Junkyard Dog of the Week

The Junkyard dog is tough, nasty, gritty, first to the floor and most importantly never going to back down from any person, moment, or opportunity. It’s not the guy who scores the most points, or who makes the highlight reels, it’s the guy whose impact is felt via his passion, physicality and willingness to lay it all on the line for a W.

Welcome back to the place where THE Junkyard Dog in College Basketball gets awarded, on a bi-weekly basis. Yes it’s a weekly award presented bi-weekly, befitting the junkyard dog that surely isn’t constrained to the rules of conventional wisdom. We are right in the heart of February as the eyes of the sports world turn to College Hoops we are in the homestretch with Selection Sunday right around the corner. The latest of the wild stories in the hoops season has been the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, who have been on a historic run to plunge themselves right into the bubble mix. Their run of wins against Michigan St, Ohio St, Wisconsin and Illinois have put them in the National conversation, and as you could likely guess, they couldn’t have done something like this without at least one Junkyard Dog worthy guy. You could probably guess who this guy is if you’ve been at all paying attention to this run, and it is in fact, Caleb McConnell.  

McConnell’s ability to lock down defensively and be a nightmare for opponents on that end of the floor has been paramount to the run that Rutgers has been on. During that historic 4 game winning streak (in which they became the first unranked team to beat 4 ranked teams in a row) he amassed 18 steals. That’s over 4 spg over the 4 game stretch, facing guys like Max Christie, Johnny Davis, EJ Liddell, and Alfonso Plummer. He has to be the clear favorite to win Big Ten DPOY this season and will 100% be a part of the All-Defensive team in the Conference, and well deserved that is. Much of the talk has been surrounding their hounding defense, as well as the scoring from Ron Harper Jr and Geo Baker, but it cannot be overstated how important McConnell’s role on the defensive end is. Just take a look at how much Coach Steve Pikiell values his defensive efforts.

McConnell joins the most underappreciated list of College Basketball Players going right now in the Country, one that includes KD Johnson (Auburn), J’Wan Roberts (Houston), Josiah-Jordan James (Tennessee), Brandon Murray (LSU) and Mason Gillis (Purdue). Some of the most unheralded players in all of the Nation, all guys who embody the Junkyard Dog in the fiercest of ways. McConnell may be the ultimate example, hidden for most of the year due to the struggles of his team, but now gets his chance to make his mark on the sport as the Scarlet Knights surge into the National Conversation. His resume for Big Ten DPOY has now made him the clear frontrunner and talk of his efforts have leaked far beyond New Jersey. Here we attempt to aid in that conversation, and will return in 2 weeks with yet another Junkyard Dog to highlight. Until then, check out this Rutgers team as they are one of the hottest teams in the country and play with an intensity found in very few programs across the country, all fueled by Caleb McConnell.

Junkyard Dog of the Week

The Junkyard dog is tough, nasty, gritty, first to the floor and most importantly never going to back down from any person, moment, or opportunity. It’s not the guy who scores the most points, or who makes the highlight reels, it’s the guy whose impact is felt via his passion, physicality and willingness to lay it all on the line for a W.

Welcome back to the place where THE Junkyard Dog in College Basketball gets awarded, on a bi-weekly basis. Yes it’s a weekly award presented bi-weekly, befitting the junkyard dog that surely isn’t constrained to the rules of conventional wisdom. With February right around the corner the CBB world is heating up, as gambler’s eyes begin to shift away from the NFL (with only the Super Bowl remaining) and the homestretch of the Conference season sets the stage for another crazy March to come. One of the linchpins of this college basketball season has been Purdue, sitting now at 18-3 they have been inside the top-10 all season long. Much has been made of Purdue’s interior Center combo Zach Edey and Trevion Williams, alongside projected lottery pick Jaden Ivey. However, the unsung hero of what is quite possibly the best group of Painter’s career is Mason Gillis.

