Another week down, and another 5-2 week of NCAA predictions which puts me at 14-6 for the last three weeks. I’ll take that. One of the two losses came from the Penn State upset of Ohio State. I picked the over because Ohio State should have scored 59 points themselves against the Nittany Lions. That’s the type of upset that makes college football great. Penn State even snuck into the top 25 this week. Maybe my harsh criticism of them has been unfounded? They don’t play anyone the rest of the season, so they should win out. If they lose any of their remaining games, I’ll be shocked. As for this week, they face Purdue on the road, so let’s make that a theme. My six game picks will all have something in common. Let’s get to it.
Pipeline’s Perfect Prognostication
#18 Tennessee Volunteers at South Carolina Gamecocks
In regards to Tennessee, I’ve spent most of this season talking myself and all of you out there into betting against them. This week, they easily take the Perfect Prognostication. Sorry to spoil the surprise, but South Carolina can barely spell football let alone play it.
South Carolina hired Will Muschamp to turn things around after the decline of the Steve Spurrier era. Spurrier turned things around for a while getting the Gamecocks up to #4 in 2013, but then the program hit a brick wall. They finished 2014 at 7-6, and Spurrier resigned after they started just 2-4 last year. This opened the door for Muschamp to come in and dismantle his second SEC school.
To be fair, the Gamecocks still have a couple of players kicking around. Senior DE Darius English gets after the quarterback in a big way. Next season, he’s hoping to be playing on Sundays and showing up against a high-profile team like Tennessee can help solidify his draft stock. He hopes to add a couple more sacks to the six he has already recorded this year.
Despite English’s ability, the Gamecocks can’t stop the run. Like, they can’t stop it at all. So far this season, South Carolina allows 5.0 yards per carry which ranks 105th in the FBS division. Jalen Hurd needs to improve upon his 3.8 yards per carry, and there isn’t going to be an easier week to get it done. Tennessee must be hungry for a win after back-to-back losses, and the Gamecocks are ripe for the slaughter.
- PICK: Tennessee -13
Matchup of the Week
#7 Nebraska Corn Huskers at #11 Wisconsin Badgers
After a win against Purdue, Nebraska moved up to #7 in the AP Poll. It’s the highest ranking the Corn Huskers have received since 2010; however, the 7-0 team faces their first real competition this weeked against Wisconsin. Running back Terrell Newby looks to lead Nebraska against the Badgers to prove they belong in the top ten.
Wisconsin got off a two-game losing streak by beating Iowa last week. The Badgers lost to Ohio State and Michigan the two weeks prior to shutting down the Hawkeyes. Now, Nebraska heads to Madison, WI looking for another win, but they play right into the Badgers strength. The Huskers like to pound the ball, and Wisconsin likes to stuff the run. They only allow 3.3 yards per carry, and if Nebraska can’t run the ball, they won’t be able to score.
It will clearly be an uphill climb for the Huskers, but Wisconsin doesn’t score very many points. So far, they only average 24 points per game, and they have only hit 30 points twice (Michigan State and Akron). The opponents in those games are a combined 7-8. They haven’t been accused of being good this year. Well, Michigan State was ranked at some point, but now they are 2-5 and looking like they just got run over at Thermopylae. That’s a Spartans joke if you missed it. Basically, Wisconsin wins, but they won’t cover. Nine is too points.
- PICK: Nebraska +9
Virginia Tech surprisingly lost to Syracuse (the University, I’m not making another ancient history reference) two weeks ago, and it cost them their spot in the top 25. Last week, they handily defeated Miami which got them back up to #25. They travel to Pitt this weekend and build off their last win.
- PICK: Virginia Tech -4
In a game of two schools I like to root against, Miami heads to South Bend to take on the Fighting Irish. I guess I rooted a little too hard as these two teams collapsed into FBS irrelevancy. Miami breaks their three game skid this week; Brian Kelly’s days are numbered.
- PICK: Miami -1.5
Stanford takes on Arizona which shapes up to be an incredibly dull game. No one cares. The PAC 12 has literally fallen apart over the past few seasons. All I want to see is a low scoring game that gets me some money.
- PICK: Stanford/Arizona UNDER 48.5
#24 Penn State takes on the Boilermakers in a game where the score should be run way up. Penn State needs to make voters notice their wins if they want to stay in the top 25. At 11.5 points, I’d be lying to say I wasn’t a little skirmish. Purdue gave Nebraska some fits during the first three quarters, but it’s about pride for the Nittany Lions.
- PICK: Penn State -11.5
It’s always sad when great college rivalries turn into lopsided disasters. Michigan takes on Michigan State this week, and it will be one of those disasters. Michigan State just flat out stinks. Maybe Connor Cook didn’t look that bad last year if this is the team without him this year.
- PICK: Michigan -21.5