Week 6 Picks

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It’s official – we are terrible against the spread.  Only 3 picks right ATS.  Straight up was pretty good with 6 correct, but with a couple of big misses.  Who saw that Florida team showing up?  The defense has been good all year, but that offense was not expected.  When you barely squeak by Kentucky and Tennessee, you are then going to blow out the #3 team who was the latest team to end Alabama’s dynasty?  And speaking of Alabama, thanks for being an underdog for one of the easiest upset picks ever.  Georgia is not as bad as they showed against the Tide.  It was one of those games that was just a terrible match up.  Georgia relies heavily on rushing the ball and Alabama has probably the best front 7 in the land.  That Georgia-Florida game on Halloween is getting more interesting – as long as those 2 teams can get through the 3 weeks before then.

The Big 12 is looking like a 2 team race – between Baylor and Oklahoma.  TCU destroyed a terrible Texas team, but Oklahoma looks like they are the real deal.  Their defense is good enough to slow down the high scoring teams in the Big 12.  Plus TCU has to travel to Norman this year.  It might be the Oklahoma-Baylor game in mid-November that decides the conference.  Of course, Oklahoma has to get by Texas this week.  Don’t laugh.  Oklahoma always seems to struggle with Texas when they are a heavy favorite against them.

Clemson looks like the team that will carry the ACC’s Playoff chance this year.  They had a huge win against Notre Dame.  That was a match up of 2 elite teams and Clemson came out on top.  The pass defense for Clemson was a little concerning, along with their conservative play in the second half.  But that D-Line – nasty.  (On another note.  That kneel down at the end of the game cost Clemson the 5 pt rushing yard bonus.  Sorry if you have Clemson on your roster.)  The rest of the ACC is blah.  Florida State struggled with Wake and might be without their top back/entire offense Dalvin Cook.  Of course Clemson needs to avoid “Clemsoning” itself the rest of the year.  Losing to Georgia Tech this week would be just that.

UCLA did what UCLA does – they lose games after big wins.  They still seem to be able to control their destiny in the PAC 12 south, but if they can’t get up for every single game, that destiny might be another disappointing season and missing out on the PAC 12 title game again.

And how about those power teams from the Big 10 – Northwestern, Michigan, and Iowa!  Who would have thought that those teams would be the most impressive looking after 5 weeks.  Maybe the expectations were just too high for Ohio State and Michigan State.  It’s quite a bar to clear when you’re undefeated but you didn’t win your games convincingly enough to stay in the elite tier in the minds of many.

The week 6 slate is a little quieter in terms of marquee match ups, but as this season has shown, every week will have its surprises and drama.

As part of a new feature, we are going to list the teams that are on bye for the week.  It’s not like the NFL where they list the teams each week that are on bye.  So now you can see how few points you will score for the week when you realize 4 of your teams are on byes.

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Teams on bye:  Louisville, North Carolina, UCLA, Stanford, Auburn, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Cincinnati, Memphis, Charlotte, Old Dominion, Buffalo, Arkansas St., Georgia Southern, Idaho, South Alabama

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AT

#22 Iowa (-11)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

This season has been typical Iowa.  Whenever you think they are going to do bad, they go out and have a good season.  Right now they are doing it with their defense.  They have not allowed a rushing TD all season.  I don’t care who your competition is, that’s hard to do.  They are holding teams to 15 ppg.  That will win you a lot of games.  Illinois is a surprise this year too.  They were gifted a game last week with the debacle of clock management by Nebraska, but they stepped up and took advantage.  You would have thought Illinois would be a mess after firing their head coach just a few days before the season started, but there seems to be a better vibe around the program now.  You can’t underestimate chemistry on a team and its impact, especially when your team is made up of a lot of teenagers.  Talent helps too and Illinois also seems to have a good defense going for them.  They are only giving up 18 ppg, and that’s even after giving up 48 to North Carolina.  Since Iowa is doing good and now has some heightened expectations, they clearly will lose this week in typical Iowa tradition as a double digit home favorite.  PICK: Illinois 16, Iowa 12

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Tennessee (+2.5)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