Gillis now joins an illustrious group of past Junkyard Dog of the Week award winners, KD Johnson (Auburn), J’Wan Roberts (Houston), Josiah-Jordan James (Tennessee) and Brandon Murray (LSU). He’s been a guy that’s been on my radar all season as I’m a bit of a homer as a Purdue fan, and while some may criticize this pick due to this fact I urge you to allow me to justify before you crucify. Gillis’ most recent performance in Purdue’s W over top-25 Ohio St was the embodiment of the idealistic Junkyard Dog. He had 5 offensive rebounds, a steal, and was tasked with defending All-American candidate EJ Liddell on the defensive end. His impact was instrumental to the Boilers holding on as his 7 points and 11 rebounds often came in critical moments, like the one below…

Not only does he positively impact the boards and help a pedestrian defense not be pathetically bad, he also is shooting 51% from 3. In fact, he has been so efficient this season he is number 1 in Offensive rating per Kenpom. So, not only does he make winning plays defensively and on the boards, he’s the most efficient offensive player in the country. Similar to his fellow teammates on the Junkyard Dog of the Week squad (soon to be dubbed the 2022 Junkyard Dogs of the Year) Gillis is a glue guy for Purdue that does all the little things that don’t show up on box scores. When speaking on Gillis’ efforts on both ends against Ohio St Matt Painter said “you just can’t have enough of that”. Despite all of this praise his numbers will not jump out at you, and if you haven’t been following Purdue closely you may overlook him entirely. What a mistake that would be. Despite only averaging 7 ppg and 4 rpg you could argue Gillis is right up with Jaden Ivey as Purdue’s most irreplaceable players. They have 2 All-Conference Centers after all. Depth is a strength for Purdue, but there truly isn’t another Gillis on this roster. And that my friends is the epitome of the Junkyard Dog, the unheralded guy who is just as impactful as the guys who get all the glory. That lack of notoriety is just what this column is for, to shed light on the unsung heroes in college basketball who are a quintessential part of many of the successful teams across the Country. So congrats to Mason Gillis on receiving this high honor, and welcome to this illustrious list of Junkyard Dogs. Make sure to catch Boilermakers and watch what it looks like to play the game like a junkyard dog. And come back next week (in 2 weeks) to see who the next member of this glorious cast of characters will be.

Junkyard Dog of the Week

The Junkyard dog is tough, nasty, gritty, first to the floor and most importantly never going to back down from any person, moment, or opportunity. It’s not the guy who scores the most points, or who makes the highlight reels, it’s the guy whose impact is felt via his passion, physicality and willingness to lay it all on the line for a W.

Welcome back to the place where THE Junkyard Dog in College Basketball gets awarded, on a bi-weekly basis. Yes it’s a weekly award presented bi-weekly, befitting the junkyard dog that surely isn’t constrained to the rules of conventional wisdom. The college basketball world is heating up now that we’re in mid-January, and the order at the top is beginning to take shape. One of the surprises at the top, of which there are many, is the LSU Tigers. The job Will Wade has done in turning this LSU program into a laughingstock on the defensive end into the Nation’s best on that side is almost unbelievable. He of course couldn’t have done it without a group of studs that take pride in their defensive effort, and that pride and effort is epitomized by this week’s recipient of the Junkyard Dog of the Week Award: Brandon Murray.

Murray is a FR who has been described by Coach Wade as the QB of the defense and the only game LSU has lost this season Murray missed. What is amazing about LSU defensively is their ability to be aggressive and jump passing lanes for steals, but also on the back end to rotate hard and communicate those rotations. Murray as the QB is an essential part of that, as he guards 1-5 and has an unbelievable motor. The quote below from Wade shows you everything you need to know about this kid.

