1. Wisconsin (+6) at Iowa
The Badgers are coming off of their first win over Ohio State under Brett Beilema, and Iowa is returning home after a hard-fought win over Michigan on the road last week. Obviously, Wisconsin’s win was the bigger of the two, but often times that kind of upset comes with sluggish results in a teams’ next game. However, you shouldn’t be worried about that with this disciplined Badger team. Having watched both of these teams quite a bit this season, I’ve come to the conclusion that Wisconsin is simply the better of the two. They may lose in Iowa City, but I see this playing out as a game decided by three or four points. Take Bucky and the points. Prediction: Wisconsin 27 – 24.
2. Auburn (-6) vs. LSU
Listen, I don’t dismiss the fact that LSU has a stout defense. They are #6 against the run nationally and allow only 14.4 points per game, good for 11th best in the country. But I’ve already made the mistake of underestimating Cam Newton’s ability to run wild on a real SEC defense. I thought Newton’s 198 yards rushing earlier this season against South Carolina had been a fluke. And say what you want about the Razorbacks, but going into that game they had played good defense all season, and I figured the Hogs would at least hold him to around 100 yards. Not so much. Like, not so much at halftime. South Carolina is STILL the #14 run defense in the country. They’d probably be Top 10 like LSU had they not met with Auburn’s QB already. So, long story short, LSU won’t be able to shut down Auburn’s offense no matter how highly their defense is ranked and LSU’s offense is not good enough to take full advantage of Auburn’s weak defense. Prediction: Auburn 34 – 27.
3. Oklahoma State (+6) vs. Nebraska
This game pits the nations 2nd highest scoring offense in Oklahoma State against Nebraska, a Top 15 scoring offense. The principal difference between these two is the defense, where Nebraska is Top 10 material and the Cowboys are barely Top 75 material. However, having played the #11, 23, 29 & 46 offenses is a decent reason to the Okies have an unimpressive defensive ranking. Nebraska, in comparison has only faced a single Top 50 offense, #37 Kansas State. I’m not giving up on Nebraska at all. Actually, I think they simply ran into a buzzsaw last week in a Texas team, coming off a bye, that was desperate to avoid a third straight loss. Those longhorns, love ’em or hate ’em, have a ton of pride. My guess is that Nebraska pulls off the win here, but six points is too much to give to a team that has taken on all comers to this point and is playing at home. Prediction: Nebraska 34 – 30.
4. Oregon (-23.5) vs. UCLA
Both teams are coming off of bye weeks heading into this game at Autzen Stadium. Both teams headed into their respective breaks with injured quarterbacks. The difference is that Oregon’s Darron Thomas is back to 100% and has been practicing all week, whereas UCLA’s Kevin Prince has been watching his back-up take all the first team snaps. Prince has been tagged as doubtful for the game, and the Bruins will also be missing a starting corner on Thursday night. Night game, Autzen Stadium, back-up quarterback, #1 team and scoring offense coming out of a bye week fully healthy…recipe for a beatdown. Prediction: Oregon 44 – 16.
Lock of the Week!!!
**Air Force (+19) at TCU
Air Force was ranked until just last week when they fell narrowly to a good San Diego State squad, 27-25. TCU has only played one good team all season, Oregon State. Air Force is probably just as good as the Beavers, but even harder to prepare for given their triple-option offense. TCU beat Oregon State by 9 and allowed the Beavers to score 21 points. Air Force’s offense is more explosive and should score more than that. The only three teams TCU has truly shut down this season are Wyoming, Colorado State, and BYU. Those three teams are ranked #109, #115, and #119 in scoring offense….out of 120 teams. This TCU defense is good, but with only one week to prepare for a triple-option attackun to perfection, this 19 point spread is too much to give. Prediction: TCU 34 – 20.
Overall Season Record — 8-11
Lock of the Week Record — 3-1