Games to Watch - Week 12
November 11, 2013
By Brian Edwards
Michigan State at Nebraska
As of Monday, most books had Michigan St. (8-1 straight up 5-3-1 against the spread) as a 6 ½-point favorite. The Spartans have the nation’s No. 1 defense, allowing only 209.8 yards per game. They are giving up only 11.6 points per game. Mark Dantonio’s squad has covered the number at a 5-1-1 clip in its last seven games, including a 29-6 beatdown of in-state rival Michigan two weeks ago. Jeremy Langford ran for 120 yards and one touchdown against the Wolverines, while quarterback Connor Cook threw for 252 yards. Michigan St. had an outstanding defense last year but poor QB play resulted in six defeats. Cook’s emergence and an even better defense has the Spartans looking like a true threat to take down Ohio St. Cook has a 13/3 touchdown-to-interception ratio, but he’ll face two tough road tests the next two weeks in Lincoln and Evanston. Nebraska (7-2 SU, 5-4 ATS) stayed in the hunt for the Legends Division title by rallying to win 17-13 Saturday at Michigan as a 5.5-point underdog. Tommy Armstrong Jr. threw a five-yard TD pass to Ameer Abdullah with 2:03 remaining to provide the winning points. The ‘under’ is 6-3 overall for the Spartans, 2-1 in their road assignments. The ‘under’ is 5-4 overall for the Cornhuskers, 3-3 in their home contests. QB Taylor Martinez (10/2 TD-INT) will most likely miss a third straight game this weekend. Armstrong has a 5/6 TD-INT ratio and two rushing scores. Abdullah is fifth in the nation in rushing yards with 1,213. He has seven rushing TDs and a 6.6 yards-per-carry average. As a home underdog during Bo Pelini’s six-year tenure, Nebraska owns a 1-1 spread record. The Cornhuskers haven’t been home ‘dogs since beating Oklahoma 10-3 as 4.5-point puppies in 2009. Michigan St. has compiled a stellar 12-3-1 ATS mark in seven seasons under Dantonio. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. Eastern on ABC.
Oklahoma State at Texas
Most books had Oklahoma St. (8-1 SU, 6-3 ATS) installed as a three-point favorite on Monday. The Cowboys have won five consecutive game since suffering their lone defeat at West Virginia. Mike Gundy’s squad has taken the cash in four straight contests, including Saturday’s 42-6 win over Kansas as a 31 ½-point home favorite. Clint Chelf threw for 265 yards and three TDs without being picked off. For the season, Chelf has a 9/4 TD-INT ratio. OSU is 16-9 ATS as a road favorite under Gundy. Texas (7-2 SU, 5-4 ATS) has won six in a row, going 4-2 ATS in the process, since suffering a pair of blowout losses at BYU and vs. Ole Miss in September. The Longhorns are off a 47-40 overtime win at West Va. as 6.5-point road favorites. Case McCoy threw for 283 yards and three TDs. He has an 8/6 TD-INT ratio this year. Since 2003, Texas has been a home underdog just three times, posting a 0-3 spread record. The ‘over’ is 5-4 overall for Texas, but the ‘under’ is 3-2 in its home games. OSU has watched the ‘under’ go 5-4 overall, but the ‘over’ is 3-1 in its four road games. Fox will have the broadcast at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.
Florida at South Carolina
As of Monday, most spots had South Carolina (7-2 SU, 4-5 ATS) favored by 13 ½ points. The Gamecocks will be seeking revenge for an embarrassing 44-11 loss in Gainesville last year. They are also looking to stay alive in the SEC East race. Steve Spurrier’s team had an open date after beating Mississippi St. 34-16 as a 13-point home favorite. Connor Shaw is enjoying an outstanding senior campaign, throwing 18 TD passes compared to only one interception. Mike Davis is in the midst of a breakout season. Davis, who initially gave Florida a verball commitment in the recruiting process, has rushed for an SEC-best 1,058 yards and 10 TDs. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for the 2013 Gators. They have lost nine players to season-ending injuries, including six starters. A seventh starter, OT D.J. Humpries, remains out this week. Florida (4-5 SU, 3-6 ATS) has to win two of its last three games to avoid its first losing season since 1979. UF lost to Vandy in Gainesville last weekend for the first time since 1945. The Commodores took advantage of four UF turnovers to win by a 34-17 count as 11 ½-point underdogs. UF’s Tyler Murphy has a sore shoulder and his status should be checked later in the week. The early-week plan was for him to rest on Monday and Tuesday, and then try to start throwing on Wednesday. This is just the second double-digit underdog situation for the Gators under Will Muschamp. The first, a 41-11 loss at LSU in 2011, was a disaster. Just like that contest in Baton Rouge, the Gators will start a third-stringer at QB if Murphy is unable to play. The ‘under’ is 5-3-1 for UF, 3-1 in its four road appearances. The ‘under’ is 5-4 overall for the Gamecocks, 2-2 in their home outings. ESPN2 will provide the telecast at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
Texas Tech at Baylor
As of Monday, most books had Baylor (8-0 SU, 7-1 ATS) favored by 27. The Bears smashed Oklahoma 41-12 last Thursday as 16 ½-point home favorites. Bryce Petty was the catalyst against the Sooners, throwing thee TD passes without committing a turnover and also running for a pair of scores. For the season, Petty has a 21/1 TD-INT ratio and eight rushing TDs. Lache Seastrunk leads Baylor in rushing with 888 yards and 11 TDs and a 8.7 YPC average. Texas Tech (7-3 SU, 5-5 ATS) has dropped three in a row since winning its first seven games. The Red Raiders got blasted at home by Kansas St. this past Saturday, losing 49-26 as 2 ½-point home ‘chalk.’ Texas Tech has seen the ‘over’ cash at an 8-2 overall clip, going 4-0 in its road assignments. The ‘over’ is 5-2-1 overall for the Bears, 4-1-1 in their home games. Their games are averaging a combined score of 76.4 PPG. When these Big 12 rivals met last season, Baylor collected a 52-45 win in overtime as a 3 ½-point favorite. Seastrunk ran for a game-high 136 yards. FOX will have the telecast at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
Stanford at USC
Say what you want about Ed Orgeron, but the Trojans are playing good football since he took over for the fired Lane Kiffin. On Orgeron’s interim watch, USC (7-3 SU, 5-5 ATS) has won four of five games both SU and ATS, including Saturday’s 62-28 win at California as an 18.5-point road favorite. Javorius Allen ran for 135 yards and two TDs on just six carries, while Cody Kessler threw a pair of TDs without being intercepted. Kessler, who has a 12/6 TD-INT ratio for the season, has a 6/2 TD-INT ratio since Kiffin was dismissed. USC’s leading rusher Tre Madden (671 yards) is ‘doubtful’ strained hamstring. Also, RB Silas Redd is a question mark with a sore knee. Stanford is in a vintage letdown situation here after knocking off top-ranked Oregon 26-20 as a 10.5-point home underdog last Thursday. The fact that the Cardinal won on Thursday and therefore had two extra days to prepare might help it avoid the letdown scenario. Tyler Gaffney gashed the Ducks for 157 rushing yards and one touchdown and Jordan Williamson buried four short field goals, but this victory was all about the Stanford defense. The Ducks came to Palo Alto averaging 55.6 points per game, but they had a bagel next to their name going into the fourth quarter. Stanford was favored by three or 3.5 on Monday. In 13 road ‘chalk’ spots under David Shaw, the Cardinal has compiled an impressive 10-3 spread record. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. Eastern on ABC.
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