Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Plenty of Upsets Last Week, But I Didn't Pick Any

If not all eyes, I figure that most eyes will be on the Alabama–LSU game this Saturday. At least part of the time.

Last week was a rough week for my predictions. It especially hurt that all three of my upset specials failed to come through.

Oh, there were upsets in college football, and the Top 25 was not immune. Oklahoma State beat #10 West Virginia. Wyoming topped #12 Boise State for the first time — ever. Texas turned back #13 Baylor. South Carolina upended #22 Tennessee.

But none of the upsets that I predicted came to pass. I'm picking a season–high five upset specials this week. (Hey, with that many, I'm bound to hit at least one, right?)

We're getting an early start on the week's action with the Western Michigan–Ball State game tonight.

Idle: #16 Utah

  • #17 Western Michigan at Ball State, 7 p.m. (Central) on ESPN2: Western Michigan has beaten Ball State the last two times the teams have met, but Ball State has a narrow edge when the games have been played at Ball State.

    Western Michigan (8–0) clearly has the better team, though, and should have no trouble with 4–4 Ball State.
  • #12 Oklahoma at Iowa State, 6:30 p.m. (Central) on ESPN: This will be the 81st time these teams have met, and Iowa State has won only five times.

    Oklahoma has beaten Iowa State 17 straight times and hasn't lost on the Cyclones' turf since 1960.

    Oklahoma is the clear pick.
  • UCLA at #21 Colorado, 8 p.m. (Central) on FS1: UCLA has dominated Colorado, winning nine of 11 contests over the years and the last five in a row. UCLA nearly always scores 40 points against Colorado.

    Colorado, though, is a 12–point favorite.

    Maybe Colorado is as good as people say, but I think UCLA will win an upset special.
  • San Jose State at #24 Boise State, 9:15 p.m. (Central) on ESPN2: Boise State is undefeated all time against San Jose State.

    However, I observed that Boise State was undefeated all time again Wyoming, too, but Boise State fell victim to an upset.

    I don't think lightning will strike twice. I choose Boise State.
  • #1 Alabama at #15 LSU, 7 p.m. (Central) on CBS: This has been the marquee game of the season just about every year in recent times. LSU is not as highly ranked as it has been, but that takes nothing away from this contest.

    'Bama is only favored by a touchdown. I think it ought to be more. My pick is Alabama.
  • Maryland at #2 Michigan, 2:30 p.m. (Central) on ESPN: It isn't easy for a team to come into the Big House and leave with a win, but that was what unfolded on the only occasion when Maryland beat Michigan. That was two years ago when the teams met as conference rivals for the first time.

    Maryland had the good fortune on that occasion to face a Michigan team that was struggling. Michigan isn't struggling this time. In fact, the Wolverines are favored by 31 points. I don't know if they&a[\pos;ll cover the spread, but I am pretty sure Michigan will win.
  • Syracuse at #3 Clemson, 2:30 p.m. (Central) on ABC or ESPN2: Clemson has beaten Syracuse all three years they have been conference foes. I expect the Tigers to make that four straight.

    Clemson should win.
  • #4 Washington at California, 9:30 p.m. (Central) on ESPN: Washington had won seven of the eight previous games against California — until California pulled off a 30–24 win in Seattle.

    Now Cal needs to do something it hasn't done since 2008 — win at home against the Huskies.

    The oddsmakers don't think the Bears can do it, and neither do I. The pick is Washington.
  • #5 Louisville at Boston College, 11 a.m. (Central) on ESPN2: These teams have been conference rivals for only two years, but the series predates that by decades.

    Boston College hasn't beaten Louisville since 1994 and hardly seems likely to do so this year. I pick Louisville.
  • #9 Nebraska at #6 Ohio State, 7 p.m. (Central) on ABC: Aside from the Alabama–LSU game, this has to be the biggest game of the weekend, and college football fans can flip between ABC and CBS to watch both games. It should make for an entertaining night.

    Ohio State is favored by 17½ points, but I think it will be closer than that. I'm tempted to pick Nebraska. Still I have to take Ohio State at home.
  • #7 Texas A&M at Mississippi State, 11 a.m. (Central) on SEC Network: Mississippi State could even the all–time series with a win if the Bulldogs can beat the Aggies at home.

