Diner Football Picks, Week 8

Going into last week’s games, The Diner was 23-35-2 against the point spread and coming off a two-week winning streak. The streak helped ease the sting of 4 straight losing weeks…and last week we went 4-5-1. Not too shabby, but still a lot of ground to make up over the last few weeks of the season if we want to get to the respectable .500 mark. Here’s trying to make some hay this week:

Auburn (+7.5) at L.S.U.: You’ll hear a lot this week about how close these games always are and how something crazy (fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, coach gambles that pay off, etc.) usually happens. Well, no matter how you slice it, we’ve learned that Auburn’s offense has been figured out…which leaves their talented/thin defense on the hook and they have trouble stopping others in the 4th quarter. L.S.U. has a power running game that can wear down a defense and their defense has enough athletes to stifle Auburn’s offense. Even if Jefferson is very average, Ben Tate won’t be enough. This line started at 11 for a reason. L.S.U. at home, too. Diner Prediction: L.S.U. 28, Auburn 13.

Tennessee (+14.5) at Alabama: Sure. Tennessee throttled the Dawgs in Knoxville. But lots of teams seem to be putting a lot of points on Georgia these days. Lane Kiffin added fuel to an already heated rivalry by asking Alabama to let UT wear orange in Tuscaloosa, knowing they wouldn’t let them, and making Alabama look petty by saying no. Sure, Bama has had a little trouble on offense, but Mark Ingram, a sophomore, has been touted as an early Heisman leader. He’s the real deal, and while Tennessee can certainly play defense, they won’t have enough offense to stay in the game. I think Bama might just blow them out. Diner Prediction: Alabama 31, Tennessee 9.

Texas at Missouri (+13): Texas has been hard to figure out. Colt McCoy hasn’t played like everybody thought he would and the running game isn’t the strength it should be. They play very good defense…so the question is whether or not the Horns will start slow and pull away at the end like they have all season, or will they start peaking at the right time now that OU is out of the way. My guess is that it’ll be more of the former due to an OU hangover. Diner Prediction: Texas 24, Missouri 13.

Texas A&M (+21.5) at Texas Tech: Something is seriously wrong with A&M. They gave up 62 to Kansas State. No, not in a basketball game. A football game. Texas Tech has shown that their system is pretty much plug-and-play in that you can put any of their quarterbacks in it and they’ll rack up yards and points. Expect that this weekend in Lubbock. Texas Tech 55, Texas A&M 27.

Penn State at Michigan (+4.5): The Big House ain’t what it used to be, but Michigan seems to be slowly turning the corner and buying into Rich Rodriguez and his spread offense. Penn State seems to have been forgotten on the national stage as of late, but they’re still a pretty good football team. This one will come down to coaching, and that’s where Paterno has a slight edge…but Green won’t play and the Lions would win bigger if he were. It should be a great football game, maybe coming down to the last drive. Diner Prediction: Penn State 24, Michigan 20.

Iowa at Michigan State (even): Let me get this straight: Iowa is 7-0. Michigan State has started finding ways to win after losing 3 close games in a row, all triggered by upsetting rival Michigan in OT. So, a 3 loss team is even against an unbeaten team? Somebody in Vegas knows something, and I think the Spartans are starting to peak at the right time. I’ll take the home team. Diner Prediction: Michigan State 26, Iowa 20.

T.C.U. at Brigham Young (+2.5). That’s right. ESPN’s GameDay is in Provo for the Mountain West tilt. It seems like each and every year the Horned Frogs start getting mentioned as a BCS buster they lose a close game…like last year in Utah they went to the wire against a team that manhandled an Alabama team in the Sugar Bowl. Something tells me Patterson learned some lessons from that and will have his team fired up to play in something other than the Fort Worth Bowl. The BYU win over OU doesn’t look nearly as good as it did when it happened, either. Diner Prediction: T.C.U. 17, Brigham Young 13.

Arkansas (+6.5) at Ole Miss: Ole Miss is on the downturn. A lot like Auburn, the Rebels started out with high hopes but Jevon Snead has been a disappointment. While the Rebels play very physical football and will try to pound away at the Hogs, somebody might want to take note that Arkansas has discovered how to play defense. Their offense will score points, and I don’t think I’ll need the 6.5 I’m getting. I think the Hogs win outright. Diner Prediction: Arkansas 27, Ole Miss 23.

Boston College (+7.5) at Notre Dame. Which B.C. team shows up? The one that beat F.S.U. in the 4th quarter or the one that laid down against Virginia Tech on the road? Which Notre Dame team shows up? The one that took U.S.C. to the wire or the one that struggles against weaker teams? For some reason, Notre Dame plays to wherever their competition happens to be. But, I think the B.C. team is really the one that played against Virginia Tech, and I think Notre Dame and Jimmy Clausen are ready for a breakout game against a rival. Diner Prediction: Notre Dame 31, Boston College 21.

Oklahoma at Kansas (+7.5). OU is now playing for pride and the hopes of a Florida bowl game on New Year’s Day. Effectively out of the race for the Big 12 south, out of the national championship for sure, starting Heisman quarterback out for the season and maybe for good, things don’t look happy in Norman. The funny thing is, that even when things are that bad for OU, they’re still better than pretty much anybody in the Big 12 North. Diner Prediction: Oklahoma 27, Kansas 17.

There you have it, patrons. What do you think?