Naylor: Metchie may have to play second fiddle to a guy like Devonta Smith
The upstart Indiana Hoosiers will face their toughest test of the season so far this week as they travel to Columbus on Saturday to take on Ohio State.
Tom Allen has done a great coaching the Hoosiers to a top 10 ranking for the first time since 1967, but playing the Buckeyes on Saturday will be a whole different animal.
Also this Saturday, the classic Bedlam Series rivalry takes place between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Chuba Hubbard is still looking for a breakout game as he has struggled a bit this season. On the other side, the Sooners would love a win over their in-state rival.
Here are my top plays for Week 12 in the latest Simmons vs. the Spread.
SYRACUSE ORANGE at LOUISVILLE CARDINALS
Spread: Louisville -19
Louisville entered this season with high expectations, but it has not gone the way they had planned. They are 2-6, with wins over a lowly Florida State team and Western Kentucky. On top of that, they had star running back Javian Hawkins opt out last week and their best playmaker, Tutu Atwell, is questionable to play in this game. Neither played last week against Virginia and it slowed down their offence significantly. Syracuse is no world-beater (1-7), but this is just too many points for a Louisville team that is on a downward trajectory.
The pick: Syracuse +19
CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS at OREGON STATE BEAVERS
Spread: Cal -3.5
I was high on California going into the season and they looked admittedly horrible last week in a loss to a UCLA, but there are some important factors you have to consider. The Golden Bears were supposed to play Arizona State, but that game was cancelled due to COVID-19 issues and they were told they would be playing UCLA on two days’ notice at 9 a.m. local time. Justin Wilcox is an elite defensive coach, so I am not reading too much into that game. Oregon State, on the other hand, is likely the worst team in the PAC 12 and is missing Jake Luton at quarterback. The team threw for 85 yards total last week in a loss to Washington. Look for Cal to bounce back here and, most importantly, to cover the number.
The pick: Cal -3.5
MISSOURI TIGERS at SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS
Spread: Missouri -6.5
South Carolina is simply a mess right now. After firing Coach Will Muschamp this week, they had five defensive starters – including star cornerback Jaycee Horn – opt-out for various reasons. The Gamecocks have lost three straight, giving up an average of 53 points per game during that stretch. That was with the five players they will be without this week. Missouri is no powerhouse, but Larry Roundtree is a solid running back and this Gamecocks defence has allowed an average of 176 yards per game on the ground. This might seem like a lot of points to lay with Mizzou on the road, but this is simply more picking against South Carolina who is an absolute dumpster fire right now.
The pick: Missouri -6.5
LIBERTY FLAMES (21) at NORTH CAROLINA STATE WOLFPACK
Spread: NC State -3.5
Liberty has been the surprise team of the season with an 8-0 start and being a ranked team. They are looking for their third win over an ACC opponent in NC State, who is also a sneaky 5-3. Liberty has put 40.5 points per game, led by the strong play of dual-threat quarterback Malik Willis, who has found his rhythm since transferring from Auburn. NC State has put up a not too shabby 33.5 points per game, which is only matched by giving up nearly the same in 33.9 points per game. While Liberty has impressed and this would be an impressive road win, the lean here is to just hope those scoring averages are to be expected again and just cheer for points.
The pick: Over 66