Look, I know my picks have been terrible so far. They haven’t just been bad against the spread; I’ve had a really hard time picking games straight up. This college football season has been as unpredictable as the 2007 season, which had Kentucky and South Florida both ranked in the Top Ten late in the season.
After two weeks of picking games against the spread, I’m a paltry 3-9. They haven’t been that bad straight up, but I picked Texas A&M to cover last week. That’s all you need to know.
Just like in 2007 – where LSU had two losses but won the BCS National Championship anyway – I won’t let two losing weeks derail my season.
Last Week: 2-4; Season: 3-9
Home Team in ALL CAPS
1. Minnesota (-5.5) over ILLINOIS – Did you know Minnesota is 6-1 and currently in first place in the West division of the Big 10? The Golden Gophers’ only loss this season was to TCU in Fort Worth. Minnesota isn’t a great team, but Illinois is terrible. The Illini’s only wins this season were over Youngstown State, Western Kentucky and Texas State. Minnesota gets to 7-1 with a blowout win over Illinois. Minnesota 34, Illinois 17.
2. Alabama (-17) over TENNESSEE – I’m not overreacting to last week’s games. Alabama beat Texas A&M 59-0, while Tennessee lost to Ole Miss 34-3. The Vols have regressed all season. This is the same team that lost to Florida 10-9 at home. I don’t think Bama wins 59-0 again, but I’d be surprised if Tennessee puts up a fight (unless it’s with Lane Kiffin after the game). Alabama 45, Tennessee 13.
3. Memphis (-23) over SMU – One of my few wins this year was picking against SMU, the worst team in college football. Memphis unexpectedly lost to Houston last week, but the Tigers are still much, much better than the Mustangs. Memphis 48, SMU 24.
4. Ole Miss (-3.5) over LSU – In perhaps the most underrated rivalry in the SEC, the Rebels put their undefeated record on the line against a youthful but talented LSU team. The Tigers are 6-2 on the year, but those two losses were blowouts. A narrow victory at Florida wasn’t very impressive, although last weekend’s rout of Kentucky was a positive sign for Les Miles and the Tigers. Ole Miss boasts the best defense in all of college football, and they’re allowing only 10.6 points per game this season. The Rebels’ only inconsistency is their ability to run the football effectively. While that negative trend might not get them beat in Baton Rouge, it will at some point this season unless it’s corrected. LSU is capable of pulling off the upset in front of what is sure to be a raucous crowd at Tiger Stadium, but the Ole Miss defense is stout enough to win a tough road game. Prediction: Ole Miss 24, LSU 16.
5. WASHINGTON STATE (+2.5) over Arizona – This is a really tough spot for Arizona. They’re a better team than Washington State, but the Cougars’ offense will score plenty of points against the Wildcats. As long as the game doesn’t come down to a Washington State field goal, I think the Cougars will pull off the upset. Washington State 49, Arizona 48.
6. Syracuse (+14.5) at CLEMSON – The Tigers are a different team without Deshaun Watson at quarterback. Watson is out for the next few weeks, and while Cole Stoudt is a capable backup (he actually started the first few games this season), the offense will struggle until Watson returns. Syracuse won’t win, but they’ll keep it close. Clemson 27, Syracuse 13.
• Predictions for the rest of the ranked teams this week: Oregon 56, California 34; Mississippi State 41, Kentucky 24; Auburn 45, South Carolina 27; Michigan State 44, Michigan 13; Ohio State 34, Penn State 21; TCU 59, Texas Tech 31; Kansas State 30, Texas 17; Washington 33, Arizona State 31; USC 27, Utah 23; Nebraska 41, Rutgers 24; Oklahoma State 48, West Virginia 41; Marshall 52, Florida Atlantic 24; UCLA 45, Colorado 20.
• Ohio State’s loss to Virginia Tech looks worse and worse each week. The Hokies are now 4-4, and they beat Ohio State by two touchdowns in Columbus. If the Buckeyes have any chance of making the playoffs, they have to dominate everyone remaining on their schedule.