last weekend.

The easy answer is to say this is about the MSU Offense versus the Alabama defense. Mississippi State goes as Dak Prescott goes, and Bama relies so heavily on their defense. I think the game is decided on the other side though. Can the Tide's offense do enough against a very good Bulldog defense? I have not seen enough from them in any of their biggest games to date to suggest they do. Alabama may get the win, but I love MSU getting 8.5, and could be convinced to take them straight up.

Around the B1G

Iowa (-3.5) at Illinois

Northwestern (+18) at Notre Dame

Indiana at BTPR (-7.5)

Michigan State (-12) at Maryland