So, the big news around the world this week was the launch of Disney+ and it was an immediate hit in my household.
The little guy loves all the great old-school animated series like X-Men, Darkwing Duck and Talespin. Mrs. Covers Caley can’t get enough of the Pixar library (and secretly she still wishes she was a Disney Princess at heart). And for me, I love it all. The classic animated films, all the Marvel and Star Wars I could want and the Simpsons.
The “Shut up and take my money” meme fits very well in this instance.
And that’s because Disney has done something other streaming services haven’t been able to tap into the same way they can. They corned the market on nostalgia, while promising new and quality original content. That can be a powerful thing.
And speaking of nostalgia, nothing has given me the same kind of warm and fuzzy of feeling this college football season than my favorite trend. Fading Nebraska. In my Big Ten betting preview prior to the season I predicted the Nebraska would be the best team to fade in the conference this season and they have not disappointed. (I made a bunch of incorrection predictions as well, but I digress).
The Cornhuskers were supposed to take a leap forward in Year 2 of the Scott Frost era, but that just hasn’t happened. Nebraska is a woeful 1-8 ATS this season and 0-6 ATS versus conference opponents, scoring just 21.2 points per game against Big Ten foes. And this week they welcome Jonathan Taylor and Wisconsin’s stout defense to town.
Taylor is having another outstanding season, rushing for 1,259 yards at 6.1 yards per carry and 19 total touchdowns. Taylor also bounced back in a big way after Ohio State held him to just 52 yards on 20 carries, by gashing a good Iowa defense for 250 yards on 31 carries.
And guess what? Nebraska ain’t so good against the run. They have allowed Big Ten opponents to rumble all over them for an average of 220 yards per game.
Meanwhile on offense, Adrian Martinez has not been as advertised. The sophomore signal caller has battled his accuracy all season and has nearly as many interceptions (six) as touchdown passes (seven). And it sounds like he’ll be without one of his best weapons in running back Wan’Dale Robinson. Which doesn’t bode well against a Wisconsin defense that ranks in the top 10 in the country in nearly every category you could think of.
Sure, Nebraska could be motivated because it still needs two wins to be bowl eligible, but Wisconsin still has an outside shot at the West Division title. Fade Nebraska.
Pick: Wisconsin -14
GEORGIA BULLDOGS AT AUBURN TIGERS (+3, 41)
There is more nostalgia in store this Saturday when Auburn hosts Georgia to renew the South’s Oldest Rivalry.
Auburn has a real chance to wreak havoc with the College Football Playoff rankings over the next couple of weeks, just like in 2017 when it upset both the Bulldogs and Alabama down the stretch. And don’t be surprised if something like that happens again.
Auburn boasts one of the most fearsome defenses in the country, particularly the defensive front, which has multiple future NFLers. The Tigers rank third in the nation in Football Outsiders Defensive FEI ratings. That defensive line will put Georgia’s offensive line to the test.
Jake Fromm has taken a step back this season and will see more pressure in this game than he has all season. And the Bulldogs run game will have trouble getting going against a Tigers defense that is allowing just 3.3 yards per attempt.
The matter of the fact is that Georgia has not played all that well against good defenses. They rank sixth in scoring in conference play and against Notre Dame, South Carolina, and Florida they averaged just over 21 points per game. And Auburn is the best defense they have faced to date.
Auburn is coming off a bye after a bit of a disappointing showing from the offense in a 20-14 win over Ole Miss, but that is understandable in a traditional letdown spot after its near upset over now No. 1 ranked LSU.
In fact, no team has stacked up better against LSU this season. Auburn held the other Tigers to just 23 points in Death Valley. LSU’s next lowest points scored this season was 36.
Auburn could also have both its top two running backs at full speed for this one. But the key is quarterback Bo Nix. Can he do enough against a very good Georgia defense. Well, if he can keep the Bulldogs’ secondary honest, make some plays with his legs and not turnover the ball, Auburn has a chance to win this one outright.
Pick: Auburn +3
And finally, I am feeling nostalgic for a classic Alabama beat down when the Crimson Tide visit the Mississippi State Bulldogs this weekend.
Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide know the reality of the situation. They need to win all of their remaining games. And in general, do it in dominating fashion if they want to return to the College Football Playoff for the sixth consecutive year.
There are rumblings that star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa might be held back, or even out of this game entirely, which is likely why the line has dropped from Bama -21 to the current number of -17.5. But you have to believe if Tua is healthy enough to play, he’s going to give it a go.
But even if Tua doesn’t play, Mac Jones is capable of getting the ball to the Tide’s stud receiving corps. Jerry Jeudy, Devonta Smith and Henry Ruggs are going to give the Bulldogs nightmares after this game. And running back Najee Harris should eat in this one.
Meanwhile Saban is going to have his defense ready for this one as well after getting torn apart by Joe Burrow and Co. This week they face a one-dimensional Mississippi State offense. If the Tide can limit running back Kylin Hill this could be along day for the Bulldogs.
This one has “Take out our frustrations” written all over it. Roll Tide.
Pick: Alabama -17.5
Last week: 1-2
Season to date: 16-16-3