Courtesy of Bobby Smith
CEO, Sports Reporter
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25
UCLA over *COLORADO by 18
It should be a fine day to be UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, who has had his problems holding onto the ball too long vs. stronger defensive fronts. They say that it's tough to win two straight on the road, and UCLA is coming off a barn-burning shootout win at Cal, but here is Colorado head coach Mike McIntyre on repeated defensive breakdowns: ?That's what happens when you play good athletes with good speed.' The Bruins have an opportunity to clean up a mess from last week, when Hundley and his buds committed three turnovers that led to short-drive touchdowns for Cal. UCLA, 45-27.
*NEBRASKA over RUTGERS by 21
Playing highly ranked Ohio State and Nebraska back-to-back on the road would seem like kind of a sick joke played on the Rutgers team, except that Rutgers signed on for it when they agreed to join the Big Ten. Their d-line got tromped for 324 rushing yards by the Buckeyes on 40 carries. Nebraska will run it another 45 to 50 times against them for what figures to be at least 6 yards per pop, and it's only a matter of time before the Jersey Boys cry 'No mas!' after their quarterbacks toss a few picks during a futile comeback try. NEBRASKA, 41-20.
ALABAMA over *TENNESSEE by 21
You're Tennessee. You came off a bye week primed to take advantage of Ole Miss coming off big wins vs. Alabama and Texas A&M. Your defense played as good as it can play and your team still lost by 31 points, which was very predictable because Sports Reporter predicted you would lose by 31 points. And now, you come home to play Alabama, which finally put it all together beating Texas A&M 59-0 and is sitting on the "playoff bubble" of a long season with 1 loss, waiting for the Ole Miss and Miss State regressions and determined to peak later in the season, which is now. ALABAMA, 31-10.
*MICHIGAN STATE over MICHIGAN by 20
Too much offense on highly ranked Michigan State, not enough offense on unranked Michigan. Sure, it's 3-4 SU Michigan's chance to regain some respect in a troubled season, and they're coming off a bye week during which Brady Hoke and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier can cook up incredible plays that catch Sparty napping... or not. It would appear that Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is very confident that his boys are up to this task. If he wasn't, he would have beaten Indiana 24-17 instead of 52-14. He wanted Michigan to see what's going to kill them. MICHIGAN STATE, 37-17.
*STANFORD over OREGON STATE by 24
It looks like Oregon State is in the middle of one of those seasons where they realize they aren't very good, but they have their four little wins against lousy foes in the bank and they're studying the schedule to see where they might get two more wins to become bowl-eligible then quit playing until the Oregon game at the end. That's the Pac 12 player's "alternate dream," and an Oregon State trademark. When you take a sub-par rushing attack and a sub-par passing attack into Stanford's place, your offense will probably come out of it with a sub-par performance. Stanford's defense is allowing only 254 yards per game this season, less than 4 yards per play. Oregon State gained only 3.2 yards per play vs. USC and only 4.7 yards per play vs. Utah. Their offensive line couldn't make holes for a gnat to get through. STANFORD, 31-7.
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26
*KANSAS CITY over ST. LOUIS by 2
Both of these sides are off efforts in which they were able to take full advantage of sophisticated, extensive preparation. In their first half-dozen league games this year, the Chargers provided the NFL community a broad object lesson in offensive efficiency and game management, dropping only their Monday-night opener at Arizona in a game they were most-unlucky to lose. But they were running a little hot (having scored 95 points in three games), and perhaps were looking ahead to Thursday's date at Denver, and the Chiefs cashed in of their two weeks of prep. Now they go back to Arrowhead to deal with the Rams, who managed to make up for their broad lack of a deep passing game with two jaw-dropping kick returns and one of the prettiest closing-moments fake punts you'll ever see to hand the Seahawks their second consecutive loss. The magnitude of this achievement resonates when you realize that the Rams hadn't previously racked up more than a score (20 points) against the ?Hawks in any single meeting since 2006! Jeff Fisher knows what he's up against, and will reach deep into his bag of tricks. The head guy who has the knack of coaxing outmanned sides to hang tough against their betters can do it, one more time. KANSAS CITY, 21-19.
SEATTLE over *CAROLINA by 5
It's become increasingly evident that if you can manage to coax the Seahawks into a track meet, the 'Hawks can find themselves disadvantaged. Two straight losses for the defending champs, eh? Feels a little strange, but we're all old enough to recognize that the Super hangover is no big surprise. Percy Harvin's abrupt departure for Jet Land clearly left some sleepless in Seattle. The Panthers clearly have significant defensive health/capability issues, having allowed 174 points in their last five outings - largely traceable to the absence of DE Greg Hardy (15 sacks in '13), currently sidelined with domestic-violence issues. Seattle's had penalty problems on the road - ten accepted flags against the Rams, complete with an Earl Thomas whinefest about the zebras, and you remember the Monday-night laundry display at Washington - and this vaunted defense hasn't been able to turn anybody over on the road, all season. But the Seahawks are already two full games behind the Cardinals (yeah, them), and even if hangover-prone, it's tough to imagine Seattle dropping three straight against a defensively-deficient opponent. SEATTLE, 31-26.
*NY JETS over BUFFALO by 12
With RB C. J. Spiller out for the year with a broken collarbone endured against the Vikings, and with Fred Jackson also towed off (groin) at Ralph Wilson Stadium Sunday, the prevailing state of the Bills places a considerable burden upon the right arm of Kyle Orton. As the Lord taketh away, the Lord also giveth - as documented late last week, when the Jets picked up major offensive talent Percy Harvin from the Seahawks, who were willing to accept a medium-grade conditional draft pick for the speedy offensive force. Given the Jets are on the hook for ZERO guaranteed money following this season, it's hard to fault the deal from the New York perspective. It's difficult to conceive that Harvin's presence won't materially improve the effectiveness of the Jet attack unit, given his sheer athletic ability when relatively-healthy, despite the reality that both the Vikings and Seahawks have passed Harvin along. OC Marty Mornhinweg is not the most imaginative guy manning his position - you can argue MM's play selections cost the Jets the upset at Gillette, last Thursday night - but Gang Green's running game can do some damage against the Bills' front in its current state, if Mornhinweg calls the right shots at the right times. If there ever was an enticing time to embrace the prospect of actually laying points with Geno Smith, it's here. NY JETS, 24-12.
Bobby Smith is Editor of Sports Reporter and sportsreporter.com, and author
of "How to Beat the Pro Football Pointspread," currently the nation's #1 best-
selling sports betting book. Check that fact, and order it, at www.amazon.com.