Wow.  Georgia was destroyed by Alabama last week.  But I don’t think that is an indication that Georgia’s season is going to go into a tailspin.  Despite Greyson Lambert completing just about every pass for a couple games, everyone sort of knew that was fool’s gold because the competition wasn’t good.  Georgia still relies on Nick Chubb and the rushing game to carry the offense.  Alabama happens to be the worst possible match up for that approach.  That is the offense the Tide is tailor made to stop and it showed.  Georgia is still an excellent team.  The SEC east is still not intimidating and they should be able to handle their remaining conference games.  Tennessee is coming off another game where they blew a double digit lead.  At least it wasn’t in the 4th quarter this time.  Tennessee is going to be playing with desperation in this game, but that alone won’t be enough to win games.  All that talent that Tennessee gets on the recruiting trails needs to start producing.  They just don’t produce when the pressure is on.  Maybe they need to fall behind and try to come back because clearly they can’t handle success and protect/expand a lead.  Georgia is still a good team.  We tend to overreact every week based on one game result.  Sticking with the superior team for this one.  PICK: Georgia 35 Tennessee 28

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#15 Notre Dame (-14)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Notre Dame lost a tough one against Clemson last week in a battle of the titans.  I don’t think Notre Dame should have dropped so much after going on the road to a hostile environment, against a top tier opponent in terrible conditions, and losing by 2.  If anything, they have to be encouraged by the way they fought back in that game after falling behind big early.  They did shoot themselves in the foot by having 4 turnovers in the second half.  If they can take care of the ball, they will be fine.  Navy is undefeated in their first year in the American Conference.  The west division in that conference is shaping up to be a pretty good race with 3 current undefeated teams residing in that division.  Navy is doing their usual thing running the triple option and racking up 340 ypg on the ground.  They are always a physical opponent, but Notre Dame has already shown this year they can handle the triple option attack when they dominated Georgia Tech.  I would worry about Notre Dame next week against USC when these 2 consecutive physical games take their toll.  This game they should be ok.  PICK: Notre Dame 24 Navy 17

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AT

#18 Michigan (-8)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

This is a surprise top 25 match up for the first part of the season.  Not much was expected of Northwestern this year after 2 straight seasons with a losing record.  Northwestern had become one of the more consistently decent programs of the previous decade after generations of losing.  People were starting to wonder if head coach Pat Fitzgerald had run the course, but he sure has them back in a big way this year.  The defense is absolutely smothering.  They are allowing only 7 ppg, good enough for tops in the nation.  That win against Stanford in week 1 looks even more impressive now that Stanford has averaged 42 ppg since that loss.  Michigan is starting off strong with their new head coach.  They are second in the nation in points allowed per game at 7.6.  How can Michigan be favored by 8?  Will they even combine to score 8 points?  This will be a defensive battle and there will probably be one TD between the two of them.  Let’s go with the home team.   PICK: Michigan 7, Northwestern 3

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#8 Alabama (-16)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Alabama is at home coming off a demolition of Georgia.  Last year they beat Arkansas by 1 and the media was asking Nick Saban what was wrong with his team.  He didn’t take too kindly to that.  Nick Saban was mad this past week that the media said the dynasty was over because they lost to Ole Miss.  They are going to be focused and intent on sending a message.  Arkansas is going to be the unfortunate recipient of that wrath.  Alabama romps in this one.  PICK: Alabama 42, Arkansas 17

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West Virginia (-7)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

The Pokes are overdue for a loss after getting the game handed to them by Texas and squeaking one out against K State.  This will be their toughest game thus far.  West Virginia is much better than both of those teams.  Not only that, OK State’s offensive strength is the passing game, and WVU has a solid secondary to slow down the Pokes enough to let their offensive take a comfy lead.  OK State is struggling with injuries in the run game…if they can miraculously find the run game that might be able to hang for a while.  WVU should be a little ticked off after losing to OU last week, I fully expect a bounce back game for the Mountaineers.  WVU all the way in this one and make a statement that they aren’t going away just yet.  PICK: West Virginia 35 OK State 24

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Kansas St. (+8.5)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Seems as if TCU found their stride against Texas on defense.  TCU can be had but it’s going to take Baylor or Oklahoma to do it.  Kansas St is out of QBs at this point, they had to use a WR as their QB against OK State and almost won the freaking game.  Their 4th string QB is going to find it a lot tougher against the Horned Frogs D.  The running game for K State is kind of there, but not enough to run the ball 45 times, control the clock and beat TCU.  We all know how quick TCU can put up the points, KSU will slow them down a bit (cuz Snyder is a legend) compared to the dumpster fire called Texas. The line is set at -9 for TCU, that seems a bit low, I would have thought that -14 would be where to set this one after the KSU injuries.  For that reason I’ll take TCU to cover the 9 pts.  PICK: TCU 41  Kansas St 27

