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2014 College Football Week Seven Picks
The blockbuster first weekend of October games did not disappoint, with four of the top six teams in the country losing, and multiple screens necessary to catch all the action, as a trio of big games that started at 3:30 (Notre Dame/Stanford, Ole Miss/Alabama & TCU/Oklahoma) all come down to the final seconds in a flurry of great finishes. This weekend promises to be just as good, with six more games involving ranked teams, #13 Georgia at #23 Missouri, #9 TCU at #5 Baylor, #12 Oregon at #18 UCLA, #2 Auburn at #3 Mississippi State and #3 Ole Miss at #14 Texas A&M.
Before going through this week's picks, here is how last week's went.
Fresno State (-3) San Diego State
The five point line move due to the season ending injury to San Diego State quarterback Quinn Kaehler is justified as the Aztecs backup quarterback throws for only 84 yards passing and also tosses interceptions on back to back fourth quarter possessions as Fresno wins 24-13. (W)
Massachusetts +3.5 Miami Ohio
UMass, at one point in the game winning 41-14, blows their fourth 4th quarter lead of the season, losing (but covering) 42-41. With the ball at the Miami Ohio 5 yard line with seconds left in the game, Coach Mark Whipple questionably decides not to go for a field goal due to their ineffective kicking game, and then predictably they fail to score on a pass that wasn’t even thrown to the end zone. Being a UMass football fan this year has been equivalent to getting a root canal and a prostate exam at the same time. (W)
Navy -4 Air Force
Two turnovers sink the Midshipmen as Air Force follows up their big win against Boise State a week earlier and beats Navy 30-21. Air Force now just needs to beat Army on November 1st to win this year’s Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. (L)
Oregon State -7 Colorado
Up 36-24 with five minutes left, Oregon State misses a two point conversion that would have guaranteed at least a push, then doesn’t try much on defense and allows Colorado to score late and wins by only five, 36-31. (L)
South Alabama –3 Appalachian State
In a game that was once 40-7, South Alabama quarterback Brandon Bridge throws for 339 yards and three touchdowns leading the Jaguars to a 47-21 victory. (W)
Rice -6 Hawaii
Rice scores 21 straight second half points and beats a Hawaii team that has now lost fifteen straight road games, 28-14. (W)
Rutgers -2.5 Michigan
Rutgers wins by only two points 26-24 thanks to a blocked extra point, as the Scarlet Knights fail to cover by a half point. Must be fun being a Michigan fan this year, watching previous coach Rich Rodriguez leading Arizona to a 5-0 start, while they’re stuck with Brady Hoke, who has just three wins in his last eleven games. Since Hoke called Notre Dame ‘chicken’ last year when the Irish decided not to renew their yearly matchup of the teams and instead schedule games against better teams such as Georgia, Ohio State, and Texas A&M, the Wolverines are 10-10 while Notre Dame is 15-4. I was going to use a picture below of Brady Hoke in front of a table full of food, but I thought I'd go the mature route instead. (L)
Cincinatti -4 Memphis
The Bearcats digs themselves a 24-7 first quarter hole and then loses quarterback Gunner Kiel to injury at the end of the first half, as they get rolled by Memphis 41-14. (L)
Virginia -5 Pittsburgh
In a bet that looked really good at the half with a 24-3 lead, Virginia lets up sixteen 2nd half points and gets a disappointing push, 24-19. (PUSH)
South Carolina -5 Kentucky
South Carolina blows a 38-24 fourth quarter lead as QB Dylan Thompson throws interceptions on the Gamecocks last two possessions and lose to Kentucky 45-38. (L)
Georgia Southern -17 New Mexico State
Georgia Southern rushes for 423 yards, and passes for only 18, but can’t continue their 5-0 record against the spread winning, but not beating the line, 36-28. (L)
Last weeks record – 4-6-1
Season record – 35-30-3
THIS WEEK’S PICKS
Central Florida (-2.5) vs. BYU Thursday 7:30 PM
BYU’s season took a giant hit this past week when do everything quarterback Taysom Hill and his 15 total touchdowns were lost for the season thanks to a gruesome leg injury he suffered in their loss to Utah State. Not many players were as crucial to their team’s success as Hill was for Cougars, he accounted for nearly 70% of the teams total offense, and I see UCF taking advantage of that and continuing their recent success on Thursday nights (covered last five games) and at home (7-3 against the spread in last ten games).
