Slowly but surely, The Skinny is making his move in hopes of winning his first-ever chocotini. Homerism, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be putting up much of a fight.
WEEK EIGHT--The Skinny
(Last Week: 4-2; Overall: 21-20-1)
After a slow start, The Skinny now has a winning record at midseason! I like my position going into the second half on a nice roll.
Advice of the Week: Did anyone not see this coming?
Wisconsin at Iowa (-5.5)
In case I haven't made it clear, I really like the Hawkeyes this year. I know I'm not exactly going out on a limb here, as Iowa is a consensus top 10 team, but I really like Iowa against the spread.
Time well tell if I am right, but Iowa's combination of defense, experienced quarterback play, coaching and a pretty decent run game make for a good bet. After watching the Michigan game last weekend, it's clear the Hawkeyes' lack of playmakers on offense is their one glaring weakness. Defense doesn't win championships without a little firepower on offense.
I guess I was impressed with Wisconsin against Ohio State, but Wisky won't be in Mad Town this weekend. The Badgers will be battling the big game hangover effect.
The Skinny says: I think 5.5 points is lot for this game, but I love this matchup for Iowa.
South Florida at Cincinnati (-7.5)
Much like Iowa, I'm going to continue to roll with the Bearcats while they are hot. With D.J. Woods, Isaiah Pead and Zach Collaros, Cincy has arguably the most dynamic offense in the lowly Big East.
The trio will be put to the test this weekend against South Florida's 17th ranked defense. That stat might be a little misleading considering it has come against the likes of Stony Brook, Florida Atlantic and Western Kentucky. I'm not sold on any defense that gave up 38 points to Florida. Plus, the Bulls are coming off pair of tough losses to Syracuse and at West Virginia last weekend.
Skin says: The Bearcats roll.
Texas A&M (-13.5) at Kansas
The 2010 Kansas Jayhawks are one of the worst teams in the history of the Big 12. They rank right up there with the worst teams Baylor put out in the 2000s.
You can generally count on a team playing at its best in a rivalry game, but KU was completely uninspired last week against KSU. The Jayhawks played with less intensity than a regular season NBA game in February.
This hasn't been the start to the 2010 season Aggie fans had hoped for, either. On paper, A&M has one of the most prolific offenses in the country, and defensively the Aggies have been much better than most expected. But, the Aggies fell short after jumping out to a big lead in Stillwater and nearly pulled off the upset over a good Arkansas team. Last weekend, the Aggies looked totally unprepared for Mizzou.
Something just isn't adding up for A&M in Mike Sherman's third season. I think the poor play of QB Jerrod Johnson has a lot to do with the Aggies' struggles. Johnson wasn't simply off target last weekend. He was on another page. He repeatedly threw errant passes to receivers clearly running different routes.
A date with Kansas might be just the thing A&M needs to gain some confidence, but I still think Sherman's days are numbered. When are school's going to learn their lesson about hiring pro coaches?
Skinny says: If KU can't get up to play their in-state rival at home, it definitely will not be fired up for this game. A&M wins big!
Lee Greenwood Special: Notre Dame (-6.5) at Navy
*East Rutherford, NJ
This is without a doubt the toughest week for the LGS this season.
Navy is taking on the Fightin' Irish at the New Meadowlands Stadium. While the Irish have been very underwhelming this season, they are clearly the more talented team. But, Navy's style of play can be a great equalizer against superior talent.
Meanwhile, we have Air Force getting 19 points at TCU. That is a ton of points for any team facing Air Force, but it's tough to predict how TCU will play in its first real test since week one. Are the Horned Frogs ripe to get knocked down a notch, or are they up for this game, knowing this is one of their few chances to prove themselves this season? My guess is the latter, but there is just too much uncertainty for me.
Skinny says: I guess I will take the Irish and parlay it with the over.
UGA (-4) at Kentucky
Last week, the Wildcats were everyone's upset pick against a South Carolina team coming off huge win against Alabama. This week, the tables have turned, and Kentucky is the team due for a letdown after upsetting USC last weekend.
A few weeks ago, I thought UGA's season was done after losing to lowly Colorado. But, the Bulldogs have played well lately with the return of A.J. Green and the maturation of freshman QB Aaron Murray. Georgia's much-maligned defense has really turned things around this season, allowing less than 300 yards per game.
The Skin says: I like the UGA giving the points to a Kentucky team ripe for an off day.
Texas Tech (-2.5) at Colorado
Something doesn't add up in this game.
