After last week's 2-3 showing (NEVER! TRUST! MICHIGAN!), the season's record stands at 8-12 (not bad when there was a 0-5 week in there) at the quarter pole. Typically the start of conference season means some intriguing games. Those apparently come next week though, with just one meeting of top 25 teams.
UCLA (-4) at Arizona State
Is it a good thing that the best game (on paper) is on Thursday night? Don't get me wrong, I love a great Thursday night matchup, but when the rest of the weekend appears a little thin, it's sort of a let down. As for these two teams, both are 3-0, although the Bruins boast the better resume with wins at Virginia and at Texas. UCLA's big question is whether or not Brett Hundley will play, after leaving the Texas win with an injury to his non-throwing arm. Regardless of who is taking snaps for UCLA, this should be a high scoring affair (O/U is 60).
UCLA definitely boasts the better wins, and the Sun Devils are largely untested. While ASU does have the home field, I doubt that means much to the visitors given their road wins in Charlottesville and Austin. I'll take the road favorites.
Minnesota at Michigan (-11.5)
I had absolutely no intention of including this game at the beginning of the week, but sometimes, the opportunity is just too good. Consider this: Michigan has scored but 3 points on offense/special teams this season against the only two legitimate opponents they have faced, and have not crossed the opposing 20 in either game. They are also 4-8 going back to last year. At some point, don't we admit Michigan is just not very good?
Anyway, this game actually opened at -7.5 for the Wolverines, and has been moving up all week. I just don't get it. They may very well win this game, but I can't see a double digit win for Michigan. Give me all those points and the Gophers.
Arkansas at Texas A&M (-9.5)
Remember when this was a SWC rivalry, and now a contrived SEC rivalry? Those were the days (also, I was 8 when Arkansas left for the SEC). In any case, I suppose these two programs playing regularly is a nice side effect of generally ridiculous conference expansion.
As for the 2014 version, this is another game where the line feels a little out of whack. Sure, Bert's guys are 3-1, but the wins came against Nichols State, Texas Tech, who can't stop anyone, and Northern Illinois. Meanwhile A&M is undefeated, with that rather impressive opening win against South Carolina, the Kyle Field crowd, and a massive advantage in coaching with Kevin Sumlin. In short, I'll gladly give the 9.5 points here. Gig 'em!
Missouri at South Carolina (-6)
Another historic SEC battle! The old East Division rivals, meet in Columbia (the one in South Carolina) to settle an age old debate. Probably. Maybe? Mizzou of course comes in reeling after being upset in Columbia (the one in Missouri) last weekend by Indiana. Trust me, it happened, even if ESPN never acknowledged such an event. On the other side, the Gamecocks have won 3 straight since the Aggies embarrassed them on opening night.
I feel like we know a lot more about South Carolina at this point than we do about Missouri. Combine that with the home crowd, I'll gamble (hey, that's where they got that word!) and give the 6 points.
Texas Tech at Oklahoma State (-13.5)
I was really at a loss for a 5th game this week. I don't think either of these teams are that good, but what they lack of quality football, they are likely to make up for with points. Lots of points. Oklahoma State has taken a step back from a very good 2013 schedule, while Texas Tech has struggled to find a defense through the first month of the season. But both offenses have proven capable of moving the ball thus far.
I'm going to go with Oklahoma State here for a couple of reasons. I love the Pokes at home, and I'm pretty sure they'll at least come up with a couple defensive stops. I have my doubts whether Texas Tech can.
AROUND THE B1G
South Florida (+34) at Wisconsin
Tulane at BTPR (-12)
Iowa (-9) at Purdue
Wyoming at Michigan State (-31)
Maryland at Indiana (-5)
Cincinnati at Ohio State (-16)
Illinois at Nebraska (-20)