Things really fell apart last week for MC&J, especially in the national contests. Not only was there a plethora of losing picks last week, but they weren’t even really close. Hopefully there is a few winning weeks left as the regular season winds down over these next few weeks.
Last week ATS: 4-8 (1-4 National, 3-4 B1G)
Season ATS: 59-69-3 (22-32-1 National, 37-37-2 B1G)
Baylor v. No. 11 Oklahoma (-15.5) - 12:00 PM EST - ABC/ESPN2
The season started off slow for Oklahoma, with the Sooners losing two of their first three games, but since then Bob Stoops’ squad has turned things around. The Sooners have won six games in a row, and are in the driver’s seat in the Big 12. Last week Oklahoma was able to get by Iowa State without their top two running backs, but should have both Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon back for this contest.
The last few weeks of the year for Baylor have been similar to how Oklahoma started their season. After winning their first six games, the Bears have dropped their last two, and fallen out of the College Football Playoff rankings. Things got even worse for Baylor, as leading rusher Shock Linwood got into an altercation with a graduate assistant and is suspended for this week’s game.
Even with the loss of Linwood, Baylor has some talent at running back, but they’ll have to be on top of their game when they go up against a Oklahoma defense that is giving up just 123.6 yards per game to opponents on the ground. It’s nerve-wracking to lay so many points to a Baylor team that can put up a lot of points, but it feels like this Baylor team is falling apart. They’ll have trouble containing the Oklahoma running game, while Dede Westbrook should be able to continue his incredible hot streak.
Oklahoma 51, Baylor 31
No. 9 Auburn (-10) v. Georgia - 3:30 PM EST - CBS
The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry will be played for the 120th time on Saturday. Auburn comes in on a roll, winning six in a row after losing two of their first three games this year. The Tigers are a little banged up right now, but if they get through the Bulldogs this week they’ll have a layup next week against Alabama A&M before a showdown with Alabama. Quarterback Shaun White will start after not starting last week against Vanderbilt. Running backs Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson are also dealing with injuries, but should be able to play on Saturday.
After starting the season with three straight wins, Georgia has sputtered, losing four of their last six. Last week saw the Bulldogs get back into the win column, as they snuck by Kentucky. Georgia will need running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel to find some room to work to take some of the pressure off of freshman quarterback Jacob Eason. The good news for Georgia is they have one of the best rushing defenses in the country, so if they are able to slow an Auburn team that is averaging nearly 300 yards per game on the ground, they could put a scare into the Tigers.
Auburn’s lackluster performance against Vanderbilt last week gives a little hope to the Bulldogs. Technically Georgia is still alive in the SEC East race, but they need to win and get some help. At least Georgia has a chance to play spoiler here. We won’t get an ending like in 2013 when Auburn miraculously beat Georgia late in the game, but the Bulldogs keep this competitive.
Auburn 24, Georgia 17
Texas Tech v. No. 13 Oklahoma State (-12.5) - 3:30 PM EST - FS1
If you like defense, this definitely won’t be the game for you. The last five meetings between the schools have featured at least 72 points in each game, with last year’s score being a ridiculous 70-53 in favor of Oklahoma State. In a win over Kansas State last week, quarterback Mason Rudolph threw for a career-high 457 yards against the Wildcats. The Cowboys sit a game behind Oklahoma in the Big 12 standings, and with a matchup later this month against the Sooners, Oklahoma State controls their own destiny.
Texas Tech still needs a couple wins to become bowl eligible, and it’d be a crime if we didn’t get to see Patrick Mahomes and the Red Raider offense in a game over the holidays. Texas Tech has struggled of late, losing four of their last five, but a win to spoil Oklahoma State’s conference title hopes could give Kliff Kingsbury’s team a boost to close out the season. Mahomes is just over a 100 passing yards away from 4,000 for the season, and has already thrown 31 touchdowns.
While Texas Tech’s defense is terrible, Oklahoma State’s isn’t all that much better. Kansas State isn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut but the Wildcats were able to score 37 points last week against the Cowboys. I’m not saying that Texas Tech is going to pull the upset in Stillwater, but they’ll at least make things interesting and keep the game within single digits.
Oklahoma State 58, Texas Tech 51
No. 24 LSU (-7) v. No. 25 Arkansas - 7:00 PM EST - ESPN
One of just two matchups between ranked teams takes place on Saturday night in Fayetteville. LSU will be trying to rebound from a loss to Alabama last week, which was their first setback under interim head coach Ed Orgeron. Yet again the Crimson Tide was able to shutdown the LSU offense, holding running back Leonard Fournette to just 35 yards on 17 carries. Fournette should be able to find a little more running room against the Arkansas rush defense, but it might be asking a lot to think the junior running back is going to replicate his performance against Ole Miss.
Arkansas was able to rebound in a big way from their loss to Auburn, scoring a 31-10 win over Florida last week. Running back Rawleigh Williams III is nearing 1,000 rushing yards on the season, while quarterback Austin Allen is putting up solid numbers this year. The Razorbacks are going to need big performances out of both if they have designs on cracking a tough LSU defense.
Right now Arkansas has all the momentum after their win against Florida, while LSU is licking their wounds. Aside from the loss to Alabama earlier in the year, Arkansas has been tough at home. This feels like a game that will come down to the end, so laying a touchdown isn’t something I’m really interested in here. In a game that I think is more off a toss-up, I’ll take Arkansas to win here.
Arkansas 27, LSU 23
No. 20 USC v. No. 4 Washington (-9.5) - 7:30 PM EST - FOX
Early in the season it looked like USC was in a lot of trouble, losing three of their first four games. Since then the Trojans have turned things around, winning five straight games, and in four of those games scoring at least 40 points. After losing his first game as starter, freshman quarterback Sam Darnold has played great for USC, throwing 20 touchdowns, with 18 of those coming during the five-game winning streak.
Darnold will have his work cut out for him against a Washington defense that is allowing just 17 points per game. The combination of the Huskies defense along with an offense that is really clicking right now is why Washington is ranked fourth in the CFP rankings. Sophomore quarterback Jake Browning threw six touchdown passes against California, marking the second time this year in which he has thrown six touchdown passes in a game.
The Trojans certainly have the talent needed to keep up with Washington, but I think the spotlight might be just a little too bright in this spot for this young USC team. Earlier this year a ranked Stanford team came into Seattle and the Huskies crushed the Cardinal. While we know Stanford isn’t as good as many thought they’d be, Washington is so good at home, and the balance they have on offense will just be too much for the Trojans to keep pace with.
Washington 42, USC 27