I know computer rankings have taken a lot of criticism lately, but Jeff Sagarin's numbers are generally well regarded in the handicapping world. If we're supposed that Sagarin's numbers are a decent proxy for where a line "should" be, Colorado would be favored by 3 at a neutral site and by 6.5 at home against Tech.
Yet, Tech is not only favored in this game, but the public seems to be behind the Red Raiders as well. The line opened at TTU -1.5 and is now up to -2.5 or -3 at most books. Wagerline.com shows 75% of the action on Tech.
I don't know that I agree with Sagarin's numbers, but I do think this is a pretty even matchup. Tech has yet to beat a decent team this season, and losses to Iowa State and at home to Oklahoma State really make me question the Red Raiders.
Colorado, on the other hand beat, Hawaii and Georgia in Boulder. I think this is a great spot to "fade" the public's pick with a home dog.
The Skinny says: I think CU wins outright.
WEEK EIGHT--Blatant Homerism
(Last Week: 3-3; Overall: 22-20)
The Skin Man is nipping at my heels, but he's going to have to pry that delightful Godiva chocolate-flavored libation from my cold, broke hands before this is over.
Time to get back to basics. Go with what I know. Stick to my knitting. Butter my bread. Blow my own horn.
Homerism needs a spark in the worst way.
(Note: I'm going to have a pick on the Oklahoma-Missouri game later.)
Hawaii at Utah State (+3.5)
Just how much I really "know" about USU is definitely up for debate, given that the Aggies have befuddled me since they nearly knocked off my Sooners in the opening week of the season. However, I've watched Utah St. play a full game this year, so it counts. (Work with me here.)
Honestly, this isn't much more than a situational play for me. The Rainbows got an upset win on the Big Island last week against longtime WAC rival Nevada, so they're primed for a letdown. Meanwhile, USU has been laying in the weeds, prepping for Hawaii's high-octane offense for two weeks.
Homerism says: The Aggies do a little dance all over the "Warriors."
South Carolina at Vanderbilt (+12)
OK, here's something I know: I love a double-digit home underdog in a conference game.
I also know that I love home 'dogs coming off of road losses.
I also know that Vandy almost beat South Carolina in Columbia last year.
What I don't know: Will the Gamecocks be flat or fired up after a deflating loss to Kentucky last week?
Homerism says: The "knows" outnumber the "don't knows," three to one. I like the Commodores.
LGS: Air Force (+19) at TCU
I sought out a little knowledge on this week's LGS pick from my man Mike Hook, Pregame.com handicapper, on his podcast earlier this week, and he delivered. Mike strongly advised Homerism to roll with the Falcons.
Obviously, this scares me a wee bit. TCU very well may be the best team in the country. The Horned Frogs have been blowing the doors off of teams.
However, Troy Calhoun's teams typically live for games like this. Last year, the cadets almost upset Texas Christian, holding Andy Dalton and Co. to just 17 points. As Oklahoma found out, the Falcons defend the pass well and they won't make the kinds of mistakes that Gary Patterson's defense usually feasts on.
Homerism says: All the fine looking ladies at Amon Carter Stadium won't distract the disciplined cadets, who'll put a scare into TCU.
Kansas State at Baylor (-6.5)
A Big 12 game is right in my wheelhouse
Baylor doesnt give a touchdown too often, so this line immediately caught my eye.
The Bears are 5-2 on the year. Six wins gets a bowl birth for the first time for Baylor in like 80 years. Do the math.
After this week, Art Briles has trips to Oklahoma State and Texas to go along with home dates against Texas A&M and Oklahoma. He knows the Bears need this one.
Also, Nebraska showed what kinds of problems mobile quarterbacks can give KSU's D, so look for Robert Griffin III to have a huge day.
Homerism says: Bears by 10.
Nebraska (-6) at Oklahoma State
Yet another Big 12 matchup.
Obviously, the big concern here is where the Cornhuskers' heads are at following that deflating loss last weekend to Texas.
NU still has plenty left to play for this year. After coming so close to a conference championship in 2009, there's nothing Big Red would like more than to leave the Big 12 with a title.
I know my doubt in OSU's defense burned me last week, but I still don't see the Cowboys being able to handle Nebraska's physical running game. Offensively, the 'Husker D has the horses to slow down Brandon Weeden and the rest of Boone Pickens'... er, Mike Gundy's... er, Dana Holgorsen's offense.
Homerism says: Nebraska, 31-24.