In this most recent stretch, Murray has helped LSU catapult into a #1 seed (per 5-Star Bets) with wins over Kentucky, Tennesse and Florida. Murray himself had 6 steals over those 3 games, showing off his savvy and his high hoops IQ. Much like the other Junkyard Dogs who have been featured in this series Murray is no the guy who is going to steal headlines, but Coach Wade has made it a point to emphasize how much he really means to this team on the defensive side of the court. He has described his work ethic on several occasions including saying things like “he practices everyday like it’s OT in the Final Four” “he’s a pitbull” and “everything he does is tenacious”. My point, you don’t even have to watch the guy to realize this kid is different and is a major contributor to this group’s tenacious defensive efforts this year that have turned a team that was 100+ defensively last year into the #1 defense this season. And when you do watch him, and I highly recommend doing so, you’ll see the savvy veteran like game instantly and recognize exactly why he is joining this illustrious list of Junkyard Dog of the Week Award Winners. Find time to see Murray play ball if you haven’t already, and come back next week (in 2 weeks) for the next crowing of the Junkyard Dog of the Week award in College Basketball.

Junkyard Dog of the Week

The Junkyard dog is tough, nasty, gritty, first to the floor and most importantly never going to back down from any person, moment, or opportunity. It’s not the guy who scores the most points, or who makes the highlight reels, it’s the guy whose impact is felt via his passion, physicality and willingness to lay it all on the line for a W.

Welcome back to the place where THE Junkyard Dog in College Basketball gets awarded, on a bi-weekly basis. Yes it’s a weekly award presented bi-weekly, befitting the junkyard dog that surely isn’t constrained to the rules of conventional wisdom. It’s been a slow couple of weeks in college basketball between finals, Christmas break and COVID cancellations there hasn’t been nearly the volume of games that we’ll see the rest of the way, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a few Junkyard Dogs make their presence felt. The guy who stood out to me the most over the last 2 weeks was an unsung hero from a team that picked up its biggest win of the season, Tennessee. And that man is Josiah-Jordan James.

JJJ joins previous winners KD Johnson (Auburn) and J’Wan Roberts (Houston) on this illustrious list of Junkyard Dog of the Week Award recipients. He was nominated after his big time performance in helping Tennessee knock off previously unbeaten Arizona in a slugfest that went right down to the wire. It was a huge win for the Vols, and guys like John Fulkerson and Kennedy Chandler have gotten most of the spotlight, and deservedly so considering their efforts. However, the guy who impacted the game in ways befitting this award was clearly JJJ, who was a menace defensively (2 blocks and 2 steals), a problem on the offensive glass (3 OReb’s and several other tipped balls) as well as a constant energy provider as a clear leader on the floor. Need some proof? Check out this steal and one-hand yam, and the subsequent fiery reaction.

JJJ was a 5-star recruit in the 2019 class but has had trouble finding his footing early in his career, but in year 3 he has seemed to settle into his role as a grimy workhorse. His ability at 6’6” to guard all 5 positions and battle on the glass has been huge for Tennessee this year and a major key to their success thus far. That ability to impact the game on the defensive end, as well as his energy and passion are defining characteristics of a Junkyard Dog, and those kinds of sequences are moments that make you love College Basketball. And it wasn’t just that play, check out how he gets around this screen, closes out and blocks a shot into the stands (and the stare down to top it off).

There are so many guys in college basketball who will get shine this season for big time performances, but finding little gems like this one from JJJ is to me what the sport is all about. It’s obvious to look at a box score and say man, without John Fulkerson putting up 24 and 10 the Vols would’ve been screwed, and of course that’s true, but the same could be said about JJJ and what he provided. The columns on the scorecard most look at don’t tell the whole picture, and the intensity and effort he played with possession after possession lifted his teammates, and moreover got the crowd whipped into a frenzy, something almost everyone noted after the game as being the loudest environment they could remember in Knoxville. Huge win for the program, and huge night for Josiah-Jordan James who only averages a little over 6 ppg but is an essential cog in this Tennessee machine that looks primed to compete for an SEC Championship. So congrats to the Vols and congrats to JJJ for taking home the 3rd Junkyard Dog of the Week Award. Make sure to check out Tennessee and look for this guy to make plays that make you fall in love with the game, and come back for next week’s award (in 2 weeks). 

