I write this as I get ready to drive up to Atlanta to watch Georgia Tech play Clemson at Bobby Dodd–notably, the site of Clemson’s last regular season ACC loss. I had an OK week last week, bringing me up to a season win percentage of .650. Let’s get to the option.
As always, dogs are on the right and the pick/spread are bold, and the lines may not be current.
Clemson vs. Georgia Tech +8.5 (Over 58)
The first game is tonight. Seriously, the ACC needs to get away from short weeks. It’s not a good look for a conference that is trying to be taken seriously as a playoff seeding conference. But, that’s its own long article. Clemson rolls into Atlanta without having faced much in the form of tests this season. Tech’s above average play against Vanderbilt shows that the Jackets have the ability to test the Tigers. Additionally, Tech runs the triple option and that is not an easy offense to prep for. I expect Clemson to run blitz and sell out the linebackers to the sideline to defeat the offense. I don’t necessarily expect a win, but I think Tech hangs close. However, Tech’s secondary is untested against a passing attack like Clemson. So, take the cover and the over, this may end up being a ridiculous and absurd shootout.
Tennessee vs. Florida +6.5 (Under 43)
Tennessee is a joke, just like every season. How they flirt with the top ten ever year is a mystery. Butch is a terrible coach. That said, this may finally be the year they end the 11 year skid against Florida. The Gators have lost their starting QB, Luke Del Rio, to a rough late hit against a cupcake. Florida’s defense is still stout, however. I expect the defense to shine and the offense to sputter for the Gators, which makes the under here a solid play. Florida won 10-9 the last time they were in Tennessee. I’m not confident these teams will score 35 points combined. As for the spread, give me a break. Tennessee just beat Ohio by 9. There’s no way in hell they can put together a gameplan to blow out Florida. If Tennessee wins, it’ll be by a field goal or so. I’m not spotting any Butch Jones team a touchdown anytime soon.
Michigan -19 vs. Penn State
Michigan looked underwhelming last week, but Penn State is equally underwhelming. I’m laying the points on Michigan because I’m counting on a garbage time TD or two. It’s also possible that Michigan isn’t forced to punt by the crack defensive squad in white and blue. Penn State doesn’t have a single healthy scholarship linebacker! When I think of how I want to field a team against one of the best in the country, I think, “Hey, let’s put Johnny Walkon in there. Yeah, that’ll work out.” Lay the points and take the over if you’re feeling daring. It’s currently 56.5 if you’re interested.
Western Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt (under 51.5)
Yes, Vandy is terrible. Yes, it might be time for the Harvard of the South to rethink its participation in the SEC as they’re underdogs to Western Kentucky–I propose a straight trade for Clemson or VPI with the ACC. The Commodores don’t have the defense they had last year, but they have the same anemic offense. They still continue to be an Under darling. This probably won’t be too even of a game and I cannot imagine a shootout in the 30s+.
Boston College vs. Wagner (under 47)
BC is like the professional version of Vanderbilt this year–a dumpster fire on offense, and a monster in defense. I don’t know who the hell Wagner is, but I don’t think they score more than 10, which leaves BC 37 points to score. Boston College doesn’t score 37 points in a month! Lock in the under, but I imagine it’s far lower than what it was on Tuesday when I pulled these lines.
Virginia Tech (VPI) vs. East Carolina +12
So the Battle at Bristol has come and gone. It was neat, it was huge, and Tennessee celebrated like they won the national championship with confetti, shirts, on field presentations, and trophies. The loser of that game–other than America in general–was VT. The Hokies gave Tennessee the fight of their life and, while the score widened at the end, they were evenly matched. That said, VT’s late erosion on defense and the wall they hit on offense worries me. ECU is a points machine. I don’t think VPI loses this game. But they’re not cruising to a 12+ point win. Take the points. The Hokies are not explosive enough to start 12 points in the hole.
Mississippi -7.5 vs. Georgia
How is Georgia ranked so high?! They stink. They had to steal victory from Mizzou in a game where Missouri coaching imploded down the stretch and left the door wide open. I’m not impressed with Georgia and I think Mississippi is going to blow them out. 45-17 may be your final when all the dust settles. Mississippi gave Alabama a tremendous fight and almost locked up 3 straight wins against the best program in college football. I jumped all over the chance to lay the points here. I don’t think this will be close at all.
Mississippi State vs. Massachusetts +23.5
UMASS played Florida earlier this season and now I know more about them than I ever thought I would. They have a QB who can flat out sling it and they’ve got capable enough receivers to put together a pretty solid offense. Mississippi State lost to South Alabama–shoutout to Milt and his team–so I’m not laying any points on them, much less over 3 touchdowns. No chance they win that big. Free money on this one.
All told, this isn’t the most exciting weekend on the slate. CBS and ESPN both wanted a piece of the Florida-Tennessee game. If you choose to watch that game, be forewarned about Verne and Gary. They are going to be talking nonstop about Hurd, Dobbs, and Tennessee’s implosion last year. You may want to mute the TV. It will be incessant.
Here’s hoping for a miracle tonight and a 12th straight on Saturday.