Welcome back to Don’t Call It A Picks Competition, our weekly column where Matt, Bob and I pick five college football games against the spread and make appalling jokes at pretty much everyone’s expense. As always, you’re invited to pick with us in the comment section and we’ll post the standings each week.
Hey. It may be time to cease the weekly guarantees of there being a column here, given that we always seem to fail to produce one. Anyway, the Cubs lost last night in the presence of Bob and me and were thus swept by the Mets in the NLCS. That sucks. See you next year.
In games we picked last week:
- Iowa (-2.5) beat the living hell out of Northwestern, 40-10, leaving metamorphosed riverboat gambler Kirk Ferentz to begin polishing, among other things, his 2015 Big Ten West Champion trophy just seven weeks into the season.
#ALSO (yes this will continue to happen as long as Bobby continues to pick Northwestern and laugh at other team who then crush Northwestern):
- Miami (-6) actually managed to follow up a tough loss to Florida State with a good game for once! It’s bizarro world! Al Golden is gonna beat Clemson this week. If I keep predicting Miami upsets, one must eventually happen.
- ROLL TIDE (-4.5) proved once again that you don’t bet against Alabama unless they’re playing a pretty average, #20ish skill-wise Ole Miss team.
- Michigan State (+8) performed better than expected in Ann Arbor, but still definitely should have lost, but somehow won, and now the B1G East is just a mess.
- the cubs lost the NLCS aww man
- Florida (+9.5) managed to look pretty solid against LSU despite losing a starting quarterback and other key players to suspension and injury. Their SEC East chances still look good, but match-ups with Georgia and Florida State will determine the fate of the Gators.
After a great week from yours truly, this race is still tighter than Stephen Piscotty’s buttcheeks with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth, folks.
Here’s a look at the splits:
|We All Agree||10-7|
And the peanut gallery, where Drew and Bobby have moved up the standings. Have to have picked 25 games by next week or you’re getting dropped, Jeff:
|Winning Percentage||Season Record||Last Week|
Here is this week’s slate. As always, game times are eastern and on Saturday.
#6 Clemson (-7) at Miami, Noon, ABC
Al Golden gets one of a few chances left for him to save Miami’s season and his job. This game is not as exciting as our last pick today.
Bob: Miami is #40 in F/+. Clemson… is… number… 1!!!!
Miami is #47 in S&P+. Clemson… is… number… 1!!!!
Miami is #32 in FEI. Clemson… is… number… 1!!!!
Matt: This is a tricky one. I really wish I could have an extra half point in favor of Miami. It’s hard to pick against a talented home team getting seven points against a flawed opponent, but I really think Clemson is one of the best teams in the nation. Clemson -7
Harry: If you even think about this game before picking against Al Golden with a brutal offensive line against Clemson’s front seven, you’ve overthought it. Clemson -7
Wisconsin (-6.5) at Illinois, 3:30, BTN
Both teams are fresh off BYEs, as Illinois had the week off and Wisconsin played Purdue. This game is not as exciting as our last pick today.
Bob: This is a tough one. I trust Wisconsin far more than I do Illinois, but Wisconsin has yet to play a convincing game this entire season, making a touchdown on the road a difficult play. Yet, Corey Clement has been out the last seven weeks and is finally practicing after sports hernia surgery, adding a ton of extra firepower to the Badgers’ struggling offense. On the flip side, both defenses rank in the top eight of S&P+ while both offenses are mediocre. For some reason, I’m going to put my faith in Illinois, which is mostly a combination of their playing at home off a bye week with a strong defense against an offense that will either be led by a not-100% Clement or no Clement at all. Illinois +6.5
Matt: I don’t particularly like either side of this line. I do wish I could bet on the over, which opened at 44. I think I’ve officially decided I mostly agree with the advanced stats about Illinois. They’re probably a top-50 team this year, but I don’t think they’re a top-25 team like S&P+ suspects. Wisconsin has been impressive in most games, though weirdly because of the pass offense more than the run game in recent weeks. If Corey Clement comes back for this game, it’d be difficult for me not to pick Wisconsin to cover. I think he plays, so I’ll take the Badgers. Wisconsin -6.5
Harry: Not sure what I can really add after what Matt and Bob said. I’ll roll with the Badgers. Wisconsin -6.5
Northwestern at Nebraska (-7.5), Noon, ESPN2
Nebraska emerges as a strong favorite over a reeling Northwestern team that seems to look more helpless every week. Iowa was the first team all season that was able to penetrate the Wildcats’ defense, and that might not bode well for a Nebraska team that just put a number on Minnesota. This game is not as exciting as our last pick today.
