I thought we were cool, college football. What happened last week? Wow, were my picks bad. It seemed like I could do no right. Oklahoma couldn't make a kick to save their life, Texas A&M was dominated by Alabama, Baylor was terrible even though West Virginia gave them numerous chances in the first half, and so on. This just shows how unpredictable college football is this year, and if the first couple months are any indication, we are in for a wild ride over the next month. While the results weren't what I was hoping for last week, t'm hopeful that this week can turn the tide and start momentum flowing in the right direction.
Last Week ATS: 3-8 (1-5 National, 2-3 B1G)
Season ATS: 48-57 (19-23 National, 29-34 B1G)
Texas v. #11 Kansas State (-10) - 12:00 PM - ESPN
I don't know how Bill Snyder keeps doing it, but all he does is suck on some Werther's Orginals and winning football games. The challenge for Snyder this week is to not let his team suffer a hangover from their big win in Norman last weekend. Texas visits Manhattan after beating Iowa State 48-45 last week. While the strong Longhorn defense was absent last week, they are still a dangerous bunch that could give Jake Waters and the Wildcat offense trouble. Texas has shown some improvement on offense, but their running game will have a tough task in finding holes against a stout Kansas State rush defense. This has the feeling of a game that Texas hangs around in, but with the way Snyder has his team playing it is just too hard to go against the Wildcats.
Kansas State 38 Texas 24
#1 Mississippi State (-14) v. Kentucky - 3:30 PM - CBS
If I told you at the beginning of 2014 that we would see the Kansas City Royals in the World Series and Mississippi State as the top ranked college football team you would've been calling the asylum to reserve me a padded room. After back-to-back wins against Texas A&M and Auburn in Starkville, Mississippi State had a bye week to set their sights on a trip to Lexington. Kentucky will be happy to be home after getting kicked in the teeth by LSU down in Death Valley last Saturday night. The Bulldogs may be tops in the rankings but they are not without faults. Their pass defense is giving up over 300 yards per game, which could allow Kentucky to keep it close. I don't think we'll have an upset on Saturday afternoon, but I do think that Kentucky will keep it interesting.
Mississippi State 41 Kentucky 31
#3 Mississippi (-3.5) v. #24 LSU - 7:15 PM - ESPN
Three straight weeks of picking against Ole Miss and it has resulted in three straight losses to my record. By now I should know not to pick against Dr. Bo. Going into Death Valley to try and beat LSU is no easy task, but it can be done. Just take a look at what Mississippi State did earlier this year. Now the rivals of the Bulldogs will want to keep their perfect record as the two teams hope to setup the Egg Bowl to end all Egg Bowls next month. This Ole Miss defense is for real, not only with their tremendous pass rush but also with their dangerous secondary. I'm just not seeing a scenario where Anthony Jennings is able to outduel Dr. Bo Wallace. Of course now that I have seen the light and sided with Ole Miss they'll undoubtedly find a way to not cover the number here.
Mississippi 27 LSU 17
#4 Alabama (-18) v. Tennessee - 7:30 PM - ESPN2
After struggling against Ole Miss and Arkansas on the road, Alabama got a little bit of their swagger back with a 59-0 win over Texas A&M last week. Now Lane Kiffin gets to head back to Knoxville where he was the coach of Tennessee for one whole year, and things could get ugly for the Vol faithful who want to see Kiffin fall on his face. The Vols dropped a 10-9 decision at home a few weeks ago, and then last week showed very little against Ole Miss in Oxford. The Crimson Tide have won the last four meetings by at least 31 points and another blowout might be in the cards on Saturday night. Alabama isn't quite back to the dominant team that we have seen the last few years, but they will look like they are certainly gaining momentum heading into big matchups with LSU and Mississippi State they have coming up after next week's bye.
Alabama 37 Tennessee 14
#20 USC (-1) v. #19 Utah - 10:00 PM - Fox Sports 1
Just imagine where Utah might be right now had they lost to Washington State 28-27 a couple weeks ago. Since then the Utes have gone on the road and beat UCLA 30-28 and outlasted Oregon State in triple overtime. USC has rebounded from two losses in three games to win their last two, leaving little doubt in destroying Colorado last Saturday. Going into Salt Lake City is no easy task, and the last time USC made the trip they lost 38-28. The Utes get enough out of quarterback Travis Wilson to open things up for running back Devontae Booker, victimizing a USC rushing defense that has showed some weaknesses this season. Take the slight home underdog.
Utah 35 USC 31
#14 Arizona State (-3) v. Washington - 10:45 PM - ESPN
When Taylor Kelly was injured against Colorado it was looking like Arizona State might be in for some rough times until he returned. The next game against UCLA looked to solidify those concerns, but since then Mike Bercovici has been on fire. Kelly should return on Saturday night, but will that throw a wrench into the rhythm of the Sun Devils? The good news for Arizona State is it shouldn't take Kelly to get back into the flow of things with weapons like running back D.J. Foster and wide receiver Jaelen Strong. Washington has lost two of three, and could be without a couple of their running backs. More pressure will be put on quarterback Cyler Miles, and that won't be a good thing against a Arizona State defense that is +12 this season in turnover margin. Even with the quarterback change Arizona State keeps rolling.