CBB Measuring Stick Series

INSTALLMENT 1:

Welcome to the place where all of the “surprises” of the season are evaluated and re-evaluated. Where all of those “exceeding” and “falling short” of our collective expectations are analyzed, broken down and re-assessed. The landscape of college basketball is as fluid and unpredictable as any sport and the questions generated by it linger in the minds of all fans and gamblers alike. Here we’ll take those questions head on. Address why those teams ranked top-15 pre-season are scratching and clawing to stay above .500 while others who were projected to finish in the middle and/or at the bottom of a Power-5 Conference currently lay legitimate claim to a 1 or 2 seed in bracketology projections. And are those teams exceeding legitimate threats to-be come March? And what about those tumbling programs, will we see them put the talent together and rear their ugly heads with an improbable March run? And considering the very nature of college basketball just mentioned, this will be ongoing analysis, as teams rise and fall we will try and parse the frauds from the elite, to answer whether the momentum behind a rising program is merely a wave destined to crash down or the foundational blocks building toward legitimate contention. I think you get the point, so without further ado, let’s dive into it.

What is happening in Ann Arbor?

The Michigan Wolverines have been an unmitigated disaster thus far, sitting at 6-4 (1-1) after entering the season with a top-10 ranking and picked by many to win the Big Ten (not by 5-Star Bets of course, but still well below my 2nd place expectations). Much of the hype was surrounding their talented Freshmen and the return of star big man Hunter Dickinson, which on paper gave Michigan what looked like the most talent in the Big Ten. So what’s the deal? In part, it’s early and they’re a young team, but it’s also that the losses from last year seem to extend beyond talent and production, as this Wolverines team looks far less inspired than in years past. They’ve lost their identity, the gritty defense and first to the floor mentality seem to have left with the group that moved on after last season. They have gone from a top-5 defensive team to now outside the top-25 and dropping, fast. In their last disappointing outing they gave up 43 2nd half points to Minnesota (picked last in the Big Ten by many) to lose the game by 10 after being up 4 at half (at home no less). Inexcusable. Coach Howard knows it. The players know it. But can it be salvaged? Nobody was wrong about the talent level here, as Houston and Diabate continue to improve and Dickinson and Brooks continue to be 2 of the better scorers in the Conference. To me it’s about identity and consistent effort, both things that are completely in the players’ control. It’s likely a maturation process for young players and guys who haven’t been accustomed to leading needing to step up (looking at you Hunter and Eli). This is a huge test for Howard, because if this were a Jon Beilein coached team I’d have complete confidence, but Howard will have to prove his ability to maximize potential. With that being said, at this point my answer to Michigan’s questions is one of optimism. I see them as Jack-Jack from the Incredibles, full of ability and power, yet to understand how to harness and put it all together, but they will. And when they do, look out. Michigan = Sleeping Giant.

Are the Ducks cooked?

Dana Altman is one of my favorite coaches in the Country, as he was way ahead of the transfer phenomenon and has turned this Oregon program into a perennial power in the Pac-12. With that said, this Oregon team is a train wreck. They entered the season in most pre-season top-25’s and on the short list of Pac-12 teams that had a shot at preventing UCLA from winning the Conference. What’s transpired thus far is one of the few times that Altman has been unable to integrate a collection of talented kids into a team. They are 5 individuals all playing a separate game. No cohesion, no togetherness. And moreover, when they get punched in the face they roll over quicker than a fat dog begging for a treat. See their losses to BYU and Houston by a combined 61 points. From a micro perspective, they lack a legitimate playmaker. The thing about Altman is he’s always relied on guys who can create in ball-screen/iso situations (See Joe Young, Dillon Brooks/Tyler Dorsey, Peyton Pritchard, Chris Duarte). This team has nobody close to that level. To his detriment, Altman hasn’t adjusted and if you watch Oregon play you’ll see guys ill-equipped to being playmakers attempting to do so, and it’s a disaster to watch. There’s no movement, it’s simply 4 guys watching 1. Need data to back it up? They’re currently 247th in assists p/g. Unlike with Michigan I don’t see this ship turning around. With no playmakers, no heart, no identity and certainly no collective vision this ship is sinking and they will be drowning with no way out very soon. In the past, specifically 2019, Altman has gotten sputtering teams to turn it on late and go on a run. That 2019 team was led, and I mean LED, by Payton Pritchard, but this team doesn’t have that guy. Ducks = battered, fried and fed to the hogs.

