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.
Aw shucks, it’s that time again as DCIAPC is back to give the entire WordPress network a bad name! As you know, we typically do five games, but with an unbelievable week ahead, we’ve tossed in two bonus picks this week. You better up your game AND your sample size, chumps. More on that below.
I don’t really have a column this week but I like this tweet that I did so I’m posting it here because I can:
When your total at Publix is $17.76 pic.twitter.com/ws4cwqMrur
— Harry Kroll (@HarryKroll) September 15, 2016
In last week’s action:
- Miami (-24) played down to FAU for most of the first half before waking up juuuuust in time to rally for a late cover in a four-touchdown win.
- Arkansas (+7.5) won outright at TCU in one of the fourth quarter to overtime one-two punches that was as entertaining as the sport gets.
- North Carolina (-9.5) rolled impressively over a reportedly raucous road environment in Champaign. [One-score game in the fourth quarter!! -Matt, before suffocating himself with a penalty flag]
- BYU (+3) lost 20-19 but covered after Utah had a chance to seal the game late on 4th and 1 deep in BYU territory up by four points and kicked a field goal instead of going for it. I am still bitter and it burns all the more than Utah didn’t have to pay for it with a loss.
- I can’t wait to see what happens when Tennessee (-11.5) loses the unbelievable fumble luck they’ve benefitted from in wins against Appalachian State and Virginia Tech.
The standings are looking pretty damn rosy early on and #WireToWire is very much in play:
And the even rosier splits:
|We All Agree||0-2|
Here’s a look at the peanut gallery. This will be the final week to begin picking as we’ll have five picks required to be in the standings starting next week. So jump in now if you haven’t yet!
|Winning Percentage||Season Record||Last Week|
Here are the games this week, all lines from the Vegas Insider Consensus (an average of a handful of Vegas casinos’ lines) and game times are eastern. This week might as well be sponsored by AM/PM because there’s too much good stuff. As such, we’ve loaded up the slate with two bonus picks and we’ll be picking seven games instead of the usual five. Yay increased sample size!
#2 Florida State (-2.5) at #10 Louisville, Noon, ABC
The headliner of the week is at noon on Saturday, with two Top 10 undefeated squads battling, perhaps for ACC Atlantic supremacy the way Clemson has looked so far. Stud quarterback Lamar Jackson has already wrapped up the September Heisman with his performances against Charlotte and Syracuse, joining the likes of Kenny Hill and Geno Smith. Can he keep it going against the ‘Noles?
Harry: The Cardinals are really tempting here, especially in light of FSU star safety Derwin James’s season-ending injury last week. That said, I’m going to make this a Prove Me Wrong pick and go with the known quantity in the Seminoles, similar to my process last week in taking UNC over Illinois even though the Illini were an appealing pick with the spread. So prove me wrong, Louisville. Florida State -2.5
Matt: Louisville’s offense has been the most fun in the country through two weeks, but Louisville will have to win this game before I bet on them this season. Florida State -2.5
Bob: This is a pretty straightforward “go with the team that has proven, both this year and in recent years, it is quite good, especially if it is laying less than a field goal” pick. I feel good about this one. Florida State -2.5
#25 Miami (-3.5) at Appalachian State, Noon, ESPN
Yep, this game is really happening. Not an embarrassing road trip at all for a football program that likes to think of itself as nationally relevant. Nothing to see here!
Harry: I’m going into a cave and never coming out if Miami loses this game. If you’re going to schedule a road game against a Group of Five team, at least make sure they’re not actually pretty good like App State. For The Love Of God This Better Be Miami -3.5
Matt: This is the most absurd game I can remember being scheduled in a long while. Still, it seems a bit premature to think Appalachian State can take down a much more physical team that actually has a competent enough coaching staff, unlike Tennessee, who is bad. Miami -3.5
Bob: As Harry has mentioned, scheduling a nothing-to-gain-everything-to-lose matchup on the road to a legitimately good Group of Five school is insane. Still, I’m feeling good about this Miami team, and I think they should be able to handle Appalachian State this Saturday. If I were seriously betting on this one, I would try to buy a point or half point, but I feel fine enough dropping the 3.5 here. Miami -3.5
#1 Alabama (-10) at #19 Ole Miss, 3:30, CBS
Can Ole Miss make it three in a row over Nick Saban? (Spoiler alert: no, they can’t.)
