It was a winning week, but oh, what might have been. I was sitting 6-1 before the night games, but then “gambling” happened. The Hoos and Monarchs decided to stop scoring with eight minutes to go, I got bitten by the half points as Clemson kept their starters in one touchdown too long and covered the 42 points, and Ball State and NC State came in two points short of the over. Needless to say, a 6-4 week is better than the alternative. Conference play isn’t entirely here, but we do get a shorter slate with some more conference matchups, not to mention a pretty important game out in Indiana. Let’s gooooo.
Through three games, are there two teams we know less about than Duke and VaTech? Both are 2-1 after opening week losses, though the Blue Devils have looked better in each of their wins. Both teams are coming off a bye, so this comes down to who I trust to have his team more ready to play, and that’s David Cutcliffe. There’s just something off with Justin Fuente in Blacksburg. Whether it’s following a legend, or if he just wasn’t ready to this level, he just isn’t able to get his teams playing up to their potential.
Pick: Duke +2.5
Holy Cross Crusaders @ Syracuse Orange
Syracuse -38.5; Over/Under 55
Well that was more like it Syracuse. After looking terrible in their first three games, the Orange left no doubt destroying Western Michigan 52-33. But they still gave up 33 points. In their last three games Syracuse has given up 63, 41, and 33 points. The implied total has Holy Cross scoring 8 points. If they can get 13 or more, I like for this total to go over. And perhaps Tommy DeVito and the Orange figured something out and will put up another 50 spot.
Pick: Over 55
Delaware Blue Hens @ Pittsburgh Panthers
Pitt -28; Over/Under 50.5
I see you Pitt. Nice win over UCF, and even better, they tried to give it away before coming away with the win. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about the Panthers this season is they don’t mind mucking it up. I like Pitt to win, but I’m not sure they cover the 27-point spread. At the same time, I’m not sure Delaware attains their implied 12 points. All those projections add up to an under.
Pick: Under 50.5
Fade the Yellow Jackets. Just do it. They lost to the Citadel. Temple is a pretty good football team. Georgia Tech is not. Don’t overthink it.
Pick: Temple -8.5
With more conference games on the slate than in previous weeks, I thought big spreads would be coming to an end. But alas, we still have Clemson. Twenty-seven points in conference is massive, especially on the road. North Carolina is coming off their “wake up loss”, and I think they’re up for this game. Regardless, it won’t matter. Last season, Clemson won seven of their nine conference games by more than 27 points. After two solid weeks to open the season, UNC is closer to what I thought they were going into the season than the team that beat South Carolina and Miami. If nothing else, it tells you more about those teams than it does about the Heels.
Pick: Clemson -27
Are the Demon Deacons the third best team in the ACC? We at Streaking the Lawn think so as we put them third in our conference power rankings. This week they travel Chestnut Hill to face the Boston College Eagles. After laying an egg against Kansas, BC bounced back with a convincing win over Rutgers. There’s a lot of steam on both Wake Forest and the over. The opening lines were Wake -4 and a total of 66. While I like the idea of an ACC home team getting 6.5 points against a team not named Clemson, the value is on the total. Wake can score. Boston College doesn’t mind a shootout. But given how things change once conference play begins, I can’t see this shooting out.
Pick: Under 69
Check out this week’s “Column” on Streaking the Lawn and you can see where I am at on this game. I think 11 is way too many points and there is no reason why Virginia can’t win it outright. Notre Dame is a really good team and they fared much better than I thought they would last week against Georgia. But can they score against the Hoos. The implied total of this game is 30-19 and I think the Irish have a tough time getting to 30. Virginia will score, and if they can get a couple TDs, 11 will be a tough ask for the home team.
Pick: Virginia +11
Just like I’ve faded Georgia Tech, I’m pot-committed on the Seminoles. I loved them for eight wins back in August and I’m not wavering from that position. To get there, these are the games they have to win. I can see it now though. At 8:30 I’m counting my money. At 9:00 I’m sweating the fact that FSU has given up a 13 point lead. At 10:30 I’m hanging on to one last hope that Florida State can stop the Wolfpack on the Seminole 13 yard line to cling to a seven point victory. What are you doing Saturday night?
Pick: Florida State -6.5