Confucius once told us: “To make egg roll, push it.”
That lesson seems applicable for today because #5 Georgia (9-1) has a history of losing to Texas A&M (7-3) and if it wants things to be different, it needs to find a way to nudge that egg in a different direction.
The two have only met five times in the past 70 years, but the #23 Aggies own most of the wins. They also own Jimbo Fisher, who is making $75 million to coach a team that has yet to earn a mention in the national playoff discussion despite two years of Jimb-ball.
Give this one to the Bulldogs by at least 10 (31-21 per our Index) because they have played a harder schedule, played it better, won more games, won the last meeting between the two (2011), and, oh yes, aren’t Fish-ladened.
Twentieth-ranked Baylor (9-1) should finally convince coaches that Texas’ (6-4) stay in the top 25 should have ended last month. Texas likes to flaunt its big, long horns to frighten opponents but it seems the horned ones have mostly only gored themselves as they stand 79th for passing the ball to the wrong team.
Baylor is favored 30-28 at home.
Keep an eye on Temple (7-3) at #18 Cincinnati (9-1) because the Bearcats are ripe-ripe for picking and Temple is a team perched to pluck. The Owls usually perform equal to or above our expectations whereas UC has only topped projections one time all year. If you’re looking for an upset to bet, this is it.
In another game with upset indicators, #11 Michigan (8-2) travels to Indiana (7-3) to play a feisty group of Hoosiers who nearly knocked off Penn State last week. Indiana is more than capable while Michigan has not been very convincing all season.
Michigan doesn’t have much to play for, but imagine losing to Indiana! Makes you wonder if that loss plus another non-playoff season would be enough to heat up a Harbaugh egg that doesn’t roll his way.
Out west, it’s a battle of opposites as #25 San Diego State (8-2) allows only 270 yards per game (12th in FBS) and Hawai’i (7-4) passes for 340 yards per game (4th in FBS). Unfortunately, the Rainbows also lead the nation in turnovers and that is likely to be the difference in a 28-27 SDSU win.
In the PAC-12 . . .
Oregon’s (9-1) roster of upperclassmen and 7th ranking should have little trouble with Arizona State (5-5,) which not only carries 53 freshmen but also plays most of them. The Ducks’ running game is less scintillating than a playoff contender should be (ranked just 43rd) but it’s smothering defense and nation’s fourth-best record for not turning over the ball should push the Ducks to a 36-14 win.
Arizona (4-6) looked awful against Oregon last week because it continued its penchant for penalties (ranked 83rd) and committing them at the worst times. Put that with the nation’s fourth-most porous defense, mix in a little Utah coming to town, and you get a stout recipe for another 30+ point hazing.
The #8 Utes are surging fast and are currently rated in our Index as the best team to represent the PAC-12 in the NFP, if only they could get there.
It’s been a tough year for Washington (6-4) but at least we can now answer the question: What did Browning do for you? Apparently a lot because the Huskies just haven’t been the same since Jake Browning graduated. It was thought that Jacob Eason could keep things going but he hasn’t proven to as much of a messiah.
Nonetheless, the unranked Huskies are two touchdown favorites by the oddsters in Vegas and three touchdowns in our system to put down Colorado (4-6). This is a good one to follow though because Colorado is motivated to win bowl eligibility and is just zany and inconsistent enough to pull this one off.
In past years, rivalry games between California (5-5) and Stanford (4-6) were usually well-attended. This year, things might be different. The Bears and Cardinal are playing for the yawn-inspiring right to be the least of two failures from early season coaches polls. This may be a game that no one watches and, based on futility, neither team actually wins. But, because it’s on the schedule, we are projecting California as the least-likely to lose (27-24).
UCLA (4-6) beat its cross town rival USC (7-4) last year by seven points. The upstart Bruins won’t repeat that accomplishment because USC coach Clay Helton has finally found his quarterback. Yes, just like before, it took him much too long but once he found freshman Kedon Slovis, the Trojan performance lines have been climbing steadily. Ordinarily, we would suggest that with Slovis being a bit sloppy with the ball, UCLA would have a chance, but UCLA is the ninth worst team in FBS for nabbing errant throws.
USC is favored 35-23.
Oregon State and Washington State are both 5-5, have played above expectations for the past month, and need to win this week to keep their bowl hopes alive.
Much of Oregon State’s rise has come from growing defensive pressure and an offense that is the best in the nation for not turning over the ball.
Oregon State had two receivers injured last Saturday and both remain on the questionable list. WSU comes in at full strength and is a 38-28 favorite.
Last week, our system was 45-10 in predicting games and stands at 77% accuracy after predicting 708 games over the full season.
To see all 64 of our predictions this week with comments for most games, click here.