On we go with the college football season and our weekly picks. Last week, we predicted lots of upsets and called the biggest of them all with LSU going down to the Mississippi State Bulldogs (which we called straight up), our other three picks didn’t go so well, in our first losing week of the year going 1-and-3.
That all means it’s time to get back on track and we’re again going off the board and going by feeling this week as the conference schedule’s truly heating up with some great games across the country - another numerical metric we're playing with is conference YPP which needs a greater sample size. As always we're offering our picks plus our usual big game hunting all to get us back to winning.
With our six picks, here we go.
Picks of the week
NC State +12.5 at Florida State
FSU is a tricky team to project right now as they’ve only played one game and lost their starting quarterback. That’s a lot of unknowns after having seen the Noles get beat by Alabama Week 1.
The Wolfpack haven’t been overly impressive this year either, with a 2-and-1 record and a close loss Week 1 to South Carolina, the only Power-Five opponent they’ve faced. At this point though, NC State might have the better quarterback, at least the most proven, in Ryan Finley who has started the season off great.
The Wolfpack come into Tallahassee with a very talented defensive line that’s loaded with future NFL talent. That’ll be a harsh test for FSU’s struggling offensive line and a backfield full of inexperience.
Give us the points and NC State to keep it close on the road.
San Diego State -3 at Air Force
This is a great game between two very good Mountain West teams, as the Falcons are coming off a hard-fought loss at Michigan and the Aztecs have been the hottest Group-of-Five team in the country.
This won’t be easy for SDSU as the Falcons are always a tough matchup given their triple-option offense and how well coached they are. However, this Aztec team just looks to be different and even better than the teams they’ve had in years past after beating Arizona State and Stanford convincingly the past two weeks.
Being favored by only a field goal, I like our chances to beat a Falcons team that’s far less talented than the 22nd ranked squad in the country.
UCLA +7 at Stanford
Here’s a good one for you as these two Pac-12 bluebloods go head-to-head after both suffering tough losses a week ago. Stanford is likely the better team though they haven’t looked as ironclad as in years past but they can still run it and play sound defense.
UCLA is 'The Josh Rosen Show', which means they can be erratic offensively but they’re also averaging 49 points per game.
The true unknowns here are Stanford's offense and the Bruins' defense as both units have looked shaky so far. A must-win for both teams to stay relevant in the Pac-12, Rosen and the Bruins offense needs to come through and will test Stanford's ability to match them on the scoreboard. The nice thing about betting against the Cardinal is they’re unlikely to break the game open and with Rosen’s ability to come back in all games so far we’ll take the points here.
Texas A&M -2.5 at Arkansas
This should be a grind it out old-school SEC matchup. The Aggies have more talent but they’re still young and inexperienced in some crucial areas, first and foremost quarterback.
The Razorbacks are coming off a terribly disappointing game to TCU two weeks ago in which their offense really looked bad. That doesn't bode well against a talented A&M 'D'. The difference maker here could be the Aggies ability to run the ball, an area in which they've looked terrific.
Big game Hunting
TCU +13 at Oklahoma State
The Cowboys are hot right now coming off a great win against Pittsburgh, a team they beat down last season as well, but -13 points is just disrespectful to this Horned Frogs team. Texas Christian's looked good so far this year and look like their defense is back to its old ways, while they've been much better on offense thanks to quarterback Kenny Hill's play.
This also feels like a potential letdown game for Oklahoma State who always seems to have at least one flop game every year. With Gary Patterson’s creative defensive schemes and game plans, this should be a close affair, as he’s one of the best in countering spread attacks. Again, 13 is just too much for a Cowboys team that needs to prove they're for real before they can earn that much respect.
Mississippi State +4.5 at Georgia
We’re going back to the well with the Bulldogs after they came through with the big upset a week ago, and honestly, it’s a bit surprising to see Georgia (the other Dawgs) favored here by more than the standard three points.
The big issue for the Dawgs is they’re still without their starting quarterback in Jacob Eason and forced to start true freshman Jake Fromm. Sure they beat Notre Dame in an exhilarating game, but this Bulldogs team is lacking some bite offensively where their passing game isn’t much of a concern.
Against Mississippi State’s sixth-ranked scoring defense and ninth-ranked scoring attack that’s just not going to cut it, even in Athens. Add Nick Fitzgerald, the Bulldogs playmaking quarterback to the mix, and even with Georgia’s defensive talent Mississippi State again seems poised for an inner-conference upset.