    But Mississippi State simply isn't the same team without Dak Prescott, who is now behind the wheel of the Dallas Cowboys' surprising offense.

    The Aggies are favored by two touchdowns. I'm inclined to agree. Texas A&M will win.
  • #8 Wisconsin at Northwestern, 11 a.m. (Central) on ABC: This series dates back to 1892. The teams haven't played each other every year, but they have come close. This will be their 95th confrontation.

    The Badgers have won nearly 62% of the time, but Northwestern has won the last two. But Northwestern hasn't beaten Wisconsin three straight times since the late 1960s.

    The Badgers are favored by a touchdown. I expect Wisconsin to win by more than that.
  • #10 Florida at Arkansas, 2:30 p.m. (Central) on CBS: This will be the fourth time these teams have met in Fayetteville. The Gators won the first three.

    In fact, Florida has won nine in a row against Arkansas. They first met in 1982 in the Bluebonnet Bowl, and Arkansas won. It is Arkansas' only win over Florida to date.

    But the Razorbacks had last week off while Florida had to fend off Georgia. I pick a rested Arkansas to win in an upset special.
  • Vanderbilt at #11 Auburn, 11 a.m. (Central) on ESPN: In the last two seasons, when Auburn was struggling, Vanderbilt pulled off single–score margin victories.

    Auburn is one of this season's surprises, bouncing back into national contention. The Tigers most likely won't play in the college football playoffs, but I'm pretty sure Auburn will win this one.
  • TCU at #13 Baylor, 2:30 p.m. (Central) on Fox: TCU's dramatic win over Baylor at the end of last season may have prevented the Bears from playing in the college football playoffs. Most likely, Texas took care of that for this year last week.

    Baylor is probably highly motivated for this one. It' in Waco, where Baylor has beaten TCU in two of the last three games they have played there.

    I like Baylor to win this one, too.
  • Kansas at #14 West Virginia, 6 p.m. (Central) on ESPN2: Kansas has played at West Virginia three times and lost all three times.

    I see no reason to expect a different outcome this time. I pick West Virginia.
  • Georgia Tech at #18 North Carolina, 11:30 a.m. (Central) on ACC Network: North Carolina has won the last two meetings, but Georgia Tech holds the lead in the series.

    North Carolina is a big favorite to win this one, too, and I see no reason to pick against the Tar Heels. I pick North Carolina.
  • #19 Florida State at North Carolina State, 6 p.m. (Central) on ESPNU: Florida State has dominated this series, especially lately, winning seven of the last nine meetings.

    But those two losses came at North Carolina State, where this yearapos;s game is being played.

    Florida State is only favored by six points. I haven't been overly impressed with the Seminoles this year, and I'm going to take North Carolina State in an upset special.
  • Iowa at #20 Penn State, 6:30 p.m. (Central) on Big Ten Network: This has been a competitive series. This is the 26th time these teams have met. If Iowa can pull off a win, the series will be tied at 13 wins apiece.

    Another interesting tidbit about this series. The visiting team has the winning record in both places. This year's game is at Penn State, where Iowa is 7–5. It is hardly inconceivable that the Hawkeyes could win this game.

    Penn State is favored by eight points, but I'm going to make Iowa an upset special.
  • #22 Oklahoma State at Kansas State, 2:30 p.m. (Central) on ABC or ESPN2: Oklahoma State has the edge in the series and has won two–thirds of the last nine meetings, but K–State has won eight of the last nine games played in Kansas.

    I expect a close game, and so do the oddsmakers. Oklahoma State is favored by 2½ points, but I'm going to take Kansas State at home in an upset special.
  • #23 Virginia Tech at Duke, 2:30 p.m. (Central) on ESPNU: Virginia Tech seldom loses to Duke in football, but Duke has beaten Tech in two of their last three encounters.

    Nevertheless, I expect Virginia Tech to prevail.
  • Arizona at #25 Washington State, 3 p.m. (Central) on Pac–12 Network: Arizona leads the series, but Washington State has won two of the last three meetings.

    Is Washington State for real? Real enough, I suppose, to beat Arizona. I pick Washington State.
Last week: 10–7

Overall: 125–42

Postponed: 1

Last week's upset specials: 0–3

Overall upset specials: 6–14

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