It was a rough gambling weekend, topped off by Tennessee giving up a 14-10 second quarter lead and failing to cover the +24/25 number thanks to a late 60 yard fumble return plus a failure to score on a first and goal from the five at the end of the game.
The end result when all the games were counted? An awful 4-7 performance to drop us to a perfectly even 40-40 on the year.
I understand the doubters, the haters gathering and raising their voices, fade the picks guy standing up after his long winter of failures over the past two years and beginning to make noise anew.
But we will not let the picks go quietly into the good night.
We will rage against the dying of the light.
All the way to 11-0 this week.
In the meantime, you can win $10k of my money this week by playing the free college football pick’em. I hope you all lose, but you can go make your picks here.
This will be the third year we’ve had the picks up early on the Outkick VIP message board. If you love to ride with the Outkick picks — or hate me and want to fade everything that I do — I post my picks Monday afternoon on the VIP message board so you can get the earliest numbers possible. Then I’ll post the picks for free here on Wednesday afternoon. This year’s new VIP’s will receive an autographed copy of my new book, Republicans Buy Sneakers Too, access to our VIP events across the nation, a VIP message board, a VIP phone line for my radio show, and other cool experiences, potentially involving the TV show(s), which will be announced on the VIP message board. So make sure you sign up for Outkick VIP today.
Here we go with 11-0:
Michigan at Illinois +21.5, now Illinois +22
There’s a decent chance that when this game ends I’m left staring at the ceiling thinking, “Why in the world did I back Lovie Smith?”
But this line just feels way too high when you look at how pedestrian the Michigan offense has been in every game except when they played Rutgers. (And I’m not even sure Rutgers counts as a football team right now, honestly).
In every other game this year Michigan’s offense hasn’t scored enough to cover a 21+ point line. The Wolverines beat MTSU by 19, Army by three in OT, got walloped by Wisconsin, and only beat Iowa by a touchdown, marshaling just ten total points in that game.
I’m not here to argue that Illinois is very good — they lost to Eastern Michigan, for god’s sakes — but this is a circle the wagons weekend and no one circles the wagons like Lovie Smith! (Except for our previous Illinois circles the wagons game, a blown cover against Penn State last year).
So give me the Illini +22.
Oklahoma vs. Texas +11, now Texas +11
In games where his team has been an underdog Tom Herman is incredible against the spread.
And if you know anything at all about the Red River Shootout you know the records of both teams entering the game — and some times even the talent itself — really doesn’t factor in much at all.
Last year Texas won 48-45 and the past six games — including last year’s Big 12 title game win by the Sooners — have all been decided by 12 or less. Indeed of the last six regular season games in this series, Texas has won three and Oklahoma has won three as well.
So what happens this year?
The Sooners win, but by a touchdown or less.
Meaning everyone on Texas +11 wins.
Memphis -6 at Temple, now Memphis -6
The Tigers are the best football team in the state of Tennessee, potentially Titans included, and are on the road playing an inconsistent Temple team that lacks offensive firepower.
Remember back when that Maryland win looked impressive for Temple, by the way?
Seems like a long time ago now.
Memphis, on the other hand, has picked up their offensive juice since the second half of the Navy game and is rolling everyone.
So what happens here?
The Tigers swamp the Owls by two touchdowns, 31-17.
Ole Miss at Mizzou -11, now Mizzou -12
Mizzou might be the most underrated team in college football.
Since losing in week one at Wyoming the Tigers have been crushing opponents with a high powered offense and an increasingly talented defense. It’s why I’ve been saying I think Mizzou is the second best team in the SEC East.
Since the Wyoming game Mizzou has won four straight games by 20 or more, notching wins over South Carolina and West Virginia in the process. The biggest fear here for Mizzou is the health of Kelly Bryant, but he’ll play and should be okay this weekend. Losing Cale Garrett, the heartbeat of the defense, will be a big blow, but this defense has been solid all around since week two and I don’t see that changing this week.
Meanwhile I just don’t feel like Ole Miss has the talent to keep up with Mizzou here. The Rebels have been pretty mediocre all season long and that continues in Columbia, with the Tigers winning by three touchdowns.
South Carolina at Georgia -24.5, now Georgia -24.5
I saw Georgia in person last week against Tennessee and I left impressed.
In fact, I think Georgia has the best balanced offense in college football — I haven’t seen anyone else as consistently good at running and throwing the football all season — and their defense is coming along nicely as well.
While the first twenty minutes against Tennessee were a bit ominous, I don’t think South Carolina has the playmakers on offense to really threaten Georgia very extensively. Especially not on the road in front of a raucous crowd. And defensively I expect South Carolina to wilt down the stretch of this game, allowing Georgia to pull away late like they did against Tennessee on the road.
This is, however, a big number, as only one game between these two teams has been decided by over 24 points since 1992.
But Kirby Smart has won the last three in this series by 14, 14, and 24 points.
Make it four in a row only this one is by 25 or more.
Mississippi State at Vols +7, now Vols +7
This is the proverbial circle the wagons game for Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee.
Beat Mississippi State and Pruitt will have Tennessee at 2-4 halfway through the season. Lose at Alabama and at Mizzou and Pruitt will have four winnable games left on his schedule: South Carolina, UAB, Vanderbilt, and at Kentucky.
While it’s unlikely Pruitt would win all four of these games, if he beats the Bulldogs he’d have a shot at getting to 6-6 and a decent shot of equaling last year’s 5-7.
