Last week ATS: 6-8 (1-5 National, 5-3 B1G)
Season ATS: 26-42 (7-17 National, 19-25 B1G)
If it wasn’t for bad luck, MC&J would have no luck at all this year. At least last week wasn’t nearly as bad as the previous week, but there was still plenty of rough moments. Last week’s national slate was especially ugly, as Georgia, Alabama, and Oregon all were covering in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t close the deal. Hope the tide can start turning this week, and we can start catching a few breaks.
No. 12 West Virginia (-4) v. No. 25 Texas Tech - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN2
Third time has to be the charm when it comes to betting against Texas Tech, right? The last two weeks I’ve badly missed on picking against the Red Raiders, but their luck has to run out at some point.
West Virginia’s defense might be for real this year, as the Mountaineers posted an impressive 35-6 win over Kansas State last week. Tony GIbson’s unit is only giving up 12.3 points per game so far, but the West Virginia defense will face their toughest test this season when they head to Lubbock.
If this spread was over a touchdown, I might consider backing Texas Tech at home, but I think Will Grier and the West Virginia offense will be a little too much for the Red Raiders to keep up with. The Mountaineers make it five straight wins over Texas Tech.
West Virginia 44, Texas Tech 31
No. 18 Texas (-9) v. Kansas State - 3:30 PM EST - FS1
Tom Herman might just want to get his team to pretend the whole game is the second half on Saturday. The Longhorns have made some tremendous adjustments the last two weeks coming out of the halftime break, outscoring USC and TCU by a combined score of 42-3.
Normally this would be a prime “Bill Snyder Special” game, where the Wildcats aren’t given much of a shot and then end up pulling the upset, or covering the point spread at the very least. This year isn’t quite the same as previous years though, as Kansas State feels like a bit of a mess.
K-State not only lost to Mississippi State a couple weeks ago, but they got smashed by West Virginia last week. There is still a chance that we all get Tim Beck-ed and Texas loses a game they should easily win, but it feels like Tom Herman might have turned the corner with his squad, so I’m going to take my chances that Herman will keep his offense on the rails.
Texas 38, Kansas State 20
Florida v. No. 23 Mississippi State (-7.5) - 6:00 PM EST - ESPN
Imagine if before the season began someone told you that heading into the Dan Mullen Bowl that both of these teams would have a loss on their record at the hands of Kentucky. You would be having that person fitted for a straight jacket and a padded room, right?
Following their loss in the second week of the season to Kentucky, Florida has responded with two straight wins, scoring at least 47 points in both of those games. The Gators have seen quarterback Feleipe Franks throw for 12 touchdowns so far this season, which has to be a surprise for Florida after the long line of mediocre quarterbacks in Gainesville since Tim Tebow graduated.
Mississippi State has had this game circled on their schedule ever since Dan Mullen left the Bulldogs last year to return to Florida, where he was an assistant for four years prior to taking the head coaching job in Starkville. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald will be looking to rebound from his worst start for the Bulldogs, where he accounted for just 165 total yards.
If anyone is going to know how to slow down this Mississippi State team, it is Mullen. But, the Bulldogs will get an emotional victory over their former head coach, but Saturday night’s contest among the cowbells in Starkville will come down to the wire.
Mississippi State 28, Florida 24
No. 7 Stanford v. No. 8 Notre Dame (-5.5) - 7:30 PM EST - NBC
If Notre Dame is able to get by Stanford on Saturday night, the path to the College Football Playoff for the Fighting Irish will clear up considerably. Sure, Notre Dame could still lose to Virginia Tech, Florida State, or USC, but those teams have already shown this year that they aren’t quite at the same level as they have been in years past.
Stanford was essentially a pylon away from suffering their first loss of the season last week. Oregon looked like they were about to go up 31-7, but the Cardinal got a gift call from the refs and just a few plays later it was 24-14. Quarterback K.J. Costello did a lot of the heavy lifting for the Stanford offense, as Bryce Love was mostly held in check by Oregon.
Hitting the road for a primetime game against a ranked opponent for the second week in a row won’t be easy, but Stanford’s defense will keep them in the game. Quarterback Ian Book had a huge game in his first career start last week against Wake Forest, but doing the same against the Stanford defense will be a much tougher task.
If you are truly torn on this game, just ask yourself which coach you would rather have on your side in a big game, David Shaw or Brian Kelly? The answer to that question shouldn’t take you very long to answer.
Stanford 23, Notre Dame 20
No. 20 BYU v. No. 11 Washington (-17) - 8:30 PM EST - FOX
After beating Wisconsin in Madison, the cougars returned home to knock off McNeese State last week in Provo. This week, BYU hits the road again for another away game against a tough ranked team. A couple weeks ago the Cougars went into Madison and beat Wisconsin to snap the Badgers’ lengthy home winning streak against non-conference opponents. BYU does have plenty of experience at quarterback with 13th-year senior Tanner Mangum taking the snaps.
Washington has their own experienced quarterback in Jake Browning, but the Huskies’ offense has struggled much of the year, only scoring more than 27 points in one game. After a 21-16 loss against Auburn to open the season, Chris Petersen’s team has no margin for error if they want to return to the College Football Playoff.
This feels like a few too many points for the Huskies to be laying on Saturday night. Washington hasn’t shown the ability to blow quality opponents out this year, and BYU is battle-tested. The Cougars won’t beat Washington, but I definitely can see BYU losing by less than double-digits.
Washington 31, BYU 24
No. 19 Oregon (-3) v. No. 24 California - 10:30 PM EST - FS1
The Ducks can’t spend much time feeling sorry for themselves after being the victim of an unbelievable Stanford comeback last week. Oregon has to try and rebound against a Cal team that is 3-0 for the first time since 2015. With Washington visiting Eugene in a couple of weeks, the Ducks can’t afford a loss to the Golden Bears, or Oregon could be staring an 0-3 Pac-12 start in the face.
I was a little surprised to see Cal pop up in the AP Poll this week. I knew Justin Wilcox had the Golden Bears playing good football in his second season as head coach, but I didn’t know Cal was quite this far along. Unlike Cal teams of recent memory, the Golden Bears are finding success with their defense. Tim DeRuyter’s defense has allowed more than 23 points in only a single game this year.
As Oregon looks to get back in the win column, at least they’ll be playing a team they have dominated for the better part of the last decade. The Ducks have won eight of the last nine meetings with the Golden Bears, and have scored at least 40 points in the last seven games against Cal. Justin Wilcox has Cal’s defense playing better, but they aren’t quite ready to slow down Justin Herbert, who has 13 touchdown passes so far this year.
Oregon 41, California 30