Last week was ok. 6-4 straight up and 3-7 ATS. Those darn point spreads again. We forgot to designate a game as the upset of the week. It probably would have been a loss anyway. So we'll mark that in the L column.
There are some pretty good match ups this week. Tennessee gets to go on the road to face A&M. And Alabama goes on the road to face Arkansas. Miami needs to prove it is actually a top 10 team. And did you see in the latest poll there are 6 ACC teams? That's the same number as the SEC. As we have seen over the year, conference strength is cyclical. The ACC was down years ago and now the Big 12 is down. The only constant lately has been the SEC, but that has mainly been the SEC west. It's really kind of interesting to see how fandom has taken on the element of conference pride in addition to their own team. But some teams might as well not be in the same conference because of how seldom they play.
In addition to the 6 ACC teams in the top 25, have you seen what it looks like? Alabama, Michigan, Washington, and Miami are all in the top 10. Nebraska is undefeated and Colorado is ranked. It's like it's 1991 all over again!
Seriously here is the top 25 from 1991: Miami, Washington, Penn State, Florida State, Alabama, Michigan, Florida, California, East Carolina, Iowa, Syracuse, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Georgia, Clemson, UCLA, Colorado, Tulsa, Stanford, BYU, NC State, Air Force.
Here is today's top 25: Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Michigan, Washington, Houston, Louisville, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Miami, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Baylor, Ole Miss, Stanford, Arkansas, North Carolina, Florida, Boise State, Oklahoma, Colorado, West Virginia, Florida State, Utah, Virginia Tech.
The teams underlined are the same as from 25 years ago. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Hurricane Matthew is going to have impacts on the games. At the time of typing this, Tulane-UCF has been moved to November 5. There might be more impacts to come.
Teams on bye: Louisville, Virginia, Nebraska, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Baylor, West Virginia, Missouri, Ole Miss, UCF (PPD), Tulane (PPD), Middle Tennessee, Rice, Appalachian State, LA Lafayette, New Mexico State, South Alabama, Troy
We should have seen this coming. Preseason expectations were high for Iowa. History tells us that means they will have a disappointing year. And it's looking that way again. Losing to North Dakota State isn't terrible. Everyone loses to them. But barely beating Rutgers and losing to Northwestern means you aren't very good. The stats back it up: 110th total offense, 66th yards per play, 84th 3rd down conversions, 45th total defense. It's just gross. Minnesota is never an exciting team. I think it has to do more with their uniforms than their actual style of play. But they were kind of a deep sleeper pick for the year and so far they are doing ok. They aren't going to win the division, but they already have 3 wins plus a tough loss to Penn State. With games against Rutgers, Illinois, Purdue, and Northwestern still coming up after Iowa, an 8 win season isn't out of the question. That's pretty good for a team that cost you only $500 to put on your roster. Take the home dog to win outright! PICK: Minnesota 20, Iowa 13
#20 Oklahoma (-10.5)
Have you ever seen a coach go from hot seat, to safe, back to hot seat as fast as Charlie Strong? It's pretty crazy how impatient fan bases and administrations are these days. It is Texas, but come on. They haven't had good talent level in years. It's just now starting to get re-stocked. I think in last year's NFL draft Baylor had more non-football players drafted than Texas had actual football players drafted. But the defense is terrible this year after being the strong point of the team last year. You know what I say to that? So what! You are playing in the Big 12. That's how it has been for decades now in that conference. TCU was known as one of the best defensive teams in the nation prior to joining the Big 12. Gary Patterson saw what you need to do in this conference. You need offense. So their defense is still terrible and no one thinks less of him as a coach. Heck, they unveiled a statue they are going to make of him. Texas has an offense now. I say let it ride out before you 100% determine Strong is not the answer. And just like Iowa noted above, Oklahoma typically sucks when they have high preseason expectations. And since they are a Big 12 team, the issue is defense. Oklahoma ranks 116th in the nation in pass defense. Texas ranks 105th in the nation in pass defense. I think we know what type of game we are going to get. Lots of passing and a game that lasts 5 hours. Oklahoma wins and let the relentless talk about Charlie Strong being fired and Tom Herman going to Texas continue. PICK: Oklahoma 45, Texas 38
#18 Florida (+2.5)
After one game of Les Miles being gone, LSU set the all time school record for yards in an SEC game. And that's against a team that has a pretty decent defense. So all is right in the world and now they get to be a road favorite against the #2 defense (in terms of yards against) in the nation. Florida is no offensive juggernaut, but that defense is definitely nasty. They are holding opponents to 11.6 points per game and 3.86 yards per play. LSU is no slouch on defense either. They only give up 14.8 points per game and 4.78 yards per play. This game could be an offensive struggle. Who knows if that offensive outburst for LSU was an aberration or a sign of things to come under Coach O. Let's think positive and predict that LSU has figured something out on offense and they are able to hold down Florida's pop gun offense. Especially if Luke Del Rio is still on the shelf. PICK: LSU 18, Florida 16
Houston has no margin for error if they want to make the playoff. Navy is not a pushover despite the large point spread. You saw how close Houston came to losing against Cincinnati when they went on the road earlier. The score of that game was not indicative of how close it was. It's very difficult to go undefeated no matter the gap in talent. These are college kids and who knows when they will be prone to a let down. With that being said, Houston is averaging over 500 yards per game on offense, and their defense is number 1 in the nation against the run. Navy loves to run the ball. This will be strength on strength with the Navy offense going against the Houston defense. Even though they are experts at the triple option, I think Navy will have a hard time moving the ball against that top ranked run defense. Houston's offense should be able to move the ball enough to win. PICK: Houston 34, Navy 20