Is Arizona a legitimate contender?

Tommy Lloyd has to be the frontrunner for COY honors at this point as he’s got this Arizona program looking like they can go toe-to-toe with any team in the Country. Lloyd came from Gonzaga and has taken a program mired in controversy and quickly turned them into an elite team, or so it appears. The win at Illinois cemented them on the 1 seed line in bracketology projections and put them right alongside UCLA as favorites in the Pac-12. So can they sustain it? Sustainability often is found via consistency, and that consistency can be nailed down to two key components, effort and production. Do you compete hard every night? And do you have the depth of production to overcome an off night by 1 or 2 of your better players? The answer to the first question has been a resounding yes, thus far, as Arizona is winning by an average of 27.6 points, absolutely crushing bad teams (2 wins of 50+) and being 10-0 helps the cause as well. The ability to beat great teams is important, but almost more important for March success is to crush weaker opponents, and that ability shown by Arizona gives you great confidence (compared to say Alabama, who has beaten Gonzaga/Houston but lost to Iona/Memphis). Production wise the Wildcats have 4 guys averaging over 12 ppg, something only a handful of teams can claim, and are also leading the Country in apg. They play together and are not reliant on 1 or 2 guys to carry the load, another resounding yes. The fact that Lloyd was under Mark Few for so long makes the style of play and quick success easy to believe, as Lloyd has clearly implemented the Gonzaga style at Arizona (they’re 3rd in tempo along with being first in Assists/game). Arizona was clearly overlooked, and most certainly not a pretender at this stage of the season. I don’t expect them to go undefeated by any stretch, but they have a legitimate shot to win the Pac-12. We’ll find out more about them at the turn of the year, as they go to Tennessee, UCLA and USC from Dec 22-Jan2. Tough slate but I have no reason to believe they lose all 3 of those. The only thing keeping me from making them a true Championship contender is the fact that no player on the roster has every played in an NCAA tournament game, and neither has their Coach. So buyer beware in March but this team will be no lower than a 3 seed, I guarantee it. Arizona = Underappreciated

Can Iowa St win the Big 12 only a year after a 2-22 season?

The surprise of the season is clearly Iowa St, who fired Steve Prohm after a 2-22 season and cleaned house from last year’s roster. TJ Otzelberger came to Aimes after brief stints with both S. Dakota St and UNLV, and was a relatively surprising hire, but no more. Otzelberger has transformed this program with impact transfers, a big time FR recruit in Tyrese Hunter and most importantly a wild culture shift that has resulted in a team that is top-10 defensively. That last point, as you’ve probably noticed by now, is what I’m going to key on. To get a group of transfers and misfits to come together and play this collectively on defense is incredibly difficult (just ask Dana Altman). They hosted Iowa in a game they were the underdog and held a top-10 offense to 53 points and beat their in-state rival by 20 points. Incredible. And they did so by being nasty, mucking it up, and just taking it to the Hawkeyes with a physical style of play that I really have only seen out of 1 other team this year, Houston. The difference between those two teams is on the other end of the floor, as Houston has 2 elite guards in Kyler Edwards and Marcus Sasser, while Iowa St has very inconsistent production (See Jackson St, a game they won scoring 47 points). Now, at 10-0 you can argue it doesn’t matter because of how well they’re playing defensively, but will that really be good enough to beat Baylor, Kansas and Texas? I’m not sold. And while the story thus far is incredible, I just am not sure this group has enough offensively to truly compete at the highest level. 144th in offensive efficiency is just not going to get it done in the gauntlet that is the Big 12, and same goes for the tournament come March. In fact, over the last 16 tournaments, teams with a sub-50 offense and top-10 defense have lost 46% of the time in the 1st round, with only 1 of those archetypal teams making the Final Four (2017 South Carolina, who had Sindarius Thornwell). You love the story, but when you dig a little deeper, there’s a lot to be concerned about. Iowa St = Drunk 9, Sober 6.5 (and right now you’re drunk…go home alone pal).

