Conference play is in full swing and I have four best bets for Saturday. Read the full writeup of each pick on Fansided.
Continuing a look at games to circle with the Big Ten. Here are six I picked out where you have the opportunity to fade teams:
October 10- Northwestern at Michigan: There’s a lot of excitement about Michigan this season with coach Jim Harbaugh in Ann Arbor. One of their bigger games on the schedule is against Michigan State at home. With Northwestern going to Michigan the week before, I can see the Wolverines overlooking the Wildcats.
October 17- Nebraska at Minnesota: I’m going to pick on Nebraska a few times here. They have a new coach and lost their star running back. The Cornhuskers host Wisconsin on October 10. Regardless of that result, I can see a major letdown from Nebraska when they travel to Minnesota a week after.
October 31- Nebraska at Purdue: Purdue is probably the worst team in the conference but this might be a time to back them against the spread. Nebraska plays Michigan State the week after and I’m not sure if the Cornhuskers will be too excited about being in West Lafayette on Halloween.
Florida State (+1) over North Carolina State: North Carolina State hits the road after back-to-back home games against rivals Duke and North Carolina. Big letdown spot here.
Notre Dame (-6.5) over Miami: Miami just beat Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium and now have to go to unfamiliar territory at Notre Dame. This line is too low.
Ohio State (+1) over Iowa: Ohio State is looking for revenge after the Hawkeyes beat them at home in their conference opener.
Michigan State (+3) over Maryland: Michigan State will also be seeking revenge after dropping their conference opener to Maryland in double overtime back on December 30.
Tennessee is a four-point favorite against Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl. The Volunteers are a young team with shaky offensive line. They probably wouldn’t be a favorite against Iowa on a neutral field in the regular season. However, this is a bowl game and Tennessee has to be thrilled to be in this situation. The Volunteers haven’t been in a bowl game since 2010, and earned six wins this season with a tough schedule.
Iowa had high expectations this season and had a shot to win their division with a very favorable schedule. They finished 7-5 and ended the year with a very disappointing loss to Nebraska at home.
Tennessee’s young offensive stars will show up and the rest of the team will be motivated. I like Butch Jones over Kirk Ferentz in this situation, and the mediocre SEC team over the underachieving Big Ten squad.
Pick: Tennessee (-4) over Iowa
Here are my Week 8 college football picks and the rest of the pool plays:
Iowa (+4.5) over Maryland
California (+7) over UCLA
Alabama (-13) over Texas A&M
Over 64 in Alabama vs Texas A&M
Tennessee (+16) over Ole Miss
Under 47 in Ole Miss vs Tennessee
LSU (-10) over Kentucky
Iowa State (+12.5) over Texas
Wake Forest (+5) over Syracuse
Purdue (+14) over Minnesota
West Virginia (+8.5) over Baylor
Kansas State (+7.5) over Oklahoma
Iowa over 8.5 wins (-115): This pick mostly has to do with the schedule. The Hawkeyes avoid Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan in the East. Their toughest non-conference game is at Pittsburgh. Starting 10-0 is a really possibility for Iowa before hosting Wisconsin and Nebraska to end the season. The Hawkeyes return most of their offensive contributors including quarterback Jake Rudock and running back Mark Weisman. Continue reading