Not particularly enamored with this week's slate of games, but in 2020 everyone is happy just to have football.
The Locksmith has been spinning his wheels recently with a couple of 3-3 weeks but the overall record -- 41-24-1 -- remains good enough to be profitable.
Due to get back to a winning week. So here goes:
Penn State over MICHIGAN, taking 1
Have four worse Big Ten QBs ever been assembled on one field? Hard to imagine. Nittany Lions, despite shoddy defense (36 ppg allowed), being turnover-prone and allowing 20 sacks so far, have actually played some solid stretches of football. Michigan needed triple OT last week to beat a Rutgers team that has lost 25 of its past 26 Big Ten games. Enough said.
Maryland over INDIANA, taking 12
Expecting a bit of a post-Ohio State letdown from the Hoosiers, who have been terrific offensively thanks to QB Michael Penix Jr. Terps have been forced to cancel their past two games due to COVID-19 but had shown signs of turning things around before that thanks to Taulia Tagovailoa, who has solidified the QB position for them.
Northwestern over MICHIGAN STATE, giving 13
One constant that is usually immune to letdowns: Good defense. The 5-0 Wildcats have plenty of that. They don’t score much, which makes laying double digits a bit of a concern, but Michigan State has looked like a dysfunctional football team against Rutgers, Iowa and Indiana. One inspired win over a bad Michigan team doesn’t negate that. Spartans’ QB situation is a mess.
BUFFALO over Kent State, giving 7½
This seems like a big spread to give to the nation’s No. 1 offense (616 yards per game, almost 53 points per game) but the Golden Flashes are susceptible to the run and the MAC’s best RB happens to be Buffalo’s Jaret Patterson. This has been a quick rise for Kent. The Bulls are more accustomed to this and can handle the big-game trappings. They need to keep QB Dustin Crum in check.
North Carolina State over SYRACUSE, giving 14½
As bad as the Orange has been this year, it looked as if Dino Babers’ 1-8 team finally decided to pack it in for the season in last week’s 30-0 loss to Louisville. That game film should be in the dictionary next to the word “inept.” Five of the Orange’s eight losses so far have been by larger margins than this spread. N.C. State has overcome the loss of QB Devin Leary to be 6-3, and the Wolfpack’s defense has shown renewed life recently.
BOISE STATE over San Jose State, giving 11
At 4-0, Spartans have emerged as the Mountain West’s biggest surprise. But this is big-boy football now, and no MWC team has the offensive weapons that the Broncos have, especially with QB Hank Bachmeier back and healthy again. When all is said and done – even with Nevada also unbeaten – don’t be surprised if Boise rules the league again. Spartans will struggle to keep pace on the blue carpet.
LAST WEEK VS. SPREAD: 3-3
SEASON TO DATE VS. SPREAD: 41-24-1
Home team in CAPS