Last week ATS: 8-4 (4-1 National, 4-3 B1G)
Season ATS: 34-28-1 (11-9 National, 23-19-1 B1G)
Last week was more like the performance MC&J wants to put out there on a weekly basis. Not only did we sail past 50% of the week, but the score predictions for UNLV-Ohio State and Rutgers-Nebraska were almost spot on. Hopefully last week is a sign of things to come the rest of the season.
National games (All games Saturday unless otherwise noted):
No. 5 USC (-4) v. No. 16 Washington State - Friday 9/29 10:30 PM EST - ESPN
Had this game been on Saturday night instead of Friday night, it’s likely College GameDay would setup shop in Pullman for the first time ever. Instead, Clemson-Virginia Tech gets the College GameDay treatment, while Washington State will only have their flag waving in the crowd for about the billionth week in a row.
Washington State has been able to avoid the early season upsets to lesser teams that have plagued them over the past few years, and now they’ll be hoping to put a dent into USC’s national title hopes. Aside from the triple overtime thriller against Boise State a few weeks ago, the Cougars have won all their games this year by at least four touchdowns.
A loss to Washington State on Friday night wouldn’t totally end USC’s playoff hopes, but it would give the Trojans little room for error the rest of the way. Sam Darnold has been inconsistent this year, and with Luke Falk throwing darts on the other side, Darnold is going to have to be near perfect in Pullman.
It’s tempting to take Washington State in this spot, but I think USC has too much for Washington State to handle. This game will be tight most of the way, but the fourth quarter is the difference, with the Trojans winning by 10 points.
USC 41, Washington State 31
No. 7 Georgia (-8) v. Tennessee - 3:30 PM EST - CBS
Georgia has impressed more and more each week, and the Bulldogs have a chance to put an early stamp on their claim to the SEC East with a win in Knoxville on Saturday. There is still plenty of work to do with the annual clash against Florida still awaiting, but a win against the Volunteers would go a long way for Kirby Smart’s team.
The scary thing is the Bulldogs look like they’ll only get better as the season moves on. Jake Fromm has been solid in filling in for injured quarterback Jacob Eason, who was hurt in the season opener against Appalachian State, but should be ready to get back on the field soon. Not like it matters all the much who lines up behind center for Georgia though, as the Bulldogs will look to run the football with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.
Tennessee has been even more unpredictable than usual this year. The Volunteers are just a couple snaps away from possibly being 5-0 or 1-4 instead of 4-1. Last week Tennessee barely defeated UMass, and while they won’t look as bad this week, they just aren’t as good a team as Georgia is right now.
Georgia 27, Tennessee 17
No. 24 Mississippi State v. No. 13 Auburn (-10) - 6:00 PM EST - ESPN
Mississippi State-Auburn always seems like it turns into a really strange game. I remember years ago when they played the 3-2 classic, and while there hasn’t been anything quite that strange lately, this series does have its moments. The potential for shenanigans is possible here, with both teams desperate to avoid their second loss of the season.
Who knows what Mississippi State team we are going to get here. Are we going to get the Bulldogs that crushed LSU? Or the Bulldogs who couldn’t accomplish anything last week against Georgia? Nick Fitzgerald can’t do it all himself for Mississippi State, but reinforcements aren’t arriving anytime soon for the Bulldogs.
At times it has looked like Auburn’s season was going to come off the rails, but the Tigers have done a surprisingly good job at keeping that from happening. Sure Auburn lost to Clemson a few weeks ago, but Clemson might be the best team in the country. The worst performance came the week after, when the Tigers not only beat Mercer by just 14 points, but quarterback Sean White was kicked off the team following an arrest after the game.
Luckily Auburn picked up Baylor transfer quarterback Jarrett Stidham, so the loss of White hasn’t been noticed so far. Stidham will only continue to grow as he becomes more comfortable with the Auburn offense. The growth continues on Saturday night, as Auburn wins easier than many of the experts think.
Auburn 37, Mississippi State 21
No. 2 Clemson (-7.5) v. No. 12 Virginia Tech - 8:00 PM EST - ABC
Even without Deshaun Watson, Clemson looks like one of the most complete teams in the country. Kelly Bryant has some work to do in the passing game, but he has made up for that with seven rushing touchdowns so far this year. Not like Clemson needs a ton from their quarterback with the way their defense is playing.
This is Virginia Tech’s biggest hurdle to possibly working their way into the national title picture. If the Hokies are able to get by Clemson on Saturday night, their schedule is manageable the rest of the way, and it wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see them finish the regular season undefeated. Too bad that is predicated on beating Clemson, which I don’t see happening.
Quarterback Josh Jackson just isn’t ready for what Clemson is going to throw at him. Sure, Jackson has put up big numbers this year, but it hasn’t been against anyone worth anything, aside from West Virginia. The Tigers already went to Louisville and shut down Lamar Jackson, and while I really want to pick Virginia Tech for the upset here, Clemson is just too polished for the Hokies to top.
Clemson 30, Virginia Tech 17
No. 15 Oklahoma State (-10) v. Texas Tech - 8:00 PM EST - FOX
The egg is just running down my face after I praised Oklahoma State for pretty much the first time ever last week. After finding every opportunity to take shots at Oklahoma State over the past few years, I finally had some faith in the Cowboys, and they play like garbage at home against TCU.
Even with the loss to TCU, Mason Rudolph is still one of the best quarterbacks in the country. The senior has thrown for 13 touchdowns and will be looking to add to those stats against a Texas Tech team that always has a suspect defense. Oklahoma State has scored at least 31 points in each of their four games this year, and I see no reason why that streak doesn’t continue on Saturday night.
Texas Tech had a nice win last week against Houston, and the Red Raiders will probably head to a bowl game on the arm of Nik Shimonek, but they aren’t beating Oklahoma State in this spot. Trips to Lubbock are never easy, but the Cowboys are coming to town angry after the beating they suffered at the hands of TCU. Oklahoma State takes out their frustrations on the Texas Tech defense.
Oklahoma State 54, Texas Tech 38