NORTH CAROLINA over Georgia Tech by 6

Despite a monumental effort in last week’s 50-43 loss to Notre Dame in South Bend, USA Today Sports has still picked North Carolina as 2014’s biggest disappointment: “After tabbing UNC as a potential ACC and major bowl contender – again – perhaps we’ve all learned our lesson.” Okay, we’ll admit the Tar Heels have failed to git ‘er done under HC Larry Fedora but if anyone’s going to be down in the dumps at Chapel Hill today, our vote goes to the Bumble Bees. Thanks to three huge turnovers in their loss to Duke (Tech had turned the ball over just four times in their fi rst fi ve games), the Jackets are an offi cial ‘Bubble Burster’ (5-0 or greater perfect season ruined in a straight-up favorite loss) and we’re not going to try an revive them. Meanwhile, the 2-4 Tar Heels fi nd themselves in an eerily similar situation to last year when they posted five consecutive SU wins after a 1-5 start to qualify for the Belk Bowl. Fedora owns a stylish 5-1 ATS mark versus a foe off a SU favorite loss and his Heels have gone 4-0 ATS of late as home dogs versus an .800 or better opponent. No doubt the visitors will get their yards as Paul Johnson’s spread-option offense should move the ball against a UNC ‘D’ allowing 192 rushing YPG but with the Wreck now 1-4 ATS in the first of back-to-back road games – plus 2-7 ATS after dealing with Duke – we’ll look for Carolina to fully awaken from its season-long slumber and take a big step toward becoming bowl eligible. Whether the spread is pick, plus or even minus, we’re sticking with the Tar Heels.

ARIZONA STATE over Stanford by 10

The Sun Devils had an extra week to bask in the glory of Jaelen Strong’s Hail Mary grab which gave ASU a last-second victory over USC, but more importantly, the off week gave QB Taylor Kelly an extra seven days to rehab his foot injury, and the senior is slated to make his 34th career start against the Cardinal. The Devils will be looking for some serious revenge as well, having dropped four straight games to Stanford, including two last season: a 42-28 defeat at the Farm (where they outgained David Shaw’s team) and a 38-14 beating in the Pac-12 championship game. The staunch Cardinal stop unit sits only behind top-ranked Louisville in overall defense, giving up just 238 YPG, and leads the nation in points allowed (10 PPG). They have, however, struggled in the red zone on offense, converting just 19 of 28 scoring visits into points (ranked 118th in the nation). We still think highly of the Cardinal, but Stanford’s 1-4 mark as favorites away from The Farm is another deciding factor. Plus Marc’s ‘ALL REVVED UP’ Betcha Didn’t Know article from the Best of the Black Book is at work here, making the Pitchforks the side today. Finally, The Clincher: ASU head coach Todd Graham is 8-0 ATS as a home dog of less than 20 points versus opponents that own at least one loss on the season.

NORTHWESTERN over Nebraska by 10

What’s that sound? Was it a snap or a crackle? No, it was a big-time pop, as in Nebraska’s perfect season coming apart in its last game in East Lansing. Credit the Huskers with clawing their way back from a 27-3 4th quarter defi cit to fall to Michigan State by only 5 points, but a loss is a loss and it puts Nebraska smack in the middle of another ‘bubble burst’ situation here. Surprisingly, this has been one of the most tightly-contested series in the entire country with Northwestern shocking Big Red by 3 points in 2011, then coming up short by just 1-point in 2012 and 3-points last year. Nebraska got the benefit of a bye week after losing to Sparty and you can bet Bo Pelini worked on ways to jump-start a vaunted ground attack that was limited to an incredible 47 yards rushing by the stout Spartan defense. The Wildcats could easily be on a 4-game win streak but
they lost at Minnesota last Saturday – even though they out-yarded the Gophers, 393-274. Northwestern has also covered three straight in the series and gets the job done when looking to exact a little Big 10 revenge, posting a 7-2 ATS mark. Not so with Nebraska who stands 1-6 ATS with rest when playing off a SU loss and 1-5 ATS as chalk versus a revenging conference foe. If you still think the purple cats are in over their heads, pay particular attention to The Clincher: our well-oiled machine reports that Game Seven 3-3 home teams off one-loss exact who were dogs in their last game are 17-4 ATS when facing an opponent off a SU loss.

Notre Dame over Florida State by 3

As the late John Lennon sang, “Instant Karma’s gonna get you, gonna knock you off your feet.” Well, it hasn’t exactly been instant but don’t you get the feeling that the unsavory saga of Jameis Winston and Florida State football is about ready to implode? We can’t think of a better way for Winston and the Noles to get their comeuppance than by losing to the collegiate version of the Dallas Cowboys (America’s Team) – Notre Dame. The last time Brian Kelly and his Irish took part in a showdown of this magnitude, they were unceremoniously destroyed by a superior Alabama squad in the 2012 BCS National Championship game. Rest assured that Kelly will be better prepared this time around, a notion fully supported by our mean machine: defending national champions are 10-17-2 ATS since 1980 as favorites of less than 14 points in matchups of two undefeated teams, including 1-5 ATS if the champs are allowing over 14 PPG on the season. Florida State enters with a shaky 5-13 ATS log as a home favorite of 10 or less points, including 0-5 SUATS if the Seminoles own an .800 or greater win percentage on the season. Worse, FSU’s compliance department is currently investigating why 950 Jameis Winston autographs have appeared with the same company linked to suspended Georgia RB Todd Gurley. Can you say‘distraction’? With QB Everett Golson back in the saddle for Notre Dame, the Irish have scored 30 or more points in five of six games this year, a nice complement to their 17.2 PPG defense. Coach Kelly ships in with a smokin’ 10-1 ATS log as a dog when playing off a spread loss of 9 or more points. That’s puts a spear right to the heart for Seminole nation, all of which leads to The Clincher: Irish QB Golson is 18-0 SU during the regular seaason in his career as a starter with Notre Dame.


Kansas City over San Diego by 6

The Chiefs take the field looking to get back on the winning track off their Bye Week with double-double-revenge on their minds from a pair of losses suffered to the Chargers both last season and in 2012. The good news is Andy Reid is 5-1 ATS in his NFL career in games in which his teams are seeking quadruple revenge. And speaking of Reid, he also happens to be the answer to this week’s TRIVIA TEASER on page 2. The high voltage Chargers enter the contest 0-4 ATS home in games after scoring 30 or more points in each of their last three games. In addition, the Bolts are just 1-11 ATS in their fourth home game of the campaign when facing a foe off a non-division game, and 1-8 ATS in Game Seven when facing an avenging division opponent. The Featherheads’ 5-1 ATS mark as a dog in their fourth away game of the season cements it. However,
if that’s not enough, there is always The Clincher: Head coach Andy Reid is 16-2 SU and 13-5 ATS in games when his teams are playing with rest, including 7-0 SUATS with a .500 or less record on the season.