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.
(Note from Harry: I was lazy again this week, so all the words you see below aside from my picks and Bob’s picks are from Matt. Roll Tide.)
In last week’s action:
- Wisconsin (+5.5) beat the pants off Sparty, proving that they might actually be the best team in the B1G West.
- Tennessee (-6.5) covered against Florida despite a 21-0 deficit early, proving that God will do literally anything to give Harry wins in DCIAPC this season.
- Nebraska (-7.5) got a win and cover over Northwestern, proving ultimately nothing.
- Stanford (-3) got one of the funniest covers I’ve seen in a while, proving very little.
- Texas A&M (-6) pulled it out late against Arkansas with a strong finish, proving that it’s not all about girth.
After four weeks, Harry is still an asshole:
We went 2-1 as a unanimous group last week. #StrongerTogether. Here are the splits:
|We All Agree||3-6|
And the peanut gallery! Next week you’ll need at least 15 picks to qualify, so if you’re below that threshold, don’t miss this week:
|Winning Percentage||Season Record||Last Week|
Random side note: It’s cool that our audience has grown so much since the first year. Keep commenting, y’all.
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.
#14 Miami (-7) at Georgia Tech, Noon, ESPN2
Through the first few weeks, Miami looks like the clear favorite for whatever their division in the ACC is called. You know, the non-Papa John’s one. That means this game is almost certainly going to end in a crushing loss.
Harry: Mark Richt’s track record against Georgia Tech (13-2 while coaching UGA, and a whopping 8-0 at Bobby Dodd Stadium) should be enough to give Miami a lot of confidence here. Looking at the teams on paper does nothing to quell that confidence. Like Matt said, this probably means Miami will lose because Paul Johnson. Miami -7
Matt: Betting on Miami has proven fruitful thus far this season, and I’m inclined to continue supporting the ‘Canes until they give me a reason not to. Miami -7
Bob: Georgia Tech appears to be a slightly above-average football squad, while Miami might be very good. Even a not-good Miami team beat Georgia Tech handily last season. Anything short of a comfortable win would be a surprise here. Miami -7
Northwestern at Iowa (-13.5), Noon, ESPNU
Northwestern is bad, but I don’t think anybody’s really certain just how bad they are. Iowa is good, but I don’t really think anybody’s really certain just how good they are. It’s a battles of riddles wrapped inside mysteries wrapped inside enigmas.
Harry: I know Northwestern is having a brutal season, but this is waaaaaaay too many points to lay with an Iowa team that might not break 20 points in this game (and probably still win anyway). Northwestern +13.5
Matt: Iowa has knocked the daylights out of Northwestern for two consecutive years. I’m inclined to believe that, and you’re gonna wanna sit down for this, Kirk Ferentz has figured something out about Fitzgerald’s defense. Also, Mick McCall is somehow still in charge of the Northwestern offense so they’re probably not gonna score more than 13. Iowa -13.5
Bob: Last October in Evanston, an Iowa squad missing five starters entering the game lost running back Jordan Canzeri early on, which did not stop Akrum Wadley from running for 204 yards and 4 touchdowns to help Iowa to a 40-10 victory. Both sides have experienced defensive regression since last year; still, there is little evidence that this game will go much differently than the last three times Iowa has destroyed Northwestern. Iowa -13.5
Illinois at #15 Nebraska (-20.5), 3:30, ESPN2
Good god Illinois is a dumpster fire this season.
Harry: Nebraska—maybe kind of good? Illinois—definitely not good. Nebraska -20.5
Matt: When one has fallen well behind in any contest, as Bob and I have in DCIAPC, it’s time to ramp up the idiocy and shake things up. Against all odds, I’m just gonna pick Illinois this week and hope to god that Lovie Smith did something other than shine his very bald head during the bye week. Illinois +20.5
Bob: Illinois comes off a bye week, while Nebraska heads home after A RAUCOUS CROWD HERE IN EVANSTON. My instinct is that this spread is too large, but Illinois also lost to North Carolina and Western Michigan, two worse teams, by greater than 20.5 points at home. Nebraska also outplayed Northwestern by more than the final score showed — the Huskers fumbled at the goal line twice and outgained the Wildcats by almost 200 yards. I expect an easy win for Nebraska this week. Nebraska -20.5
#8 Wisconsin at #4 Michigan (-10.5), 3:30, ABC
Need to publish this soon so skipping lengthy descriptions. We all know these teams.
Harry: Wisconsin picked up what looked like a really impressive win against Michigan State last week, but they were actually outgained in yardage by the Spartans and the game was much more even than the 30-6 scoreline indicates. Michigan is a legitimate world destroyer and will win this game by at least two touchdowns. Michigan -10.5
Matt: I am officially sold on Michigan given their early season performances. Giving away 10 points in this game is pretty stressful… but I’m doing it anyway. Michigan -10.5
Bob: This spread is glaringly huge, but S&P+ says it actually should be higher. Still, there isn’t much evidence yet that Michigan deserves its #2 ranking, though that very well could come this week in Ann Arbor. These are two defensively dominant teams, and given that this is still an early-season game in which we do not know a ton about team quality – especially Michigan – I will take all these points. Wisconsin +10.5
#3 Louisiville (-2) at #5 Clemson, 8, ABC
WHOOOOOOOOO this game’s gonna be lit.
Harry: Clemson is an underdog at home at night against anyone not named Alabama? I totally understand the line based on Louisville’s performance this year, but on principle I would never turn down the opportunity to get points with an outstanding Clemson team in Death Valley. Clemson +2
Matt: I have no idea what’s going to happen in this game, so I’m not going to try. Give me the home team and the points. I’m so excited to see what happens with this one. Clemson +2
Bob: This matchup reminds me of the argument over whether you would take Kyle Hendricks over Jake Arrieta to start a playoff game for the Cubs. Louisville/Kyle Hendricks have had incredible years so far – probably the best among any of their respective peers, no qualifiers necessary – but have little track record of success or evidence they can WIN THE BIG GAMES (which I think holds little significance for either). On the other hand, Clemson/Jake Arrieta were off-the-charts good last year and have shown flashes of it this year, but neither has exuded much consistency. Anyway, I see Clemson as the safer pick here, as I like their talent and pass rush to disrupt Louisville’s flow and slow down the offense. Separately, regarding the Cubs’ playoff rotation, give me Lester-Hendricks-Arrieta-Lackey, though I wouldn’t oppose flipping Hendricks and Arrieta – they’re all ridiculously good pitchers. Clemson +2