Last week was not good. Not good at all. It’s probably best we try and forget about the horrible picks I posted and just move on to this week and hope this week’s picks are a lot better.
Last week ATS: 4-9 (2-4 National, 2-5 B1G)
Season ATS: 27-34-1 (11-14 National, 16-20-1 B1G)
National games (All games Saturday unless otherwise noted):
No. 7 Stanford v. No. 10 Washington (-3) - Friday 9:00 PM EST - ESPN
Both Stanford and Washington got Pac-12 scares on the road last week, but were able to prevail in the end to setup this week’s undefeated showdown. Stanford looked terrible for most of the game against UCLA, but were saved by a game-winning touchdown drive by quarterback Ryan Burns. Christian McCaffrey was quiet for most of the game, but still ended up with 138 yards on 26 carries. There’s no doubt who Stanford’s workhorse is, as McCaffrey has 91 touches on offense through three games.
Washington was taken to overtime by Arizona, but were saved by a Jake Browning touchdown pass in overtime. The sophomore quarterback has impressed so far, throwing 14 touchdowns and only two interceptions. If Washington is able to handle pressure from Solomon Thomas and the rest of the Cardinal defense, Browning could have a big day against a Stanford secondary that will be without their two starting cornerbacks.
Injuries are also piling up for Stanford on offense, as wide receiver Francis Owusu and starting fullback Daniel Marx will be out for the game. If the Huskies can keep McCaffrey from hurting them too badly, I think they have a great shot to win this game.
Washington 31, Stanford 24
No. 11 Tennessee (-4) v. No. 25 Georgia - 3:30 PM EST - CBS
I’m sure this game will end up being one of the strangest of the weekend because SEC East gonna SEC East. After digging themselves an early 21-0 hole against Florida, Tennessee rattled off 38 unanswered points to beat the Gators for the first time in forever. It would be such a Tennessee thing if the Vols followed that up by laying an egg this week.
Georgia also found themselves in an early hole last week, but they didn’t have nearly as much success digging themselves out of it. Ole Miss gave Kirby Smart his first loss with authority, as the Rebels won 45-14. Nick Chubb injured his ankle in the game, and even if he plays against Tennessee, it remains to be seen just how effective he will be on Saturday. If Chubb is ineffective or doesn’t play it will put more pressure on quarterback Jacob Eason, something he doesn’t need right now.
It has been a decade since Tennessee won in Athens, so they might as well end that streak after more than a decade of losing to Florida. Last week Joshua Dobbs totaled nearly 400 yards of offense and five touchdowns. I like Tennessee to be able with this game by having the more balanced attack, something that Georgia doesn’t have at this time.
Tennessee 28, Georgia 20
North Carolina v. No. 12 Florida State (-11.5) - 3:30 PM EST - ESPN
There’s no question Florida State has an offense that many teams in the country would have a hard time stopping, but right now their biggest problem is their defense. Of course the Derwin James injury was a big blow, but the talent the Seminoles has on the defense just isn’t playing up to expectations.
North Carolina has also had their issues on defense, allowing at least 23 points in all four games this year. Last week the Tar Heels needed a furious comeback, where quarterback Mitch Trubisky threw a touchdown with two seconds to go, to take down Pitt.
Florida State is going to have their hands full trying to stop Trubisky and wide receiver Ryan Switzer, but I think we see a similar performance to last week when the Seminoles played South Florida. Dalvin Cook might not run for 267 yards, but Florida State finds a way to win by at least two touchdowns.
Florida State 45, North Carolina 28
Oklahoma (-3.5) v. No. 21 TCU - 5:00 PM EST - FOX
I’m sure not a lot of people expected Oklahoma to be unranked after three games, and TCU to just barely be inside the Top 25. It’s not like rankings end up meaning all that much in this matchup, since I usually end up getting this game wrong when picking it. Last year without Trevone Boykin, TCU nearly rallied from 30-13 down to pull the upset on the Sooners in Norman.
The Horned Frogs won’t have Boykin this year, but they will have Texas A&M transfer Kenny Hill, who has had little trouble finding his groove with TCU. Hill has thrown for over 375 yards in three of four games, with a season-high 452 yards passing in the 33-3 win over SMU last week. After seeing what J.T. Barrett was able to do to the Oklahoma defense, the Sooners could be in for a long game.
Following their loss to Ohio State, Oklahoma had a bye week to try and regroup, but I don’t think it will be enough. It isn’t like TCU has had their own defensive issues that Baker Mayfield and company could exploit, but the Horned Frogs getting points at home is very tasty. They add to Oklahoma’s early season misery.
TCU 42, Oklahoma 31
No. 3 Louisville (-2.5) v. No. 5 Clemson - 8:00 PM EST - ABC
The early season matchup of the decade of the century game of the year happens on Saturday night in Clemson. It should be quite a quarterback show between Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson, with the winner setting his team up in great position in the ACC for the rest of the year.
Lamar Jackson has been unbelievable so far this season, and has already clinched the Denard Robinson September Heisman Trophy. Good news for Louisville fans is Jackson won’t disappear in October and November like Robinson did. After accounting for 23 touchdowns last year, Jackson already has totaled 25 touchdowns in just four games.
Last year it was Watson who was putting up ridiculous numbers, and while Watson hasn’t been bad this year, he hasn’t been quite the same. The junior quarterback hasn’t been running as much, totaling just 120 yards on the ground through four games after rushing for over 1,100 yards last year. The good news is, Clemson looks to be putting things together after struggling on offense the first two games of the season.
With these two talented quarterbacks going at it, one of the defenses is going to have to step up and be the deciding factor in this game. I really think the Clemson defense will be able to slow Jackson a little more than the Louisville defense will be able to slow Watson down. Plus I like getting the points at home with the Tigers. Clemson hasn’t lost an ACC game since November 2014 and has won 18 home games in a row, two streaks they’ll keep alive on Saturday night.
Clemson 35, Louisville 31