For now that’s all we will address, but keep on the lookout for the continuation of the measuring stick series, where all your biggest questions will be answered.

Junkyard Dog of the Week

Welcome back to the place where THE Junkyard Dog in College Basketball gets awarded, on a bi-weekly basis. Yes it’s a weekly award presented bi-weekly, befitting the junkyard dog that surely isn’t constrained to the rules of conventional wisdom. A brief synopsis of the definition of Junkyard Dog is in order, in case you missed our first award ceremony. The Junkyard dog is tough, nasty, gritty, first to the floor and most importantly never going to back down from any person, moment, or opportunity. It’s not the guy who scores the most points, or who makes the highlight reels, it’s the guy whose impact is felt via his passion, physicality and willingness to lay it all on the line for a W.

Our inaugural winner was Auburn’s KD Johnson, and joining him on this illustrious list of Junkyard Dogs is Houston’s J’wan Roberts. Roberts is a name many folks might not recognize, as he’s not even a starter for Houston this season but his relentless effort defensively and on the offensive glass has been huge for Houston and their competitiveness early on this year. He’s averaging 3.4 offensive rebounds and his award winning moments came in what was one of the best games of the season thus far against Alabama. He had 9 OFFENSIVE rebounds, and was an absolute nightmare for Alabama’s frontcourt off the bench. His energy and relentless pursuit on the glass, and physicality as an interior defender, is huge for Houston. It’s important to note that Roberts is not the tallest guy on the floor, at only 6’7” Roberts
was outmatched from a physical perspective by Alabama’s bigs, at 7 ft and 6’8” respectively. In fact, those 2 had two TOTAL rebounds. Much of the defensive glass work for Bama was accomplished by their guards, as the bigs were too busy getting tossed around by Roberts and Co. And while the Cougars fell short on a controversial missed goal-tending call, much of the reason Houston was in that game was due
to their offensive rebounding, getting 21 total. Coach Kelvin Sampson mentioned Roberts’ efforts post-game, calling him their best offensive rebounder and crediting him for “playing like a warrior tonight.” All you need to know.


If you watched the game Roberts would have been a clear stand out, as he was always around the ball when a shot went up and missed. That consistent effort is often contagious, and that impact is immeasurable and a defining characteristic of a Junkyard Dog. While he is not going to be a guy who wins game MVP’s or makes All-Conference teams, his presence and skill set directly, and indirectly, impact the Houston program in a positive way. He’s a guy every coach wishes he could have, and the type of player Sampson has been bringing into this program as he’s built the culture that is Houston basketball. If Houston goes on a major run this postseason many will talk about guys like Marcus Sasser and Kyler Edwards, and deservedly so, but the foundation that allows guys like them to shine is shouldered by a guy like J’Wan Roberts. And it is for those reasons he is being given the highest of honors, the Junkyard Dog of the Week. Do yourself a favor and watch a Houston game if you haven’t
and keep your eye on this guy to see what it looks like to play the game with a Junkyard Dog mentality. And come back next week (2 weeks from now) for the next ceremonious written presentation of the Junkyard Dog of the Week award. Until then, happy gambling

