In the spirit of Halloween, MC&J keeps knocking on doors and we keep getting fists full of winners lately, desperately trying to avoid the house of the dentist that gives out toothbrushes or the North Dakota woman that wants you to know you are too fat. Hopefully this isn't the week that we reach into our bag of winners and find out that only candy corn is left.
Season ATS: 55-50-2 (26-22-1 National, 29-28-1 B1G)
Georgia (-3) vs. Florida - 3:30 PM EST - CBS
While the other national games this week were easy to tap, finding a fourth was incredibly difficult. I spent some time trying to decide whether I should include this game or Tennesee/Missouri. I figured a game featuring two teams that have gone 3-10-1 so far this season was just too good to pass up because what could possibly go wrong? It might take longer to read the injury lists from both teams heading into this game than it takes to actually play the game, but Georgia will benefit from the probable return of RB Todd Gurley and WR Michael Bennett. Both teams had a week off heading into this one, but the Gators are going to need more than a week to try and figure out how to fix whatever is going on with their offense. I'll take a Georgia team that is getting healthier to win all of the cocktails in Jacksonville.
Georgia 27 Florida 17
#8 Auburn (-8.5) vs. Arkansas - 6:00 PM EST - ESPN2
After covering the first SEC game that BERT coached against Texas A&M, the last three conference games the Hogs have played have seen Arkansas lose by a combined score of 134-17. I know there has plenty of #Karma dropped on Arkansas after Jen Bielema's tweet, and we will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. BERT isn't the only Razorback that hasn't enjoyed his short career in the SEC so far. Freshman running back Alex Collins has only rushed for 79 yards in Arkansas' four SEC games after becoming the first freshman in SEC history to rush for 100 yards in each of his first three games. Auburn is rushing for a ridiculous 315 yards/game so far this season, and they add to BERT's woes on Saturday night.
Auburn 45 Arkansas 28
#18 Oklahoma State vs. #15 Texas Tech (-2.5) - 7:00 PM EST - Fox
The Red Raiders gave Oklahoma everything they could handle in Norman last Saturday, but it wasn't enough as the Texas Tech suffered their first loss under Kliff Kingsbury. Oklahoma State will have their work cut out for them when they try and stop a Texas Tech offense that is averaging 412 yards/game through the air. The Cowboys haven't been tested yet with an offense quite as explosive as the one that Texas Tech has. After two straight games on the road the Red Raiders will return to Lubbock, hoping to rebound quickly from last Saturday. I'll lay small amount of points against a Oklahoma State team that I think is a little overrated.
Texas Tech 42 Oklahoma State 30
#7 Miami (FL) vs. #3 Florida State (-21.5) - 8:00 PM EST - ABC
Miami has just barely squeaked by North Carolina and Wake Forest the past two games and now you want me to believe that they'll keep things close against Florida State? That is rich. If the game was in front of the tens that would be in the crowd in Miami I might possibly entertain that idea, but Miami has to travel up to what will be a rocking Doak Campbell Stadium. Miami is one of the most overrated #7 ranked teams that you'll ever see, and the Seminoles will expose that on Saturday night. This game will look a lot like a couple weeks ago when Florida State went into Clemson and humbled the Tigers in primetime. Stephen Morris will do many of the things we expect Stephen Morris to while Jameis Winston keeps pace with Marcus Mariota in the Heisman race.
Florida State 52 Miami (FL) 24
#4 Ohio State (-32) vs. Purdue - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
While it must seem like in previous weeks that I have written a book when it comes to my pick in Buckeye games, I think we can keep things a lot shorter this week. The last two games the Buckeyes have played against the Boilermakers have went to overtime, but if this one has to head to extra time something will have gone horribly wrong for the Buckeyes. Of the six losses that Purdue has suffered on the season, four of them have been by 31 points or more. The Buckeyes secondary looked a lot better against freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg on Saturday night and now with Danny Etling starting for Purdue they'll get to try and take advantage of another young QB.
While 32 points is a lot of points to cover in any matchup, having Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde helps make that number look a little smaller. Last week the Buckeyes had a 42-7 lead at half against Penn State and I wouldn't be surprised to see more of the same this week. All that will be left in the second half is to wait for Penn State fans to craft their arguments on how that evil Urban Meyer is running up the score against yet another team.
