There are five ranked vs ranked matchups this week. One of which matches up two top ten teams. We have a special guest and Twitter group chat legend, @scoduckz (better known as Puddles), to help pick that big matchup between two top ten teams.
Before we get to it, I want to point out that every staff member is above .500 for the season at this point. This is especially impressive since @boardgeniuses started 1-8. I guess we need to retire the short-lived “Message Board Genius” curse.
Alright, let’s make some picks!
Oregon -6 vs UCLA
Winner – Oregon
UO 38 – UCLA 28
While easily Oregon’s toughest challenge yet (not counting that one game I refuse to talk about at the start of the year.)
I feel confident that Oregon will play their most complete game to date. Heavy rain is expected, DTR might not be able to rely on his arm as much in an already tough environment. UCLA has played 5 of their first 6 games at home, with their only road game being on the road at Colorado. I think that will have a huge impact.
Oklahoma St. +6.5 vs Texas
Winner – Oklahoma St.
OKST. 37 – TX 24
Oklahoma St. coming of a tough loss vs TCU in a game they really should have won. They will be motivated at home to beat a Texas team that I feel won’t have the offense to keep up, even with a healthy Ewers.
SCAR +3 vs Texas A&M
Winner – SCAR
SCAR 27 – Texas A&M 24
A&M hasn’t scored more than 24 points against a team not named Sam Houston all season. They will not be able to recover after last week and will be losing for a 3rd straight time in what will ultimately be a 4-game losing streak for the Aggies by the end of next week.
There’s a new leader in the staff standings with a win rate of slightly over 61%. Hi everyone! Enjoy this gloating, as these wins are fleeting. Here are the staff standing leader’s picks.
Iowa +30 at Ohio State
My emotional picks are typically the worst of the week, but this isn’t an emotional one. Luckily, I’m writing this on Thursday morning, so the spread which started at Ohio State -29 went up to 30 and convinced me to include this one. Please note that it is still going to be a torturous game for Hawkeye fans. It just will be a loss by fewer than 30 points.
Purdue +2.5 at Wisconsin
I am a noted train hater, but these trains are good, and Wisconsin just lost to presumed doormat Michigan State. Take Purdue and the points and thank me later.
Minnesota +4 at Penn State
Yes, I am going with three road dogs this week. It’s a bold move, some would say. Do I think Penn State is as bad as they played in the second half of the Michigan beating last week? No. But I think Minnesota is a heck of a lot better than they are being credited at this point. Watch this one come down to a field goal and don’t be too surprised if Minnesota wins outright.
Ole Miss ML +110 at LSU
LSU and Ole Miss squaring off is a battle of two decent offenses and two terrible defenses. Ultimately I think Lane Kiffin is able to outsmart and outwit noted recruit grinding head coach Brian Kelly. Ole Miss wins straight-up setting up a potential 2nd loss for Alabama in mid-November.
Oregon -6 vs UCLA
UCLA hasn’t played a true road game all season long (I’m not counting Colorado) and heads into a hostile Autzen Stadium. The key to this game is can UCLA’s defense stop Oregon’s offense. The Bruins secondary will be exposed as one of the weakest in the Pac 12 and their offense will sputter.
Washington -7.5 vs Cal
Cal just lost to Colorado. Cal is a terrible football team that can barely throw a forward pass. Washington does well at throwing the forward pass. Washington wins big.
UCLA at Oregon (over 70.5)
According to ESPN, each of the last three games between UCLA and Oregon have gone over the total. This year, Oregon’s offense is ranked eighth and UCLA’s 12th. The Bruins have the 33rd-ranked defense in the nation while Oregon is ranked 61st. Oregon QB Bo Nix plays well at home with a completion rate of 71.2% and nine TDS to 0 INTs. UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson has a 75% completion rate against AP Top 25. This screams QB duel so the over likely hits.
Alabama (-21) vs Mississippi State
The Crimson Tide faces off with the Mississippi State Bulldogs under the lights at Bryant-Denny Stadium. After the upset loss to Tennessee, Nick Saban and Alabama with a lot to prove. ESPN reported that Alabama has covered four consecutive games following a straight-up loss and is 12-3 ATS as a home favorite over the past three seasons. They also said that against Saban, Mike Leach is 0-2 both ATS and SU. Alabama really needs a good showing this weekend and I expect one.
Minnesota (+4) at Penn State
ESPN said the Golden Gophers are 8-3-1 ATS as an underdog the last two seasons, seven being outright wins. They also stated that since 2014, Penn State is 7-22-1 ATS following a loss. Minnesota is 16th in the nation with a rushing average of 227.3 ypg. Penn State gives up an average of 136 ypg, ranking them 56th against the run. Last week, Michigan ran for 418 yards against Penn State. I can see an outright win for the Gophers so I’m riding with them.
Duke +9 at Miami
I ‘m not sure Miami has figured things out on offense yet. Duke probably wins outright.
LSU -2 vs. Ole Miss
LSU has been inconsistent but I think they put it together this week and beat the Rebels.
Liberty +6.5 vs. BYU
Hugh Freeze called this the biggest game in school history. BYU is a bit wounded and flying all the way across the country to play a pumped up Liberty team. Liberty wins! Go Liberty!