#25 Virginia Tech
#17 North Carolina (-2.5)
This feels like one of those prototypical ACC games. A game against ranked teams but teams that are not necessarily considered elite. The quarterbacks for these 2 teams are killing it this year. Jerod Evans of the Hokies is completing 67% of his passes with 13 TDs and only 1 INT. Justin Fuente has definitely invigorated this program with his offensive acumen. As good as Evans has been, the Tar Heels' Mitch Trubisky has been even better. He completing 76% of his passes with 13 TDs and no INTs. He also led last second game winning drives against Pittsburgh and Florida State. While Virginia Tech has drastically improved their offense, they still have a top 10 defense. That combined with this being a huge letdown spot for North Carolina, I see Virginia Tech taking this game and getting a leg up for the ACC Coastal division crown. PICK: Virginia Tech 27, North Carolina 23
Michigan St. (-5.5)
Ah, welcome to one of the most disgusting and boring games of the year. Deliberate offenses mixed with solid defenses will equal a weird low scoring game. MSU QB Tyler O'Connor is going to need to stretch his arm out a bit. The only way to beat BYU is by torching their god awful secondary. BYU has given up over 300 yds passing in the last 3 games - UCLA, WVU, Toledo - the secret is out. If you've watched BYU in the last few weeks it seems like BYU is relying on the big play far too often to stay in games. MSU's defense is pretty damn good at limiting big play offenses. All of these factors are pointing towards a Spartan win. BYU's offense should be the deciding factor. They seem to adapt to whatever team they're playing that day....hard nose football, shootout, ugly as hell...all of these are BYU offensive options available. PICK: Michigan St 18, BYU 15
#8 Texas A&M (-6.5)
How long is this crap going to go on for Tennessee? They can't possibly win all of the these ridiculously close/impossible games, can they? Beating Georgia last week was absolutely insane. I still don't know how the Bulldogs D can allow that receiver to get under them, C'MON!! My hatred for Tennessee is growing by the week, if you can't tell. Now they have to play an A&M team that won't allow that kind of crap to happen. I fully expect A&M to crush Tennessee at home this week bringing the folks in Knoxville back down to reality and a well overdue loss. Look, the Vols are a good team but are banged up on both sides of the ball and seem to forget how to play football for long periods of time. But A&M is all of a sudden a balanced and solid team that doesn't fade in the 2nd half like we're used to. I think A&M will be the team to challenge Alabama this year. My opinion on A&M has changed drastically. Watch Tennessee give up the ball way too much and A&M to keep their foot on the Vols' necks. A&M just strolls through this one, bank on it. PICK: Texas A&M 34, Tennessee 21
#16 Arkansas (+13.5)
Blah, blah, blah....Bama is amazing and such. Here we are again, Masters of the CFB Universe is going to roll all the way into the Playoff while we all watch and hope they screw up 1 game. That's all we want....Bama to screw up just once....just once!! Throughout the years Arkansas has played Bama tight and tough. They just can't seem to get over the Bama hump and pull one off. Bielema just seems to be able to keep Bama under wraps and lose in phenomenal fashion. Will 2016 be the year? No. Maybe next year. This game is going to be a major grind for Bama on the road and it could get very interesting late in the 4th quarter. I just think that Arkansas's offense is a little too young and inexperienced to pull this off. In the end, Bama will find a way to make it happen. Bama by a FG. PICK: Alabama 26, Arkansas 23
#23 Florida St.
#10 Miami (-2)
Huge props to UNC's kicker for winning the game and pissing off all of Tallahassee at the same time. I rarely laugh when my wife's team loses in horrible fashion, but this was the exception....running around with those flowing locks while doing the Seminole Chop was absolute gold!! FSU fans, it's time to start freaking out a little bit. I think you're about to be a .500 football team in a nightmarish 1st half of the season. I'm thinking they lose to the new and improved Miami Hurricanes brought to you by HC Mark Richt. This means that FSU is going to have lost to UNC, Louisville, and Miami all in a month. The only way to make it worse would be to put Florida in the mix, and then the mass suicide of FSU fans will begin. Those people are crazy, I'm telling ya. Miami has looked like an improving team each week but their next 4 games are going to define their season (FSU, UNC, VA Tech, ND). If they win all of those games then you are looking at a legit Playoff team. That means that 3 ACC teams are going to get a shot at the Playoff, obviously leaving the Big 12 out of the mix since they are nothing but trash. I'm totally digging the new look Canes and expect a really close game with Miami pulling off a late victory in the 4th....then we wait for the FSU meltdown. Miami by a point. PICK: Miami 31, Florida State 30
Arizona St. (+7.5)
So this is what the PAC 12 south is going to be this year. All the teams chasing Colorado. Everyone saw that coming. Here is UCLA doing UCLA things again. They are so tantalizing on paper, but they can never translate that to on field performance. They already have 2 losses on the year and are staring at another middling 8 win season. Doesn't UCLA always lose this game? I'm not talking about ASU specifically, but that mid-season game where they are favored by a good amount. It sure seems like it. Arizona State has been ok so far. They barely beat UTSA and got destroyed by USC. I'm not really sure what to make of these 2 teams except that it seems like we've seen this movie before. Let's call this the Upset of the Week, just so we can keep our perfect winless record of Upset of the Week picks going. PICK: Arizona State 38, UCLA 33
Season Record - Straight Up: 27-23
Season Record - Versus Spread: 17-33
Upset of the Week: 0-5