Last week ATS: 9-3 (4-2 National, 5-1 B1G)
Season ATS: 39-52 (14-22 National, 25-30 B1G)
If only every week MC&J could be as good as we were last week. After some terrible luck earlier this year, last week we got some bounces to go our way. Not only were upsets by Texas, Florida, and Mississippi State called, but Texas A&M not settling for the field goal in overtime almost brought a tear to my eye.
With plenty of football left this season, there is still a chance to claw back to the .500 mark, but another week of strong picks is desperately needed. This week’s slate isn’t all that deep, but there are a number of games that should entertain on the schedule.
No. 2 Georgia (-7.5) v. No. 13 LSU - 3:30 PM EST - CBS
The dreams of many Buckeye fans of seeing Ohio State against Joe Burrow in the College Football Playoff took a hit last week. LSU had a lead in the fourth quarter against Florida, but took their first loss of the season. Burrow couldn’t get much going against a tough Gator defense, throwing two interceptions.
Georgia has been on cruise control lately, earning easy wins in Athens over Tennessee and Vanderbilt. The difficulty is going to be upped significantly over the next month, with Saturday’s game against LSU beginning a stretch of four games against teams that are currently ranked.
I went back and forth on this game quite a bit, but I think in the end Georgia will stay undefeated with a close win in Baton Rouge. At some point during the year, every team gets a scare, and after having a pretty easy go of it so far this season, the Bulldogs actually have to compete in the fourth quarter. In a game that comes down to the wire, Coach O’s team suffers their second tough loss in a row.
Georgia 27, LSU 24
No. 7 Washington (-3) v. No. 17 Oregon - 3:30 PM EST - ABC/ESPN2
I’m still not really sold on Washington. What really have the Huskies done so far this year? Sure, Washington steamrolled BYU a couple weeks ago, but last week the Cougars got destroyed at home by Utah State, so how much stock can you really put in that win? Washington has a lot of talented pieces, but this just doesn’t feel like a playoff team.
After their heartbreaking loss to Stanford, it would have been easy for the Ducks to lay an egg the next week against Cal, but the Ducks handled their business rather easily. Oregon had a bye last week, allowing even more prep time for the annual showdown with the Huskies. After seeing a 12-game winning streak against Washington snapped in 2016, Oregon will be looking to avoid their third loss in a row to the Huskies.
Washington’s defense did show some leaks last week against UCLA, so just imagine what Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert could do on Saturday. The Huskies will also be playing their second road game in a row, while Oregon had last week off. The Ducks are a little fresher than Washington in one of Saturday’s most entertaining contests.
Oregon 38, Washington 34
No. 10 UCF (-5) v. Memphis - 3:30 PM EST - ABC/ESPN2
Washington and Oregon will likely have fireworks, but they might be nothing compared to what UCF/Memphis could give us. Last year’s AAC Championship Game was a thriller, with the Golden Knights keeping their perfect season alive with a 62-55 win in double overtime over the Tigers.
What a quarterback battle we’ll have in this game. UCF’s McKenzie Milton and Memphis quarterback Brady White have combined for 3,050 yards passing, 30 touchdowns, and just five interceptions. The difference between the two quarterbacks is Milton has the ability to run the football, accounting for five touchdowns on the ground this year.
To go along with White at quarterback, Memphis running back Darrell Henderson already has nearly 1,000 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns this year. Even though the Memphis offense does have some juice, they just aren’t as tested as UCF. The Tigers put a little fear in UCF, but the Golden Knights pull away a bit late to make it three wins over Memphis over the past two years.
UCF 47, Memphis 34
No. 6 West Virginia (-6.5) v. Iowa State - 7:00 PM EST - FS1
This game just has weird written all over it. In a sane world, West Virginia should win this game with ease, but there is nothing sane about college football. The Mountaineers have quarterback Will Grier, who has 21 passing touchdowns this year, while Iowa State has an injury list longer than the “List of Jericho”.
The Cyclones gave quarterback Brock Purdy his first start last week while Kyle Kempt sat out with an ankle injury, and all the freshman did was put up over 400 yards of offense in a 48-42 win over Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Running back David Montgomery also wasn’t able to play last week, and his status for this week is up in the air.
At some point the injuries will catch up to the Cyclones, and I’m backing on that being during the latter parts of Saturday night’s contest. I’m a little nervous of laying nearly a touchdown in a place where a number of ranked teams have fallen, but the Mountaineers are the better team. Iowa State hangs around for a while, but Grier and company pull away late.
West Virginia 41, Iowa State 24
No. 19 Colorado v. USC (-7) - 10:30 PM EST - FS1
At first glance I thought I would be all over Colorado this week, but then I got to thinking about this game a little bit. The Buffaloes may be undefeated, but their five wins have come against teams that are a combined 6-22 record so far this year. Colorado did get a bit of a test from Arizona State last week, but now the Buffaloes will have to hit the road for the first time in conference play this year.
After getting humbled in Austin last month against Texas, USC is slowly growing up. The Trojans rebounded with wins over Washington State and Arizona before a bye week last week. Now Porter Gustin and the USC defense will be tasked with slowing the combination of Steven Montez and Laviska Shenault Jr.
I know it’s not ideal to be laying so many points with a young team to an offense that can put up points, but I just think USC is the better team in this one. If you need any more convincing about the home team here, Colorado is 0-12 all-time against USC. The Trojans make it lucky number 13 on Saturday night.
USC 38, Colorado 27