Ohio State 55 Purdue 14
#22 Wisconsin (-9.5) vs. Iowa - 12:00 PM EST - ABC/ESPN2
With the propensity that both these teams have for running the ball it wouldn't be surprising to see this game completed in the amount of time it takes for your normal National League baseball game. Wisconsin comes into this game averaging just under 300 yards/game on the ground, while Iowa is averaging 188 yards/game. Both teams have had success stopping their opponents rushing attacks, but the last couple games has shown some holes in the Iowa defense in allowing over 200 yards on the ground to Ohio State and Northwestern. Now Iowa will have to figure out how to slow down Wisconsin running backs Melvin Gordon and James White. This has the feeling of your typical grind it out Big Ten game and a unranked home team getting nearly 10 points against a ranked team is right up my alley.
Wisconsin 27 Iowa 24
Illinois vs. Penn State (-10.5) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN
After starting the season 3-1, Big Ten play has not been kind to Illinois. In the midst of a 17-game losing streak in the Big Ten dating back to 2011, Illinois has been outscored 137-54 in their first three conference games this year. Now the Fighting Illini will be tasked with try to defeat what is bound to be a angry Penn State after the 63-14 loss they suffered to the Buckeyes on Saturday night was the worst loss in school history since 1899. After scoring 40 points/game in non-conference play, Illinois has been held to 18 points/game inside the Big Ten, so at least Penn State fans shouldn't have to worry about Illinois running up the score. Penn State and Christian Hackenberg rebound and extend Illinois' losing streak inside the Big Ten.
Penn State 37 Illinois 21
Northwestern vs. Nebraska (-7) - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Saturday in Lincoln will see a battle to determine who has the hotter dumpster fire right now. Northwestern has lost their first four games of Big Ten play while Nebraska just gave up 271 yards rushing in the loss to Minnesota. Northwestern looks like they'll be without Venric Mark this week, and there is talk that the senior might apply for a medical redshirt this year since he's played sparingly. Nebraska has inury issues of their own, as Tommy Armstrong will start at quarterback for the injured Taylor Martinez. The last two games these teams have played have been decided by a total of four points. That trend will continue as I expect the quarterback combo of Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian to keep things close in Lincoln.
Nebraska 33 Northwestern 30
Minnesota vs. Indiana (-9) - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
To me this line is a little strange. Minnesota comes into the game 6-2 and coming off wins against Northwestern and Nebraska, while Indiana's last game saw them give up eleventy bajillion yards to Michigan. This is the first meeting between these two teams since 2008, which the Golden Gophers won 16-7. After rushing for 271 yards against Nebraska last Saturday, Minnesota has to be licking their chops thinking of what they could do to the Hoosiers rush defense. For the season Minnesota is averaging 217 yards/game on the ground while Indiana is allowing 221 yards/game to opposing rushing offenses. If Minnesota is able to successfully exploit the woes that Indiana has defending the run they'll control the clock and keep Indiana's offense off the field. I don't even think that Indiana wins this game, let alone cover the nine points they are giving.
Minnesota 35 Indiana 31
#23 Michigan vs. #24 Michigan State (-6) - ABC
Michigan State has scored 40 points or more in their last three games, but they will face a major challenge when they head into East Lansing on Saturday. The Spartans have held opposing offenses to 215 yards/game of total, but it's not too hard to see how they've been able to do that when you look at the schedule they've played so far this season. The Wolverines offense presents the toughest challenge that the Spartans have had to tackle this season, especially after Michigan gained 751 yards against Indiana two weeks ago. Last year Michigan broke the four-game winning streak the Spartans had in the series, and this year they'll break the five-game cover streak Sparty holds over the Wolverines. Devin Gardner will do his usual thing and turn the ball over a few times, but the Spartans won't find a way to turn the gifts into touchdowns. Sparty isn't able to get a win and create some distance in the Legends Division, setting up a wild month of November in trying to determine who heads to Indianapolis.
Michigan 23 Michigan State 20