The Message Board Geniuses staff only missed one game last week. A minor celebration is in order, as none of us really started this year off particularly well.
Anyway, we have @BigOrangeHeupel in as a guest picker, specifically for that Tennessee/Alabama game. Is Tennessee back? Let’s see what @BigOrangeHeupel.
Georgia -38.5 vs Vandy
Once again, the defending National Champion Dawgs are best in show in Sanford on Saturday. UGA blasted vandy 62-0 in ‘21 with vandy giving up a fifty burger in Week 6 to Ole Miss. I expect the same type of result. Georgia to win big but not cover.
Ole Miss -16 vs Auburn
Coach Kiffin has the Juice and ready to handle business when the War Eagles fly into Oxford. With Finebaum floating rumors of Harsin’s tenure swirling downward like Spirit bouncing off an Auburn skybox, expect Ole Miss. Ole Miss to win and cover.
Tennessee +7.5 vs Alabama
With little indication of Bryce Young being out or in, the cards being played close to vest coupled with a tight-lipped Tuscaloosa indicate Young is out or vulnerable. Reminiscent of the LSU-Bama ‘19 game, but my guess is Nick learned a lesson and won’t rush Bryce back early. He’ll put it on the Alabama defense to stifle Tennessee’s high-powered offense. I see that it works to blunt Tennessee’s production but in the end, not by enough. 32-27 Tennessee.
Michigan -7 vs Penn State
I don’t look too much into some of the struggles Michigan had early on vs Indiana. I’ve never been a fan of Sean Clifford, and I don’t think Penn State’s run offense, matching up with a top 10 run defense, will have enough success to bail out Clifford’s faults. Wolverines win by double-digits in front of a passionate & loud student section.
TCU -3.5 vs Oklahoma State
I’m buying what they’re selling in Fort Worth. Oklahoma State is the biggest pretender in the top 10 with an offense that is mediocre by EPA/play standards and a defense that is highly suspect when it comes to defending the forward pass. This TCU offense led by Max Duggan will eat on Saturday.
Mississippi State -4 at Kentucky
Mike Leach finally has a defense in Starkville to match his offense. Will Levis will likely be back for the Wildcats but I don’t think he’s going to be enough help what’s an unremarkable offense without him on the field. Mark Stoops may soon find himself on a certain maker of list’s hot seat.
Bye ML over Iowa
Somehow, the bye is going to get the best of a team that will likely experience a three-game losing streak for the first time since 2018. Wait, this can’t be one of my picks? Fine.
Penn State +7 at Michigan
Look, Michigan is usually very good at home with fans, at least under Harbaugh, so this pick probably doesn’t make a whole bunch of sense. I do think Penn State is better than people think and this may be the last time that I can logically refuse to believe that Michigan is better than last year’s team.
Illinois +6.5 vs Minnesota
Minnesota is played at ranked Illinois and they are favored by nearly a touchdown? I get it. Devito is out. (Sorry about that Illinois fans). That run defense is still there though. Do you really have faith in Tanner Morgan beating this defense? I don’t. Take Illinois with the points at home.
Nebraska +14 at Purdue
Purdue sort of reminds me a little of Iowa last year. [Insert joke about Iowa receivers now playing at Purdue]. They play a lot of close games (four of their six have been decided by 4 points or less). They did take down Minnesota by 10 and Minnesota is a better team than Nebraska, but unlike that game against the Gophers, this is trap game for Purdue, not their opponent. Nebraska keeps it close, but Charlie Jones still picks up close to 200 yards receiving. Awesome.
Michigan -7 vs. Penn State
According to ESPN, James Franklin’s Penn State teams are 2-6 against the spread versus Michigan teams, including 0-5 as an underdog. The Wolverines are 5-0-1 to the under this season and 5-12 ATS against AP Top-10 teams under Harbaugh, which doesn’t inspire any confidence. Michigan is seventh in total defense while Penn State is 46th. They are 29th and 38th, respectively, in total offense. And to me this feels like another one of those games when Franklin’s team sputters on the stage. I like Michigan to cover.
Clemson -3.5 at Florida State
I like Clemson at this number. QB DJ Uiagalelei has been solid with 14 TD passes to only two picks and Florida State ranks 48th in passing efficiency defense. ESPN notes the Tigers have covered the last four games against the Seminoles, and covered six of their last seven ACC games. Overall I think Florida State is starting to get back on its feet so it shouldn’t feel bad about the beating I think will happen. Take the Tigers.
USC (+3.5) at Utah
I know Rice-Eccles Stadium can be a tough place to play but Utah has only hosted one Power 5 team at home. On the road, the Utes got worked by Florida to open the season and UCLA got on them good this past weekend. And now the Utes face off against another dynamic offense in USC. That’s a low number to me so I’m going with the Trojans.
Arkansas -1.5 at BYU
BYU has struggled to stop the run all year. Arkansas needs a win and the Hogs will run it down BYU’s throat all game. Arky wins big.
Clemson -3.5 at Florida State
Clemson is really underappreciated; they’ve been great all season and I don’t trust Mike Norvell in big games.
Tennessee +7.5 vs Alabama
Alabama has flirted with defeat multiple times this year; they will do it again on Saturday. This will be another one score game.