The week’s five best (?) picks: Keeping it simple

The beauty of point spreads being accepted by the mainstream (everyone chuckled a bit when ESPN's David Pollack made a sly reference to the spread when Utah pulled off a backdoor cover against USC on Thursday night) is that information is easy to find and consume.

Beyond the Bets is a great blog that looks at various gambling topics. provides good information, especially on its various podcasts. The Big Lead enjoys discussing gambling and making picks. I've enjoyed the On The Line podcast this year with Adam Kramer of the Kegs 'n Eggs blog, Drew Collins from, Bud Elliott from SB Nation and Vegas bookmaker Todd Fuhrman, who also provides a lot of insight on Twitter. There are dozens of good sources on the topic on Twitter. There are countless gambling columns and podcasts dedicated to picking college football games.

And sometimes, taking in all that information does no good.

Yes, as my supportive commenters have pointed out, last week was another losing week. And it would have been worse if not for an all-time lucky cover with Texas.

Sometimes, the best attempts at figuring out a team's psyche or whether it'll be weary because it has played so many games in so many weeks makes you lose sight of just going with your gut and picking what seems right. We'll keep it simple this week, and see if that helps.

Again, you shouldn't be blindly following any random sportswriter for picks, and if you were thinking about it, just look at the record at the bottom of the page:

Northwestern (+3) over Penn State: Northwestern is a better team, and getting a field goal. See how easy this is?

West Virginia (+7) over Texas: A few things in play here. I jumped on the Geno Smith bandwagon early to find a good seat, and I'm not planning on giving it up. Texas' secondary is very suspect. West Virginia's defense is a bit scary, but I can't imagine its offense won't keep the Mountaineers in the game. If nothing else, the backdoor cover should be available.

Michigan (-3) over Purdue: I think Purdue is getting a little too much respect here, for wins against Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Michigan and Marshall. Michigan was off last week, and the bye week will help the Wolverines regroup a little. The Wolverines are the more talented team.

Notre Dame (-14) over Miami (Fla.): Notre Dame will offer a lot more defensive resistance than N.C. State gave Miami last week, and the Hurricanes' defense will give up some points. And the temperature should slip below 50 degrees and maybe below 40 by the end of the game, which starts at 6:30 p.m. Central time, which won't help Miami (I totally stole that weather angle from the On The Line podcast I referenced earlier, so there goes just going with my gut on these picks).

Ohio State (-3) over Nebraska: Ohio State looks like it might be the best team in the Big Ten, and games like these are like bowl games to the Buckeyes, who are ineligible for a real bowl game. UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley had a big day against Nebraska a few weeks ago, and Braxton Miller can do the same.

Last week: 2-3

Season: 5-9-1

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