PICK UCF – 2.5
Georgia (-3) at Missouri Saturday 12:00 PM
Every against the spread trend I can find says to pick against the Bulldogs (1-6 last last seven road games, 1-7-1 last nine games vs. teams with a winning record, 1-8-1 last 10 conference games, etc.) and go with Missouri (5-1 last 6 conference games, 5-1 last six vs. teams with a winning record, 14-4-1 last 19 games overall). I think this a different Georgia team then in previous years, and with a wide open race for the four playoff spots in this years inaugural College Football Playoff, every game is must win for the Bulldogs since they already have one loss. Against Missouri’s lackluster rush defense (57th in the country), Todd Gurley leads the way to a Georgia victory and adds to his 2014 Heisman resume.
PICK Georgia -3
Temple (-17) vs. Tulsa Saturday 12:00 PM
These are two teams going in opposite directions, with Temple 3-1 to start the year and Tulsa a disappointing 1-4, including road loss blowouts to Colorado State and lowly Florida Atlantic. The woes continue for Tulsa in Philly as Temple continues their recent success against the line (10-2 in last twelve games) with a big win at home.
PICK Temple -17
Oregon (-2) at UCLA Saturday 3:30 PM
The biggest game of the Pac-12 regular season took a bit of a hit last weekend when both teams suffered surprising home losses. Regardless, this is going be a highly entertaining game to watch with two multi-faceted, Heisman caliber quarterbacks battling it out, with UCLA’s Brett Hundley going against Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. Both teams have offensive line issues, but I think the rest of Mariota’s supporting cast is just that much better then Hundley’s, and the Ducks get a big road win at the Rose Bowl.
PICK Oregon -2
Oklahoma State (-20) at Kansas Saturday 4:00 PM
The Cowboys only loss of the season was a close opening weekend game against Florida State and I see no reason to expect them not to pummel a Kansas team that they’ve beaten the last four years by an average of just under 30 points per game. The Jayhawks may have gotten better, and thinner, with the firing of head coach Charlie Weis, but they will be no match for an Oklahoma State team that they haven’t beaten in Lawrence in twenty years.
PICK Oklahoma State -20
East Carolina (-14) at South Florida Saturday 7:00 PM
ECU had covered in every game of the season so far until they failed to beat last week’s absurdly high 40 point line against SMU, ‘only’ winning 45-24. The Pirates are 5-1 against the spread in their last six games as favorites, and South Florida has only covered six times in their last 28 home games. Run with the Mugatu from Zoolander strategy and go with the 'hot' team and lay the points on the road.
PICK East Carolina -14
Penn State (+1.5) at Michigan Saturday 7:00 PM
The Nittany Lions have had two weeks to think about the ugly 29-6 defeat the suffered at home to Northwestern. in recent years Penn State have done well in this situation, covering in eight of their last nine games following a loss. Michigan’s only wins of the year so far have been against Miami Ohio and Appalachian State and with all the turmoil surrounding their football program, I will continue to pick against the Wolverines and go with a Penn State win on the road.
PICK Penn State +1.5
LSU (-1) at Florida Saturday 7:30 PM
In the past week Florida starting quarterback Treon Harris has been suspended indefinitely while police investigate allegations against him of sexual assault (yes Florida State, it is possible to suspend your quarterback when faced with such allegations, not just half ass it and only suspend them when faced with a massive public outcry for a much lessor offense) and then later that day police were called to break up a disturbance in front of the football stadium, which turned out to be two Florida players fighting each other over a ‘cleat misunderstanding’. Not the best way to go into a game against your conference rival, especially when that team is LSU. With all the distractions going on, things are sure to be grim in Gainesville for the Gators.
PICK LSU -1.5
Mississippi (+2) at Texas A&M Saturday 9:00 PM
The last big game of the day should be a great one, with undefeated #3 Ole Miss traveling to College Station to take on #14 Texas A&M. Ole Miss comes in after last week’s monumental win against Alabama while A&M is recovering from the buzzsaw that they ran into against Mississippi State, losing 48-31. The Aggies have won the six matchups between the teams, including the last two years by three points in each game, but in another battle of great quarterbacks, I like Bo Wallace and the Rebels to break the streak win and cover against Kenny Hill and Texas A&M.
PICK Ole Miss +2
Good luck to all this weekend. Below is the super fancy setup I used last weekend to watch the games on Saturday and Sunday. With a cheap splitter and a couple of wires you can get free at your local cable supplier, it’s a great, cost effective way to watch as much football as possible without having to pay inflated bar prices, or worse, get stuck at a local restaurant that plays the same channel on all of their televisions of whatever the local game is that no one wants to watch.