NCAA Week 4 Picks
National Picks Record All Year: 22-14
National Picks Record Last Week: 5-7
Miami (-4.5) at Pittsburgh
Miami is twelve days removed from the loss at Ohio State. After quarterback Jacory Harris’ unimpressive four pick performance he has received racist messages over twitter basically saying the U doesn’t need a black quarterback. I wish I could meet this guy so I could punch him in the face. But I digress.
Pitt on the other hand rolled against New Hampshire twelve days ago, bouncing back from an overtime loss against Utah. The game against Utah was a lot closer than these two teams actually played. Pitt benefited from a short field after some turnovers but was outgained by 139 total yards.
This line has moved from Miami (-4) to Miami (-4.5). I like Miami in this one by a touchdown.
North Carolina State at Georgia Tech (-8)
These two teams have been hard to get a read on. North Carolina State is the only ACC team that has shown a pulse all season. Georgia Tech lost to Kansas, after Kansas had lost to North Dakota State 3-0. North Carolina State has also only had two turnovers that made the Cincinnati score look closer than the game was.
Here’s what we do know. Georgia Tech’s offense has looked good other than the one game against Kansas. North Carolina State has feasted on weak teams thus far, and defending the triple-option takes two weeks to figure out. Georgia covers.
USC (-22) at Washington State
I know I’m throwing in a pick against the spread featuring Washington State. Here’s why. USC has yet to cover any of their first three games, and last week they didn’t cover by half a point. What’s so funny about them missing the spread last week by a half point is that they went for a two point conversion three times against Minnesota, and if they had kicked the extra point every time, they would have covered. Lane Kiffin even said he’s not playing to impress pollsters or cover spreads, he’s there to win.
I’m shocked that a coach goes for two so often. USC does the same swinging gate formation that Oregon does before point after tries, where if the defense doesn’t line up the offense executes a play. Often the defense will be lined up properly, which would normally result in a regular kick try, but USC still goes for it. Then I remember that Lane Kiffin is the coach, and he’s giving a big finger to every opponent when he goes for two.
I’m looking forward to Kiffin’s first post-loss press conference at USC. It won’t happen this week though. Washington State is still awful and getting crushed by teams such as Oklahoma State, USC should cover. How great would it be though if Washington State beat USC?
Temple (+14) at Penn State
Penn State’s biggest game so far was a 24-3 drubbing at the hands of Alabama. The true freshman at quarterback, Robert Bolden, still hasn’t had a close game where he really had to produce.
Temple on the other hand has played in a couple close games and had a big win over Connecticut. Penn State is a better team than Temple. They have better players, better coaching, and are at home. Penn State will win but Temple will cover.
Alabama (-7.5) at Arkansas
This game provides a lot of frustration. A few betting systems show that Arkansas will cover against Alabama. Some wise guys and college football experts have actually picked Arkansas to win at home. Personally, I believe that Alabama is miles ahead of every other SEC team. They have shown that their offense can score seemingly at will, and that their defense can completely stop opposing offenses.
Last year the Crimson Tide beat the Razorbacks 35-7. The Alabama defense was the biggest difference that game, forcing over half of Ryan Mallet’s passes to go incomplete, only 160 yards through the air, and an interception. Big turnarounds don’t happen between teams that are very similar to their previous teams. If Arkansas does win though, and puts Oregon closer to a national title game, I won’t be upset about picking this game incorrectly.
Stanford (-5) at Notre Dame
I think we can safely say after Locker’s performance last week that Andrew Luck is the best quarterback in the PAC-10, and possibly the country. I think Stanford is still an undervalued team when Vegas lines are being made. I know that Notre Dame is still overvalued when Vegas lines are being made. Stanford wins, and it could get ugly.
UCLA (+16) at Texas
Oh my goodness, what to do with these teams. If gambling were legal this would have happened last week: So last week I get an update saying that Case Keenum was cleared to play. The line instantly jumps from Houston-3.5 to Houston-4.5. That’s a big jump. So say that a smart bettor puts money down on a Houston team that has been tearing people apart through the air, and also betting against a team that looked like it spent the week partying on the beach than practicing on the practice field. Now imagine that this person checks out the score in the second quarter, and sees that UCLA is up 21-3. What!!!!! It’s unthinkable! Well, UCLA went on to win 31-13 and has had me questioning this game.
Did UCLA turn the corner? Did Jonathan Franklin finally get the running game headed in the right direction as he ran for three touchdowns? Did Rick Neuheisel maybe do a good job of coaching this week? Is hell freezing over right now?
Texas is a good team and they got a good win over Texas Tech in Lubbock. Is Mack Brown going to keep the playbook close to the vest, or will he let it loose like he did against Texas Tech? I like UCLA to cover, only because 16 points is way too big of a spread, and UCLA has a habit of winning games they shouldn’t against top nonconference opponents (see Tennessee).
