Once again, here’s a look at the games this week that are catching my eye. As always, I want to be clear that these are picked out because they have interesting storylines, not because I suggest that they are good bets, or that I am making a pick. When I am looking at games I definitely differentiate between the games that I am interested in betting and the ones I am interesting in exploring further. These games fit into the latter, and they are just fun to think about. Put another way – some games I only watch because I bet on them. These are the games I would watch whether I had any action or not.
Kentucky (+15.5) at Alabama – There is a strong sentiment out there that Alabama should be at number one. They humiliated Georgia last week, and they have looked absolutely flawless so far this year. As things go along it will continue to be interesting to see if they are as good as they look, or if they might falter at some point. Kentucky shouldn’t really be a strong test for them, but then this is a team that isn’t supposed to be undefeated at this point. Just ignore the fact that they have played a ridiculously soft schedule.
Texas Tech (-7) at Kansas State – The Red Raiders have been mostly deadly efficient, but they haven’t faced any hardcore tests at this point. Kansas State is hardly Alabama, or even Kansas, but they are a real team, and they can rise up and surprise teams from time to time. It will be very interesting to see if Texas Tech is up to the test, and what Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree can do now that a few more people will be paying attention to them nationally.
Auburn (-3.5) at Vanderbilt – I’ve been very disappointed by Auburn. They weren’t great against LSU, and they have played two of the dullest games of the year against Tennessee and Mississippi State. Vanderbilt, on the other hand, has been surprisingly good. This is the best team that they have played, and this will be a good test to see just how good they are. They will have the boost of their home field fans, and that sure helped them against South Carolina.
Connecticut (-7.5) at North Carolina – This isn’t the first time I have said this – I love what Butch Davis is doing at North Carolina. He has that program going in the right direction, and in a hurry. UConn is ahead of schedule, too, and that’s also due to solid coaching. UConn is only barely ranked, but any win over a ranked team counts, so UNC will be playing their best. This one should be fun to watch. If nothing else, we can pretend that it’s a basketball game – this would be a classic.
Oregon (+16) at USC – The Trojans have a whole lot of redemption that they need to find. Oregon just needs to find a quarterback. Both of these teams have issues, but both will be very hungry to prove themselves and make something of a season that could get away from them.
Ohio State (-1) at Wisconsin – Before the season this game was circled as a showdown for Big Ten supremacy. Now each team has had a humiliating loss, and Penn State may very well be the best team in the conference. Both of these teams need to make a serious statement here to salvage some dignity and self-respect heading into the rest of their schedule. It will be very interesting to see which team s up to the challenge, if they both can focus when it matters here unlike they have done in the past, and whether Pryor and Wells will be contained or if they will erupt.
Missouri (-10) at Nebraska – I was more excited about this one before Nebraska went out and had a frustrating loss to Virginia Tech last week. Still, Missouri is as exciting as any team in the country when they have the ball, and Nebraska has a lot to prove under their new regime. The Husker fans will be fired up, and Bo Pelini will pull out all sorts of tricks for his biggest game as a coach. This one could be fun. It could also be a total shootout, and that would be fun too.