Against The Spread

Rick Bozich (left) and Eric Crawford pick seven college football games against the spread every weekend.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — For rivalry week, not much of a rivalry remains.

I gained a game on Eric Crawford last week picking college football games against the spread, finally winning more selections than I lost.

With seven rivalry games Saturday and a string of conference championship games next week, there’s still an opportunity for me to pull even with Mr. Crawford.

But both of us are trending to finish the season with a considerably worse record than Ruby, my Labrador retriever, who picks games by letting a coin fall off her nose. Heads for home team. Tails for road team.

Don’t laugh. Her system has worked better than 57% of the time. Just as I feared that it would.

1. Louisville at Kentucky (-3), Saturday, noon; SEC Network, Kroger Field, Lexington, KY

Welcome to the Governor’s Cup rivalry, Scott Satterfield. It’s his first game against the Wildcats. Kentucky coach Mark Stoops is 2-4 against the Cardinals, winning in 2016 and 2018 … the Wildcats rank 12th in the nation in rushing offense, averaging more than 252 yards per game, while Louisville ranks 87th in rushing defense, allowing 183 … the Cards have a Top 30 offense, which has put at least 325 yards on every opponent except Clemson, while UK has a Top 25 defense that has not allowed more than 305 yards in the Wildcats’ past six games … the Cards enjoyed eight touchdowns by seven different players in their last win over Syracuse … Louisville is 7-4 against the spread, while UK is 7-3-1.

Eric: Kentucky 35, Louisville 31

Rick: Kentucky 28, Louisville 24

Ruby (coin flip): Kentucky

Kentucky running back Asim Rose

Kentucky running back Asim Rose (10) runs with the ball during the first half of an NCAA college football game against UT Martin, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

2. Indiana at Purdue (+7), Saturday, noon, ESPN2, Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN

For the first time in five seasons, the Old Oaken Bucket will be contested without bowl eligibility on the line for either team … Purdue coach Jeff Brohm has defeated Tom Allen and Indiana in both meetings … despite dealing with substantial injuries, the Hoosiers (first) and Boilermakers (second) have the top two passing attacks in the Big Ten and are the league’s only two teams throwing for more than 300 yards per game … Purdue has transitioned to third-string quarterback Aidan O’Connell, a walk-on who has completed better than 65% of his throws … IU will go with Peyton Ramsey, who is expected to have his favorite receiver, Whop Philyor, who missed the Michigan game … Indiana might be without halfback Stevie Scott III, who has run for 845 yards and 10 touchdowns … IU is 7-4 against the line, as are the Boilermakers.

Eric: Indiana 31, Purdue 28

Rick: Purdue 28, Indiana 24

Ruby (coin flip): Indiana

Indiana football 2

Michigan was too strong and physical for Indiana Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington. WDRB Photo/Aaron Matas

3. Middle Tennessee at WKU (+8 1/2), Saturday, 2 p.m.,ESPN-plus, Houchens Stadium, Bowling Green, KY

The surging Hilltoppers are trying to complete a formidable turnaround from 3-9 to 8-4 while defeating an MTSU team they lost to last season, 29-10 … the teams have played 68 times since 1914, and MTSU holds a slight edge in a series that is 35-32-1, although WKU has won three of the past four … WKU has allowed only 60 points in the second half of its past 10 games while forcing three-and-outs on more than 35% of opponent possessions … MTSU is 5-6 against the spread, while WKU is an impressive 8-3.

Eric: WKU 28, MTSU 14

Rick: WKU 35, MTSU 24

Ruby (coin flip): MTSU

Western Kentucky quarterback Ty Storey

Western Kentucky quarterback Ty Storey (4) makes a pass against Southern Mississippi during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. (Cam Bonelli/Hattiesburg American via AP)

4. Virginia Tech at Virginia (+3), Saturday, noon, ABC (WHAS), Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA

This game will decide the Coastal Division title in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and the winner will be matched against Clemson in the ACC title game next week … after losing their first two ACC games to Boston College and Duke, the Hokies have won five straight in league play for the first time since 2012 … ranked 24th, Tech joined Clemson as the only ACC teams ranked in the College Football Playoff poll … remarkably, Tech has won 15 straight against the Cavaliers, including an overtime victory last season … the Hokies are 6-5 against the line, covering in their last five games. Virginia is 5-5-1.