Arizona State 35 Washington 23
Rutgers v. #16 Nebraska (-19.5) - 12:00 PM - ESPN2
So you really wanted in the Big Ten, Rutgers? Not only did you get to come to Columbus and get dominated by the Buckeyes, now you get to head to Lincoln to take on Ameer Abdullah and the Cornhuskers. The Scarlet Knights struggled to move the ball against Ohio State on Saturday, and now they square off against a Nebraska defense that is only allowing 336 yards per game. Where the Nebraska defense has been their best this year is in the second half, holding Northwestern to only 28 yards last week. Rutgers could really wear down in the second half, after not only the pounding they took in Columbus last week and now the trip to Lincoln this week. Abdullah adds to his Heisman reel as the Cornhuskers roll.
Nebraska 44 Rutgers 21
Minnesota (-6) v. Illinois - 12:00 PM - ESPNU
Last week Minnesota squeaked by Purdue to not only become bowl eligible for the third straight season, but also run their Big Ten record to 3-0. Meanwhile Illinois had a bye week last week, and they certainly needed it after dropping their first three Big Ten contests. With Wes Lunt still out due to injury, they very well might drop their fourth game in conference on Saturday night. The Fighting Illini will be wearing uniforms to honor Red Grange, but sadly they won't have anyone quite like Grange out on the field. Minnesota does have David Cobb, who might be the closest thing to Grange in this game. Ccbb rushed for 194 yards against Purdue, and now gets to face a Illinois rushing defense that giving up over 270 rushing yards a game. The Golden Gophers don't have quite the trouble with Illinois that they did with Purdue and wins this by double digits.
Minnesota 34 Illinois 23
Maryland v. Wisconsin (-10.5) - 12:00 PM - Big Ten Network
In a season full of firsts for Maryland, Saturday will mark their first trip to Madison. The Terrapins looked to be in trouble last week against Iowa when quarterback C.J. Brown was injured in the third quarter, but Brown returned and helped Maryland to a 38-31 win. Now Maryland gets to try and slow down Melvin Gordon, who has averaged 217 yards per game in his last four games. The Terrapins haven't been that great against the run this year, but they shouldn't have too much to worry about in terms of Wisconsin passing the ball, especially with Will Likely patrolling the secondary. This just feels like too many points for a Wisconsin team that hasn't been that impressive for most of the season to be laying, especially at home.
Wisconsin 31 Maryland 27
Michigan v. #8 Michigan State (-17.5) - 3:30 PM - ABC
Michigan finally got a much-needed win a couple weeks ago and what is their reward? A week off and then a trip up to East Lansing to take on a Michigan State team that has won five of the last six in the rivalry. Last week against Indiana Michigan State's defense looked more like the defense that created havoc in the Big Ten last year, and this week they'll get to try and build on that when they take on turnover machine Devin Gardner. Michigan is already without running back Derrick Green for the rest of the season, so it's hard to imagine where they are going to get points from. Even if they do score how are the Wolverines going to keep up with a Michigan State offense that has scored 329 points through seven games? The Spartans give Brady Hoke one last beatdown in the rivalry as they roll on towards the showdown with Ohio State in a couple weeks.
Michigan State 33 Michigan 13
#13 Ohio State (-14) v. Penn State - 8:00 PM - ABC
Apparently it will be a "white out" in Happy Valley on Saturday night. How will the Buckeyes ever overcome such mind games? I guess we should be glad that it wasn't a "Joe out" because that would've been too scary to handle so close to Halloween. The Buckeyes come in rolling, having racked up 50+ points and 500+ yards in each of the last four games. J.T. Barrett and this young Buckeye offense will be facing their first truly hostile environment on Saturday night, so it isn't automatic that they'll have the same success as they have recently. Still it just feels like that the Buckeyes have too much talent on the offensive side of the ball for a Penn State defense that has been solid most of the year.
After a strong freshman campaign, Christian Hackenberg has been going through a little bit of a sophomore slump. It isn't all his fault though. The offensive line hasn't provided Hackenberg nearly enough protection, which has magnified some of the mistakes he has made. The pressure that Hackenberg has faced so far this season should be turned up when Joey Bosa and the rest of the Buckeye front seven come to State College. Raekwon McMIllan has started to come into his own at linebacker with his play the last couple weeks, and after some early season issues the secondary looks like it isn't quite as big of a problem as was first thought.
Will this be a 63-14 beating like last year in Columbus? I'm not expecting that. Should Ohio State cover the number? I do expect that. Even with a trip to Happy Valley where 100,000+ will be on hand, I don't see Penn State being able to shutdown an offense that is hitting on all cylinders. The Buckeyes might not be able to go for 50 again this week, but where is the Penn State offense going to come from? In the last three Big Ten games they've played the Nittany Lions have scored a combined 29 points, and that was against Michigan, Northwestern, and Rutgers. The Buckeyes just have too much talent for Penn State at this point. Give James Franklin another year or two and they might give the Buckeyes a scare, but it is just too soon for that right now.
Ohio State 43 Penn State 21