And just like that, my 4-1 Week 9 is wiped away by a 1-4 Week 10 (-4.46) with only a miraculous Illinois TD drive to beat Minnesota preventing the 0-for. My hatred for this year’s Alabama team grows as lose no matter if I bet on or against them. LSU’s defensive approach to Milroe made no sense, since unlike Jayden Daniels, he’s not a pinpoint passer, so the lack of a zone or spy played right into the Tide offense’s hands. At least being wrong about Notre Dame gets to come with the enjoyment of seeing them lose, so there are worse outcomes. The bipolar Virginia squad I thought would stand up at home against Georgia Tech was blown out, but they’ve already validated their potential by nearly knocking off Louisville as a 20+ point road dog last night. And just before press time, the new B1G commish axes Harbaugh for the rest of the regular season. No shortage of controversy down the home stretch. The comeback starts now! (chronological, best bet aside)
Bet 1: Alabama -10.5 (-115) at Kentucky (11:00am CT Sat 11/11, ESPN; all odds via FanDuel)
Can’t win an Alabama game no matter what I do, so at least I can get it out of the way in the early window. This should play out like their 11am game 4 weeks ago when I laid 20 with them at home against Arkansas, and they won by 3. Kentucky has gotten to 3-3 in league play with three of the weakest wins available – at Vandy and Miss St, and home vs Florida, a 3-game losing streak to UGA, Mizzou and Tennessee came in the middle. Stoops has been able to get his team up for games against Florida and Tennessee, but Alabama has been a different beast. He’s 0-3 vs Saban, the scores were 48-7, 34-6, and 63-3. If they don’t cover, please lose outright and get the hell out of the CFP discussion.
Bet 2: Indiana +6.5 (-110) at Illinois (11:00am CT Sat 11/11, BTN)
Who can handle success more poorly? Give me the one likely starting their backup QB who was last week’s hero. Altmeyer isn’t officially out yet for the Illini, but he wasn’t cleared as of Thursday. I took Illinois last week because of Bielema’s domination of Minnesota, well somehow, the Hoosiers have won 4 straight against another B1G program, and that program is Illinois. The orange and blue haven’t won this border matchup since 2011 in the late Ron Zook era. I hope this game is as ugly as possible.
Bet 3: Iowa -1.5 (-115) vs Rutgers (2:30pm CT Sat 11/11, BTN)
If safeties were only worth 1 point, I wouldn’t touch this bet. But since 2-0 will win, I’m at ease. When Iowa had to have it last week, Deacon Hill actually got them in position for the game winning field goal. That is serious progress. This fits the profile of a hangover spot for Rutgers after the uber-deflating second half against the Buckeyes last week in New Jersey. This has been a breakthrough for Schiano and company to reach bowl eligibility so early, and then scare the number one team in the country for a half, but to keep it up and knock off the West leader on the road is a bit much. Gavin Wimsatt turnovers lead to the typical, close-but-never-really-in-doubt, Iowa win.
Bet 4: Cal -2.5 (-110) vs Washington St (3:00pm CT Sat 11/11, ESPN2)
Wazzu, or as some are starting to call them, the Syracuse of the west coast. The latest chapter in their freefall was a 10-7 home loss to Stanford (Northwestern empathizes with that outcome). Is a trip to Berkeley and a matchup with the fellow struggling Bears a cure? I say no. Cal has enough fight that they nearly beat (admittedly meh) USC at home two weeks ago, and then came out swinging in Eugene last week, before being overwhelmed. They’ve finally got an opponent on their level, at home, and with a rushing defense not well suited to slow down their best weapon in RB Jaydn Ott.
Best Bet (2 units): Penn St +158 moneyline vs Michigan (11:00am CT Sat 11/11, FOX)
I’ll bite on the probably-sucker narrative. Michigan is just so insufferably whiny about the concept of consequences for breaking rules, reality has a chance to catch up with them on both the disciplinary and on-field fronts. PSU’s defense is legitimately good enough to do their part, that isn’t a stretch. Allar playing a clean game, getting the ball into playmakers’ hands much better than we saw at the Shoe, is the risk. If Manny Diaz’s guys can force turnovers, or bog Michigan down to the point that they feel they’re finally in a real game, there’s no telling what UM’s reaction will be, and it’s only less certain without their head coach on hand. Win one against self-righteousness Franklin.
Week 10: 1-4, -4.46 units; Season: 24-29, -10.95 units. Good luck!