Last week, USC hung on versus Notre Dame. Kind of the worst of both worlds, USC wins but Notre Dame comes back to claim the moral victory (and possibly Tai-ler Jones – would he be Notre Dame's if it were USC, not the Irish, who made a rally in the fourth quarter, and ended up winning by 35?) This week, we did a lot of finagling to plan out the rest of the schedule. None of these next seven are going to be pretty, but in each game, there is a clear (field goal-plus) favorite, I'd expect. We're missing a lot of plum games to pick (Notre Dame over Washington State on Halloween, for one), but we have to save those valuable WSU losses for later. Here's the plan:
This week: Arizona over UCLA
Halloween: USC over Oregon (I know, I know, cross your fingers)
Nov. 7: Arizona over WSU
Nov. 14: Oregon over Arizona State
Nov. 21: Oregon State over Washington State
Nov. 28: Notre Dame over Stanford
Dec. 5: Oregon over Oregon State
No way we're making it through this gauntlet undefeated, but it will be fun to try.
Last week: 8-3-1. Winners: Boston College, Iowa, Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas +24 at Florida, Cal -3.5 at UCLA, Central Michigan, Miami
Losers: Auburn, Missouri, Texas A&M
Push: Washington +7 at Arizona State, really unlucky.
Season: 28-19-1. Too bad I'm starting backing these picks up with real money next year.
West Virginia -7.5 vs. Connecticut, Miami -5.5 vs. Clemson, Georgia Tech -6 vs. Virginia, Florida State +2.5 at North Carolina, Oklahoma State -9.5 at Baylor, Notre Dame -7.5 vs. Boston College, Texas -13 at Missouri, Iowa +1.5 at Michigan State, Florida -22.5 at Mississippi State, Hawaii +24.5 vs. Boise State, TCU/BYU under 52.5, Iowa/Michigan State over 41.5, Arkansas +6.5 at Ole Miss, Oklahoma -7 at Kansas, Penn/State Michigan over 47.5.
Last week: 0-2, with Texas pushing, Virginia Tech losing outright, and USC finding a way to not cover -10 against Notre Dame.
This week: TCU -2.5 at BYU
TCU is dominating every defensive statistical category, especially rush defense. This is their game of the year and they'll be fired up with College GameDay in town. BYU, meanwhile, did beat Oklahoma, but everyone's doing that this year. Plus, they lost 44-7 to Florida State, at home. If three-loss Florida State can hang 44 on the Cougars' defense, TCU should be able to score more than enough to win. Ties always go to the team with the better rush D, and I'm pretty confident in TCU not just this Saturday, but running the table, quite possibly into the national title game. (They should be with potential victories at Clemson, Virginia, Air Force, BYU and versus Utah.) TCU makes a statement.
Penn State -4.5 at Michigan
Hope I'm wrong here, but Michigan's defense is just abysmal. There are about 1.5 capable defenders in the secondary, with a walk-on safety serving as U of M's second-best DB. Meanwhile, the linebackers are athletic as can be, but seemingly always make the wrong read. If it's close, I like Michigan at home, but I don't think it's going to be close. The pick is Penn State big.
Oregon State +21 at USC
The cardinal rule is normally to pick for big favorites who are top-five teams, but let's not lie, would an Oregon State outright upset totally shock us? No. Would it totally shock us if USC failed to score 21 points, let alone win by 21? No. OSU is the pick.
Oregon -10 at Washington
Michigan State -1 vs. Iowa
Clemson +4.5 at Miami
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