I regret to inform you that we have fallen below .500 on the year in the college football picks. We went 4-8 on the week, falling to 78-82 on the year. (I gave out the over in Mizzou-Arkansas on Friday, which cashed even if Mizzou’s long run of check cashing dominance finally came to a close).
I have nothing to say in my defense at all.
Frankly, I accept all the derision and hate and thrive on it. Which is why I am confident that this week we’re going 8-0 in conference title games.
As a gift from Santa Clay, all of our Outkick Gear is 20% off if you spend $50 or more and use the code “boobs.”
Here we go with the picks this weekend:
USC -3 vs. Stanford (Now USC -3)
USC has had two weeks to get ready for this game and dominated when the two teams played in September.
In fact, this was probably the best game USC has played all season, a 42-24 dismantling of Stanford back on September 9th.
Since that time USC has plodded its way to the most disappointing 10-2 season in school history.
Meanwhile Stanford has done what they always do, be quietly spectacular under David Shaw. After starting the season 1-2, Stanford went 8-1 down the stretch, the lone loss coming on the road by three to Washington State.
Ultimately I think USC will handle Stanford by 10, so I like them as a three point favorite.
FAU -11 vs. North Texas and the over 73.5 (Now FAU -11 and the over 73.5)
Lane Kiffin was awesome this morning on Outkick and his offense has been a work of art during this eight game winning streak. Even if, as happened on Saturday, he narrowly missed covering for us at Charlotte.
Last time North Texas came to Boca Raton FAU put up over 800 yards of offense and scored 69 points en route to a 38 point win.
I don’t anticipate that big of a win on Saturday, but I do feel like FAU will cover and I absolutely love the over to hit here as well.
So double plays early on the Conference USA title game.
Memphis vs. Central Florida, the over 84.5, really (Now -82)
Sometimes you have to live and take the largest over I’ve ever seen and just sit back and watch the points pile up.
I know, I know, it’s an insane line, but Memphis’s offense has been unstoppable and so has Central Florida’s. Plus, you’ve got two coaches auditioning for the last time for the national coaching stage.
I predict an absolute explosion of points. Both teams will go for forty and I think there’s a good chance one team will hit sixty.
Look out, kids, it’s raining points and the over cashes.
Auburn -2.5 vs. Georgia (Auburn -2.5)
I will be down in Atlanta watching this game in person and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen because I am very confident we won’t see another stomping like we did in Jordan-Hare a few weeks ago and I think this game will be tight throughout. But I believe Auburn — even with potential health issues at running back — is playing better football than anyone in the country right now.
And a big reason why is the growth of Jarrett Stidham, who has become a true force at quarterback. Ultimately I think he’s the biggest difference maker on the field and the reason I’m rolling with Auburn to win the SEC championship game and advance to the college football playoff.
(The craziest thing about this game, by the way? I think if Auburn loses that Gus Malzahn really might go to Arkansas. But I think if Auburn wins, he might win a national title instead. Talk about a huge swing.)
Miami +10 vs. Clemson (Now Miami +9.5)
Each time Miami has played against a top opponent down the stretch they have shown up and dominated. Granted, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame aren’t on the same level as Clemson, but both of those teams were favored against the Hurricanes and Miami crushed both teams.
I don’t think a crushing will happen here, but I do expect this game to be decided late in the fourth quarter.
And making Clemson nearly a double digit favorite seems crazy to me. (Even if, as will be the case, this is a default Clemson home game).
How crazy would it be if Miami and Georgia both win and Mark Richt goes up against Georgia in the playoff?
Wisconsin +7 vs. Ohio State (Now Wisconsin +6.5)
While all of us, myself included, have been talking about who gets the final playoff spot between Alabama and Ohio State, I feel like Wisconsin has to be quietly boiling at the amount of disrespect shown to the Badgers here. They are 12-0, having not really been challenged all season long, and everyone just assumes Ohio State is going to roll over them.
It’s one thing for this to be a toss up game, but Ohio State is a full touchdown favorite on a neutral field.
Ohio State has been great at times, awful at times all year long. And which team on Ohio State’s schedule does Wisconsin sort of resemble? Iowa, right? Except much better. A physical, pro style offensive attack without much sizzle.
Well, Wisconsin beat Iowa by 24. Ohio State lost by 31 to the Hawkeyes. And while the transitive property doesn’t often apply in sports, Wisconsin also beat Michigan in a similar way that Ohio State did.
So give me the Badgers here to cover with ease and potentially win outright.
TCU +7 vs. Oklahoma (Now TCU +7)
Much of the discussion on the playoff picture has focused on the Big Ten title game impact, but relatively little time has been spent on TCU and Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game.
So I have an interesting scenario for you here — what if Clemson and Auburn both win, Ohio State beats Wisconsin and TCU beats Oklahoma?
Doesn’t this then turn into a three way debate between 11-2 TCU, 11-2 Ohio State and 11-2 Oklahoma over the final playoff spot? And given the fact that Oklahoma beat Ohio State head-to-head by 15 on the road, how could you put the Buckeyes in above Oklahoma if both teams finish with the exact same record? If that happens, isn’t there a decent chance that TCU could spring all the way from 11 and snag the final playoff spot? (I think Alabama at 11-1 would go in as the three seed and play Auburn in the Rose Bowl, which would be incredible).
Anyway, I point out all of these possibilities for this reason — I love Gary Patterson and think he’ll have his team ready in a massive game for the Horned Frogs.
But I still think Oklahoma gets the win because Baker Mayfield is the best player in this year’s playoff.
TCU covers with a late score, however.