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MC&J: TCU will try and stay undefeated when they take on Texas on Saturday

Plus, picks for six other interesting games outside the Big Ten on Saturday.

TCU v West Virginia Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Last week ATS: 11-3 (4-3 B1G, 7-0 National)

Season ATS: 75-75-3 (35-39-1 B1G, 40-35-2 National)

If only I could make picks every week like I did last week. Thanks to the huge week, our record is back to even with a month of games left to go, as well as bowl season.

National games:

(All lines courtesy of Draftkings Sportsbook.)

No. 7 LSU (-3.5) v. Arkansas - 12:00 p.m. - ESPN

LSU enters this matchup coming off the emotional win over Alabama last week. After a tough start to the season, Jayden Daniels has become more comfortable in the LSU offense. Not only has Daniels recorded 24 total touchdowns this year, the Arizona State transfer has done a great job at limiting mistakes, only throwing one interception.

After starting the season with a ton of promise, Arkansas has fallen apart, losing four of their last six games The most recent loss came last week when they were defeated in Fayetteville by Liberty. KJ Jefferson has the ability to match Daniels on the ground and through the air, the Arkansas quarterback just isn’t getting much help.

Normally I’d say this game is a textbook scenario to take the Razorbacks. While the idea of taking an unranked home underdog hosting a ranked team coming off a huge win sounds great, this LSU team feels a little different. The Tigers look like they are buying into Brian Kelly’s coaching. Arkansas could make things interesting for a while, I just think LSU ends up winning this game by 7-10 points.

LSU 31, Arkansas 21

Louisville v. No. 10 Clemson (-7) - 3:30 p.m. - ESPN

Are we really sure that Clemson is that much better of a team than Louisville right now? The Cardinals have found a bit of a rhythm, winning their last four games. Malik Cunningham isn’t going to wow anybody with his passing, but he can keep opponents off balance with his ability to run the football. The Louisville offense is pretty balanced, throwing for 221 yards per game, while running for 202 yards per contest.

Clemson is in a lot of trouble right now. The Tigers looked listless in a 35-14 loss to Notre Dame last week. Even though the Tigers are still in the driver’s seat to make the ACC Championship Game, it is obvious they had a bigger goal for this season. It’ll be interesting to see if Dabo Swinney sticks with D.J. Uiagalelei, or turns to freshman quarterback Cade Klubnik.

Some may think the loss to the Fighting Irish might wake the Tigers up. I’m not so sure since Clemson has a number of problems. The Tigers don’t have playmakers on either side of the football that they have had in the past. A dynamic quarterback like Cunningham could cause fits for the Tigers, who are already dealing with confidence issues.

Louisville 28, Clemson 24

No. 9 Alabama (-11.5) v. No. 11 Ole Miss - 3:30 p.m. - CBS

We have all seen this snuff film before. Alabama drops a game and Sabanbot2000 has his team ready to murder in their next game. The Crimson Tide obviously don’t have the receivers that we have seen from them over the last few years. What they do have is Bryce Young. Even though the quarterback isn’t in the Heisman Trophy conversation after winning last year, he is still one of the most dangerous players in college football.

Ole Miss is one of the best teams in the country at running the football. Unfortunately for the Rebels, Alabama doesn’t give up much on the ground, with opponents averaging 104 yards per game rushing against the Crimson Tide. If Alabama is able to slow down Quinshon Judkins, that puts more pressure on Jaxson Dart, who has thrown seven interceptions this year.

Even though Ole Miss has just one loss this year, they haven’t really played anyone aside from LSU. I’m not convinced the Rebels are ready to win, or even keep a game like this close. The Crimson Tide keep themselves in position in the SEC West in case LSU falters down the stretch. Alabama wins their six straight against the Rebels by at least 15 points.

Alabama 45, Ole Miss 23

No. 22 UCF v. No. 17 Tulane (-1.5) - 3:30 p.m. - ESPN2

If at the beginning of the year you told me I’d be writing about this game in November, I would have thought you were crazy. Saturday’s contest in New Orleans will go a long way at determining the New Year’s Six Group of Five representative.