Oklahoma (-14) at Cincinnati
This is mostly a bet against Cincinnati and a partial nod towards Oklahoma’s talent. Oklahoma should have one of the best teams in the country by the time they play Nebraska in the Big-12 Championship game. Their scores have been largely frustrating and didn’t cover against Utah State or Air Force (Again, see, the triple-option is hard to stop). Still though, Cincinnati can’t protect their quarterback, Zach Collaros, and has a nasty habit of turning the ball over. Can’t protect the qb+turnovers=blowout loss.
Nevada (-4) at BYU
BYU lost one of its two heads from its two-headed quarterback monster. Riley Nelson suffered a shoulder injury in his last game, so all the pressure falls on true freshman phenom Jake Heaps. Colin Kaepernick for Nevada shredded Colorado last week. One team is playing hot right now, the other one is cold, and the hot team will always win. Nevada is also one of three teams left on Boise State’s schedule that could beat the Broncos.
Kentucky at Florida (-14)
Florida and Texas are the two most overrated teams in college football to date. The USC writer who gives his first place vote to Texas should have his vote taken away, because they haven’t shown anything to support the idea that they are a number one team. But back to Florida. Florida is having the worst hangover of all time after Tebow’s departure. If this season were a movie, Urban Meyer, Jeffery Demps, and Deonte Thompson have to find Tim Tebow in the NFL, take him to the NCAA, and get him a couple more years of eligibility.
Fresno State (+3) at Mississippi
I’m not sure how this line is so low. I know Ole Miss is at home and they have Jeremiah Masoli at quarterback, but they have looked below average this entire season. They lost to Jacksonville State! Fresno State has looked dominant in the two games they have played. The Fresno State Bulldog coach also has one of the best mustaches college football has ever seen. Fresno State should easily cover and win by at least six points.
South Carolina (+3) at Auburn
This is probably the toughest game to pick out of this week’s slate. It’s going to be one of the most entertaining games this week. Both teams have strong running games. South Carolina has been revitalized by freshman running back Marcus Lattimore. Auburn has Michael Dyer and quarterback Cam Newton. South Carolina has been looking exceptional this season under Steve Spurrier. I hope Spurrier has the patience to stick with the run if he falls behind early in the game. This one is a toss-up, and Vegas views them as equals because Auburn is only favored by three (Three points is the assumed home-field advantage). I like Auburn to win, but we’re picking against the spread and the Gamecocks will cover.
Oregon State (+17) at Boise State
Wait for a larger post tomorrow on this matchup. Oregon State has all the attention they have ever wanted this week. They are playing the most polarizing team in college football and College Gameday is there. So rest assured Beaver fans, almost every college football fan will be watching your game. Oregon State has some personnel and coaching matchups that level the playing field as much as possible. I say that Oregon State has a ten percent shot of winning this game, and ninety-five percent shot of covering. Seventeen points is way too high.
West Virginia at LSU (-10)
Which team isn’t going to lose this game is the best question when looking at this. Would you rather depend on Les Miles holding on to a fourth quarter lead? Or, would you prefer West Virginia to possibly show up as poorly as they did against Marshall. West Virginia looked okay against Maryland, but you have to wonder which game was played by the real Mountaineers. I like LSU in this game because they are at home, and have a more complete team than West Virginia.
Cal at Arizona (-7)
Cal is fresh off a Friday night spanking by Nevada. Cal looked like they had never defended the pistol formation before, or even seen a zone-read option play. Colin Kaepernick absolutely demolished the Cal defense. Cal’s quarterback, Kevin Riley looked bad. When the pressure was on and he needed to perform to have a shot at winning, he threw a pick six. A team with a bad quarterback can’t win in the PAC-10. Arizona’s quarterback, Nick Foles, looked fantastic in the big win over Iowa on Saturday. Expect more of the same with Arizona handling Cal.
Oregon (-12) at Arizona State
Oregon, as I think everyone knows, is scoring more than a point a minute. The average score for a Duck game is 63-4. That’s a huge margin. The Ducks feature the #1 total offense, scoring offense, total defense, and scoring defense. But you already knew that. Arizona State had a loss to Wisconsin that they could have put away. There are a lot of what-ifs. What if kick returner Kyle Middlebrooks was able to return a kick to the house to take a lead in to halftime? What if Arizona State was able to send the game to overtime by protecting well enough on the extra point?
PAC-10 Picks Record All Year: 25-3
PAC-10 Picks Record Last Week: 8-2
Oregon beats Arizona State
Arizona beats California
Boise State beats Oregon State
Texas beats UCLA
Stanford beats Notre Dame
USC beats Washington State
For the first time I picked every PAC-10 game against the spread. There are a lot of great games this weekend so here’s what I’ll be watching.
NC State at Georgia Tech
Virginia Tech at Boston College
Alabama at Arkansas
Stanford at Notre Dame
Temple at Penn State
UCLA at Texas
Oklahoma at Cincinnati
Kentucky at Florida
South Carolina at Auburn
Oregon State at Boise State
West Virginia at LSU
Cal at Arizona
Oregon at Arizona State.