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Black Shoe Degenerates: Week 9

My much less serious weekly column.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday I wrote a thing that, at last check was closing in on 400 comments. Do not get me wrong, I enjoy sharing my opinion on things, getting your feedback, and discussing it with everyone. But writing about point spreads has always been enjoyable, even as we, ahem, struggle from week to week. I do want a pass on Baylor last week though, since I did not anticipate them playing in a tropical storm.

Penn State (-5) vs. Illinois

Remind me never to feel confident about Penn State football for at least another year. Last week was bad, painful, and something that should never be discussed again. Plus the over hit for just the second time all season. On paper, this seems like a good match up for PSU, with Josh Ferguson out, Mikey Dudek apparently headed for a redshirt, the rest of the Illini receivers unable to hold onto anything, and a rather statuesque QB in Wes Lunt. But, well, we have all watched Penn State for the last eight weeks. I would be inclined to give the five points, but who knows what we get on Saturday. The total of 43 feels like one to stay away from too.

Top Plays

Tom Herman's undefeated Houston Cougars head to Nashville to face Vandy. The Commodores are coming off of Derek Mason's first ever SEC win (albeit against Midwestern SEC power Mizzou) in 12 tries. Mason does have Vanderbilt playing solid defense, but Houston is going to present a whole new set of challenges. I am giving the 10.5 here.

UCLA has been besieged by injuries this season, but anyone who caught the Bruins' win last week over Cal saw the firepower Josh Rosen is still working with. They host an improving but still vastly undermanned Colorado team this week. The Buffaloes have been better, but have struggled mightily away from Boulder. This has moved up to 21, which I do not like as much, but I still think UCLA wins handily.


Arizona State/Oregon OVER 66.5 - Both team can score in bunches, but both teams have adequate enough defenses. This explains the low total of 66.5.

West Virginia/TCU OVER 75.5 - TCU's defense is good enough, but I'm not sure West Virginia can stop them. TCU could score 70 on their own.

Georgia Southern -21 vs Texas State - The only teams Georgia Southern has lost to this season are Appalachian State, which currently sits at first in the Sun Belt, and West Virginia. The rest they've beaten by 20 or more.

Last Week's Prop Bet Results

Saqon Barkley Rushing Yards (O/U 149.5) - 65

Maryland Trick Plays (O/U 2.5) - 0, I think

Crazy Carl Nassib Sacks (O/U 1.5) - 2 (Although this took some further review to get him credit for the secnd)

Replays of Last Year's Non-Handshake (O/U 2.5) - Only one that I saw

Declarations by ESPN Announcers of rivalry (O/U 4.5) - Only caught one, but I believe I may have lost count while laughing at Chris Goodwin references.

Non-Homecoming Homecoming Prop Bets

Christian Hackenberg Completed Passes Over 20 yards - O/U 5.5

Wildcat Appearances - O/U 2.5

Appearances by an Actual Wild Cat - O/U 0.5

Penn State Average Yards per Punt - O/U 38.5

Tim Beckman Poaching Mentions - O/U 1.5