Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Wake Forest Demon Deacons were my sole five-star play in Week 6 when they defeated North Carolina State as eight-point underdogs. This week, they are getting points at home once again against Maryland.
Similar to the Wake Forest-N.C. State series, Maryland and Wake Forest have split the last six meetings with each team winning three games at home. The Terrapins held the Demon Deacons to just 28 total points in the three games at Byrd Stadium, but they allowed 104 points in the three road losses. In addition, the Terps have struggled to win away from College Park as they are 5-20 straight-up in their last 25 road games.
Wake Forest has been a much better home team than on the road as the Demon Deacons are 11-24 away from home (31 percent) and 26-17 SU in Winston-Salem (60 percent) since 1997. They also are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 conference games as home underdogs.
The Deacons had a bye last weekend after beating N.C. State by 15 points. That could play out to be a huge factor in this game because they are 7-1 SU in their last eight games off a bye. What is interesting about that statistic is the overwhelming majority of those victories came on the road, where they have not played their best.
As for Maryland, the Terrapins began the 2013 campaign on fire with four consecutive victories, which helped them jump out to a 5-1 mark at the midway point of the season. However, the combined record of those four opponents against FBS competition is 3-13. Since defeating West Virginia at home, the Terps were hammered at Florida State, 63-0, and then barely got past a 2-4 Virginia squad at home, 27-26.
The Terps allowed over 500 total yards to Virginia, a team that had averaged just 292 yards in its first four games against other FBS teams. It is true Maryland played without its starting quarterback (C.J. Brown), but his replacement, Caleb Rowe, still threw for 332 yards and no interceptions.
The odds are in Wake Forest's favor this week, especially because Maryland has Clemson coming into College Park the following Saturday in what could be a huge game if the Tigers defeat Florida State later in the day.
Take Wake Forest plus six points in the first of two five-star plays.
The other top selection comes from the Big 12, where Baylor hosts Iowa State. The Bears remained unbeaten with a 10-point road win over Kansas State last week. Nevertheless, it wasn't an easy victory because they needed a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to get the win. Prior to that game, Baylor beat West Virginia at home, 73-42.
The key question in this game is how much better is West Virginia than Iowa State because the line in this contest is actually higher than the 31-point Baylor victory over the Mountaineers.
West Virginia has had its moments in 2013, defeating Oklahoma State and losing by single digits at Oklahoma. However, the Mountaineers were blown out by Maryland, 37-0, and beat William & Mary by just a touchdown at home.
Iowa State is 1-4 on the season, but the Cyclones have been in every game. The largest margin of deficit this year has been eight points. After knocking off Tulsa on the road, they lost by a point to Texas and then by seven at Texas Tech.
Coach Paul Rhoads' squad lost by 23 points two years ago at Baylor to an 11-3 Bears team led by Robert Griffin III. Expect a similar margin of deficit in 2013.
Take Iowa State plus 34 points.
The top three-star play of the week comes from the Nevada-Boise State contest.
The Wolf Pack are 3-3 despite a defense that has allowed 38 points per game. This certainly is not one of their better teams in recent memory, but neither is Boise State when the this year's Broncos squad is compared to the last seven seasons.
Boise State is allowing 24 points per game, which is unusually high considering the defense has given up more than 20 ppg in a season just once since 2005. The odds are strong Nevada will score at least 27 points, particularly because quarterback Cody Fajardo and the rest of the team rested during a bye last weekend.
It will be up to the Broncos to score about 50 points to cover the insanely high spread, and if one takes away the 60 points they scored against lowly Southern Miss, they are averaging only 30.5 ppg versus FBS competition this year.
The Wolf Pack have lost three of the last four meetings to Boise State but have covered all four. In fact, they have not lost to the Broncos by more than 20 points since 2006.
Take Nevada plus 22 points.
Other three-star picks are Arizona -4 (Utah) and Ohio -17 (Eastern Michigan)
Go with Michigan -7.5 (Indiana), Alabama -28 (Arkansas), Buffalo -20.5 (Massachusetts) and Rice -18 (New Mexico State).
Take UCF +13 (Louisville), Oklahoma -23.5 (Kansas), Illinois +13.5 (Wisconsin), Arizona State -3 (Washington), Ole Miss +8.5 (LSU) and the OVER in both LSU-Ole Miss (60) and Indiana-Michigan (67.5).
THIS YEAR'S RECORD
After seven weeks, my record stands at 42-42 following a 9-3 week. The five- star plays went 2-0 for a 9-5 overall total. The three-star selection won so that record stands at 6-10. The two-star choices finished 4-1 for a 17-18 overall mark and the one-star choices went 2-2 for a 10-9 total.
THIS WEEK'S JEFF FRANK "DIRTY DOZEN"
1) Oregon, 112; 2) Alabama, 107; 3) Florida State, 104.5; 4) LSU, 101; 5-T) Clemson and Baylor, 99; 7) Ohio State, 98; 8-T) Louisville, Texas A&M, South Carolina and Wisconsin, 97.5; 12) Arizona State, 97
(The Dirty Dozen is not a reflection of a given team's won-loss record. It is based on power ratings used to predict spreads for the upcoming week. At the beginning of the season, all FBS teams are assigned a power number, which changes on a week-to-week basis depending on the results of the previous week.)