Junkyard Dog of the Week

11/28/2021

Welcome to the inaugural Junkyard Dog of the Week award, where 5-star bets recognizes the grittiest weekly performer in college basketball. What I love about college hoops is the passion and intensity so many guys play with at this level, and there are just some guys who no matter the moment, no matter the opponent, are going to outwork you every possession. The Junkyard Dog it tough, nasty, gritty, first to the floor and most importantly never going to back down from any person, moment, or opportunity. This award is not for the guy who scores the most points, or who makes SportsCenter’s top-10 highlight reel, it’s for the guy whose impact is felt via his passion, physicality, and willingness to lay it all on the line for a W. This week that man was Auburn’s KD Johnson. KD averaged 16 ppg in Auburn’s 3 games last week, but as I said that stat alone is irrelevant. What has him here was in part, his 14 steals in those 3 games, as well as his knack for relentlessly attacking the basket despite being undersized and taking on opposing teams big men with extreme physicality and a soft touch. Not only that, he consistently took the ball in key moments, rising to the occasion to hit huge buckets for Auburn. Take a look at this game tying bucket to send the UConn game to OT.

And if you needed even more evidence this dude is a dog, check out these clutch plays, but more importantly the passion and intensity he plays with.

So congratulations to KD on taking home the 1st of many Junkyard Dog OTW awards to come, and if for no other reason go find an Auburn game and watch this kid compete. Within 5 minutes you’ll be enamored by his relentless motor and fearless approach to the game of basketball. Every Coach wishes he could have 5 guys like this, most are lucky to have 1. Bruce Pearl and Auburn are lucky to have a guy like this leading such a talented group. Look out for Auburn and look out for next week’s winner.

CFB Week 11 Card

*Texas A&M (-2.5) @ Ole Miss: The Aggies are back to playing like their pre-season top-10 ranking suggested they would, and Ole Miss has been skating along. The Rebels have been overvalued almost all season long, don’t play any defense and their “vaunted” offense behind Matt Corral has been uninspiring the last few weeks. Give me the team that wins in the trenches on both sides of the ball, and look for the Aggies to slowly pull away in this one behind that rushing attack and a stingy defense. Cash it.  

Baylor (+5.5) vs Oklahoma: Oklahoma has been struggling all season long against inferior opponents and here they get their best test yet by far. Yet and still, they are a 5.5 point road favorite, disgusting. Give me the home dog to cover the points and give Oklahoma its biggest scare yet, but I would stay away from the ML as the Sooners will likely still pull this one out, just look for it to be close all the way. Baylor will be able to score with them and get enough stops for it to be close. Cash it.  

Purdue (+20.5) @ Ohio St: Way too many points. The Buckeyes very well could be the 2nd best team in the country, but Purdue has one of the best passing attacks in college football and against this weak defense will put up points. No only that they have a stingy defense that is capable of getting enough stops to keep this one close. The Buckeyes win this game but Purdue has too much talent to let this one get away from them, and they still are in contention to win the Big 10 West, so they’ll be up for this one. Cash it.  

Arkansas (-2.5) @ LSU: Arkansas has legitimate talent and an offense that is just too dynamic for LSU to slow down, especially with where they are this season. LSU is coming off a near miss against Alabama and getting too much love for that with this line. The Razorbacks are hungry for SEC wins, and have a chance to climb back up the rankings heading into their showdown with Alabama next week. Sam Pittman keeps building momentum at Arkansas with this win. Cash it.  

Auburn (-5.5) vs Miss St: Miss St is just ok, and Auburn’s D is good enough to slow down their one true threat in the passing game. I love how Bo Nix plays at home and this Auburn team has found a running game to compliment him. Auburn should dominate this game and continue to build the anticipation of their showdown with Alabama in a couple of weeks. Bo Nix at home is a sure thing, especially against this weak D. Cash it.  

ND (-5.5) @ Virginia: ND is quietly sitting at 8-1 with their only loss coming against undefeated Cincy and they get a Virginia team that can’t stop a nose bleed. Virginia’s QB Brennen Armstrong might not play, which would make this game unwatchable, but even if he does he’ll be hobbled and ND’s offense will score 40 points in this one. Look for Kyren Williams to have a monster day and for the Irish to continue to sit pretty with only 1 loss. Cash it.