Harry: Alabama is going to win this game and I rarely pick against Nick Saban, but I just can’t lay double digits on the road. I already regret this pick. Hotty Toddy +10
Matt: I’m very tired of picking Alabama in this game and being wrong. It seems like Alabama comes in looking far superior every year and somehow loses in spite of it all. My biggest concern in this game is that Alabama might not be able to throw the ball at all, but there’s a good case to be made that it doesn’t even matter, and I’ll support that case. ROLL TIDE -10
Bob: I strongly agree with Harry… but I’ll take Alabama to exorcise its Ole Miss demons this time around. Anyone with any football knowledge who watched last season’s game could see how absurd it was and how Alabama wins that game at least 7 times out of 10. Alabama looks scary good again, and Ole Miss looks no better than solid. Ten points is really tough to lay on the road, but I’ll go with a third road favorite here (yikes). Alabama -10
Western Michigan (-3.5) at Illinois, 4, ESPNews
Prior to last week, I excitedly looked forward this game as Western Michigan’s opportunity to be the best football team in the state of Illinois, but now I guess P.J. Fleck will have to quickly schedule a game with Illinois State to make that happen.
Harry: Western Michigan did convincingly outplay Northwestern in Evanston even if the final score didn’t quite reflect it, but after last week it’s pretty clear we need to take that with a grain of salt. A potentially okay Illinois team with a competent head coach getting more than a field goal at home against a MAC team? I’m taking those points. Illinois +3.5
Matt: I’m very surprised that Western Michigan is favored by so much in this game (I was expecting Illinois -2.5). Illinois may not have covered last week, but the team legitimately hung around with North Carolina for 50 of the 60 minutes. I’m a bit worried that the crowd will be an issue once again for this game after so many people went home dejected last week, but that doesn’t have a major impact on the actual play of a game (except for influencing refereeing, which you wouldn’t know by the penalty differential in Illinois’ packed game against the Tar Heels). Illinois may not be particularly good, but I think they still have the bodies to take down the Broncos. Illinois +3.5
Bob: I can’t take Western Michigan as another road favorite, particularly after a respectable first two weeks for Illinois. Illinois +3.5
#3 Ohio State (-2) at #14 Oklahoma, 7:30, FOX
A loss for Oklahoma here means the Sooners are all but eliminated from College Football Playoff contention. A win means they’re right back in the thick of it until a stunning home loss to Kansas State on October 15 knocks them out for good. The stakes are high, folks!
Harry: Are we sure Oklahoma is actually that good? They did go 12-1 last year, but their wins against top teams all came in close games and they were absolutely decimated by Clemson in the Playoff. Add in their lackluster showing against Houston this year and I’m not convinced Oklahoma is any better than good not great. Ohio State -2
Matt: I’m with Harry on this one. I am not at all certain that Oklahoma is good. They played better than people are giving them credit for against Houston, but the Buckeyes are a different beast. Ohio State hasn’t played a single real football team so far, which means they’ve spent 100 percent of the last few months preparing to destroy this team. Ohio State -2
Bob: Outstanding matchup here between the two schools that dominated the annual please-give-us-something-to-talk-about summer football conversation of top programs of all times, following the release of the AP all-time rankings. I like a J.T. Barrett-led Ohio State this year despite the lack of experience… but I feel more comfortable taking the tested Oklahoma who has proven to be at least very good and is playing at home. Oklahoma +2
#12 Michigan State at #18 Notre Dame (-7.5), 7:30, NBC
With Big Brother wrapping up, I’m running out of content to hate watch, so I gratefully welcome the return of Notre Dame football. Also, here’s this:
Harry: Speaking of uncertainty, are we sure Michigan State is actually that good? The Spartans lost much of their defensive line, pretty much all of the receiving production and an NFL Draft-caliber quarterback from last year’s Big Ten Championship squad and their only game to date this year was an ugly two-score win over Furman. Notre Dame clearly isn’t a Top 10 team after their performance against a Texas team that I’m still not buying as any better than 8-4, but I can’t take Michigan State on the road in good conscience here. Notre Dame -7.5
Matt: Michigan State has a certain way of uglying up their biggest games, and this strikes me as one of those 20-14 affairs. If Brian Kelly continues to mess around with his clear-cut QB competition for no reason, then things could potentially end very poorly for the Irish despite being the better team. Michigan State +7.5
Bob: Too many points. Michigan State has also had two weeks to prepare, if that counts for anything. Michigan State +7.5
Duke at Northwestern (-6), 8, BTN
May God be with whoever attends this football game.
Harry: I refuse to put any thought, research or explanation into this pick. Duke +6
Matt: What in the hell is this line? We’ve already clearly established that this is one of the bad Pat Fitzgerald teams that’s not going to fall upward into eight or more wins. Duke +6
Bob: Six points is a ton for this Northwestern offense to be laying to any Power 5 school. Easy pick here despite that horrible Wake Forest result. Duke +6
Remember to leave your picks in the comments, even if you didn’t pick last week. We go by winning percentage around here, so you won’t be penalized. However, this is the last week to get in because starting Week 4 you’ll need at least one week of picks to qualify!