The calendar flipping to November is always somewhat depressing. The clocks fall back and it gets dark at like 2:30 in the afternoon, the weather gets colder, all of the leaves from your neighbor's trees end up in your backyard, Not to mention we enter the final month of the college football regular season. At least the cooler weather brings some big games with it, which is nice.
Penn State at Northwestern (-2.5)
I said back in February that this game scared me. It's on the road against an always pesky team and the last of 10 straight games from the start of the season. I thought the Wildcats would be a bit improved over last season, but I did not anticipate a top-25 squad. Despite two blowout losses to Michigan and Iowa, Pat Fitzgerald steadied the team and has them bowl eligible.
If I was not forcing myself to make a pick, I would stay away from this game as strongly as I have stayed away from any game this season. Both teams are too inconsistent, plus it's one of those dang 11 AM starts (even worse when you are traveling to Chicago for the game). Push comes to shove, I probably take Northwestern, but as you can no doubt tell, I do not feel that strongly about it. The under (40.5) remains intriguing though, but not as much as earlier PSU games this year.
To be completely honest, there were not really any games that jumped out to me this week. So, with the first of several big weekends to close the season, I'm going to take a stab at the bigger games on the schedule.
First in Tuscaloosa, where Alabama is hosting LSU in a monster SEC West contest. It seems like every year this game has huge implications both in the SEC and nationally. Both teams are in the Playoff according to the first poll released by the committee, which further ups the importance of this game. The Tide is giving 6.5, which is down from the open but up from a low of 5.5 earlier this week. Ever since the Ole Miss loss, Saban has been in "F you" mode, and I don't see that stopping now. Alabama is playing as well as anyone in the nation, and I think they win by about 10.
TCU heads up to Stillwater for the first of a few massive Big 12 games to close out the season. The Horned Frogs sit at eighth in the rankings, but can make a huge move over the next month with games against Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Baylor. It certainly seems like those Big 12 schedule makers knew what they were doing. The Pokes have been playing well, putting up big numbers offensively, but they are only getting five points here. TCU's defense has started to show signs of figuring things out after a run of significant injuries. I like the Frogs to cover.
Finally, down in Clemson, the top ranked Tigers host Florida State. Dabo's team has a pretty simple mission: win out and you're in the playoff. That is of course easier said than done, but save for in-state rival South Carolina, not much left on Clemson's schedule is all that terrifying after this weekend. Florida State's loss to Georgia Tech took some luster off of this game, but at least Dalvin Cook appears set to return. Clemson is giving 12 points, and I do not have a strong feeling one way or another, but I have a sneaking suspicion the Tigers roll here. Call it a degenerate's hunch.
Eli's #HOT #PICKS
Temple -13 - There are two ways teams respond to a heartbreaking loss – have a letdown game, or destroy the next opponent. Luckily for Temple, their team is too disciplined for the former, and their opponent makes the latter infinitely easier. The Under at 58.5 is worth a look too.
Texas Tech/West Virginia Over 79 - All but two of the games Texas Tech played this season have gone over. The opposite is true for West Virginia. However, WVU has been involved in a few blowouts in either direction. I don't see that being the case here.
Arizona State/Washington State Over 66.5 - Ever since Arizona State found its grove on offense, games have started to go over. We all know what to expect from Washington State.
Last Week's Prop Bet Results
Christian Hackenberg Completed Passes Over 20 Yards (O/U 5.5) - 1
Wildcat Appearances (O/U 2.5) - I think it was 2, but I admittedly forgot to count.
Actual Wildcat Appearances (O/U .5) - Zero, but we still have a shot to see this on senior day with Anthony Zettel!
Penn State Average Yards Per Punt (O/U 38.5) - 41
Tim Beckman Poaching Mentions (O/U 1.5) - I had this at just 1
11:00 AM Central Time Prop Bets
Saquon Barkley Pass Receptions - O/U 3.5
Geno Lewis Receptions - O/U 3.5
Crazy Carl Nassib Breaks PSU Single Season Sack Record During Game - -150
Penn State Returns a Punt/Kick for a TD - +350
Penn State Passes Thrown by a non-QB - O/U .5