Lose to State, however, and the Vols are looking at 4-8 or worse, which would equal the worst season in program history.
So this is close to a must win game for Pruitt.
As for Mississippi State, what do we know about Joe Moorhead’s team? Not much, honestly. They’ve been good enough to squeak out a home SEC win over Kentucky, bad enough to get blown out by Auburn. But this is a big game for State because if Mississippi State loses they fall to 3-3 and are in potential trouble on the back half of their schedule as well.
Making a bowl wouldn’t be a sure thing at all.
I’m not sure Tennessee wins, but seven just seems like a really steep number here.
The Vols cover, but they really need a win much more than they just need a cover.
Will they get it?
Hell, have you seen this season? I ain’t taking them on the money line.
Michigan State at Wisconsin under 40.5, now under 40
I’m not sure Michigan State and Wisconsin will score thirty points in this game, much less forty.
The challenge with unders this low, as always, is turnovers and special teams. Fumble a punt and have it roll into the end zone, a blocked kick, a scoop and score fumble, these are the pratfalls for a bet like this because it doesn’t take very many miscues to hit the over here.
But when you look at the raw numbers and what these offenses have managed on the season, I just don’t see the offenses producing much in this game.
So rather than sweat out a cover, why not kick back and enjoy an easy under instead?
That’s what I’m doing.
Florida at LSU -13, now LSU -13.5
Florida Gator fans deluged my timeline after they won against Auburn, taking it as huge validation for their team, which has previously been fortunate to beat bad Kentucky and Miami teams.
But here’s the deal, I still think the Gators are all smoke and mirrors when it comes to their offense.
Yes, they beat Auburn, but how much of that was Bo Nix falling apart? A huge part of it. And this Gator offense still turns the ball over way too much.
If the Gators have four turnovers against LSU they’ll lose by thirty.
Meanwhile, we all know how good Joe Burrow and this LSU offense has been, but I’m most intrigued by how this LSU defense will do against the Gator offense.
I think the answer will be pretty damn good.
Give me LSU with the win 35-14.
Bama at Texas A&M +17, now Bama -16.5
It’s put up or shut up time for Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies.
This is year two for Jimbo at A&M and he’s staring down the barrel of another 7-5 season given Georgia and LSU are still on the schedule after this Alabama game.
It’s unlikely the Aggies beat any of these teams, meaning that $75 million contract is starting to build up a bit of heat on Jimbo’s seat.
It was several years ago now that the Aggies went on the road against number one Alabama and Johnny Manziel’s team pulled off the upset, effectively winning Manziel the Heisman and launching the Aggies into the national discussion in the SEC and the country.
But since then the Aggies haven’t come close to equaling that season.
This is the kind of win they need to prove they still matter.
As for the Tide, the Bama defense is wobbly, giving up big yardage to both South Carolina and Ole Miss, two mediocre to bad teams in the conference.
Yes, Tua is maybe the best pocket passing quarterback the SEC has ever seen — and his stable of receivers may be the best college football has ever seen — but Alabama hasn’t run the football well. What if Tua has a bad game or, shudder to think, gets knocked out of the game with an injury?
I just think 17 is too steep for what will be a rowdy scene in College Station.
Give me the Aggies.
USC at Notre Dame -11, now Notre Dame -11
The Fighting Irish vanished as soon as they lost to Georgia.
I mean, just totally disappeared from the national conversation.
That’s interesting because this Fighting Irish team has a very good shot of finishing 11-1 with its only loss on the road at Georgia.
What’s more, this year’s Irish haven’t just been beating teams, they’ve been a covering machine. They pushed against Louisville, but otherwise they’ve covered against New Mexico, Georgia, Virginia and Bowling Green. A Notre Dame team that’s undefeated against the spread halfway through the season has to be a first.
If anything, shocker, could the Irish actually be underrated?
In fact, other than at Michigan in a couple of weeks, what game do you even see on their schedule other than USC this week that’s even a little bit dangerous? I don’t see any.
As for USC, the Clay Helton express continues to trudge along, constantly trying to climb a hill it doesn’t quite have the fuel to reach the top of. They’re sitting at 3-2 with Kedon Slovis coming back for this game. Win and Helton can enter the Pac 12 scheduling minefield with a huge win in his back pocket. That win will help save him when USC inevitably loses a game they have no business losing.
Lose to Notre Dame, however, and everything’s unclear for the 3-3 Trojans.
With Arizona, at Colorado, Oregon, at Arizona State, at Cal, and UCLA still left on the schedule, you figure it’s probably going to be really hard for Helton to be back in 2020.
Especially if he posts a 7-5 or worse record, which seems likely.
But that’s for the future.
In the meantime — the Fighting Irish win by 14 or more.
Penn State at Iowa under 40.5, now under 41
If you haven’t seen James Franklin’s statement yesterday about the importance of football when it comes to uniting people from diverse backgrounds, go watch it.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) October 9, 2019
Now that you’ve seen that, prepare for a brutal defensive battle on the road in Iowa on Saturday night.
Penn State is the more talented offensive team, but both of these defenses are very, very sound.
Meaning I just don’t see many plays to be had on the field in this one.
One team beats the other 17-13.
I don’t know.
Penn State has won five in a row in this series, but before that Iowa won eight of nine.
But don’t worry about who wins, just take the under and count your money.
There you have it, boys and girls, 11-0 is locked and loaded.