After six long weeks, we finally have a loaded week of college football. Three critical ranked games are sprinkled throughout the day. The Playoff race is just now starting to take shape, and Saturday brings a handful of “elimination” games if you will, that will clear things up even further.
As for the boat? Well, it’s not going so well. Two weeks ago the picks were hot. We went 6-1 and had it rolling. The last two weeks we’ve gone 5-10. My gambling picks are basically Texas A&M from 2013 to 2016. We had a great September, then the wheels fell off. You think I’m just going to roll over and die? Heck no. Brick by brick, we’re turning this thing around. The Boat wasn’t bought in a day.
Also, if you haven’t checked it out yet, I have gambling picks and much more on the CFB Country Podcast. Download it here.
Purdue (-10) at Illinois, 3:30 FOX Sports 1
Illinois had a nice confidence booster last week beating Rutgers 38-17. However, Purdue has played like a borderline top-25 team over its past three games. A close loss to Missouri, followed by comfy wins over Boston College and Nebraska — while averaging more than 36 points per game in that stretch. I like the Boilermakers to keep cruising, with a huge game against Ohio State looming next week. Boilermakers 42, Illini 21
Virginia Tech (-5.5) at UNC, 7:00 ESPNU
I’m sorry, I have to do it. I’m breaking my rule. How on earth is this line only 5.5?! This is the Gambling Gods sending the Devil himself to the garden, and Virginia Tech -5.5 is the apple. I’m taking a bite. The Hokies will be up and down all year long thanks to its youth, but Justin Fuente has a history of running it up on the Tar Heels if he has the chance. On Saturday night, he’ll have a chance. Hokies 38, Tar Heels 17
Washington at Oregon (+3.5), 3:30 ABC/ESPN2
You mean to tell me I get the most NFL-ready quarterback and one of the most difficult venues to win on the road in college football, AND I get more than a field goal’s worth of cushion? Sign me up. Justin Herbert will take control of the stage and Oregon is hungry to redeem itself after collapsing against Stanford three weeks ago. The Huskies’ offense has lacked explosion all season long, averaging just 26 points per game against FBS opponents this season. I can’t help but take the points with Oregon at home. Ducks 31, Huskies 24
Wisconsin (+9.5) at Michigan, 7:30 ESPN
Anyone who’s kept up with me this year knows how much I like the Wolverines, but the offense just hasn’t strung it together for four quarters against a decent team yet. Like Washington-Oregon, this is one of those elimination games I mentioned. The loser of this one can kiss its playoff hopes goodbye. With that in mind, I think we see a physical game that comes down to the final minutes. Harbaugh wins, but Paul Chryst covers. Wolverines 21, Badgers 20
Baylor (+14) at Texas, 3:30 ESPN
This is a textbook letdown spot for the Longhorns. Tom Herman is a master of getting his teams up for rivalry games, bowl games, and playing the underdog card. He’s yet to prove himself as someone who gets his team to play its best when the target’s on their back. An upset here wouldn’t stun me in the least. I think Baylor puts a real scare into a Texas team that spent all week hearing about how great it was. Longhorns 35, Bears 31
Missouri (+28) at Alabama, 7:00 ESPN
I’m starting to get a litttttttttle tired of hearing about Alabama as an all-time great team after winning six games, in which the best win came against No. 22 Texas A&M. What the Crimson Tide are doing right now is nothing short of mesmerizing. But I think it’s a tiny big premature to say this team is absolutely infallible. Missouri’s not going to pull off the upset, but the Tigers made Georgia work for it a few weeks ago, and Drew Lock won’t back down from the challenge on Saturday. The Tide just lost cornerback Trevon Diggs for the season, and the secondary was already the weakest part of Nick Saban’s club. Points won’t be hard to come by on either side in this one, and I’ll take Missouri to stay inside a massive number. Crimson Tide 56, Tigers 35
Georgia (-7.5) at LSU, 3:30 CBS *** #BUYTHEBOAT LOCK OF THE WEEK ***
Just when I was ready to buy into LSU, the Tigers couldn’t go into a hostile environment last week and outpace a very pedestrian Florida offense. Joe Burrow has struggled against the better defenses he’s faced so far. While Georgia’s season has been a little bumpier than expected, I honestly think the Bulldogs have just been waiting for a team that has their full attention. LSU fits the bill. I’m looking for Georgia’s most complete performance of 2018. Bulldogs 41, Tigers 14
“Make It All Back” Game: Hawaii (+11) at BYU, 10:15 ESPN2
I’m going to roll this out because we’ve all been there. You had a rough day, you’re on tilt and you just want to throw one last Hail Mary up to try and make your Saturday a profitable one. I wouldn’t bet this at the beginning of the day, but if you’re feeling desperate by late Saturday night and you need to make things interesting, take Hawaii getting its starting quarterback back against BYU giving a true freshman QB his first career start. The Warriors’ schedule has been feathery soft, while BYU’s gone up against elite competition, but I still think Hawaii keeps it close against the Cougars, who are coming off a miserable 45-20 loss to Utah State. Warriors 27, Cougars 21