Each week, former linesmaker Lenny Del Genio will provide a tip sheet on the weekend's best NFL and College Football matchups.
#5 Ohio State at #1 USC (-11.5), 8:00 ABC: This game has lost a bit of its intial sizzle due to the Wells injury. With no one disagreeing on what the SU result is going to be (Pete Carroll is 39-3 all-time at home), the only question now remaining is whether or not the Buckeyes can stay within the number. This line originally was going to be USC laying five. It jumped up to -7.5 after the Trojans blew out Virginia on the road and then moved a full field goal following OSU's lackluster showing vs. Ohio and the subsequent news about Wells. Jim Tressel's team has covered 8 of its last 10 on the road. However, their last three overall SU losses stick out like sore thumbs here. Two came in blowout fashion against SEC schools with the BCS Title hanging in the balance. The other came at home to Illinois, a team USC crushed 49-17 over a month later in the Rose Bowl. The Trojans have won the previous five meetings, but the last win came in 1990. I know I promised a selection on this game in a Primetime 3-Pack but I've backed off due to the Wells injury (I was thinking OSU + the points).
#2 Georgia (-7.5) at South Carolina, 3:30 CBS: This is a revenge spot for UGA, who lost at home, 16-12, in last year's meeting. It marked the 1st time the Bulldogs failed to score a TD against SC in six years. Georgia has won the last three meetings here in Columbia, but only by an average of single digits. South Carolina has had two extra days to prepare after losing outright as ten-point favorites to Vanderbilt last Thursday.
#10 Wisconsin (-2) at #21 Fresno State, 10:30 ESPN2: Arguably the biggest game in FSU history. These teams met twice earlier in the decade, both times in Camp Randall, and the Bulldogs actually won 32-20 in 2001. It was the program's only win against the Big Ten all-time. Wisconsin is 9-3 all-time vs. the WAC. FSU is 0-8 ATS coming off a non-conference game, while the Badgers have won seven straight road games in the regular season against non-conference competition. The Bulldogs opened as the favorite, but are now the underdog. Wisconsin is likely on upset alert here.
Michigan (-2) at Notre Dame, 3:30 NBC: Does anyone even care anymore? Twice in the last five meetings, Michigan has won 38-0, the widest margin of victory in series history. However, this series has been dominated by the underdog through the years. ND has not lost three straight to Michigan since 1908. The Irish had only 78 yards of total offense in last year's loss, an obvious season low.
Teams in Lookahead/Letdown Spots
#14 East Carolina: They are 2-0 SU/ATS having won a pair of games most thought they would lose. All the Pirates have heard all week is how they are going to be playing in a BCS bowl come January. They are 13-point road favorites this week at Tulane, a team that played Alabama pretty tough last week.
#15 Arizona State: They host #2 Georgia next week in a big non-conference game. Can't see the Sun Devils being too interested in covering more than a three-touchdown spread against UNLV this week.
Oakland at Kansas City: Road team has covered 15 of 19 in this series. Oakland is on a 5-1 pointspread run on the division road, but has won just one of those games outright.
Tennessee at Cincinnati: Titans won 17-10 last week, the Bengals lost 17-10 last week. Tennessee has covered 11 of 17 away from home and five of the last six meetings between the teams has seen the Under cash. Titans had seven sacks and held Jacksonville to 189 yards of offense last week. Cincinnati was outgained 358-154 by Baltimore last week. Bengals have not had a winning ATS season at home since 2003. Kerry Collins fills in for the injured and possibly insane Vince Young as Titans QB here. I
ndianapolis at Minnesota: Colts are 4-1 SU/ATS away vs. NFC teams and have covered 8 of 10 against non-conference opposition overall. However, they were smacked by the Bears last week. Six of last seven Vikings home games have gone Over. Minnesota is 20-10 ATS as a home dog (2-4 ATS L6). Loser here will be 0-2, something that neither envisioned before the season.
Green Bay at Detroit: Possible letdown for the Packers, who play on a short week after big win over Minnesota on MNF. Home team has covered 24 of 32 in the series, but GB has won last four overall. Detroit allowed 300+ yards rushing to Atlanta last week, but GB is likely without Ryan Grant here. Packers are 12-4 ATS on the road under McCarthy.
Chicago at Carolina: Panthers are just 2-8 SU/3-7 ATS L10 home games.
NY Giants at St. Louis: Super Bowl champs are on a 8-0 SU/ATS run away from home. Rams are 0-5 ATS L5 as a home dog.
New England at NY Jets: First time the Patriots have been an underdog since 2006 AFC Championship. The Jets are 0-7 ATS L7 times hosting New England.