Penn State is about a 29 point favorite over the Owls. Temple has played only one game, losing on a late field goal to Villanova. I expect this week to be more of the same old, same old, although there is a chance the staff might want to practice plays they intend to use against Iowa when they open Big Ten play to a primetime WhiteHouse.
There’s two ways of looking at it. Practice is nice–but is practicing against the likes of Temple really going to prepare you for the Hawkeye defense? The flip side is that you show Iowa something on film they can prepare for. I think we stay ultraconservative this week.
Looking around the nation:
Pitt’s a 9 point fav over the midshipmen of Navy. Navy played OSU almost to a tie. I’d be a little worried if I were a Pitt fan (a little worried and a lot demented.) Upset in the making? Could be.
Northwestern is a field Goal favorite over Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. The Orange almost pulled the upset over Minny but were never in the game against us. I think NW is somewhere in between and will win. The spread might be close on this one.
Iowa plays Arizona and is a 6 point home fav. Zona has a 19-6 win over Central Michigan (who just beat the Spartans) and a 34-17 win over Northern Arizona. Iowa had to block a FG (twice thanks to a penalty) to preserve a win over Northern Iowa, but then coasted to a 35-3 win over Iowa State. This will not be a cakewalk for the Hawkeyes, who might be caught looking ahead to opening conference play against us.
Utah (my #1 team in the blogpoll) has their first real test of the year @ Oregon. The Ducks are a 6 point favorite. If Utah loses, rest assured they will not be #1 next week. But if they win, by even a point on a questionable call–they will still be king of the poll hill.
Notre Dame is an 11 point home favorite against Sparty who tanked against Central Michigan last week. But Sparty is the kind of team that can’t play their way out of a paper bag one week and look like the toughest team in the nation the next. Let’s hope that’s the case this week.
Florida plays Tennessee. If you think PSU playing Akron and Syracuse is bad–you should take a look at the competition Florida has been feasting on: Charleston Southern and Troy. Sagarin ranks Florida 11th with a strength of schedule of 162. (PSU is 17th with a schedule ranked 116th.) But the Vols are coming off a 19-15 loss to UCLA and may not have the firepower to beat the Gators–they’re a 28 point dog in this match-up in the Swamp. Gators roll, but I hope Rocky Tops them.
Va Tech takes on Nebraska at home. The Huskers are 2.5 point dogs, but I think they will pull this one out. Beamer Ball, like Tressel Ball, just can’t win the big ones.
Speaking of Tressel Ball, the Buckeyes are 21 point favorites over Toledo. This is supposed to be a home game for Toledo, but I think I read where it will be played in Cleveland–so it’s basically a homer for the Bucks. Will there be an emotional letdown? Toledo has knocked off PSU and THEM in this decade, and added a struggling Colorado team to their list of BCS conference wins. I think the Buckeyes will win, but it may not be a walk in the park.
BYU plays F$U, who somehow managed to come from behind after three quarters to beat Jacksonville State. The Cougars are 7.5 point favorites at home. GO Cougars.
In case you are wondering, Texas faces off against Texas Tech and is a 17.5 point favorite. Can Tech find that magic again? You just never know.
Minnesota faces a difficult Cal team at home–13.5 point underdogs in their new stadium. I gotta root for the Big Ten on this one, but I don’t think they have a prayer since the Cuse took them to OT in week one.
Other close match-ups to watch: Georgia vs. Arkansas, Auburn vs. WVU, Orgeon State vs. Cincinnati, and Akron is a 4 point favorite over Indiana.