Hlastradamus has been places, seen things, and eaten a bad clam or two over the last several centuries.
He may have had a bad clam before making last week’s picks against the spread. He was 2-3. The difference between a winning week and his unfortunate experience was Iowa taking a knee on its last offensive play against North Texas instead of ramming the ball into end zone for a backdoor cover.
Penn State’s James Franklin would have done it. Last week, he called a timeout with 11 seconds and his team leading Georgia State 56-0 to ice the Georgia State kicker who was about to attempt a field goal that would deprive poor Penn State of a shutout it so desperately needed to feel good about itself.
Or maybe it was like he said, it was a timeout because his guys were lined up wrong.
Hlastradamus feels older than his hundreds of years when he hears that stuff.
At any rate, here are five winners for this week:
Iowa +13 vs. Penn State
The reasoning is simple. That’s a lot of points for a seemingly competent Big Ten team to be getting on its home field, against anyone.
These are college kids, not machines. OK, Alabama uses machines. But Alabama is different. Its former U.S. Senator who is now U.S. Attorney General is named Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. You wouldn’t have been given that name if you were born in Pittsburgh or Cedar Rapids.
But Hlastradamus digresses. He says those who ignore history are doomed to fail History class. Iowa has covered the spread the last four times it was a double-digit underdog, and covered each of those games by at least seven points.
The Kinnick Stadium environment, the fact it’s Penn State’s first road game and first game against an opponent of repute, the fact Iowa’s players have a tart taste in their mouths from their debacle in Happy Valley 10 months ago — it all adds up to making 13 points hard for the Nittany Lions to cover.
Hard, not impossible. But hard is hard.
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Michigan -10 at Purdue
Purdue is off to a wonderful 2-1 start. It played Louisville to the end in Week 1, and routed Missouri on the road last week.
Michigan has just kind of gone about its business the last two weeks against Cincinnati and Air Force, winning without wowing anyone and tripping over the 20-yeard line virtually every time it has gotten in the red zone.
But the Boilermakers will find out what Michigan’s team saw for itself when it toured Italy in April. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Michigan State +3.5 vs. Notre Dame
The Irish were 4-8 last season. The Spartans were 3-9. One of MSU’s wins was at Notre Dame.
Hlastradamus is incensed he was even asked to consider a game with two teams that were so underachieving a year ago. The seer is taking the home team and the points, and will try to immediately forget this matter was ever brought to his attention.
LSU -21 vs. Syracuse
Last week, LSU lost by 30 points at Mississippi State while Syracuse won at home against Central Michigan, 41-17.
Good luck connecting those dots to make this a competitive game.
Nebraska -12 vs. Rutgers
C’mon. Sure, the bottom feels like it’s fallen out at Nebraska and everything. But c’mon. You’re at home. You’re playing Rutgers. You’re Nebraska.
OK, the “You’re Nebraska” line may not mean as much as once did. So focus on the “You’re at home. You’re playing Rutgers.”