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MC&J: Cincinnati looks to stay undefeated, plus a trio of SEC showdowns in Week 7’s national games

The Bearcats are favored by three touchdowns and the hook, which is the same amount that Georgia is favored over 11th-ranked Kentucky.

Syndication: The Enquirer Albert Cesare / The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Last week ATS: 7-5 (3-4 National, 4-1 B1G)

Season ATS: 53-36-2 (24-16 National, 29-20-2 B1G)

While it’s hard to be upset with any week that you’re over .500, last week should have been so much better for MC&J. Texas blew a 21-point lead to Oklahoma, Virginia Tech had a 29-21 lead over Notre Dame with under four minutes left in the fourth quarter, and Penn State was cruising until Sean Clifford left the game. Had those games panned out, we could have been looking at 10-2 instead of 7-5.

National games:

UCF v. No. 3 Cincinnati (-21) - 12:00 PM EST - ABC

I went into last week’s games thinking that Temple might be an attractive 30-point underdog against Cincinnati since the Bearcats might have a bit of a hangover from their win at Notre Dame the week before. Thankfully I didn’t include that slice of galaxy brain in my picks since the Bearcats destroyed Temple by 49 points.

I apparently didn’t learn my lesson since I do like UCF this weekend. I don’t see Cincinnati losing here, I just think the Golden Knights should be able to keep the final score within three touchdowns. The last time UCF lost a regular season game by more than 10 points was all the way back in 2016. I know this UCF team isn’t as good as some of the recent editions of the Golden Knights, but they still have enough talent to at least put some points on the board.

Cincinnati 38, UCF 27

No. 12 Oklahoma State v. No. 25 Texas (-5) - 12:00 PM EST - FOX

Even though Texas broke my heart last week when they blew a huge lead against Oklahoma, I still can’t imagine them losing this game. There was a lot of positives that the Longhorns can take away from the loss to the Sooners. Bijan Robinson is one of the best running backs in the country, while Xavier Worthy is establishing himself as a force at wide receiver.

Look at Mike Gundy running another scam. OANN’s head coach has led the Cowboys to a 5-0 record so far this year. The Cowboys will probably end the regular season with 3-4 losses though, since they aren’t as good as their record may indicate. Oklahoma State has played a bunch of mediocre teams this year. The defense of the Cowboys gets exposed as Robinson, Worthy, and the rest of the Longhorns take out some of their frustrations from last weekend on Oklahoma’s in-state rival.

Texas 41, Oklahoma State 24

Auburn v. No. 17 Arkansas (-4.5) - 12:00 PM EST - CBS

How fun was that Arkansas-Ole Miss game last week? It would have been better if Arkansas could have converted the two-point conversion to make me look a little smarter in my pick that the Razorbacks were going to beat the Rebels, but at least Arkansas still covered in Oxford. KJ Jefferson and the Arkansas offense moved the ball at-will against Ole Miss, rolling up over 300 yards on the ground and through the air.

Auburn can at least say the held a lead over Georgia this year. Not many teams will likely be able to say the same. Bo Nix and the Auburn offense will at least be able to move the football a little more than they did last week against the Bulldogs, I just don’t think they’ll do enough to stay within a touchdown here.

The Razorbacks will return to Fayetteville for their first game in nearly a month. Not only will Sam Pittman’s team be fired up to play at home, they’ll also be itching to snap a two-game losing streak. Auburn is a decent team, they just aren’t quite at the level of where Arkansas is right now. The Tigers can’t pull the upset on the wild hogs.

Arkansas 31, Auburn 21

No. 11 Kentucky v. No. 1 Georgia (-21.5) - 3:30 PM EST - CBS

Laying three touchdowns and a hook to an undefeated team might seem a little crazy. I’m not all that concerned since Georgia did anything they wanted against Arkansas a few weeks ago, and I fear Arkansas a lot more than I do Kentucky. The Bulldogs are a buzzsaw right now, cutting through anything that is put in front of them.

If Kentucky came into this game unranked I wouldn’t even touch this game, but since both teams are ranked I figure I sort of have to pick it. Kentucky has an opportunistic defense, and Wan’Dale Robinson is a lot of fun to watch. Other than that, there isn’t anything special about the Wildcats. Georgia forces at least three turnovers and ends up winning by four touchdowns.

Georgia 38, Kentucky 10

No. 13 Ole Miss (-2.5) v. Tennessee - 7:30 PM EST - SEC Network

This line is pretty puzzling to me. Ole Miss is coming off a thrilling win over Arkansas, where the Rebels registered over 600 yards of offense. While the Ole Miss defense gave up over 600 yards, Tennessee doesn’t quite have the offensive prowess that Arkansas does. Hendon Hooker has 13 touchdown passes and just one interception this year, but Tennessee’s wins are against some of the softest teams in the country.

Matt Corral has definitely established himself as a Heisman Trophy candidate. The junior already has 20 touchdowns this year. I just like where Ole Miss stands on both sides of the football more than I do Tennessee. It’s obvious that Josh Heupel is making strides already in Knoxville, they just aren’t ready to pull an upset over a team like Ole Miss yet.

Ole Miss 48, Tennessee 34

TCU v. No. 4 Oklahoma (-13.5) - 7:30 PM EST - ABC

I know Oklahoma might have found their answer at quarterback, as Caleb Williams sparked last week’s comeback against Texas. Then again, Williams has never started a college football game. TCU has to be expecting Williams to start, especially after some Oklahoma beat writers were spying on Oklahoma’s practice this week from the International Space Station, or wherever they were able to get a view from.

Gary Patterson is a big, wet baby. It seems like he always finds the smallest things to complain about. Somehow even though their coach is a nightmare, TCU plays tough football. The Horned Frogs have two running backs with over 300 yards this year, while Max Duggan has thrown nine touchdowns. Even though Oklahoma will likely stay undefeated, it’s yet another week where the Sooners fail to win by more than a touchdown.

Oklahoma 38, TCU 31

No. 22 NC State (-3) v. Boston College - 7:30 PM EST - ACC Network

I love Jeff Hafley and want him to succeed with the Golden Eagles, which will hopefully earn him a high-profile job. The Boston College head coach is already 10-6 overall in his short time at Chestnut Hill. A win is a win, but take a deeper look at who Boston College has beaten this year. Colgate, UMass, Temple, and Missouri. As if that wasn’t enough, starting quarterback Phil Jurkovec was lost for the year in the second game of the season, leaving Dennis Grosel to take the snaps for the Golden Eagles.

Quarterback is not an area where NC State has any questions this year. Devin Leary has thrown 12 touchdowns this year, and hasn’t thrown an interception in the last three games. I’m not going to pretend the Wolfpack have been tested at a high-level, as their only previous road game was a loss to Mississippi State. I just think that their defense is going to give Grosel some problems in this one, which should allow them to improve to 5-1.

NC State 27, Boston College 17