Last week's picks weren't quite as good as the week before, but it's hard to be upset with a 7-5 week. Rivalry week is upon us and hopefully the recent stretch of solid picks will continue in the two weeks we have left before bowl season gets started.
Last week ATS: 7-5 (3-2 National, 4-3 B1G)
Season ATS: 85-73-3 (34-27-2 National, 51-46-1 B1G)
National games (All games Saturday unless otherwise noted):
#15 Navy v. Houston (-1) - Friday 12:00 p.m. - ABC
There might not be a team in the country right now hotter than Navy. The Midshipmen have only lost one game this year, and that came in early October when they lost 41-24 to Notre Dame. The Navy hot streak hasn't just been on the football field, but also against the point spread, as they have covered eight of their last 10 games. Keenan Reynolds just went over 1,000 yards rushing for the year and has rushed for 18 touchdowns. The Midshipmen are averaging nearly 350 a game on the ground, which ranks second in the country. Along with their prolific rushing attack, Navy is also very smart with the football, as they have the least turnovers among FBS teams.
Tom Herman's Houston squad saw their dreams of an undefeated season come to an end on Saturday against UConn, but with the AAC West Division crown up for grabs in this game, the Cougars still have plenty to play for. Not only is quarterback Greg Ward Jr. questionable for Friday's game, but so is backup quarterback Kyle Postma. It's hard to count out Herman, especially when he has to replace his quarterback, but right now it's hard to see a team slow the roll that Navy is on right now.
Navy 38 Houston 27
#7 Baylor (-1.5) v. #19 TCU - Friday 7:30 p.m. - ESPN
After suffering their first loss of the season a couple weeks ago against Oklahoma, Baylor was able to hand Oklahoma State their first loss of the season on Saturday night. The win was Baylor's first in Stillwater since 1939, but it came at a price since quarterback Jarrett Stidham didn't play after halftime due to injury and has been reported Stidham has a broken ankle. Third-string quarterback Chris Johnson was solid in relief, passing for two touchdowns and running for another. The Bears will need Johnson to be just as good on Friday night against the Horned Frogs. At least the third-stringer has weapons like Corey Coleman and KD Cannon, who caught five passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns against Oklahoma State, to utilize.
Baylor isn't the only team dealing with quarterback issues heading into this contest. Trevone Boykin missed Saturday's game against Oklahoma, and his status for Friday night is still up in the air. Freshman Foster Sawyer started off strong, but was replaced by Bram Kohlhausen after throwing three interceptions. Kohlhausen almost engineered a comeback for the Horned Frogs, but missed on a two-point conversion late in the contest. Even if Boykin plays I'm still skeptical that TCU can win this contest, especially without wide receiver Josh Doctson. Baylor found a little more of their rhythm on offense after struggling the past few weeks and I think they just have a little too much for the Horned Frogs.
Baylor 45 TCU 38
#2 Alabama (-14) v. Auburn - 3:30 p.m. - CBS
Aside from their hiccup against Ole Miss earlier in the season, Alabama has been downright dominant pretty much all year, and that has been especially true away from Tuscaloosa. Derrick Henry has 21 rushing touchdowns on the year and figures to pad his stats as he makes a run for the Heisman Trophy against an Auburn defense that has allowed 23 rushing touchdowns so far this season.
Right now it is unknown who will be the quarterback for Auburn on Saturday, but I don't really think it's going to matter. Jeremy Johnson has played better lately, but I can't get past him turning the ball over so many times early in the year. I could see Alabama picking Johnson off three of four times if he is the starter. Even though this is a rivalry game and it can be dangerous to lay so many points on the road, Alabama isn't your normal team.
Alabama 37 Auburn 17
#13 Florida State (-2) v. #12 Florida - 7:30 p.m. - ESPN
For all the issues Florida State has gone through with the injuries to Everett Golson and Dalvin Cook, this season hasn't really been that bad for them. Sure, it's not where they have been the last couple years, but you had to figure there was going to be some growing pains. Sean Maguire has played well since taking over as starting quarterback, and I'm actually more confident with him behind center over Golson.
Florida may be 10-1 but it is an ugly 10-1. Following their beatdown of Georgia on Halloween, the Gators barely won against Vanderbilt and Florida Atlantic, and didn't look all that impressive against South Carolina. Who knows where Florida would be without their defense, because their offense is dreadful right now. The Seminoles have won three out of the last four against the Gators, and I'll say they make it four out of five, as Dalvin Cook is the difference in this one.
Florida State 21 Florida 13
#6 Notre Dame v. #9 Stanford (-4) - 7:30 p.m. - Fox
Notre Dame has been decimated all year due to injuries, and that's not a position you want to be in heading into Palo Alto to take on a physical Stanford team. It's hard to like Notre Dame in this spot, especially after seeing what happened in Boston on Saturday night. While Boston College does have a very good defense and the Fighting Irish should have a little easier time on offense against Stanford, I just don't know who is going to make plays for them aside from Will Fuller.
On the other hand, Stanford has Christian McCaffrey, who does just about everything for the Cardinal. The sophomore running back has rushed for over 100 yards in his last nine games, and is also a threat as a receiver and returner. A win would keep do wonders for Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff race, but it isn't crazy to think Stanford is still alive as well if enough chaos happens. Notre Dame might hang around for a bit, but in the end Stanford is just too much for the Fighting Irish.
Stanford 34 Notre Dame 21
#3 Oklahoma (-6.5) v. #11 Oklahoma State - 8:00 p.m. ABC
Oklahoma made a huge jump this week when the CFP committee ranked them third following wins over Baylor and TCU. Now the Sooners can pretty much punch a ticket to the College Football Playoff with a win against Oklahoma State in Stillwater. The Sooners looked like they were going to win big on Saturday night against TCU but they almost let their lead slip after Baker Mayfield left in the first half due to a head injury. Mayfield will be back for Bedlam, and when he is on it's tough to stop the Oklahoma offense.
I've been saying for weeks that I didn't think Oklahoma State was all that good, and they finally lost their first game on Saturday night. Mike Gundy has done a great job with this team, but I just can't see how they are going to keep pace with the Sooners. Scoring on the terrible defenses that TCU and Baylor have is one thing, but it's a lot harder to crack the Oklahoma defense. The Sooners end up winning this one by double-digits I feel like.
Oklahoma 44 Oklahoma State 28