It’s time for some new college football picks! We’re over halfway through the season now and we just keep stacking winners on top of each other. The season-long hot streak continued last Saturday with a 4-2 record, bringing my season total up to 34-17 against the spread. Sadly, my Will Grier Always Covers Theory was burned to the ground after West Virginia (-9) blew a 25-point lead in the fourth quarter to only win by two at Baylor. If you listen to the podcast (LINK) every week, you know Rossy Three Stacks has a personal vendetta against UMass. Well now I have one against West Virginia. We’re officially out on the Mountaineers.
Here are the picks for Week 9:
Cal (+3.5) at Colorado
Weirdest. Line. Ever. Colorado is coming off a shutout loss to Washington State last week – the same Washington State team that lost 37-3 a week earlier to…the California Golden Bears! How are the Buffs favored here? Mike MacIntyre changed quarterbacks midway through the WSU loss last week, and there’s uncertainty over who will get the call on Saturday. With that in mind, I love Cal here. The Bears lost a shootout to a red-hot Arizona team last week 45-44. Despite a three-game losing streak starting in late September, Cal has been a tough team all season long. Colorado is 2-6 this season against the spread. Even with home-field advantage, the smart play here is Cal.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Cal 34, Colorado 24
Georgia (-14) vs Florida
The history of this rivalry suggests Florida will put a scare into Georgia, or even pull off the outright upset. The Gators have also won three straight in this series – but I think that plays right into Georgia’s hands. Earlier this week, Kirby Smart asked all of his players to stand up in a team meeting if they’d beaten Florida. Not many people did. Ordinarily, a late-October game against a middling conference opponent is a perfect letdown spot for a team like Georgia with bigger fish to fry in the coming weeks. In a rivalry game, though, especially one that’s been dominated by Florida in recent years, makes me think the ‘Dawgs come out chomping.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Georgia 38, Florida 10
Georgia Tech (+14) at Clemson
As I pointed out in yesterday’s trends column LINK LINK LINK, the Yellow Jackets are the only team in the country that has covered in every game this season. Georgia Tech is 6-0-0 against the spread, and are two plays away from entering Death Valley this weekend unbeaten overall. Meanwhile, what’s up with Kelly Bryant’s ankle? The Tigers need Bryant to be an effective runner. His legs helped carry them to early-season wins over Auburn and Virginia Tech. He hobbled around the field two weeks ago at Syracuse before leaving with a concussion. Clemson was losing 17-14 when Bryant went out. If he’s not 100 percent (and from what I’ve been told, he’s not), I’d lean towards Georgia Tech covering a big 14-point number. The Tigers’ ultra-athletic defensive line can’t be as effective when dealing with the unusual blocking schemes Georgia Tech employs.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Clemson 24, Georgia Tech 21
Miami (-20.5) at North Carolina
I didn’t realize just how bad the Tar Heels are until I saw Virginia Tech do anything and everything it wanted last weekend in Blacksburg en route to a 59-7 pasting. With 16 players already out for the year, news broke late this week that UNC’s leading rusher Michael Carter will also miss Saturday’s game. I don’t know who else is left for Larry Fedora to turn to anymore. Miami has two huge games looming the next two weeks against Virginia Tech and Notre Dame, but even in a letdown spot I’m not sure North Carolina can stay within three scores.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Miami 41, North Carolina 10
Missouri (-13) at UConn
It seems like years ago that Missouri lost 35-3 at home to Purdue and head coach Barry Odom gave a Come to Jesus speech afterwards that was more awkward than it was inspiring. The Tigers lost three straight after that before turning around and beating the brakes off Idaho last week. Now the Tigers travel up to Stoors to take on a UConn team that’s essentially an FCS team. The Huskies have won back to back games against Temple and Tulsa, but in games where they’ve been out-classed athletically, UConn hasn’t even been competitive. The Tigers, meanwhile, could move to 3-5 with a win before a stretch of games against Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Arkansas. It’s not crazy to think Missouri will end up bowling. Give me Mizzou to rout UConn.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Missouri 45, UConn 20
Penn State (+6) at Ohio State
You’re going to hear something a lot in the next 24 hours when people bring up this game: it’s an elimination game for Ohio State. This is true, but it’s also an elimination game for Penn State. Realistically, the winner of this game will win the Big 10 East. An 11-1 Penn State team that finishes second in the division will have likely one top-25 win at season’s end. That’s nowhere close to a strong enough resume to warrant passing over multiple Power Five conference champions. Make no mistake about it, Penn State MUST win this game if it wants to compete for the national title. Ohio State has more overall talent, but Penn State has the best player on the field. I have liked the Buckeyes to win this game for weeks now, but there’s too much value in Penn State getting nearly a touchdown. I’ll back the Nittany Lions +6 here in a game that I give them nearly a 50% chance to win.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Ohio State 28, Penn State 27
San Jose State (+13) at BYU
If you read my trends column from Thursday, you already know how I feel about this game. Go read item #6 from that column for my insight into this game. You’re going to love the Spartans after you read it.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: BYU 31, San Jose State 24
Tulsa at SMU (-9)
This is another special from Thursday’s column. Go check out the notes I have on this game (Note #3), as I have SMU winning in a blowout at home.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: SMU 48, Tulsa 28
Alright, y’all. Best of luck this weekend. And go check out the podcast! Not only do we break down all the biggest games of the weekend, but Bruce Feldman joined me to discuss the latest coaching rumors, including a few potential names for the Florida job that