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.
No column today. If you’ve been following the Grantland NFL Podcast saga, this is basically that. Except with a much more lucrative business involved.
No podcast today.
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) October 23, 2015
In games we picked last week:
- Clemson (-7) oh good lord.
- Wisconsin (-6.5) pulled out an 11-point victory in Champaign on the backs of a strong defensive performance and efficient passing offense.
- Northwestern (+7.5) actually beat the Cornhuskers in Lincoln in what seems to be an incredibly goofy football game every single year, for God knows what reason.
- USC (-3.5) rode a plus-four turnover margin to a commanding victory over the #3 Utah Utes.
- THE NBA IS BACK!
- Oklahoma State (-35) covered against Kansas. The dream is dead.
Each of us went alone on one of the five games last week, and the solo picker lost each time (Bob-Illinois, Harry-Nebraska, Me-Utah). As such, 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||11-8|
And the peanut gallery. Esteemed picker and commenter Creed Tucker had such a rough week that Drew and AK leapt into a tie for first! Elsewhere, Jeff barely stayed alive in the gallery, Bobby got back up to .500, and Mike went from 10-15 to 15-15 after a perfect week of picks! Reminder– you have to have picked 30 games by next week or you’re getting dropped:
|Winning Percentage||Season Record||Last Week|
Here is this week’s slate. As always, game times are eastern and on Saturday.
Illinois at Penn State (-5.5), Noon, ESPN2
Illinois heads to Happy Valley for a dumb game against a dumb team with dumb fans whom I honestly hate with a pretty significant passion.
Bob: Not sure why Penn State is favored by that much in this game after beating a bad Maryland team by one at home. These two teams rank next to each other in F/+, and they’re about even in my mind, if Illinois is not a little better. Illinois +5.5
Matt: I hate Penn State and Illinois is better than they are. They’ll probably still lose this game though, because that’s just the type of thing that happens when you go to Penn State. You play better than them, their fans suck, and they pull a win out of their rear. #SURPRISINGHATEWEEK Illinois +5.5
Harry: Laying more than a field goal with Penn State against any Power 5 opponent should be grounds for immediate imprisonment. Illinois +5.5
Miami at #22 Duke (-8), 7:00, ESPNU
Likely Brad Kaaya-less Miami visits a Duke team with an extremely stout defense. This probably doesn’t end very well.
Bob: Coach dead. Quarterback potentially dead. Football team bad. Bad football team on road against good football team. Good football team only giving eight points. Duke -8
Matt: What Bob said. Duke -8
Harry: This week Miami is going to CIRCLE THE WAGONS, fire up for interim head coach Larry Scott, put together an inspiration effort as ‘Canes fans rally around them and lose by just a touchdown. I BELIEVE! Miami +8
Georgia at #11 Florida (-2.5), 3:30, CBS
Stumbling Georgia and always-on-the-hot-seat coach Mark Richt head down to Jacksonville to see whether they can get back on track in the SEC East race.
Bob: Huge gap in the advanced statistics here, but that’s partially because they don’t know that Will Grier pumped HGH. Florida comes off a bye week following a competitive game with undefeated LSU, while Georgia comes off beating Mizzou 9-6 and killing children in the process after losing to a Tennessee team that seems to want to lose. Florida -2.5
Matt: I don’t foresee Georgia scoring more than 24 points against Florida, and that’s if every single thing goes right. Brian Schottenheimer’s offense is fine against teams that don’t have the athletes to compete with Georgia, but it’s too bland to be very successful against a team with both solid athleticism coaching like a Florida or Alabama. Florida might have its own trouble scoring, but they’ve still been better recently than the Dawgs. Florida -2.5
Harry: Florida is favored by less than a field goal????? Who wrote this line, noted Georgia alumnus and MLB.com writer Jim Callis? Florida -2.5
#9 Notre Dame (-10.5) at #21 Temple, 8:00, ABC
One-loss playoff contender Notre Dame travels to Philadelphia for a top-25 matchup in what was supposed to be one of their easiest games of the season. Between this and Pitt on the road next week, Notre Dame is going to be one of the most battle-tested teams in the country by the end of the year.
Bob: Notre Dame has proven to be a legitimately good team even amid all the injuries, but it’s tough to drop that many points on the road against the #6 S&P+ defense. Temple +10.5
Matt: Somebody stop Bob from writing the same thing I want to for every pick. Temple +10.5
Harry: Technically, Notre Dame has to go “on the road” this week, but I imagine they’ll enjoy a fan advantage in Philadelphia on Saturday night. I don’t quite believe in Temple yet, but I’d love to see them take down the Domers. Prove me wrong, Owls. Notre Dame -10.5
#8 Stanford (-12) at Washington State, 10:30, ESPN
Washington State is somehow 5-1 since losing their home opener to FCS Portland State, with wins over Arizona and Oregon and their only loss being at Cal by six points. The Wazzu offense in particular appears to have figured it out, but they’ll face their toughest test of 2015 when Stanford comes to town. [ED Harry: Based on our tags, this is the first time we’ve ever picked Wazzu! Neato, gang.]
Bob: Stanford is a very good football team despite what happened in Evanston opening week. Washington State has the 93rd-best defense in the country and face the #10 offense, and despite their ostensibly impressive results, they all come against teams nowhere near as good as Stanford. Giving up nearly two touchdowns on the road is a tough gamble, but I’ll take it. Stanford -12
Matt: This has all the looks of a 56-38 Stanford win. Stanford -12
Harry: What Matt said. Stanford -12