Last week ATS: 6-6 (3-2 National, 3-4 B1G)
Season ATS: 45-58 (17-24 National, 28-34 B1G)
After a strong Week 6, MC&J spent Week 7 treading water, breaking even with a 6-6 record. Last week’s national picks were pretty good, with the only misses coming with our UCF pick, as well as a completely underestimating what Iowa State could do. With five more solid national games to pick this week, hopefully we can continue to improve on a poor start to the season.
No. 9 Oklahoma (-8.5) v. TCU - 12:00 PM EST - ABC
Ohio State has a habit of breaking teams. Just look at the dud Penn State laid last week in their first game following their loss to the Buckeyes. TCU is in the same boat. The Horned Frogs have lost two of three games since falling to the Buckeyes last month, failing to score more than 17 points in any of those three games.
If someone told you a few years ago that in 2018 the only Stoops brother with a job would be Mark at Kentucky, you would have thought that was crazy talk. After giving up 48 points to Texas two weeks ago, Oklahoma finally pulled the plug on Mike Stoops as their defensive coordinator. Ruffin McNeill was named interim defensive coordinator, and after a bye week the Sooner defense will be ready to silence the doubters.
After five straight meetings that were decided by six points or less, Oklahoma put some distance on the Horned Frogs in their two meetings last year. With Kyler Murray leading the Oklahoma offense, it’s hard to see a struggling TCU offense keeping pace with the Sooners. Oklahoma bounces back from their first loss of the season with a double-digit win.
Oklahoma 38, TCU 24
No. 16 N.C. State v. No. 3 Clemson (-17) - 3:30 PM EST - ESPN
This year’s edition of the Textile Bowl is a battle of undefeated teams. That will go a long way in determining who represents the ACC Atlantic in the conference’s championship game in December. While many expected Clemson to be undefeated at this point, the fact that the Wolfpack are is a bit of a surprise.
What a weird season it has been for Clemson so far this year. The Tigers spent the first part of the season splitting time between quarterbacks Kelly Bryant and freshman Trevor Lawrence, but when Lawrence was elevated to starter, Bryant decided to transfer. Then Lawrence was injured against Syracuse, a game which the Tigers nearly lost. Last time out, Clemson returned to form with Lawrence back under center, rolling Wake Forest 63-3.
Clemson has dominated the series since 2004, winning 13 of the last 14 matchups, but the Wolfpack has kept things close-ish lately, with five of the last six games being decided by 15 points or less. N.C. State hasn’t really seen much competition this year, but they do have senior Ryan Finley at quarterback, which should keep this from being a blowout. Clemson hands the Wolfpack their first loss of the year, but this game stays within the number.
Clemson 33, N.C. State 21
Colorado v. No. 15 Washington (-15.5) - 3:30 PM EST - FOX
Colorado and Washington are both coming off road conference losses last week, with Washington’s especially stinging because it totally eliminated any hopes the Huskies might have had of sneaking into the College Football Playoff had they won out. Washington had a chance to beat the Ducks, but kicker Peyton Henry missed a 37-yard field goal at the end of regulation that would have won the game.
Colorado didn’t suffer quite as much heartache last week, but they did suffer their first loss of the season. The Buffaloes looked awful the first three quarter, before scoring a couple touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make the score look somewhat respectable. Quarterback Steven Montez was held in check, completing 26 passes for just 170 yards.
I felt like Washington was laying too many points a few weeks ago with BYU coming to Seattle. The Huskies took the Cougars to the woodshed, but this game has a different feel to it. After such a tough loss last week that ended their playoff hopes, I could see the Huskies coming out flat. Running back Myles Gaskin’s status is up in the air for the game, and even if he plays, I’m not confident he’ll be very effective. The Huskies will win but Colorado will give a better effort than they did against USC.
Washington 27, Colorado 20
No. 22 Mississippi State v. No. 5 LSU (-7) - 7:00 PM EST - ESPN
Will the real LSU please stand up? Will we get the Tigers squad that lost to Florida or rolled up Georgia last week? Joe Burrow is still having accuracy issues, but he made up for it by rushing for 66 yards and two touchdowns on the ground against the Bulldogs. If LSU is able to get past Mississippi State, they’ll have a week off to prepare for their showdown with Alabama in Baton Rouge on Nov. 3.
Mississippi State looked completely lost after falling to Kentucky and Florida in back-to-back games, but the Bulldogs turned things around with a dominant win over Auburn two weeks ago. The difference? Head coach Joe Moorhead let quarterback Nick Fitzgerald do what he does best: hurt teams with his legs and not his arm. Fitzgerald threw less than 20 passes for the first time this season, and rushed a season-high 28 times for 195 yards and two touchdowns.
Of the last four meetings between these two schools, either Mississippi State has won, or lost by five points or less. The Tigers could be a little drained after tough games against Florida and Georgia, while the Bulldogs should be fresh after having last week off. I like Mississippi State’s defense to give Burrow problems, while the dual-threat ability of Fitzgerald spoils LSU’s upcoming matchup with Alabama.
Mississippi State 24, LSU 21
No. 12 Oregon v. No. 25 Washington State (-3) - 7:30 PM EST - FOX
The atmosphere in Pullman all day Saturday is going to be electric. After years of the Washington State flag flying at other College GameDay sites, the show will visit the Palouse for the first time ever. Washington State fans were already going bonkers on Wednesday with the arrival of the College GameDay trucks.
Both teams are averaging over 40 points per game this year, but that’s nothing new. The difference is Washington State has been able to continue their defensive turnaround over the last few years, even without former defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, who is now at Ohio State. The Cougars will have their hands full on Saturday night trying to slow down Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, who many are tabbing as the top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Herbert isn’t the only quarterback in this game who can light up the stat sheet, though, as Washington State’s Gardner Minshew has 19 touchdowns and just four interceptions so far this season. Oregon spent a lot of energy last week in beating Washington in overtime, while Washington State had a pretty easy go of it against Oregon State. These two teams are pretty evenly matched, so I’ll give the edge to the insane atmosphere that will greet the Ducks in Pullman.
Washington State 41, Oregon 34