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ROBERT FERRINGO

SATURDAY COLLEGE FOOTBALL SELECTIONS

1-Unit Play. Take #325 Illinois (-4.5) over Purdue (Noon, Saturday, Nov. 7)

Two bad teams in the Big Ten are getting together here. But I am going to side with the Fighting Illinis. The main thing about this play is the line movement. Around 60 percent of the betting action is coming down on the home team but the line has rocketed up from a ‘pick’ to 4.5. Further, I think that Illinois is a little better than their record suggests. They have lost three straight but played Iowa and Wisconsin very tough in those games. Purdue is coming off a fluke win over a bad Nebraska team. But they are not a good team at all and I expect them to come back to earth this week. Illinois’ defense has been sneaky-good and Purdue’s quarterback can be baited into turnovers. That’s a bad mix for the home team.

1-Unit Play. Take #328 North Carolina (-7.5) over Duke (Noon, Saturday, Nov. 7)

Coaches love the saying, ?Don’t let a team beat you twice?. That means that they don’t want their players to let one loss linger for so long that it carries into the next game and causes a second defeat. Well, I think that Duke is going to let Miami beat them twice this week. The Blue Devils were screwed over so badly, and so clearly, last week in that last-second loss to the Hurricanes that I don’t see any way that it wouldn’t carry over into this week. As late as Wednesday the Blue Devils were still hoping the NCAA would come in and overturn the outcome and give Duke the win. That game dealt a blow to Duke’s ACC title hopes and now UNC can throw a knockout punch. The Heels have been red hot and they are finally starting to play up to their potential. They beat the Blue Devils 45-20 last season and I think it will be more of the same this time around. The dirty secret about Duke is that they have routinely played one of the softest, weakest schedules in the country the past few years. They aren’t nearly as good as their recent track record suggests. I think they are overmatched here and I think that UNC’s No. 3 rated pass defense will be able to slow down Duke’s offense. The Blue Devils don’t have a single impressive win on their card this year. Maybe a win over Georgia Tech. And their garbage OT win at Virginia Tech. But those are two teams that may not even go bowling. I think the home team will go nuts

2-Unit Play. Take #332 West Virginia (-8) over Texas Tech (Noon, Saturday, Nov. 7)

WVU has burned me time and time again this season. Yet as poorly as they’ve played they are still favored in this spot. It doesn’t make a ton of sense. But then again neither does the fact that nearly 80 percent of the public is on Texas Tech in this one and the line is going the other way. That’s a heavy reverse line movement and tells me which is the sharp side. The Red Raiders are coming off a pair of really emotional games (both of which they lost) against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Now they have to travel east for what will be a 10 a.m. body clock start for them. I don’t think they’ll be ready to play. Dana Holgersen needs some wins if he wants to keep his job. And he has a team that isn’t as bad as its record suggests. Look who the Mountaineers have played during their recent 0-4 SU and ATS slide: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor and TCU. That’s a murderer’s row right there. Maybe WVU’s confidence is irreparably damaged. But the fact is that I know WVU is the better team, they have a legit home field advantage, and they have the indicator with the reverse line movement. That makes this a worth spot.

1-Unit Play. Take #333 Kentucky (+14.5) over Georgia (Noon, Saturday, Nov. 7)

Bulldog Nation is completely up in arms right now. They have the pitchforks out and they are after Mark Richt’s head. It is getting nasty in Athens and I don’t know that the Bulldogs are in the right frame of mind right now to go out and ring up a 20-plus-point blowout over a scrappy Kentucky team. The Wildcats have lost three straight games. But they’ve only been outgained by about 200 yards total in that stretch. Kentucky has revenge for ugly blowout losses to the Bulldogs the past two seasons. (And for that reason I’m not sure how seriously Georgia is taking the Wildcats this week.) But prior to these past two seasons the Wildcats hadn’t lost to the SEC East rivals by more than two touchdowns since 2005. The average margin of victory in those other seven games was just 7.6 points per game. Georgia doesn’t have a quarterback, they lost their star running back, their hopes of winning the East are essentially shot, the coach is about to be run off the grounds, and they are generally a mess. Kentucky isn’t any good. But I think they are good enough to keep from getting blown out by this rickety Georgia team.

5-Unit Play. Take #347 Cincinnati (+8) over Houston (3:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7)

Note: This play is from the KING System.

Can perpetually underrated Cincinnati be the team that finally slows down Houston? Why not? Cincinnati’s only league losses have come against Memphis and Temple. They completely and totally outplayed Temple (outgained them by 261 yards) and did the same to Memphis (outgained by 182 yards, and had to play without their starting quarterback who was injured). Houston’s been on a wild ride. But take a look at their schedule! Things become a lot clearer as we get deeper into the season. They’ve beaten a bunch of just terrible, awful, horrible teams. Their one nice win was by three-points over a Louisville team that is struggling to make a bowl game. And they caught the Cardinals in a letdown spot after their Atlanta opener against Auburn. Beyond that Houston hasn’t beaten a single good team. Cincinnati hasn’t beaten a good team. But they’ve played good teams. And they’ve played them tough. I think this is too many points to lay out and I definitely think that the Bearcats are capable of taking down Houston outright, especially with the Cougars possibly looking ahead to their monster matchup with fellow undefeated AAC foe Memphis. This is a good spot for the underdog.