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Missouri (+4.5)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Oh boy, where to go with this one?  Florida shocked the world with a blowout of Ole Miss, Mizzou looked good against a sub par South Carolina team.  Now that Maty Mauk is out of the picture, QB Drew Lock can focus on being the big man on campus.  He looked solid in a conservative offense, he didn’t throw a pass over 15 yds in the air, but none the less he was impressive.  Mizzou will have to take some shots down the field against the Gators if they want to keep em honest.  Or else Florida will stack the box and bring everything they have in Lock’s face to keep him uneasy.  If he can show Florida that the blitz doesn’t scare him they might pull back a little and give the kid some time to go through progressions.  Florida has a decent offense this year, it goes to show the potential that Florida had all of those years with Muschamp if they could just score over 21 pts in a game.  QB Wil Grier had himselfa Jordan Flu game after being sick with the flu and the kid comes out and tears up Ole Miss’s highly touted defense.  I’m going to say that Mizzou’s defense is better than Ole Miss this year and can once again get after the QB.  Expect lots of pressure from both D-lines all game and may the best D-Line win!!  I’m conflicted here.  Mizzou should probably not with this game, but I feel like an upset is certainly possible here….I really like Drew Lock and I think Mizzou wins a tight one simply because they are at home but ultimately lose.  PICK: Florida 21 Mizzou 20

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#12 Florida St. (-9)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

If you are into sloppy ACC football this is your game!  Miami is exactly what everyone expected…beat the mediocre teams and lose to anyone with talent.  Miami’s defense is subpar and the only thing keeping them alive is their QB Brad Kaaya.  He can sling the ball all over the field, he has a decent run game to back him up….the problem is that defense.  FSU has looked suspect in a few games already, their QB Golson somehow looks worse with each week that goes by.  So far RB Dalvin Cook has been the savior in these games, he’s a little banged up with a hamstring injury if he can’t go the entire game this will be a close one.  Right now the line is at -9.5 FSU, they’ll cover if Dalvin Cook can do his thing and that FSU defense can pressure Kaaya consistently.  Since FSU is at home I’ll go ahead and give them the nod to barely cover…..FSU by 10. PICK: FSU 31 Miami 21

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UPSET OF THE WEEK!

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#5 Utah (-6.5)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1432672269878{border-right-width: 1px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

This might be the most intriguing matchup of Week 6 out there.  Utah is coming off a bye and a huge blowout of Oregon.  Utah has certainly impressed up to this point, many pundits are throwing Utah in their Playoff Picture right now and I can’t blame them.  They’ve looked good up to this point.  Here’s where I fall off a little bit from the mainstream thinking, Utah has not played an offense quite like Cal’s so far….Oregon was supposed to have a potent offense but we all saw what happened 2 weeks ago. What I’m curious to see is what Utah can do on offense when they are done by 10 pts or more…I’m not convinced they have the fire power to come back quickly if needed.  Utah scored 62 pts against Oregon’s defense cuz they are unbelieveably terrible….Cal’s defense is highly suspect but improved from last year (which doesn’t say much), all Cal needs is a few timely stops.  The big key to this game will be the turnovers, if Cal doesn’t turn the ball over then you can expect them to put up 40+ pts.  Utah already has 7 INTs…they’ve been living off the turnover to win these  games.  As you can tell I’m not all the way sold on Utah as a top 5 team. I think they are a top 25 team at the end of the year but they tend to not be able to keep up with the high scoring offenses in the PAC12.  I’m going to pick a little upset here and let the Cal hype begin (PS: Cal is not a top 5 team either with that D).I’m a little weary of this upset pick because it’s a Utah, if Utah wins this game convincely they might just run the table or suffer one loss on an off day.  This is the game we find out which one of these teams is for real.   PICK: Cal 38 Utah 33

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Season Record – Straight Up: 30-20

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Season Record – Versus Spread: 19-28-3

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Upset of the Week: 3-2

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