UCF has an offense that is averaging over 500 yards per game. What we don’t know is who is going to be taking the snaps for the Knights. Last week, John Rhys Plumlee missed the 35-28 win over Memphis with a concussion. In Plumlee’s place, Mikey Keene threw for 219 yards and three scores, while running back RJ Harvey rushed for 151 yards and a touchdown.

Tulane does a lot of little things well. The Green Wave are allowing just over 300 yards per game this year, while scoring 33 points. I’m just not convinced this is a good matchup for them. UCF has a lot of tough wins over the last few years, while Tulane hasn’t been tested all that much. I feel like Plumlee will be back, which makes things even tougher for the Green Wave in this game.

UCF 34, Tulane 30

No. 1 Georgia (-16) v. Mississippi State - 7:00 p.m. - ESPN

Under Mike Leach, Mississippi State seems to make a name for themselves by putting up a bunch of points against bad teams, and then folding like a cheap tent against good team. Hell, Leach was even folding chairs himself on the sidelines because he didn’t think his wide receivers deserved to sit in them.

Aside from a road game against Missouri last month, Georgia hasn’t really been tested this year. The Bulldogs destroyed Oregon in the opener, and in the last two weeks they’ve easily handled Florida and Tennessee. Even though Georgia lost a lot of the stars from last year’s title team to the NFL, Stetson Bennett is still in Athens, running an offense that doesn’t make many mistakes.

While there will be plenty of cowbells ringing in Starkville, Georgia is too good to be effected by the road trip and the Mississippi State fans. As we saw last week, Kirby Smart’s team can shut down the pass. It’s not like Mike Leach’s squad can hurt you any other way when you take away their air attack.

Georgia 38, Mississippi State 14

No. 25 Washington v. No. 6 Oregon (-13.5) - 7:00 p.m. - FOX

After dropping games to UCLA and Arizona State, Washington has rebounded with wins in their last three games. The victories might have not been runaways, with the Huskies winning the games against Arizona, Cal, and Oregon State by a combined 20 points, but wins are wins. Amazingly, last week against the Beavers saw Michael Penix Jr. fail to throw for at least 300 yards in a game for the first time this season. Penix finished with 298 yards passing in the win.

If you take away the 49-3 loss to Georgia in the opener, and there is no way the Ducks would be outside the top-four in the CFP rankings. Oregon has scored at least 40 points in each of the eight games following the drubbing by the Bulldogs. With four total touchdowns last week against Colorado, Bo Nix now has 35 scores on the season.

Oregon has largely dominated this series of late, winning 15 of the last 17 meetings with their neighbors to the north. The only two Washington wins during that span came in 2016 and 2017. I feel like the Ducks are going to earn another win on Saturday night, I’m just not sure it will be by two touchdowns. The last three games between the rivals have been decided by a combined 17 points. Washington has the firepower to at least keep the Ducks from running away with the game.

Oregon 41, Washington 31

No. 4 TCU v. No. 18 Texas (-7) - 7:30 p.m. - ABC

Honestly, I’m not even sure why they are playing this game. All I’m hearing is how it is a lock that Texas is going to win, and the College Football Playoff committee is going to be so relieved when the Longhorns hand the Horned Frogs their first loss of the season. I must have missed where Texas became such a reliable team.

Not that I don’t get why people are already burying TCU. The Horned Frogs have been playing with fire for the last month, with all five of their wins coming by 10 points or less. In most of those games, TCU was trailing in the second half. While some might knock the Horned Frogs for needing so long to get things together in games, I actually credit them for never giving up.

Texas certainly is a different team with Quinn Ewers at quarterback. Let’s not kid ourselves though, Bijan Robinson is what makes the Longhorn offense tick. Robinson has 1,129 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground this year. Even with Robinson and Ewers, Texas still has to work way too hard to win games. The Longhorns almost lost to Iowa State and Kansas State, while dropping an extremely winnable game against Oklahoma State.

I know Austin is going to be rocking on Saturday. It’s not anything TCU can’t handle, though. It just seems like everybody and their mom is on the Longhorns in this game, which makes it hard to pass up taking the touchdown with the Horned Frogs against a Texas team that loves making a meal out of everything they do.

TCU 37, Texas 34