Here are my picks from DirecTV’s college football schedule on Saturday, November 22, 2008.
West Virginia Mountaineers @ Louisville Cardinals (+7): The Cardinals have lost 3 straight games, including a disturbing loss to the Syracuse Orange. But the played well most recently against Cincinnati, and this game is at home where they have played solid football historically. But really, why I’m taking the Cardinals, is because this is the Big East and I don’t think the Cards have a chance. That’s right. Since this is the Big East, you always go exactly opposite of what you expect to happen. Nothing would surprise me in this game.
Army (+19) @ Rugters: Army has played better of late and though Rutgers has reeled off 4 straight wins against respectable competition (except Syracuse), I expect this game to be close. Army has played solid defense down the stretch, and come close to some solid teams, losing by just 3 at Buffalo and losing by 9 to Air Force. I’ll take the Knights.
North Carolina State @ North Carolina (-10.5): The Tar Heels are very good at home, and the Wolfpack isn’t good on the road. I know this is an instate game, but I don’t see it being close. I’ll take the Heels.
Clemson @ Virginia (+3): Clemson is still getting their preseason Top 10 lines and Virginia isn’t getting any respect for their turnaround. I know they’ve lost each of their last two games, but I have a feeling the Cavs come back and beat a Clemson team that has disappointed all season long.
Tennessee @ Vanderbilt (-3): It’s true, the Commodores usually lose at home to good conference teams, but Tennessee isn’t that anymore. With the Vols having gained Bowl eligibility last week, I think they’ll play with a renewed sense of confidence. They got over the hump and don’t have that one thing to worry about anymore. Vandy should stomp the Vols.
Florida Atlantic @ Arkansas State (-4): Arkansas State runs an efficient offense without many mistakes. For that, I like them over Florida Atlantic. The Indians have lost three straight while FAU has won 4 straight, but this is the game that turns the streak around.
Stanford @ California (-9): Cal usually isn’t good toward the end of the season, but I can’t imagine them playing poorly at home against the Cardinal. They’ve lost two straight, but @ USC and @ Oregon State aren’t really games they should have won anyway, and both were closer than the final score. I expect the Bears to continue their undefeated home play, while the Cardinal continue to struggle on the road.
Boston College @ Wake Forest (-2): I have to follow my rule here, take any unranked team favored over a ranked opponent. This is borderline because BC is ranked 25th, but the Demon Deacons have played really well at home (aside from a loss to Navy) and should right the Boston College ship. Ha. That’s right, the Eagles have been playing above themselves the last few weeks – that won’t continue at Wake.
Louisiana Tech (-6) @ New Mexico State: Louisiana Tech is just that much better than New Mexico State… The Aggies haven’t been good at home, and L-Tech hasn’t been terrible on the road. This is the only play here.
Idaho (+23.5) @ Hawaii: I hate betting on Idaho, but they are the play that makes sense here. This isn’t June Jones’ Hawaii team here, these Rainbow Warriors haven’t won a single game by 20 points or more. That’s an auto play on the Vandals in this one – as bad as they are.