Last week ATS: 3-3
Season ATS: 12-8
Last week started off a little rough for MC&J, missing on Ole Miss and Kentucky in early action, but at least we were able to recover to split the six-pack of picks. Now that we are in October, we can start counting the days until Big Ten football returns. Until then, at least we have some quality action to take in.
South Carolina v. No. 3 Florida (-17.5) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN
You know what is really weird? Florida having a competent offense. It feels like it has been years since the Gators could move the ball pretty much at will. Kyle Trask threw six touchdowns last week against Ole Miss, with four them going to Kyle Pitts. By the time all was said and done in Oxford, the Gators rudely welcomed Lane Kiffin back to the SEC by racking up 642 yards.
The victory was not without some concerns for Florida, though. The defense gave up nearly as many yards as the Gator offense racked up. Now Florida will have to try and get a handle on the South Carolina offense that is being run by former Colorado State head coach Mike Bobo, who brought quarterback Collin Hill with him from Fort Collins as a graduate transfer. The familiarity between the two should at least speed up the learning curve of the Gamecock offense.
Taking the points is the play here, especially after seeing Florida’s defense in the season opener. South Carolina’s defense is a little stronger than what Ole Miss puked out, so while the Kyle connection will eat on Saturday, they won’t find the end zone as much. Five of the last seven meetings between the schools have been decided by seven points or less. I feel good getting 10 more points on top of that.
Florida 35, South Carolina 24
TCU v. No. 9 Texas (-11.5) - 12:00 PM EST - FOX
The Big 12 has to be embarrassed with how the conference has performed so far this season, but it could have gotten a lot worse last weekend if Texas didn’t find a way to comeback against Texas Tech. The Longhorns rallied from down two touchdowns with just over three minutes to go to force overtime, where they thwarted the upset attempt of the Red Raiders.
Sam Ehlinger carried Texas to the win over Texas Tech, accounting for six total touchdowns. The senior quarterback now has 11 touchdowns through two games, making an early case to be a Heisman Trophy finalist. Ehlinger can’t do it all by himself, though. Texas is going to need their defense to step up if they want to have a shot at the College Football Playoff.
TCU started their season with a loss to Iowa State, but there is reason for optimism for the Horned Frogs. After Matthew Downing started the game at quarterback for TCU, Max Duggan took over in the second half, and that’s when the Horned Frogs started to find something on offense. Unfortunately, they ran out of time against the Cyclones.
I’m just going to assume every Big 12 game this year not involving Kansas is going to be decided by 3-7 points. I don’t think TCU upsets the Longhorns, but I do think they at least keep the final score in the 7-10 point range.
Texas 41, TCU 34
No. 13 Texas A&M v. No. 2 Alabama (-18.5) - 3:30 PM EST - CBS
I really want to find a reason to take Texas A&M in this game, I’m just not coming up with one. The Aggies barely beat out Vanderbilt in the season opener. Texas A&M turned the football over a number of times against the Commodores, something they won’t be able to get away with against the Crimson Tide.
Alabama did pretty much what we thought they would do against Missouri, with the only reason that they didn’t cover against the Tigers being because of some garbage time touchdowns. Najee Harris rushed for three touchdowns, while Mac Jones threw for nearly 250 yards and two touchdowns. What could set Alabama apart this year is the return of Dylan Moses on defense.
It’s tempting to take the Aggies with an experienced quarterback like Kellen Mond. However, I think Alabama is going to run through a lot of people this year. Nick Saban is going to run circles around Jimbo Fisher on Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa. Alabama makes a statement and wins by at least 3 touchdowns.
Alabama 41, Texas A&M 17
No. 25 Memphis (-2) v. SMU - 3:30 PM EST - ESPN2
So Memphis plays on Labor Day weekend, beats Arkansas State, and then doesn’t play for nearly a month. Welcome to college football in the time of COVID. There were reports of a party bus being the cause of a coronavirus outbreak with the Tigers, but they haven’t been confirmed. Since it’s 2020, I’m just going to believe there was a fleet of party buses shuttling the Tigers all around the 901.
SMU hasn’t had to deal with the same issues. The Mustangs have already played three games this season. While their opposition hasn’t exactly been world-beaters, the Mustangs beat Stephen F. Austin and North Texas the last two weeks by a combined score of 115-42. Even though Memphis will provide a lot tougher test, I’ll take a team that won’t have to knock the rust off. Having Shane Buechele slinging it for SMU is just icing on the cake.
SMU 44, Memphis 31
No. 12 North Carolina (-14) v. Boston College - 3:30 PM EST - ABC
I like Boston College in this game for a lot of the same reasons I like SMU. North Carolina hasn’t played since defeating Syracuse 31-6 on September 12th. In that game the Tar Heels didn’t look all that great until the fourth quarter, when they scored 21 points against the Orange. At least Mack Brown’s team’s layoff wasn’t because of any COVID issues in Chapel Hill. Charlotte had to cancel their September 19th game against the Tar Heels, and North Carolina already had a bye scheduled for last week.
The Golden Eagles haven’t exactly been winning pretty in Jeff Hafley’s first two games as head coach, but all that really matters is they have been winning. Not only is there excitement with Hafley’s arrival at the school, the addition of Notre Dame transfer Phil Jurkovec at quarterback has given some reason for optimism for Boston College.
Is North Carolina going to take some time to get going against Boston College, much like they did against Syracuse? Even though Sam Howell is going to be a really good quarterback, I think it takes at least a half for the Tar Heels to find their rhythm. Even when they do start feeling more comfortable, Boston College’s defense is a little tougher to crack than what Syracuse has to offer. The Golden Eagles put a scare into North Carolina.
North Carolina 27, Boston College 24
No. 18 Oklahoma (-7) v. Iowa State - 7:30 PM EST - ABC
At least we won’t have to see Oklahoma get mauled in a College Football Playoff semifinal this year. The Sooners couldn’t finish off Kansas State last week, blowing a 28-7 lead to the Wildcats. Spencer Rattler looked pretty good at quarterback, he just got absolutely no help from Alex Grinch’s defense.
Expectations were high for Iowa State this year, but the excitement for Cyclone football was quickly dashed in their season opener when they lost to Louisiana. Still, the combination of Brock Purdy and Breece Hall could cause plenty of problems for the Sooners on Saturday night in Ames.
Even though it would be hilarious to see the Sooners lose a second straight game this year, I think they’ll recover this week. Lincoln Riley will make some adjustments and they’ll look more like the team we saw in the first half and less like the team we saw in the second half. The Sooners win by at least 10 points this week in Ames.
Oklahoma 37, Iowa State 27
No. 7 Auburn v. No. 4 Georgia (-6.5) - 7:30 PM EST - ESPN
After watching Georgia in the first half last week against Arkansas, I didn’t think the Bulldogs should be favored over anyone. Things get a little better for Georgia this week at least since USC transfer quarterback J.T. Daniels has been cleared to play. Whether he starts over D’Wan Mathis and Stetson Bennett, that still remains to be seen.
Auburn doesn’t have the same problem at quarterback, as we know Bo Nix will be starting for the Tigers. Nix does have a trio of very good wide receivers to work with, and he’ll need them to be at the top of their game against a very tough Georgia defense. The Tigers will be in trouble if they can’t get the passing game moving, since their running game is still suspect.
I love Auburn here. The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry comes down to the wire and I see Auburn pulling the “upset” here. I just feel like Auburn is a little more cohesive of a team right now. It won’t be a pretty game to watch but it’ll be one of those games that gives us the feeling that football is “back”.
Auburn 24, Georgia 21