Last week ATS: 3-15 (0-6 National, 3-9 B1G)
Season ATS: 20-34 (6-12 National, 14-22 B1G)
There are really no words to describe my picks from last week, aside from “trash.” It’s best to just forget last week ever happened, and try to pick up the pieces and find some winners in this week’s slate of games.
National games (All games Saturday unless otherwise noted):
Florida Atlantic v. No. 16 UCF (-14) - Friday 9/21 7:00 PM EST - ESPN
I’m not going to get fooled again in trusting Florida Atlantic. After their strong finish to the 2017 season, the Owls got slaughtered by Oklahoma in Norman to open the season. So far in Lane Kiffin’s time at Florida Atlantic, the Owls have lost all the three games they’ve played against Power 5 teams by a combined score of 136-47.
Maybe Scott Frost is wishing he stuck around in Orlando a little longer. The Golden Knights have won their last 15 games, which is the longest active streak in the country. UCF was originally scheduled to play North Carolina last week, but Hurricane Florence had other plans, which gave the Golden Knights some extra time to prepare for their in-state foe.
I don’t think Florida Atlantic will get crushed by the Golden Knights quite like how the Sooners took it to the Owls to open the season, but UCF should be able to cover the two touchdown point spread. McKenzie Milton is one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and the dynamic UCF offense will rack up points against a suspect Florida Atlantic defense.
UCF 52, Florida Atlantic 28
No. 2 Georgia (-15.5) v. Missouri - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN
A couple weeks ago Georgia hit the road to take on South Carolina, and I thought the Gamecocks would be able to hang around against the Bulldogs. Much like most of my other picks this season, I was wrong. Georgia has been dominant this year, scoring at least 40 points in every game, and giving up just 24 points through three.
Missouri quarterback Drew Lock continues to put up huge numbers, but they are coming against weak competition. Last week the Tigers squandered a 17-point lead against Purdue, needing a field goal as time expired to put away the Boilermakers. If David Blough can throw for 572 yards against the Tigers, imagine what Jake Fromm should be able to do.
Lock and the Missouri offense are going to come back down to earth against a smothering Georgia defense. After handing Missouri their last regular season loss last year in Athens, Georgia snaps the nine-game, regular season winning streak of the Tigers.
Georgia 43, Missouri 17
No. 22 Texas A&M v. No. 1 Alabama (-26) - 3:30 PM EST - CBS
Texas A&M hung with Clemson earlier this year in College Station, so the Aggies should be able to give Alabama a little bit of a game at least, right? Wrong. The Crimson Tide have scored at least 50 points in every game and have only given up 28 total points so far this season. Until somebody shows me that they can have at least a little bit of sustained success against Alabama, it’s going to be hard to pick against the Crimson Tide.
This year’s Alabama team has a different feel than the last few years because of what Tua Tagovailoa brings to the table. The sophomore is the best quarterback Alabama has had in quite some time, and is only going to get better from here on out. Tagovailoa is averaging 19 yards per completion, giving Alabama a dangerous passing game to compliment their strong running game.
Nick Saban just doesn’t lose to his former assistants, posting a 12-0 record against those on his coaching tree. Last year in the season opener, the dominant win by the Crimson Tide over Jimbo Fisher’s Florida State team set the table for a disastrous season for the Seminoles. Saban rudely welcomes Fisher to the SEC with another easy win against his former assistant.
Alabama 49, Texas A&M 14
No. 17 TCU (-3.5) v. Texas - 4:30 PM EST - FOX
TCU put up a valiant effort against Ohio State on Saturday night, but the Buckeyes had just a little too much for the Horned Frogs to handle. Normally I would worry about a hangover the next week after expending so much energy in a loss, but I think TCU will rebound quickly.
Texas found themselves in an early 14-3 hole against USC last week, but the Longhorns reeled off 34 unanswered points, which will likely lead to many people claiming that Texas is back. Texas isn’t back. I made the mistake of thinking the Trojans were better than they really are. This is still the same Texas team that lost to Maryland to open the season, and struggled with Tulsa the following week.
TCU has absolutely owned the Longhorns of late, winning the last four meetings between the schools by an average of 30 points. Texas has had no answer for the Horned Frogs, failing to reach double figures on the scoreboard in each of the last three matchups. The score will be a little closer this year than in recent history, but the Longhorns still won’t come close to covering.
TCU 37, Texas 20
Texas Tech v. No. 15 Oklahoma State (-14) - 7:00 PM EST - FS1
I’m pretty sure I could go to Texas Tech and throw for at least 300 yards in a game. Somehow the Red Raiders keep spitting out quarterbacks who throw up huge numbers. The latest is Alan Bowman, who is only playing because of an injury starter McLane Carter suffered in the season opener against Ole Miss. The true freshman threw for 605 yards last week in a 63-49 win over Houston.
Putting up those kind of numbers in Lubbock is one thing, but doing it in Stillwater is a whole different story. Last week Oklahoma State shut down everything Boise State tried to do in an impressive 44-21 win over the Broncos. Quarterback Taylor Cornelius continued his strong start to the season, throwing for a touchdown and adding another two rushing scores.
Every year it feels like I pick way too many Oklahoma State games, and I end up losing all of them. With my track record of picking Oklahoma State games, and especially after my overall performance last week, I wouldn’t blame you if you took the opposite side of this contest. While it’s always a concern laying this many points against a Texas Tech team that can put up points in a hurry, they aren’t the same team away from home. Mike Gundy makes it 10 straight wins over the Red Raiders.
Oklahoma State 55, Texas Tech 35
No. 7 Stanford (-2) v. No. 20 Oregon - 8:00 PM EST - ABC
This week’s marquee matchup in Eugene will feature a couple of Heisman Trophy hopefuls. After rushing for 2,118 yards last season, Stanford running back Bryce Love looks to jump start a Heisman campaign that has been slow out of the blocks so far this year. After rushing for 165 yards in the first two games this year, Love sat out last week’s contest against UC-Davis, but it wasn’t like the Cardinal needed him all that much.
Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert has thrown 12 touchdowns in three games this season, but Stanford will by far be the toughest competition the junior quarterback has faced this season. The Cardinal are allowing just 7.7 points per game this year. Herbert can’t afford to make some of the same mistakes that he made last week, when he threw two interceptions against San Jose State.
After being humbled by Stanford 49-7 in Palo Alto, Oregon is going to have revenge on its mind. I think Stanford is the more complete team, but I like Oregon in this spot. A lot of people are doubting the Ducks because of their weak early season schedule, but I think the atmosphere at Autzen is going to give the edge to the home team. The Ducks get their biggest win in a few years.
Oregon 30, Stanford 27