2-Unit Play. Take #338 Indiana (+7) over Iowa (3:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7)

I will take a stab at the underdog in this one. Indiana is still very motivated as it tries to make it to a rare bowl game. They are also looking forward to a chance to play spoiler here to Iowa’s Playoff dreams. Indiana’s defense is pathetic. But they can score points in bunches and I think they can put some pressure on the Hawkeyes. Indiana played Michigan State essentially even for 55 minutes last week; it was 28-26 entering the fourth quarter and 31-26 with five minutes to play before Michigan State scored three touchdowns in the last five minutes to make that game look like a blowout. The Hoosiers also put a scare into Ohio State in Bloomington earlier this year. It is kind of just a matter of time before they pull an upset on someone. Indiana has had two weeks to prepare for this game also and they should be ready to roll. The Hawkeyes have played one of the most candy ass schedules in the country. Their two best wins were over Wisconsin and Northwestern, and neither of those teams is anything more than mediocre. Iowa is not a bad team. But I just don’t know that they are as good as their ranking. I’ve seen Indiana tangle with Top 10 teams this year and play them tight. I think they can do the same here and the Hawkeyes should be on upset alert.

2-Unit Play. Take #357 N.C. State (-4) over Boston College (12:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7)

It was a disappointing effort by N.C. State last week. But I think they will bounce back quickly. These are two struggling teams. But State has the big advantages on offense and in terms of experience. Boston College is very tough defensively. But they are worn out. They have had to try to carry this offense all season long and they are beaten up. N.C. State is a much better team and I had this number at 7.5. I’ll take another shot with the Wolfpack and hopefully, for one week, they can avoid burning me.

1-Unit Play. Take #372 Tulsa (-17) over Central Florida (Noon, Saturday, Nov. 7)

At this point there is no reason NOT to bet against Central Florida. They have gone completely off the rails, similar to what we saw from SMU last year. They are not even competitive right now. The coaches are worrying about where they will be working and living next year and the players are wondering more about their futures than about this game. And now they have to travel out to the middle of nowhere in Oklahoma for a 10 a.m. local start. Major problems there.

2-Unit Play. Take #380 Tennessee (-17) over South Carolina (4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7)

South Carolina played one of its best games of the season last week in Texas A&M. They still lost, of course, but they looked sharp out of their bye week and gave it a go. Unfortunately, they have to play back-to-back road games and I don’t think that they will be nearly as good this week in Knoxville. Tennessee has won the last two meetings and is 7-2 ATS in the last nine in this series. And those were much better Gamecocks teams facing much worse Volunteer groups. This is the same USC team that got waxed at Georgia (by 32) and at Missouri (by 14) against two weak opponents. Tennessee is much better than its record suggests, having given away games to Top 15 teams Florida and Oklahoma. If the Vols were 6-2 right now with those two wins in their pockets this spread would probably be much higher. This is South Carolina’s last road game of the year and I think that they are ready to pack it in, with their focus squarely on big final month home games against Florida and Clemson. This one is an afterthought and I think Tennessee wins big.

1-Unit Play. Take #384 Oklahoma State (+5.5) over TCU (3:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7)

I just think that Stillwater is a tough place for opponents to stroll in and get a win. I think that Oklahoma State is every bit as talented as the Horned Frogs and I think that this one is going to be one of those whoever-has-the-ball-last-wins games. Oklahoma State beat TCU here in 2013 and 2012 and they have revenge for an ugly 42-9 loss at TCU last season. Both teams have taken care of business on their way to 8-0 records. But I just think that Oklahoma State is primed for an upset. TCU hasn’t covered spreads at Minnesota, Texas Tech and Kansas State this year. And it was my opinion that the Horned Frogs were every so slightly overrated coming into the season while the Cowboys were underrated. I think Ok. State is going to beat either TCU or Baylor this year. If they are home underdogs in both games I’ll gladly play them in both games.

2-Unit Play. Take #389 Navy (+8) over Memphis (7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7)

Note: This play is from the KING System.

