Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 10/11/13
We were blessed with some tight games, some close finishes, and a couple of near-upsets last weekend. Of course, last-second heroics like Ohio State’s miraculous back-door cover did nothing to help this particular trio of Tailgaters, but taken all together last Saturday offered tons of excitement. This week, all three of us managed to at least break even in our predictions. When it all balanced out, here’s how each of us fared picking Week 6 games against the spread: Matt Strobl: 6-4 Zach Bigalke: 5-5 John Mitchell: 5-5 We’ve got a decent slate of games on tap this weekend. There might not be as many near-upsets on Saturday, but maybe we’ll get an actual upset to shake up the top 25 for a change. Let’s fire up the grill, crack open a cold one, and get down to business before games start tomorrow. Here’s who we like this week.  You’ll note that, for the most part, consensus rules the weekend…   Missouri Tigers at Georgia Bulldogs (-7.5) Mitchell: This is a popular upset pick this week, and it is easy to see why. Georgia narrowly avoided a road loss to Tennessee last week, and are banged up all over the place on offense. Todd Gurley is doubtful; Keith Marshall is done for the year after injuring his knee against Tennessee; and receivers Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley are also out. That’s not to mention that they already lost Malcolm Mitchell for the season with a knee injury. Aaron Murray has been brilliant this season, but he is severely lacking weapons. And now, a banged up Georgia team gets to face off with a red-hot, undefeated Missouri team that is looking to take control of the SEC’s Eastern Division. The Tigers are 5-0, and fresh off a pounding of Vanderbilt in their SEC opener. The saving grace for the Bulldogs is that this game is being played between the hedges, and I think that will be enough to earn them the victory. I just expect it to be by less than a touchdown. PICK: Missouri Bigalke: Last week the Bulldogs fell against a Tennessee team that is nowhere near as good as Missouri. Georgia’s defense has already had to face Tajh Boyd, Connor Shaw, and Zach Mettenberger. They get no respite this weekend when James Franklin, the fourth top-20 quarterback they’ll face in just the first six games, comes to Athens to test the UGA defense. Yes, Georgia is at home, but the way the injuries have piled up the Bulldogs will soon be sending in towel boys and equipment managers to run routes. I have a feeling this can and should be an outright upset by the Tigers, but at the very least they’ll cover that touchdown-plus spread. PICK: Missouri Strobl: This is the first of several Vegas Specials this week. Despite a heavy majority of bettors taking Georgia to cover, the line has gone from -9 all the way to the current -7.5. Oddsmakers are practically begging for even more of the action to shift the Bulldogs’ way, and that should be all you need to know. Not in the habit of losing money, the house, so to speak, is clearly leaning Mizzou. It’s not hard to see why. Georgia is missing numerous skills players and struggled against Tennessee last week. Granted, the ‘Dawgs get to retrun to Athens, but something about this just doesn’t feel right. A Top 10 team at home should be getting more love; that it’s not makes me nervous. PICK: Missouri   Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Longhorns (+13.5) in Dallas, TX Mitchell: Part of me thinks Texas will keep this game close as Mack Brown fights for his job in what could be his final Red River Shootout on the Texas sidelines. The other part of me thinks this game won’t be close, judging by each team’s respective start to the season. The Sooners are 5-0, but they’ve had a couple of hiccups along the way. They held on to a three point win over a feisty TCU team last week, and struggled earlier in the year against West Virginia. Then again, the Texas defense is miles away from TCU’s. Blake Bell and Brennan Clay should have a field day against the soft Longhorns defense. Oklahoma has blasted Texas the last two years, and this year could be more of the same. Look for Bob Stoops to drive the final nail into Mack Brown’s burnt orange coffin. PICK: Oklahoma Bigalke: I agonized about this one. You see, while everyone is tossing coals onto the funeral pyre of the Longhorns, it isn’t as though the Sooners have looked that unbeatable this season. Narrow victories over West Virginia and TCU have them at 2-0 in Big 12 play, but their only other test has been a trio of teams that are far down from where each was last season. Neither Louisiana-Monroe or Tulsa can be called a quality win this season, and the Fighting Irish are nowhere near 2012 form. The defense they’ll be bringing from Norman is stellar, but that offense is erratic at best. Lucky for the Stoops brothers, Texas is better statistically on offense but lacking its catalyst. PICK: Oklahoma Strobl: Two words: Case McCoy. Honestly, even if David Ash was going to play I’d have trouble picking Texas to cover anything. The ‘Horns are simply not a very good team right now. By all rights they should have lost to Iowa State last week, and despite the help from the officials, and the subsequent long week of rest, I have o reason to put my faith in the burnt orange. Oklahoma isn’t a great team either, but all it has to be in this edition of the Red River Rivalry game is good enough. PICK: Oklahoma   Florida Gators at LSU Tigers (-7) Mitchell: Florida is a better football team than they