Hlastradamus, as generations have come to know and fear, is the world’s most-accurate prophet when it comes to picking games against the Nevada pointspreads.
The seer is putting up five games for Week 1. He will tell you which team will cover the number, with the numbers coming from the Las Vegas Hilton on Wednesday night.
You can disagree here to your hearts’ content, of course, but do so before the games listed here have begun. If you have the courage to pick these five games against the spread yourselves, bring it, don’t sing it. (The home team is in capital letters. The last two games are at neutral sites.)
And remember, the prophet does this for “information” purposes only. Gambling is for suckers.
1. MICHIGAN -13 vs. Western Michigan. If the Wolverines don’t come out gung-ho and executing Saturday in Ann Arbor, Rich Rodriguez may as well get ready for his next job in football. Namely, as an assistant coach for the Dubuque Bruisers.
2. Minnesota -7 vs. SYRACUSE. This is the Gophers’ favorite time of football season. September. Syracuse, which has been lousy the last two Septembers, has a new head coach. Though you wouldn’t have known it when it played Iowa last November, Minnesota has more than enough offense for the Orange.
3. Georgia +5.5 vs. OKLAHOMA STATE. The Big 12 was the Big Somewhat-Overrated last year. Oklahoma failed against Florida in the BCS title game, Texas Tech got outmuscled by Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl, and Oklahoma State’s defense got shredded by Oregon in the Holiday Bowl. Not that the Big 12 doesn’t have excellent teams, but … those teams don’t have excellent defenses. Georgia went all the way to Arizona State last year and handily beat the Sun Devils. The Dawgs getting points here seems like a good buy.
Let me stop here to say, this handicapping is tough. I see Penn State -27 vs. Akron and Ohio State -21 vs. Navy and start salivating. Then I see Akron has been a good cover team against BCS teams, and Navy didn’t take much guff last year in going 8-5. But I digress.
4. Illinois -6.5 vs. Missouri in St. Louis. Mizzou is 4-0 in this series since they started playing games in downtown St. Louis. Call it a crazy hunch, but I think Mizzou’s Gary Pinkel just may be a better game-day coach than Illinois’ Ron Zook. But Illinois has a big-time quarterback in Juice Williams, and Missouri no longer has Chase Daniel. I think the Illini put on a good show in the big city for a change.
5. Virginia Tech +6 vs. Alabama in Atlanta. Why? Because Virgina Tech wasn’t all that impressive last year but still won the ACC and the Orange Bowl. With 16 returning starters including a dangerous Michael Vick-type quarterback in Tyrod Taylor, this could be a real good team right out of the box.
And now, Hlastradamus must put a cold compress to his forehead.