Memphis just continues to wreck people. But you just never, ever want to find yourself needing to beat a triple-option team as a big favorite. Navy is always a tough underdog and I think that they can give the Tigers a game in this one. Memphis can score. But Navy can move the ball on the ground and try to keep that Memphis attack off the field. The only team that’s beaten Navy is Notre Dame. No shame there. If we ignore Memphis’ big win over Ole Miss – and they had a bunch of situational advantages in that one – then we see a team that beat Bowling Green by just three, beat Cincinnati (playing a backup QB) by just seven, and beat South Florida by just seven. If those teams can play with the Tigers then I think Navy can as well. This team is used to coming through in this underdog role and they won’t be rattled by being on the road here. Further, I think that Memphis could be looking ahead to next week’s showdown with Houston and maybe looking past the Middies here. Either way, I’ll take the points.

2-Unit Play. Take #393 North Texas (+30) over Louisiana Tech (3:30 p.m.)

Louisiana Tech hasn’t beaten an FBS team by more than 30 points all year. Yet the public is pouring money on the Bulldogs in this one, with 73 percent of the action coming down on Tech. North Texas stinks. But they are coming off a win and have been playing a little better the last month. They only lost by 17 points at Marshall and by 27 at Western Kentucky. Throw in a couple other two-touchdown losses from earlier in the season and North Texas has only been bombed a couple times. They are 3-0 ATS after starting the year 0-5 ATS. The books have caught up with how bad North Texas is and gotten out in front of it. La. Tech has gone 2-0 ATS in their last two games and the public is all over them. Of course the books are going to shade this line and it is probably about six points higher than it should be.

1-Unit Play. Take #395 LSU (+6.5) over Alabama (8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7)

Note: This play is from the KING System.

Well, this is a system play. It fits the criteria so we’re going to roll with it. There’s generally no upside betting against Alabama. There just isn’t. But I also don’t think that there’s any doubt that, in a vacuum, the better team is getting the points in this one. And because these two teams both play such similar run-the-ball-and-play-defense styles there is always the chance that this is a game LSU loses but covers in. Six of the last nine meetings have been decided by a touchdown or less. I know a TD difference doesn’t work for us. But the fact is that these two generally play extremely close games where one or two plays will make the difference. I’ll take a shot here with the puppy.

2-Unit Play. Take #401 California (+4.5) over Oregon (10:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7)

I was driving the Cal bandwagon coming into this season. I’ve cashed on them early and often over the last two years. But I had to jump off the bandwagon as everyone else in the country caught on to how talented and experienced this team is. And that was smart, as this team has gone just 1-3 ATS in its last four games and has dumped three straight outright. However, look who Cal has played: at Utah, at UCLA and then USC. That’s brutal. But if you dig a little deeper you see they had great opportunities to beat both Utah and USC and if this team was 7-1 right now instead of 5-3 this spread would look a whole lot different. Oregon has won back-to-back games. That has some people thinking they are ?back?. But this Ducks team has home losses to Utah and Washington State already. They kind of fluked their way to that win against Arizona State last week and I will take another shot against them here. Over 70 percent of the betting in this game is coming down on Oregon but the spread is dropping. That is another reverse line movement and it tells me that Cal bandwagon has a few empty seats after all.

2-Unit Play. Take #406 Pittsburgh (+9) over Notre Dame (Noon, Saturday, Nov. 7)

Pittsburgh is a really scrappy team and they are a solid home underdog here. These two teams play really similar styles. And there is no way in hell that this tough, rugged bunch of Pitt kids is going to be the least bit intimidated by the Irish. In fact, this is still a Super Bowl Game for most college kids and the Panthers will relish a shot to knock off Notre Dame. The underdog is a perfect 9-0 ATS in the last nine meetings and Pitt won outright back in 2013. The Panthers are 4-0 ATS against the Irish since 2010 and the average margin in their last six meetings is just 4.5 points per game. Pitt’s only losses were at Iowa and against North Carolina and both came by less than a touchdown. Notre Dame has wins over Virginia, Georgia Tech and Temple by less than a touchdown. I think that this one is a four-point game and even if the Panthers can’t pull the outright upset I think they have enough gumption to make the points stick.

2-Unit Play. Take #414 Texas A&M (-7) over Auburn (7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7)

Note: This play is from the KING System.

Auburn played probably its best game of the season last week against Ole Miss?and still lost and didn’t cover the spread! A&M beat a much better Auburn team as a 23-point underdog last year and I think they will do the same this season. Auburn’s only wins the past two months have come against Jacksonville State (in overtime), San Jose State and at Kentucky. A&M beat Arkansas and Mississippi State and they played Alabama tough. The Aggies are on an 0-3 ATS slide but I think that has helped to water down this number. Auburn’s defense can’t stop anyone and they could have their hands full with freshman Kyler Murray. Murray got the start for the Aggies last week and posted over 300 yards of total offense, including 156 on the ground. I think he can carve up Auburn again this week and I think A&M’s depth and overall talent will lead them to a solid 12-point win here.

1-Unit Play. Take #363 Connecticut (-6) over Tulane (4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7)

1-Unit Play. Take #408 Middle Tennessee State (-3) over Marshall (3:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7)