When you go 0-5 like someone did two weeks ago, there is but one thing to do: follow it up with a nice 4-1 week. Last week's action did not seem to be terribly appealing on paper, but played out with some wildly entertaining games, and some, uh, rather ridiculous moments.
There are only two top-25 matchups this week, with one taking place tonight in Manhattan, Kansas, where Auburn may have made a wrong turn to be playing so far away from home against Kansas State. But there are several other intriguing games in the last weekend of widespread non-conference play.
Auburn (-9) at Kansas State
The weekends most interesting game may be the first one to kickoff later tonight in the Little Apple. For one, an SEC program that isn't Alabama is leaving the confines of the SEC footprint to play another power 5 conference opponent. Both schools enter 2-0, including conference wins, but this will be, by far, the stiffest test either has faced. For Auburn, they will do it in what should be a wild night under the lights.
9 points is a big number for any team going on the road in a collision of top-25 teams. Add in the night game, and Thursday night factor, I'll go with K-State here, and take the points, in what should be an entertaining, close game.
Utah at Michigan (-4.5)
I had not planned on including this game when the point spreads came out on Sunday evening. However, in the last 72 hours (as of this writing), it has dropped from 7.5, to 4.5. To be quite frank, I don't get it. Sure, Michigan was trounced in South Bend, and appeared to be hungover against Miami-Ohio a week ago. And yes, Utah is a Pac 12 opponent, with some history of success. But, this is not the Utah team of earlier years, and they're traveling across the country.
This will not be a pretty game, and I will probably regret this, but I think Michigan wins pretty handily, at least on the scoreboard, moving to a rather tenuous 3-1 record.
Florida at Alabama (-14.5)
I am pretty sure I have included this game in my picks for the last couple of years, and have said the same thing each season. I wish this game was happening about 5 years ago. On paper, Florida-Alabama sounds big, but the Gators struggles, and the Tide's run in recent years have left the on field product a little short.
Florida's offense has looked more proficient early this season, but the competition goes immensely in Tuscaloosa this weekend. The Gators will struggle to do much on offense, while the Bama offense wears down the Florida D for a comfortable win, covering the 14.5
Oklahoma (-7.5) at West Virginia
If K-State-Auburn isn't the most interesting game of the weekend, than it's this one in Morgantown. The last time the Sooners visited the Mountaineers, the visitors scored with just 24 seconds remaining to win 50-49. Maybe the over (61) would be a smart play this time around too. OU entered the year as a playoff favorite, and has done nothing to disappoint through 3 weeks. WVU of course played Alabama tough, and scored a late win in College Park last week against the Terps.
This game has moved from 11.5 to 7.5 since Sunday night, and I still like WVU to cover, albeit not as emphatically as I did a few days back. This is a long trip for Stoops' crew, and the crowd in Milan Puskar Stadium will be all sorts of riled up for this game.
Clemson at Florida State (-16.5)
The 30 minute suspension of Jameis Winston has made this game somewhat more compelling. FSU has not been as dominant in their first two games of this year as they were a year ago, and losing the defending Heisman winner will not help matters. On the other hand, Clemson's defense would seem to have their work cut out for them after Georgia ran all over them in a 45-21 season opening loss for the Tigers.
The line moved about 4 or 5 points towards Clemson after Winston's suspension was announced. Between the home field, and Clemson's defensive concerns, I think FSU relies on the running game unti Winston returns in the second half, and ultimately pulls away for the win. I'll happily take the Seminoles and give the points.
Around the B1G
Iowa (+6.5) at Pitt
Eastern Michigan at Michigan State (-45)
Western Illinois at Northwestern (-21)
Southern Illinois at Purdue (-5.5)
Bowling Green at Wisconsin (-27)
Maryland (PK) at Syracuse
Rutgers at Navy (-6)
San Jose State at Minnesota (-8.5)
Texas State (+14) at Illinois
Indiana at Missouri (-13.5)
Miami (FL) at Nebraska (-7.5)
I wasn't terribly enamored with any games last week, especially outside of the 5 I picked. But there are a couple this week that I like.
After stating off slow, Oregon failed to cover a big spread last week versus Wyoming. The Ducks travel to Pullman this week to face Washington State. Oregon is "only" a 24 point favorite, but if you've seen Wazzu's defense this year, you know why I really like Oregon here.
This one was mentioned with the Big 10 picks, but I think Navy covers the 6 versus BTPR this week. The Midshipmen's triple option attack is tough enough to stop, but with just a week to prepare, and a probably emotional letdown after last week's loss to Penn State, I think the Scarlet Knights struggle to slow down the Navy attack.
Missouri is another team that seems to be flying under the radar (again) this season. They pulled away late from what I think is still a very good UCF team last week in Colombia, and face the high flying Hoosiers this week. Indiana will score, but they won't stop anyone, and the Tigers D will do enough to cover the 13.5
Enjoy the games, everyone!