Welcome back to Don’t Call It A Picks Competition, our weekly column where Matt, Bob and Harry 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.
At the risk of losing Bobby Pillote’s readership, we will not have a column this week. Apologies.
No podcast today.
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) October 23, 2015
In games we picked last week:
- Penn State (-5.5)…oh good lord.
- Miami (+8) was better than Duke for the large majority of the game and probably deserved a win, but then they lost, but then they actually won even though they simultaneously lost again. Cool!
- Florida (-2.5) wrecked Georgia in a big win that likely clinches the SEC East title for the Gators, while simultaneously potentially getting Mark Richt (finally?) fired at UGA. [ED Harry: And then subsequently hired at his alma mater, Miami. Go Canes!]
- Temple (+10.5) showed out against Notre Dame, but ultimately lost due to late game heroics from Will Fuller.
- Nik Valdiserri and I have a new NBA column that you should read!
- Washington State (+12) somehow did not lose 56-38, but actually had a shot to win with mere seconds remaining against Stanford in Pullman. Their kicker missed the potential game winner, but we very nearly had division-leading Cougs heading into Week 10.
Harry went alone twice last week and finished 1-1. Bob and I had all of the same picks, which is always kind of a bummer. All in all, everybody had a sub-par, 2-3 week. 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||12-10|
And the peanut gallery. Creed Tucker loses his season-long grip on first place in the standings to a charging Andrew Kelley. Plus, Mike gets over .500 (!) and Jacob falls back to contention for the worst DCIAPC season in history.
|Winning Percentage||Season Record||Last Week|
Here is this week’s slate. As always, game times are eastern and on Saturday. We’re not picking the Miami game because the line still isn’t out due to Brad Kaaya’s questionable availability.
Illinois at Purdue (PK), Noon, BTN
Purdue, fresh off their biggest Big Ten win since perhaps ‘Nam, hosts the stumbling Illini in the annual Ennui Bowl. Who will take home the cannon? Whose coach will avoid being fired? Who cares?
Bob: Beyond the big win over flat ‘braska last week, Purdue has only one win… over Indiana State. They’re also lower than teams you didn’t know play FBS football via advanced statistics, whereas Illinois gets some love. Illinois
Matt: It’s hard to bet on Illinois after witnessing the horrors that occurred last week in Happy Valley, but the defense has still proven itself to be above average and the offense should be able to cobble together some offense against a weak Purdue defense. I’ll take the Illini in a close one, with much of the offense coming because of Josh Ferguson’s (probable) return. Illinois
Harry: You’re telling me that I get to pick against Purdue without giving up any points? Did Christmas come early this year? Seriously, I’m asking you if Christmas came early this year because I’m Jewish and I wouldn’t know if it did. On an unrelated note, this line seems like a gift. Illinois
Penn State at Northwestern (-3), Noon, ESPNU
Penn State travels to Northwestern this weekend for what will likely be an extremely boring slobberknocker. Do not tune in and subject yourself to this.
Bob: A worse Northwestern team throttled Penn State in Happy Valley last year, and Penn State has been pretty awful despite last week’s 39-0 win over Illinois. Simply, Northwestern is the better team and is only giving up 3 points at home. Northwestern -3
Matt: Penn State hasn’t really beaten many teams of note, and they’ve struggled against teams like Maryland and Army, but the Illinois game showed that they can physically dominate a team that lacks the ability to create any explosive plays on offense. The Northwestern offense is like the Illinois offense, except slightly worse, and with failed runs on every single first down instead of failed passes. I think Northwestern is going to struggle to score without a sizable special teams and/or turnover margin advantage, so I’ll take Hackenberg and the Nittany Lions. Penn State +3
Harry: Penn State seems to be coming around in recent weeks and Northwestern’s only decent performance since over a month ago (a win at Nebraska) was just emphatically negated by a wayward train in West Lafayette, Indiana. I like the Nittany Lions. That said, I will not tune in and subject myself to this. Penn State +3
#17 Florida State at #3 Clemson (-12), 3:30, ABC
[Ed Harry: Looks like Matt left these little italicized preambles blank from here on out so I’ll take over. Just wanted to let you know so you’re not confused about the sizable decrease in joke quality.] We reach that part of the program where we’re #TALKINGBOUTTHENOLES. The annual battle for the ACC Atlantic Championship—and really the ACC Championship as a whole—is slightly diminished in national importance after the Miracle on Techwood two weeks ago (WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE), but it’s still the game of the year in the ACC.
Bob: This spread is gigantic, but Florida State might be not that good. For example, Florida State beat Miami 29-24 at home, while Clemson beat Miami 58-0 on the road after holding a 42-0 halftime lead. Obviously, one-game samples for each team, but that’s an enormous difference. Additionally, Clemson’s 28.7 S&P+ margin is 5.8 above #2 Alabama, which is greater than the difference between #2 Alabama and #11 USC. I’ll take the home team to put on a STATEMENT PERFORMANCE at home Saturday afternoon. Clemson -12
Matt: I don’t know man. I feel like everybody’s just talking about how shaky Florida State is. They’re right, but at the same time everything seems to go Florida State’s way (Georgia Tech blocked field goal touchdown bonanza excluded) over the last couple years. I’ll take Florida State to keep it close, but ultimately lose. Florida State +12
Harry: Maybe I’m basing this off of past teams instead of the current squad, but giving up this many points agains Florida State just isn’t something I’m comfortable doing. The Seminoles have looked incredibly shaky against Miami and Georgia Tech, but they definitely have the talent to stay within two touchdowns of Clemson. I think they lose this game but cover the spread. TALKIN’ BOUT THE NOLES +12
#5 TCU (-5) at #12 Oklahoma State, 3:30, FOX
If a Big 12 defender actually covered a receiver in a football game and 80,000 people were in the stadium to see it, would anyone believe what just happened? Unrelated, but a tree that falls in the woods when no one is around makes more than just a sound, it makes the case for an undefeated Memphis’s inclusion in the College Football Playoff. You’ll have to trust me on this one.
Bob: Oklahoma State has coasted to an 8-0 record by beating a bunch of terrible and a couple average football teams. TCU has coasted to an 8-0 record by beating a bunch of terrible and a couple average football teams. Neither has really gone through the GAUNTLET in the Big 12, but TCU has generally put on far more convincing performances, and I’ll take the road favorite here giving up less than a touchdown. TCU -5
Matt: Oklahoma State is the worst remaining undefeated team. TCU -5
Harry: I agree with everything Bob said and would like to add that a five-point spread in the Big 12 is more like a two- to three-point spread in any other conference. TCU -5
#4 LSU at #7 ROLL TIDE (-6.5), 8:00, CBS
Bob: As usual, I still think Alabama is a playoff-deserving team. But their opponent this week might be as well. Many fans overlook LSU’s not-great defense, but Alabama’s neutered offense won’t be one to punish the Tigers. Ultimately, I think Alabama is better, but I can’t give up that many points. LSU +6.5
Matt: RRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL TTTTTTTTTTIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEDDDDDDDDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE ROLE TAHD -6.5
Harry: RRRROOOOOLLLL—damn it, this is too many points to simply write an egregiously extended rendition of “Roll Tide”. LSU +6.5