It occurred to me this morning that there are only two weekends of games left in the regular season. This initially made me sad for all of the obvious reasons, but then, upon further reflection, I was a little relieved. No, it's not because I'm some basketball-loving Communist. It's because I'm 31-53 against the spread in our national games of interest after posting a 3-4 record with last week's picks. That's just sad, particularly for a guy who posts his picks publicly. So when I give you give you a seemingly intelligible pick against the spread, please Don't Bet On It!
No. 1 Kansas State (-11.5) at Baylor
You have to admire Baylor. They're giving up more yards per game than anyone else in the Big XII. That's like drinking more than anyone else in eastern Europe or cheating more than Auburn. Alas, these are not positive accomplishments, and while the Bears have a potent offense, they're playing the only team in their conference that ever bothers to stop anyone. The Wildcats are scoring more than 42 points per game to boot. Kansas State should cover the spread without too much effort.
No. 13 Stanford at No. 2 Oregon (-20.5)
While Oregon's defense is pretty banged up, Stanford hasn't shown that they can really score on anyone other than Duke, Arizona, and Colorado, none of whom rank better than 94th nationally in scoring defense. You know Oregon will get their points; they rank first nationally in scoring offense with a whopping 54.8 points per game, most of which occurs in the first half before they sit their starters. Plus, the Ducks trounced the Cardinal 53-30 on the road last year. Oregon cards another 3+ TD win in a game that only appears to be competitive when Stanford scores a few times after Puddles pulls people out of the stands to suit up and play in the fourth quarter.
No. 12 Oklahoma (-10.5) at West Virginia
The Sooners' offense is flashy and puts up some gaudy numbers, but they struggle when they face anyone with a defensive pulse. (See, e.g., losses to Kansas State and Notre Dame.) Fortunately for Big Game Bob, the 'Eers are giving up more than 41 points per game, which puts them at the bottom of the Big XII. (Copy and paste previous joke about Big XII defenses here.) And since letting Willie Two Thumbs go, Oklahoma's pass defense is now the class of their conference. The Sooners notch a booming win over West Virginia, whose head coach promptly gets kicked out of a casino onto a rapidly warming seat.
No. 18 USC (-4) at No. 17 UCLA
Remember that time that USC listed its trip to the Rose Bowl to play UCLA as a home game? Consider that Exhibit 347 in my "Lane Kiffin Is an Insufferable Jerk" master's thesis. I'd like to pick UCLA on that basis alone. Unfortunately the Bruins are giving up more than 266 yards per game through the air, and, while USC's defense is rightfully shouldering a great deal of the blame for the Trojans' three losses, they've really only given up more than 30 points to Arizona's and oregon's modern spread attacks. (USC averages nearly 37 points per game.) Monte Kiffin shouldn't have the same types of problems scheming against UCLA's traditional one-back offense, and his ungrateful son should be able to add another 1-2 TD win to his résumé, which will help when he's looking for work after next season.
No. 23 Texas Tech at Oklahoma State (-10.5)
The Red Raiders lost by 21 to Oklahoma, 31 to Kansas State, and 9 to Texas, and they needed overtime to beat Kansas last week. (To be clear, we're talking about Kansas football, for which Charlie Weiss was inexplicably chose to serve as head coach this year.) I know I'm going to regret it, but I have to take the Cowboys to cover in Stillwater.
No. 22 Rutgers at Cincinnati (-6.5)
The Scarlet Knights are the only Big East team without a loss in conference play. They also have the conference's best defense... or at least we thought they did until Kent State rolled up 224 yards on the ground en route to a 35-23 upset last week. Kent State's rushing offense is ranked 15th nationally, which is just one spot ahead of Cincinnati's. The Bearcats win big at home.
Duke at Georgia Tech (-13)
Duke is bowl eligible. I repeat, Duke is bowl eligible. If they win this weekend, they will be tied for first place in their division with Miami, whom they play next weekend. That's right: Duke could be contending for an ACC championship. In football. While this would be hilarious and awesome, Duke's rushing defense is only better than Boston College's and Miami's, against whom the Jackets scored 37 and 36 points, respectively. The Jackets ramble to an easy 13+ point victory, which I hope they savor because it will be their last victory of the season.
Ohio State (+3) at Wisconsin
Full disclosure: I'm only picking this game because I'm amused that the only undefeated B1G team is ineligible for post-season play. Anyway, Vegas generally gives a team 3 points for playing at home, so they're basically calling this a toss-up. The Buckeyes have appeared to be vulnerable against the pass, while Wisconsin is tied for first in the conference in passing efficiency. Wisconsin also has the best defense that the Buckeyes have faced since they played Michigan State, against whom they only managed 17 points. But Urban had a bye week, and he's turned tOSU's offense into the cream of the conference. So we'll flip a coin and pick... the Buckeyes to cover.