Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Syracuse had a difficult start this
season, losing its first two games to Penn State and Northwestern. Since then,
the Orange are 4-2 and looking to go over .500 for the first time in 2013.
This week's opponent is Maryland, a team that has dropped three of its last
four games after beginning the season 4-0. The Terrapins' lone victory since
Sept. 21 came by a single point at home to a Virginia squad that has won just
two games this season.
The Terps come in well rested, having not played since Oct. 26, but that
shouldn't make a difference as they are 1-5 straight up and 0-6 against
the spread the last six games off a bye. In addition, they are just 8-19 ATS
as home favorites (4-11 in conference games) since 2004.
I am somewhat surprised they are favored by six points over Syracuse,
especially because they have done nothing to prove worthy of being such a
favorite against a team that is above them in the conference standings.
Moreover, the program has not won a game in the month of November since 2010.
The Terps' record this year has been helped by a very easy schedule. In fact,
the five victories have come against teams that are a combined 5-27 against
FBS competition. The 1-3 league mark has shown the many warts this team has,
particularly on defense as opposing teams averaged 41 points per game in
As for Syracuse, Scott Shafer has his club playing solid ball. The Orange shut
out Wake Forest, 13-0, last Saturday for their second league win over the last
three games. They are extremely adept at running the ball (35th nationally in
rushing) while Maryland has allowed over 700 yards and four yards per carry in
its last four games.
Meanwhile, Syracuse, with its experienced secondary, should hold down the
Terps' passing game as the Orange have limited opposing quarterbacks to fewer
than five yards per attempt and a 45 percent completion percentage the last
Take Syracuse plus six points in the first of two five-star plays.
Despite a pair of losses, Arizona State has been one of the better teams in
the country this season. The Sun Devils have scored 50 points or more in their
last four conference games while winning by an average score of 56-25.
Utah has lost four of its last six games, including a pair of home contests
against Oregon State and UCLA. It is true the final score in both games were
close, but the Beavers and Bruins are not in the same league as the Sun Devils.
Arizona State has won nine in a row over Utah with the last two coming in 2011
and 2012. Two years ago, a 6-7 Sun Devils squad won by 21 in Salt Lake City
and last season ASU won by 30.
Utah comes in off a bye and the Utes have not won in that situation since
joining the conference. In addition, it's not as if Arizona State comes in off
a tough contest. The Sun Devils breezed by Washington State on Halloween night,
so they should be well-rested for Saturday.
Take Arizona State minus seven points.
BYU takes on Wisconsin in matchup of two 6-2 teams. Both of these clubs are
similar to Arizona State in that they are playing much better than their
The Cougars have won five consecutive games, including a pair of road contests
at Utah State and Houston. In addition, not many teams take down Boise State
in a manner which BYU did two weeks ago as Taysom Hill continued his
exceptional play with 339 yards through the air and three touchdowns.
Wisconsin, a team that has yet to lose a game against the spread this season,
has five wins versus FBS competition but the combined record of those teams is
14-29. In fact, Iowa is the only club the Badgers have beaten with a winning
BYU is 7-0 ATS in its last seven games as a road underdog. Look for that mark
to be 8-0 after Saturday.
Take BYU plus 7.5 points.
Fresno State needs just three more victories to finish the regular season
undefeated. The first step is to beat Wyoming in Laramie. The Bulldogs won
last year's meeting, 42-14, a game in which Wyoming came into Fresno fresh off
a disputed home loss to Air Force.
Expect different results this time around as the Cowboys' offense is much-
improved. Furthermore, Wyoming had a week off after the firing of its
All the pressure is on Fresno State in this contest, so look for the home team
to keep it closer than the line indicates.
Take Wyoming plus 9.5 points.
Arizona and UCLA hook up in a key Pac-12 battle. Both are 3-2 in league play,
one game behind Arizona State.
The Wildcats have won their last three games after a pair of road losses to
Washington and USC. They are 9-2 in their last 11 FBS home games and that
doesn't count their 36-point win over UCLA two years ago. In fact, Arizona is
4-0 both SU and ATS the last four home meetings against the Bruins.
UCLA has struggled of late, losing to both Stanford and Oregon, and then
failing to cover at home against Colorado. Furthermore, leading rusher Jordon
James is expected to miss the game due to injury.
Take Arizona minus one point.
Boston College takes on New Mexico State fresh off its upset victory over
Virginia Tech. The Eagles erupted for 34 points, but they still amassed just
289 total yards. Four Virginia Tech turnovers certainly helped their cause.
New Mexico State comes in with just one victory this season, a five-point win
over Abilene Christian. The Aggies have not defeated an FBS school since
knocking off Fresno State Nov. 12, 2011.
Still, they gave Louisiana a scare last Saturday, losing by two touchdowns
after leading into the fourth quarter. Quarterback Andrew McDonald threw for
over 300 yards and three touchdowns, while wide receiver Austin Franklin has
been a beast the last two weeks, catching 24 balls for over 250 yards. Look for
them to exploit an Eagles' secondary that is allowing opposing quarterbacks to
complete over 65 percent of their passes.
Boston College has covered just two of its last 13 games as a road favorite.
The Aggies will make it two for 14.
Take New Mexico State plus 24 points.
Go with Army +6.5 (Western Ky), Cincinnati -9 (SMU) and Wake Forest +35
Take Virginia Tech +7 at Miami (Fla.).
THIS YEAR'S RECORD
After 10 weeks, my record stands at 67-60-3 following a 7-7 week. The lone
five-star play won, so that overall record stands at 11-6 overall. The
three-star selections went 2-1 for a 12-13-1 total. The two-star choices
finished 2-2 for a 28-22 overall mark and the one-star plays went 2-4 for a
THIS WEEK'S JEFF FRANK "DIRTY DOZEN"
1) Oregon, 111; 2) Alabama, 110.5; 3) Florida State, 108.5; 4) Baylor, 104.5;
5-T) Ohio State and Arizona State, 103; 7) Wisconsin, 100.5; 8) LSU, 99.5; 9)
Clemson, 99; 10-T) Stanford, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State, 98
(The Dirty Dozen is not a reflection of a given team's won-loss record. It is
based on power ratings used to predict spreads for the upcoming week. At the
beginning of the season, all FBS teams are assigned a power number, which
changes on a week-to-week basis depending on the results of the previous
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