It's very tricky to take too many favorites, but this week there are teams I think will bounce back in a big way.
One of these games isn't a true LOCK, but I've been consistent about not trusting Arizona State. I think they're playing not at all to their potential, and this time around they have their backup QB going with something to prove. The man's name: Mike Bercovici. A 3 year backup, now getting his big chance against the Pac 12 South division favorites UCLA, but! Much like they've done most of the season, they the Sun Devils played uneven football. One thing the Devs did very well thus far is limit turnovers, only one for the whole year so far, but it was in games against New Mexico, Weber State, and Colorado. UCLA should present the toughest defense ASU played so far, yet, I sense this game is going to go back and forth. I'm taking this pick under the premise that Hundley is healthy enough to start tonight and play a very good game. We'll roll the dice and go with UCLA because, after all, they have the better coaching, defense, and health, so without further delay here it is:
LOCK #1 is UCLA -4 at ASU!
Here are the other games...
- Maryland +4 at Indiana. Here's what's most interesting about the Terps: Randy Edsall has constructed a very good offensive team that beat South Florida, and even gave West Virginia all it could handle in a very wild game they lost by only 3 points. They also went to the Carrier Dome and put away an improving Syracuse 34-20. Indiana, I'm much less impressed by. I don't think their defense is that great (really neither team is, Maryland's D looks soft too). The only thing is, Maryland is on the road, but covering 4, I like their chances. A FG loss will still cover, so we are hoping for another building block for the Terps.
- Utah -13.5 vs Washington State. Washington State made big headlines channeling their inner Rocky Balboa against Oregon, but that game *was* at Pullman, and it wasn't consistent with the rest of their season. Washington State has their signature Mike Leach bonehead coaching, stubborn moves, doing things just to do them, and I feel like Utah's always been a very tough out at their home. Utah's beaten far bigger teams than WSU, and further, the Cougars are inevitably due for a letdown after what was their best game in a couple years. A two touchdown margin seems reasonable, so we are taking the Utes.
- Auburn -32.5 vs LA Tech. Let's face it, LA Tech stinks. Not much to analyze here. The Tigers went over 10 weeks in a row, going back to last year, where they covered the spread until they finally failed to put away Kansas State. KSU flat outplayed them at Manhattan, but this time around, Auburn is not only at home, but likely very motivated after that close call a week ago. They also get an extra two days of rest coming off a Thursday night game. The triple option will ride strong again and the length of Auburn's DB's and receivers is impressive to see, creating all sorts of matchup issues for lesser teams. Tigers all the way in this one.