Recapping last weeks selections, unfortunately two of our top three games were Covid-cancelled as we ended up going 1-2 in the colleges.  Marshall surprised and put their stamp on claiming a top non-power 5 conference argument and the resulting major bowl game, along with big dollar payday that goes with it.  Middle Tennessee simply stunk up their home field versus Troy, and the only bright spot for us was a proud Navy program battling to the end to pick up the outright win getting a TD plus head start.  So this brings us to  7-4 in college preferred picks or  64%.  There were no honorable mention picks last week, so overall in the college we stand at 9-5 and the same 64%.

 
The NFL went 3-2 with two dominating wins by the  Rams and 49ers, along with the NY Giants one play from pulling the outright upset getting an almost TD head start from the Bears in our top NFL play of the week.  We could have gone 5-0 if not for Denver's starting QB Lock going out with a shoulder injury and the much more experienced Driscoll replacing him.  New England was one play away from inside the two yard line from winning, only to see Cam Newton stopped well short of the goal line.  The dreaded missed two point conversion by the Patriots on their preceding possession doomed us to a 1/2 point defeat... ugh!  This brings us to 6-4 against the Vegas number and although not 80 or 70%, a solid money making 60% still yet on the season to date.
 
now on with the show...
 
 
COLLEGE
 
Auburn - 8 1/2 vs Kentucky
 
We like the Wildcats here over the Tigers.  With 14 returning starters and starting QB coming back off an early season injury, look for Kentucky to compete for 60 minutes versus an Auburn team replacing their entire starting O-line.  Bo Nix at QB has regressed for Coach Gus Malzan after leading an electric opening win last year over Oregon.  Coach Stoops arguably has the better O-line and D-lines in this ball game!  War Damn Eagle?  Not this week as the Cats fight and take it to the wire.  Kentucky +8 1/2
 
Oklahoma State- 8 1/2 vs West Virginia
 
The highly ranked Cowboys were life and death last week against the Golden Hurricane before pulling away late.  With QB Spencer Sanders iffy here with a bad ankle, look for the Mountaineers to load up the box against Heisman contender Chubba Hubbard.  West Virginia held Hubbard in check last year in a seven point loss.  Big step up in competition going from Eastern Kentucky, but all the starters suspended for the opening game will be available here as of this writing.  We think the Eers have the athletes, along with the underrated Jarrett Doege at QB to compete in Stillwater and keep it closer than the experts think!  WVU + 8 1/2
 
Pitt -3 vs Louisville
 
The Panthers are favored only because they are playing at home here against the Cardinals.  The boys from Louisville have been much more impressive versus Western Kentucky and Miami respectively.  On the other hand, Pitt toasted FCS Austin Peay with shortened 3rd and 4th quarters.  Last week they were unimpressive against a struggling Syracuse Orange offense.  We like the Cards outright in an underdog role!  Louisville +3
 
Liberty -6 vs FIU
 
We were most impressed with the Flames outright upset at the Hilltopper's Bowling Green home stadium last week.  With a two-TD plus head start no less!  Their Auburn transfer QB, Malik Willis, looked outstanding as the final score did not indicate Liberty's dominance over Western Kentucky.  The Panthers have one of the least experienced teams in the country returning and also lost a NFL QB draftee.  We like coach Hugh Freeze and the red hot Flames to ICE the FIU Panthers this week.  Liberty -6
 
 
Virginia -6 vs Duke
 
So which Blue Devil team shows up this week?  The one who went toe-to-toe with mighty Notre Dame in South Bend, or the one who stunk up the home field last Saturday against the Boston  College Eagles committing 5 turnovers.  The Cavaliers return 14 starters but lose all-everything QB Bryce Perkins to graduation.  Coach Mendenhall has owned Coach Cutcliffe in the past four meetings, however, Duke has a 2 (GUB) game-under-belt advantage over the Wahoos who are just opening their season.  Not to mention, four of the five Duke turnovers last week were in the Eagle red zone.  Regression to the mean this week involving TO's and a 2-game GUB advantage have us leaning with the Fighting Cutcliff's in our lowest rated preferred college play.  Duke +6
 
This week we do have some HM's for those who like a lot of action
 
 
Honorable Mention...  South Florida +4, Syracuse +8 1/2, Cincinnati -12,  N C State +8, Vanderbilt +31, Iowa State -2, Kansas State +28 and Alabama -27
 
 
NFL
 
New England -6 vs Las Vegas
 
Coach Hoodie and the Patriots are 43-25 against the spread coming off a straight up loss during his tenure there.  Not only that, but Cam Newton looks like the leading candidate for comeback player of the year right now.  They and we, deserved a better fate last week when Cam could not bang it in the endzone from inside the 2 yard line on the final play of the game.  The Raiders looked great dismantling the Saints on Monday night (but readers of this column know of New Orleans notoriously slow starts the opening 2 games of the year over the past 5 years)!  Now, Coach Gruden and the gang travel east for that dreaded 10 a.m. west coast body clock start.  Look for the Patriot defense to take away tight end Waller from the Raider offense this week, along with grounding and pounding Las Vegas into submission.  New England -6
 
Baltimore -3 1/2 vs Kansas City
 
Nobody loves Coach Harbaugh, Lamar Jackson and this Ravens machine more than us, but how can you not take a disrespected Super Bowl champion Chiefs and a field goal plus head start?  This should be a wild wild west, or in this case east shootout, that should come down to the last possession.  We think the Chiefs were looking ahead to this game last week and they take it to the wire with the winner by a FG either way.  QB Mahomes has not lost by more than 7 points yet in his NFL career.  Just one more argument for a one possession game at the end.  Kansas City +3 1/2
 
Minnesota +3 vs Tennessee
 
This qualifies as the ugly dog pick of the week.  The Titans come in fat and happy off 2 NON-Covering wins against division rivals.  The Vikings on the other hand have looked putrid against the Packers and Colts.  We will go to the well one more time with Coach Zimmer and these Vikes.  They are 26-9 against any opponent off a straight up loss and 23-7 respectively against the spread versus non-division foes under Zimmer.  Desperation versus fat and happy, therein lies the first ugly dog pick of the season! Minnesota +3
 
New York +4 1/2 vs San Francisco
 
The Giants have performed exceptionally well against the Steelers and Bears.  One could make the argument, they are two plays away from perhaps winning both games.  On the other hand, the 49ers have been literally decimated by injuries.  The Giants might not win this one as well, but they actually played better after Saquon Barkley went down to injury last week.  We will trust Daniel Jones and OC Jason Garrett one more week to keep it close versus a short handed San Francisco squad that may even be without Jimmy Garoppolo at QB!  New York +4 1/2
 
Cleveland -7 vs Washington
 
Simply put, we like Ron Rivera and this Washington team to keep it close against the Cleveland Browns clown show.  No way should Cincinnati even been in the game last week, but coaching errors kept the Bengals in it to the end with a chance to actually win it with a successful onside kick!  The only reason this is our lowest rated preferred NFL pick is that the Brownies have extra time to prepare for Washington, having themselves played earlier on a Thursday.  We like the Washington Redskins, Redmen, Red Storm?! here to keep it close.  Washington +7
 
Your fearless forecaster
 
Donald Michaels
Princeton

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