Bob: Nebraska has yet to beat a team that doesn’t suck. Northwestern is still a pretty good football team. I feel uncomfortable quoting Bobby in support of Northwestern here, but “this spread is too damn high.” Northwestern +7.5
Matt: I really hate all the lines this week. I’ve been a Northwestern doubter all year, so I should probably stay true to my #brand, but I feel uncomfortable giving this many points to a weird Nebraska team. It’s a double overreaction from last week’s results, even if they have some bearing. Northwestern +7.5
Harry: The fact that this line is 7.5 and not 7 kills me, but I simply cannot take Northwestern after their results the past two weeks. Nebraska -7.5
#3 Utah at USC (-3.5), 7:30, NBC (??)
Utah has been shaky, but continues to win games and reinforce its placement near the top of the polls. A date with USC, fresh off a close defeat at Notre Dame, makes this by far the nominal best game of the weekend. But, this game is not as exciting as our last pick today.
Bob: Utah is a 3.5-point underdog against USC???? Wait a second — S&P+ says USC is actually the better team and ultimately the better pick here (though FEI and subsequently F/+ disagree). This actually might make sense, considering we know now that Oregon sucks, Cal has always been slightly overrated, and USC dominated Arizona State (which led Utah in the first quarter on the road last week) while being coached by a drunk dude. I’ll take the upset, which sounds funny when picking USC over Utah. USC -3.5
Matt: I’m sure the public is betting hard on Utah, because it seems like the obvious pick given their ranking. The performance of the Utes in recent weeks is pretty troubling though. I have a feeling USC’s athleticism will overpower Utah, but the game will be close enough for the Utes to either win or barely cover. Utah +3.5
Harry: Not even sure if he reads these anymore, but Arnim will be happy this week. USC -3.5
Oh god, what’s that sound…
Can you hear it? It’s some sort of rumbling in the distance, coming from the great plains of the southern Midwest…
OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HELL YES. IT’S THE 0-6 KANSAS JAYHAWKS AND YOU BETTER BELIEVE WE’RE PICKING THEIR GAME THIS WEEK.
Kansas at #14 Oklahoma State (-35), 3:30, FS1
If you aren’t quaking with sheer concentrated euphoria right now, then we cannot possibly be friends. Kansas is either the worst team in the FBS, or the second-worst, depending on how you view North Texas. Oklahoma State is probably the worst undefeated team left in the country. This is a match-up for the ages– one we’ll hand down to our children and our children’s children and their children’s children for time immemorial. Praise the great and merciful God for bestowing upon us such a beacon of hope and purity for the future of a society in ideological peril. Donald Trump wants to Make America Great Again? Well, he should start by broadcasting this war for the world to see on Saturday.
Bob: Warning: Attempting rationality in determining a wholly irrational game pick. Oklahoma State is only ranked so high because they have not lost yet, ignoring the fact that they keep barely beating meh teams. Meanwhile, Kansas only lost by 10 to Texas Tech last week! Additionally, S&P+ says the spread would be 30 points on a neutral field. IN CONCLUSION, my mom is from Kansas. Kansas +35
Matt: I just spent like half an hour trying to come up with an appropriately depressing existential discussion of Kansas football, but I literally could not think of anything quite upsetting enough to describe what fandom of that team must feel like right now. That said, I think this is one of the easiest picks of the week and I feel really good about taking the Jayhawks. They’re a young team and should improve as the year goes on. It seemed like they showed a bit of that against TT last week, particularly on defense. Oklahoma State is bad and should feel bad. Kansas +35, KANSAS STRAIGHT UP
Harry: Awwwww yeah, we’re actually picking the Kansas game. See as we’re picking the damn Kansas game, you better believe that I am picking Kansas. THE JAYHAWKS OF KANSAS +35