LSU-Bama. Minny-Penn State. Iowa-Badgers... Showdowns & Tricky Spreads Galore.

Herb Gould

This is a big week, loaded with defining games. . . For college-football teams and for those who pick against the spread.

LSU-Alabama. Minnesota-Penn State. Iowa-Wisconsin. Can’t wait.

They all could be taut games that are difficult to predict. But we’re here to do that for you.

First, though, a few notes about last week’s disappointing 2-4. The problem was, shame on Nebraska and Florida State. Facing must-wins, they both fell flat on their faces. The Cornhuskers blew their only realistic path to a bowl trip; FSU got its coach fired.

In other words, I picked good. They played bad.

The good news is, Illinois came up with a big second half to cover 19 points vs. Rutgers. And Virginia Tech kept things interesting (too interesting for Irish fans) at Notre Dame.

In the other two games, I let my respect for Gary Patterson’s defensive aplomb go too far in TCU’s trip to Oklahoma State. And I saw too much of the good Florida and the vulnerable Georgia when I was SEC gazing this fall.

But here’s the deal. I am still 32-25-3 against the spread and 45-15 straight up.

So let’s get on to Week 11.

Good luck in sports. . .

THE GAMES

(Central Flyover Time)

Penn State minus-7 at Minnesota, 11 a.m., ABC

LSU plus-6 at Alabama, 2:30 p.m., CBS LSU

Illinois plus-15 at Michigan State, 2:30 p.m., BTN

Iowa plus-9 at Wisconsin, 3 p.m., FOX

Notre Dame minus-8 at Duke, 6:30 p.m., ACCN

Iowa State plus-14.5 at Oklahoma, 7 p.m, FOX

THE PICKS

(ATS winner in bold**)**

Penn State minus-7 at Minnesota, 11 a.m., ABC

I am very happy for long-suffering Minnesota fans. This Golden Gopher team is headed for great things. But Penn State is really loaded—the real deal. Better talent and pretty good coaching, too. If Minnesota keeps it going, Hollywood will have to find a Mickey Rooney clone to play P.J. Fleck in the movie.

The Pick: Penn State

The Score: Nittany Lions, 34-20

@@@

LSU plus-6 at Alabama, 2:30 p.m., CBS

I really, really want to pick LSU because the Tigers are really, really good and the populist in me would really, really like to see the Crimson Tide to step aside and give somebody else the spotlight. The problem is, this is an elimination game for Alabama, which would have a really, really tough time making the College Football Playoff with a loss here. Plus, I haven’t picked against Nick Saban in a big game since he was at Michigan State. Not gonna start now. All this talk about Tua’s ankle and the Tide’s lack of a quality win reminds me of those old Army movies where ``it’s too quiet out there.’’ And Alabama’s at home.

The Pick: Alabama

The Score: Crimson Tide, 38-31

@@@

Illinois plus-15 at Michigan State, 2:30 p.m., BTN

Illinois can become bowl-eligible with a win. Michigan State can become eligible for disaster relief with a loss. And reality lies somewhere in between. The Illini will get their sixth win eventually—but not here. They are a good bet, though.

The Pick: Illinois

The Score: Michigan State, 27-20

@@@

Iowa plus-9 at Wisconsin, 3 p.m., FOX

This line is too big. With two leather-helmet teams like this, it should more like 4½ points. First instinct is to grab the nine points (a bargain!) and run. But then I think about Iowa’s offense, which has averaged 11 points against its three quality opponents (Iowa State, Michigan, Penn State). Barring gift points off turnovers, Wisconsin flexes its defensive muscle to make this happen. And for all the hype about the Gophers, the winner of this game controls its Big Ten West destiny.

The Pick: Wisconsin

The Score: Badgers, 20-10

@@@

Notre Dame minus-8 at Duke, 6:30 p.m., ACCN

I just have a feeling it’s time for Notre Dame, which has looked messy lately, to get its act together and play well. The Irish are 2-1 in their last three games, with the two wins by a total of four points. If that continues, November will be a tough deal.

The Pick: Notre Dame

The Score: Irish, 34-24

@@@

Iowa State plus-14.5 at Oklahoma, 7 p.m, FOX

Here’s a bargain pick I can’t resist. The very capable Cyclones getting a fistful of points against the Sooners, who looked very porous on defense against Kansas State,

The Pick: Iowa State

The Score: Oklahoma, 42-31

@@@

LAST WEEK ATS: 2-4. . . SEASON: 32-25-3

LAST WEEK STRAIGHT UP: 2-4 . . . SEASON 45-15

Comments

Herb Gould

FEATURED
COMMUNITY