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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Would a prophet who was unreachable to mortals even with a fishing pole on the top rung of a stepladder, pander to them?
First, answer this: Why anyone would take a fishing pole to the top of a stepladder.
Look, there’s a sea of sucking up out there for you to navigate. You don’t come here because you want to be told your favorite team is wonderful and noble while everyone else is making deals with the devil. You want to know who’s going to cover the spread.
Hlastradamus (31-23 against the spread) respects you for that. Life is about being practical, and winning your wagers is far more practical than losing them. Let’s proceed.
Michigan -11 vs. Iowa
Yeah, big number. Yeah, the Hawkeyes can trade physicality with the Wolverines, something Ohio State couldn’t do a week ago. Yeah, Iowa’s offensive line has been markedly better in its last four games than it was in its first eight.
But tell Hlastradamus how the Hawkeyes keep Michigan’s defensive line from establishing citizenship in Iowa’s backfield. Tell the seer how Iowa stops Hassan Haskins, Blake Corum and the Wolverines from getting close to the 225 rushing yards per game they get. Tell the Mighty Mr. H how Iowa knocks Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara off-kilter when the Wolverines have allowed less than one sack per game.
Iowa scored 7 points against Purdue, 7 against Wisconsin. It had one offensive touchdown against Nebraska. Yes, the Hawkeyes made offensive growth in November. But not the kind it needs to ward off the best defense the Hawkeyes have seen.
Hlastradamus doesn’t expect a blowout. But he does see a methodical Michigan win that won’t be particularly memorable.
Oklahoma State -5.5 vs. Baylor
Tough call. Two really good teams.
But when one of the two still has a shot at the College Football Playoff and has already beaten the other by 24-14, go with that team. Which is the Pokes.
Houston +10.5 vs. Cincinnati
When one of the two teams needs a win to go to the College Football Playoff but has not beaten the other, and the other has an 11-game winning streak, don’t give 10.5 points.
Both these teams are headed to the Big 12. Oklahoma and Texas, two teams with zero-game winning streaks, are on their way out of the league to become cannon fodder in the SEC.
Hlastradamus says that’s kind of beautiful.
Pittsburgh -3 vs. Wake Forest (no pick)
This ACC title game will be played at the same time as Iowa-Michigan, so the prophet has no interest in it and refuses to pretend otherwise.
Alabama +6.5 vs. Georgia
A dominant Georgia victory would be too good, booting Bama out of the playoffs and cleansing the palates of the rest of us.
That’s why it won’t happen. Centuries of experience taught Hlastradamus that we can have nice things, but only up to a limit. After that, it’s the usual diet of crushing failure, pain, and purposelessness.
Plus, Georgia hasn’t played a game closer than 17 points than its season-opener. How will it know how to react if the Tide stay close? The whole thing is fraught with peril. Watch at your own risk.
Oregon +2.5 vs. Utah Friday
Just two weeks ago, Utah beat the Ducks 38-7 in Salt Lake City. So how does this change so dramatically?
This game is in Las Vegas, not Utah. If you don’t know how things tend to be different in the two places, you don’t get out much.