Can Baylor stay unbeaten? Can Stanford re-focus and win on the road at Southern Cal and can Michigan State wrap up the Legends Division by winning at Nebraska? Those questions and who will win the Battle for the Cannon in Kalamazoo?
Central Michigan (-2) at Western Michigan – The only thing at stake in this rivalry is pride and a tinmy little cannon that serves as a traveling trophy I guess too but both teams are struggling. Central enters at 3-6 while Western is 1-9. This game was recently voted as one of the top ten rivalry games in college football despite the fact the Broncos have been average at best while the Chippewas are a long way from the Brian Kelly and Butch Jones eras.
Western Michigan is is 0-5 against the spread in their last five home game while CMU is 1-3-1 against the spread in their last five visits to Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo.
Both teams give up over 34 points a game while neither scores more than 19. Turnovers will decide this one ultimately so take the Chippewas on the road to cover.
Texas Tech (+28) at Baylor – Three weeks ago this game had the potential to be a match-up of undefeated Big 12 teams. That went out the window quickly as the Red Raiders have lost three straight after starting 7-0.
One thing for Baylor that has gone tremendously under the radar is their defense. The Bears are giving up just over 15 points per game which is pretty darn impressive in the offensive-minded Big 12. That could continue to be a huge storyline with Texas Tech struggling a bit on offense in recent weeks.
Baylor QB Bryce Petty will more than likely put up big numbers again versus a Tech defense that has been torched in recent weeks. Petty’s Bears are 2-6 against the spread in their last eight home games against the Red Raiders. The over/under is 80 today and I honestly like the over here. I think this game is the last stand for Texas Tech so they’ll play hard but it won’t matter, take the Bears to cover.
Michigan State (-4.5) at Nebraksa – The top defense in the country comes into Memorial Stadium in Lincoln with hopes of carrying the Spartans to a Legends’ division title. Michigan State can effectively wrap up the division today with a win over the Huskers while a Nebraska win gives them the inside track on the title.
Nebraska scored a huge win last week by winning at Michigan behind a timely passing game, hard running and really good defense. They will need that effort and then some to defeat Michigan State. The Spartans’ offense has improved greatly behind QB Connor Cook who is making better decisions and a bruising running attack.
The Spartans are 0-5 against the spread when playing Nebraska and the Huskers are 5-0 straight up in their last five against MSU. I’m going to have faith that this MSU team is mentally tough and prepared for this task under Mark Dantonio. Take MSU to cover.
Stanford (-3.5) at USC – The Cardinal hit the field for the first time since man-handling previously unbeaten Oregon to wrestle control of the Pac-12 North. The Trojans have won three straight games and have done so behind a pretty good defensive effort. I don’t anticipate this game getting away from either team because both are proving they play good defense.
Stanford will draw from the exact same gameplan that defeated the Ducks which means they’ll run the ball at will and try to set up the play-action pass with Kevin Hogan.
The Trojans are 1-6 against the spread in their last seven homes games against Stanford and I think that trend continues. Look for a tight game but for the Cardinal to pull away late and cover.