Hey all. Busy week for me, so you’re not getting a column this time around. Sorry. In fact, I feel so much remorse that I will refund you all of the money that you paid to read this. Feel better? In lieu of a column, here is a video of babies eating a lemon for the first time. You’re welcome.

So adorable! Column will be back and snarky as ever next week.

In games we picked last week:

  • Virginia (+14) picked up a backdoor cover in a loss at BYU.
  • Alabama (-14.5) destroyed Florida but turnovers kept the final margin to 21.
  • Texas State (+14) made us all pay for stupidly laying 14 points with Illinois (NEVER AGAIN).
  • Clemson (+20.5) pretty much beat Florida State on the road and despite the game, FSU still sits at #1 and Clemson dropped out of the rankings. Okay, pollsters. Okay.
  • Nebraska (-7) ran all over Miami’s awful run defense to spoil a nice day by the Hurricanes offense.

Pretty good week for three of us last week after a couple bad ones. Here are the standings:

Season Last Week
Harry 12-8 4-1
Matt 11-9 4-1
Bob 7-13 3-2

And the peanut gallery:

Season Last Week
Creed Tucker 10-10 3-2
Bobby 9-11 2-3
Andrew Hunt 7-3 4-1
Drew 7-8 3-2
Ben Greene 5-5
Andrew Kelley 4-1 4-1
Arnim Whisler 4-11
Mike 3-2 3-2

[Editor’s note: I struggle with basic math and counting, so I originally had Creed down for 4-1 last week. Since he is a spirited adherer to all that is moral and classy, he pointed out that I had awarded him an extra win. It’s been corrected. What a stand-up guy.]

For the first time since Week 2, all three of our teams have games against FBS opposition! Other than that, it’s a light week in terms of big games. As usual, all lines come from Pinnacle and game times are eastern.

Northwestern at Penn State (-10.5); Noon, BTN

I’m pretty interested to see how this one goes. Northwestern has unquestionably been the worst team in the Big Ten to this point, but Penn State has looked bad for long stretches too.

Arkansas at #6 Texas A&M (-9.5); 3:30, CBS

I don’t know what the hell “trill” means, but that Kenneth guy can sling it.

Duke at Miami (-7); 7:30, ESPN

Interesting line movement on this game. Miami opened as a three and people are climbing over themselves to take the ‘Canes. Never a good sign when the public is heavily on your side.

Illinois at #21 Nebraska (-20); 9, BTN

Nebraska really loves itself some home night games.

Oregon State at #18 USC (-9.5); 10:30, ESPN

Hi Arnim. As a (belated) birthday present to you, we threw USC in this week. Happy birthday! Onto the picks.

Northwestern-Penn State:

Harry: Like the column, I’m going to be quick with my picks this week. Northwestern is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad season, but Penn State isn’t any good either and I don’t trust them enough to lay more than 10. Northwestern +10.5

Bob: Weird fact: Northwestern’s offense is 119th in S&P+ (that’s horrendous) with its defense ranked 20th (that’s great). Both of those numbers will surely regress as the year goes on and as the rankings calibrate to more appropriate opposition, but the offense is a mess right now while the defense inspires little confidence. Trevor Siemian has not been the star we had hoped, while the lone bright spots have been flashes of talent from former five-star wideout Kyle Prater and true freshman running back Justin Jackson. I hope I’m wrong and this is the week the Wildcats put it all together, but I can’t possibly take Northwestern after all they have done to me over the last year. Penn State -10.5

Matt: I honestly have no idea how Northwestern is going to score in this game. Penn State’s defense is far, far better than any the ‘Cats have faced thus far, and they weren’t even able to put up points against those awful teams. If Northwestern can somehow move the ball against one of the better run defenses in the nation, then they could keep it close. I still think Penn State is ridiculously overrated this year (I will be picking Illinois against them, no matter the spread), but this could be a tough outing for the Wildcats. Penn State -10.5 (Penn State 27, Northwestern 9)

Arkansas-Texas A&M:

Harry: This is probably my highest confidence pick this week. Texas A&M has wrecked fools so far this year, Arkansas is coached by Bret Beilema and you’re telling me I’m laying fewer than 10 points? Thank you and please drive through. Texas A&M -9.5

Bob: Arkansas is much improved from last year, but this line still looks too low, especially with the game being played in College Station. The Aggies are 5th in S&P+ while the Razorbacks are a respectable but unimpressive 31st. Texas A&M -9.5

Matt: As much as I want to trust in the magic that is a Bret Bielema squad, I just cannot quite bring myself to do it today. Arkansas is much better than last year, and that’s nice, but I’m going to treat A&M a little bit like Oregon when they’re at home. They may not cover this spread while the game’s competitive, but I bet they manage to do it in garbage time, at the least. Texas A&M -9.5 (Texas A&M 52, Arkansas 38)

Duke-Miami:

Harry: I really want to take Miami, especially because it’s a home night game, but Duke’s rushing offense has been outstanding this year and this is an artist’s interpretation of Miami’s rushing defense:

A tire of the fire variety.

Miami wins the game, but I don’t feel comfortable laying a touchdown. Duke +7

Bob: I haven’t watched Duke play this year, but I was surprised to see them getting a touchdown after their outstanding 2013 season followed by a 4-0 start without a close game. A night game in Miami for a Hurricanes team that looked strong last week against Nebraska points towards a Miami pick, but I don’t see a reason why Miami is definitely the better team. Duke +7

Matt: I’m good for one lazy analysis each week, and that comes now. Too many puntos for Matty. Duke +7 (Duke 27, Miami 31)

Illinois-Nebraska:

Harry: If y’all thought Nebraska’s offense looked good last week, you just wait. Nebraska -20

Bob: That’s a lot of points. Nebraska scores a lot of points (45.5 per game, 10th in the country). Nebraska won this game last year, also in Lincoln, by twenty points. Both teams appear slightly improved. This could really go either way, but I expect Nebraska to have a couple big plays (like Washington did against Illinois two weeks ago) as well as some sustained offense with which the Illini cannot keep up. I don’t see Illinois keeping this close, but then again no one thought McNeese State (a game that looks like a fluke right now) would. Low confidence on this one, but I like the Huskers. Nebraska -20

Matt: This is a really, really tough one for me. As much as I want to have confidence in Illinois, and I honestly do, it’s not worth the risk of picking them. The other two picked Nebraska, and I can’t really justify putting this much faith in Illinois when I have yet to see their offense move the ball against a solid D. Nebraska -20 (Nebraska 41, Illinois 17)

Oregon State-USC:

Harry: I went back and forth on this one a few times, but ultimately my pick comes down to this: the Trojans gave up 506 yards against BOSTON COLLEGE, including 452 ON THE GROUND ALONE. The same BC team that got trounced at home by Pitt. And Oregon State actually has an offense. USC probably bounces back and wins this game, but laying almost 10 points with the Trojans in this game is a felony in 37 states. Oregon State +9.5

Bob: Oregon State lurks just three spots behind the 36th-ranked (in S&P+) Trojans. However, the Beavers haven’t played anyone, and I think the Boston College performance was a misstep from which Sarkisian’s team can learn. USC comes off a bye and plays in a primetime home game. It’s a lot of points to give up, but I’ll take the Trojans. This is more a gut feeling than anything. USC -9.5

Matt: BEAVERS (Okay I lied, I mailed it in twice this week. I’m busy, okay?) Oregon State +9.5 (Oregon State 23, USC 30)

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