There are a lot of interesting plays to keep an eye on this week. Here are some you might want to watch:
Nebraska (-6) over Northwestern **
A great situational spot to play the Huskers, coming in after an embarassing national telvision loss and two weeks to fume about it. Plus a bigtime revenge game for Nebraska. The Huskers have also played the much much tougher schedule of the two. NW starting to show their vulnerbility now that they are into Big 10 play, with a loss at Penn State, and barely scraping by a below average Minnesota team. They haven’t seen an offense that is even close to Nebraska’s this season. And Nebraska is the first team NW has played that actually averages more rushing yards per game. I expect a rested and more athletic Huskers team to roll here.
West Virginia (-2.5) over Kansas State
This is a game that I’ve gone back and forth on. But after looking at all of the numbers, I’m going to play the human side of this matchup. With WV coming into this conference, there is going to be an adjustement period for teams traveling to a far outpost like Morgantown. As well as WV traveling to Big 12 country. It showed last week what kind of cost travel can be with WV’s loss to Texas Tech last week.
With KSU, they not only had to travel to ISU and play a close 60 minute game against them, they now have to turn around and travel again. This time to a stadium and atmosphere they aren’t familiar with. And in a primetime game against a team coming off an embarassing loss. I might have a different feeling about this game if they were playing earlier in the season and were getting the 16 points they were getting when they went to Norman. But in a long travel game that is almost a tossup, I’m going to slightly favor the home team with the dangerous QB and offense. I hate going against the running dog, but like I said, I prefer to get more points on the line when coming into a tough spot like this. Plus WV’s record in primetime night games in Morgantown is a very good 17-3 since 2002.
Navy (-2.5) over Indiana
Little bit of a bad spot and bad matchup for Indiana. The Hoosiers put a lot of effort into their game last week against Ohio State in which they ended up losing a shootout 52-49. Now after that huge effort, they have to get ready in a week for the Navy option. Tough to do in the middle of the season against a type of offense that Indiana never faces during the season. Indiana giving up 230 ypg rushing. Ouch! A tough matchup, and another game that looks like Indiana will yet again try to outscore their opponet. This time on the road against a pretty sound Navy team who looks like they are starting to get on a little bit of a roll.
Michigan State (+10) over Michigan
Michigan doing some good things of late. But it’s been against a couple teams who look to be on a downward trend, or have been down all year like Illinois. Sparty very much still has some fight in them. And this will be the first time they have been the dog all season. I still consider MSU one of the elite teams of the Big 10. But I use that term loosely when I talk about the Big 10. This is a rivalry game that MSU has absolutely owned for the last 4 years. And I don’t see them going easily here. Michigan wins, but it won’t be easy.