Last week ATS: 5-8 (3-4 B1G, 2-4 National)
Season ATS: 29-25 (3-4 B1G, 26-21 National)
Have no fear if you missed yesterday’s Big Ten picks. Hopefully they turn out to be more treat than trick.
Memphis v. No. 7 Cincinnati (-7) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN
Last week it felt like Cincinnati played Memphis Light when they traveled to SMU. All the Bearcats did was smother the Mustangs, staying undefeated with a 42-13 win. Quarterback Desmond Ridder helped Cincinnati control the clock, rushing for 179 of the 313 rushing yards the Bearcats rolled up.
Memphis has been all offense and no defense this year. The Tigers are averaging nearly 550 yards per game this year, but they are also giving up almost 570 yards per game. On the bright side for the Tigers, they are only giving up 127 yards per game on the ground. The bad news for Memphis is they haven’t seen a rushing attack quite what they will see from Cincinnati.
The Bearcats are so tough this year, and they’ll get a boost because they can see a possible spot in the College Football Playoff getting closer and closer. Memphis is the toughest team they have faced this year, but I think Luke Fickell’s team will be up to the task. The Tigers may find some success on offense early, but the Bearcats will tighten up and win this game by double digits.
Cincinnati 38, Memphis 28
No. 5 Georgia (-17) v. Kentucky - 12:00 PM EST - SEC Network
I’m just curious where the points are going to come from in this game for Kentucky. Last week the Wildcats only scored 10 points against Missouri, and they are averaging just over 300 yards per game. Kentucky has been aided in their wins by a lot of turnovers, but it’s hard to see Georgia making the mistakes the Wildcats will need to stay in the game. While Stetson Bennett did throw three interceptions against Alabama, he has had a week off to get his head straight.
With Kentucky’s inability to find consistency on offense, this will likely result in plenty of short-field opportunities for the Bulldogs. Even though Kentucky might hang tough early and hold the Bulldogs to some field goals, eventually the defense of the Wildcats is going to tire and that’s when Georgia is going to break some big plays and run away with the result.
Georgia 37, Kentucky 14
LSU (-2.5) v. Auburn - 3:30 PM EST - CBS
I should take LSU in this game after how wrong I was about Ed Orgeron’s team last week. I thought South Carolina might be able to pull the upset on a team starting a true freshman quarterback, but that pick didn’t even come close. TJ Finley was outstanding, throwing for 265 yards and two touchdowns against the Gamecocks. It didn’t hurt that LSU got both an interception return for a touchdown and a kickoff return for a score.
As unpredictable as LSU has been this year, Auburn has been even worse at trying to get a read on. The Tigers have alternated wins and losses in their first five games, and are coming off a 35-28 win over Ole Miss. Bo Nix played his best game of the season, completing over 75% of his passes and throwing for 238 yards and a touchdown. The biggest star this year for Auburn has been running back Tank Bigsby, who has run for over 100 yards in each of the last three games.
This series has been insanely close over the last four years, with all four games being decided by five points or less. LSU has won the last three contests in the rivalry, but this year feels like the year Auburn ends the streak. Even though there won’t be a normal crowd at Jordan-Hare Stadium, I’ll go against the true freshman making his first start on the road.
Auburn 27, LSU 24
Texas v. No. 6 Oklahoma State (-3.5) - 4:00 PM EST - FOX
Oh look, another Oklahoma State spread where they are 3.5-point favorites at home. The Cowboys had the game in control last week against Iowa State until the end, when the Cyclones scored with less than a minute to go in the game to cover the spread. How come I can see exactly the same thing happening this week? Probably because Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State only exist to make my picks miserable.
Texas played a strong game last week against Baylor, actually showing some defense in the 27-16 win over the Bears. The Longhorns are going to need even more of that this week when they take on Chuba Hubbard, Tylan Wallace, and the rest of the Cowboys. At least Texas knows they can probably get quarterback Spencer Sanders to turn the football over a couple times. Over the last two years, Sanders has thrown 13 interceptions in 278 pass attempts.
I think Texas is able to do what Iowa State wasn’t able to do last wee — go into Stillwater and win. The Longhorns should be able to have success running the football with Sam Ehlinger and Keaontay Ingram, which will keep the explosive Oklahoma State offense off the field. This game comes down to the wire, so I’ll happily take the 3.5 points I’m getting here.
Texas 34, Oklahoma State 31
Arkansas v. No. 8 Texas A&M (-12) - 7:30 PM EST - SEC Network
One of the biggest surprises in college football this year has been Arkansas. New head coach Sam Pittman has injected some energy into the program, which has led to the Razorbacks snapping a 20-game SEC losing streak earlier in the season. It also doesn’t hurt that Arkansas found some experience at quarterback with Florida transfer Feleipe Franks, who has thrown for 976 yards and eight touchdowns this year.
After an ugly loss to Alabama earlier this year, Texas A&M has rebounded with wins over Florida and Mississippi State. Kellen Mond has been solid for the Aggies this year, but the Texas A&M offense has been sparked by running back Isaiah Spiller, who has rushed for over 100 yards in each of Texas A&M’s three wins.
Arkansas is pesky and I think we see more of the same from the Razorbacks on Saturday night. I don’t think we see Arkansas go into College Station and beat the Aggies, but they do at least make life difficult for Jimbo Fisher’s team. This feels like a game that Texas A&M ends up winning by 7-10 points.
Texas A&M 31, Arkansas 21
No. 15 North Carolina (-7) v. Virginia - 8:00 PM EST - ACC Network
Imagine where North Carolina might be right now if they hadn’t laid an egg against Florida State a couple weeks ago. The Tar Heels rebounded last week with a 48-21 win over N.C. State. Quarterback Sam Howell has to be excited to go up against a Virginia defense that is allowing over 285 yards passing per game. The North Carolina offense isn’t all Howell, though. The Tar Heels are averaging nearly 250 yards on the ground per game this year.
After starting the season with a win against Duke, the Cavaliers have been dreadful since, losing four games in a row. Quarterback Brennan Armstrong didn’t throw a pick last week in the 19-14 loss to Miami, marking the first time this season he hasn’t thrown at least two picks in a game.
I just don’t think Virginia has the horses to keep up with the high-powered North Carolina attack. I could see the Tar Heels winning this game by at least two touchdowns, as they know they have to impress after the loss to the Seminoles put them behind the eight-ball.
North Carolina 38, Virginia 24