After last week, this college football season doesn't seem like it will come to a normal, sane conclusion.
Even if you liked Texas A&M getting almost two touchdowns last week (and especially if you liked Alabama in a blowout), you didn't see the Aggies winning outright, did you?
It feels like that wasn't the last major upset of the season.
Kansas State is a 13-point favorite this week, Oregon is favored by 20.5 points and Notre Dame is a 24-point favorite. That seems too orderly.
For all the teeth gnashing on the BCS, by some miracle there's usually a clear top two teams by the end of the season. Maybe all three of the top teams will get to the finish line undefeated, but it seems like we're in for more surprises. Will it be this week?
Here's the week's top picks:
Wake Forest (+24) over Notre Dame: There's a few reasons Wake Forest can keep it closer than this huge number. The Demon Deacons aren't good, but at 5-5 they're at least somewhat capable. And if we've learned nothing else about the Irish, it's that they usually play low-scoring games.
Notre Dame, which has covered the spread just once in its last five games, has scored more than 30 points in a game just twice. They've scored more than 21 points just four times. Wake Forest won't score many points, but it might not take much to stay within 24. And this is a major look-ahead spot for Notre Dame, which plays at USC next week.
Stanford (+20.5) over Oregon: Oregon's injury situation is pretty scary. When you're moving offensive players to defense to stay afloat, that's not a good sign. Still, Oregon has covered five games in a row, and last week was a warning about how scary it can be to go against Oregon. The Ducks struggled against Cal and still covered a 28-point spread by two touchdowns. But, that also means the oddsmakers are going to keep making the Oregon lines higher and higher.
The defensive injuries and Stanford's ability - the Cardinal is 13th in the BCS standings - make this line seem pretty high. An upset seems unlikely, but a close game doesn't.
Kansas State (-13) over Baylor: Kansas State just keeps winning, and covering the spread too. If Baylor, which is ranked dead last in FBS in total defense, can keep this game within two touchdowns, so be it. Bill Snyder's team seems to fully understand what's on the table for them and have been reliable.
So it really doesn't seem like any of the three top teams will lose outright this week, but surprises happen all the time. And a couple of the games might be a little closer than anticipated.
Ohio State (+2.5) over Wisconsin: What's the Badgers' motivation in this game? They're in the Big Ten Championship Game, win or lose. And while Wisconsin did what it had to do against Indiana last week, we don't figure Wisconsin will be able to roll up 564 yards rushing like it did last week. Curt Phillips threw for 41 yards last week. He'll need to make plays against the Buckeyes, who have a little better defense than the Hoosiers.
Meanwhile, the Buckeyes have plenty of motivation (two games from an undefeated season, the only real goal it could reach this season), is the better team and getting points.
Vanderbilt (-3) over Tennessee: Motivation is huge this time of year, and Vanderbilt has plenty. The Commodores haven't forgotten Derek Dooley's comments about how Tennessee always dominates Vanderbilt, and this will always be a huge game for the Commodores. The Volunteers, who have really shown no signs of being a good team this season, blew a game against Missouri last week, and a faint hope at getting bowl eligible can only go so far. If Tennessee falls behind early, the Vols might fold up the tent. And don't expect Vanderbilt to have much pity.
Last week: 1-3-1
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