Eric: Virginia 24, Virginia Tech 17

Rick: Virginia Tech 27, Virginia 21

Ruby (coin flip): Virginia Tech

Louisville running back Javian Hawkins (10) is brought down by Virginia linebacker Charles Snowden

Louisville running back Javian Hawkins (10) is brought down by Virginia linebacker Charles Snowden (11) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Louisville, Ky., Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

5. Wisconsin at Minnesota (+2 1/2), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ABC (WHAS), TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN

The Gophers will try to win the Big Ten West for the first time in school history by beating the Badgers in consecutive seasons … ESPN’s College GameDay will also make its first appearance in the Twin Cities, where the No. 8 Gophers are home underdogs even though they are ranked four spots ahead of Wisconsin in the CFP poll … after playing one of the softest schedules in the nation for two months, this will be Minnesota’s third game against a ranked opponent in four weeks … although Wisconsin halfback Jonathan Taylor has 22 touchdowns and ranks second nationally in rushing, he’s likely to be the runner-up to LSU quarterback Joe Burrow in Heisman Trophy balloting.

Eric: Minnesota 21, Wisconsin 20

Rick: Minnesota 24, Wisconsin 21

Ruby (coin flip): Minnesota

Tyler Johnson Minnesota 11-9-19 AP.jpeg

Minnesota wide receiver Tyler Johnson (6) holds onto the ball against Penn State cornerback Keaton Ellis (2) during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

6. Alabama at Auburn (+3 1/2), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., CBS (WLKY), Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL

Alabama needs to win this game and then hope that LSU defeats Georgia in the Southeastern Conference title game so the Crimson Tide can move from fifth to fourth in the final CFP poll … reserve quarterback Mac Jones was solid in his first start while replacing the injured Tua Tagavailoa, completing 10 of 12 passes for 375 yards and three touchdowns against Western Carolina last week … Alabama has won four of the past five, but Auburn beat the Crimson Tide at Auburn two years ago … Alabama is 6-5 against the spread, while the Tigers are 8-3.

Eric: Alabama 31, Auburn 24

Rick: Alabama 27, Auburn 17

Ruby (coin flip): Auburn

Jerry Jeudy
Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (4) scores on a pass reception against Arkansas during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Arkansas defensive back Joe Foucha (7) and Arkansas defensive back Kamren Curl (2) trail on the play. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

7. Ohio State at Michigan (+9), Saturday, noon, Fox (WDRB), Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI

After dismal performances against Army, Wisconsin and Illinois, Michigan has been dominant over its past four games, defeating Notre Dame, Maryland, Michigan State and Indiana by an average of 30.3 … unbeaten Ohio State moved past LSU into the top spot in the CFP poll … although the Buckeyes have a winning margin of nearly 39 points over the season, Ohio State only beat lowly Rutgers by 35 and Penn State by 11 in its past two games … Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has failed to defeat the Buckeyes, who have won seven straight and 15 of 18 in the series … according to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, Ohio State’s 58.1 conversion rate on third down is the best of any FBS program in the past 10 seasons … Michigan is 7-4 against the spread but has covered in five straight games. Ohio State is 8-3 against the number but failed to cover in its past two games.

Eric: Ohio State 35, Michigan 24

Rick: Ohio State 28, Michigan 21

Ruby (coin flip): Ohio State

Ohio State Football 11-23-19 AP.jpeg

Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins, right, drags Penn State linebacker Ellis Brooks into the end zone for a score during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Last week:

  • Eric: 3-4
  • Rick: 4-3
  • Ruby 4-3

Season Totals

  • Eric: 43-46-2 (.484)
  • Rick: 39-50-2 (.440)
  • Ruby: 43-32-2 (.571)

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