were in early September when their anemic offense was the impetus for a road loss to Miami. The offense has taken a step in the right direction with Tyler Murphy replacing the injured Jeff Driskel at quarterback, and the Gators have reeled off three consecutive comfortable wins. This will be undoubtedly the toughest defense Murphy has faced as the team’s starting quarterback, even if this version of LSU’s defense isn’t up to par with recent renditions. It’ll be up to Florida’s defense to keep them in this game, and they are more than capable of doing so. The Gators boast one of the nation’s toughest defenses, but this LSU offense has been able to move the ball on everyone they have faced. They are so well balanced led by a much improved Zach Mettenberger, and a deep stable of running backs led by the powerful Jeremy Hill. I do expect this game to be close for a while in Baton Rouge, but I think the Tigers will pull away in the fourth quarter and win by 10-14 points. PICK: LSU Bigalke: Florida… well, Florida is one of those teams that looked incredibly lucky last season to get to 11 wins and figured to regress this year. They’re certainly better without Jeff Driskel than with him, but the Gators are still nowhere near any threshold of competency offensively. And despite their youth, LSU’s defense will quickly expose that. The Tigers can put points on the board, and they can certainly stop a Florida-caliber offense in the unfriendly confines of Death Valley. This spread, honestly, is one of those blessings… this should be at least a double-digit gap, so take advantage. PICK: LSU Strobl: I doubted the Gators throughout the early part of the season, but I have to admit that, with the obvious exception of the Miami loss, Florida has played pretty well. Losing Jeff Driskel hasn’t slowed the offense much, and the defense is one of the best in the country. LSU’s defense hasn’t been nearly as stalwart, but the difference is that LSU can score in bunches. Baton Rouge is one of the toughest venues in college football, and this is a one-score line. While I expect it to be reasonably close, I think the Bayou Bengals will get the job done. PICK: LSU   Northwestern Wildcats at Wisconsin Badgers (-10.5) Mitchell: This spread points to Vegas tomfoolery. I mean, how can Northwestern, a team that gave Ohio State the fight of their lives a week ago in Evanston, be a 10.5 point dog to Wisconsin, even on the road? This spread hasn’t budged even with the public siding with the Wildcats, and that’s a major red flag. I was extremely impressed with the way the Wildcats performed on the big stage against the Buckeyes last week, but have they recovered from such a heart breaking loss enough to be competitive on the road against Wisconsin? The Badgers had last week off to rest, and Northwestern is likely a little down following their loss. Carlos Hyde ran roughshod over Northwestern’s defense last week, and now the Wildcats get to face Wisconsin’s stout offensive front with running backs Melvin Gordon and James White running behind them. I’ll side with Vegas on this one, and take the Badgers to cover. PICK: Wisconsin Bigalke: I’ve been agonizing back and forth on who to pick in this game. As a Badgers fan who was born in Wisconsin, I’d love to see them prove that they’re better than your average two-loss team this time of year. Both of these teams suffered losses to Ohio State the last time they played, Wisconsin on the road two weeks ago and Northwestern at home last weekend. The line between these squads feels mighty high, even though the game will be played at Camp Randall. Ultimately, it comes down to this: Can the Wildcats stop the Badger ground game? Their rushing offense is better than their secondary, but Northwestern’s 48th-ranked run defense has seen no attack as multifaceted as the one they’ll witness this weekend. For that reason, I’m sticking with my rooting interest and laying the points. PICK: Wisconsin Strobl: And we come to the second Vegas Special. What on earth is going on here? On paper Northwestern seems the better team, ranked #16 just last week. Like Wisconsin the Saturday night prior, the Wildcats were victimized by Ohio State but did manage to play a solid game and keep the score close. So what can account for this monster spread? Should Wisconsin not be giving something closer to the standard three points for homefield advantage? Nearly eight in ten bettors are siding with the underdog here, but if you watched Northwestern in week six you learned that the ‘Cats can’t handle a power running game (see Carlos Hyde). Wisconsin has that in spades. That fact, along with the goofy line, has me thinking Badgers. PICK: Wisconsin   Oregon Ducks at Washington Huskies (+14) Mitchell: This spread feels just about right, even with the Huskies getting the benefit of home field advantage. The same question applies for Washington as applied to Northwestern. Have they recovered from such a physically and mentally taxing game last week to be ready to play this week? Washington stood toe to toe with Stanford, and nearly knocked off the Cardinal. Keith Price showed his poise and toughness, and he should have some success against Oregon’s defense. The big question is, of course, what can Washington do to quell the Oregon attack? The Ducks have been an unstoppable force so far this season. They’re 5-0 with an average margin of victory of 47.4 points. They are averaging 59.2 points per game, and they haven’t scored less than 55 points in a game so far this season. I like Washington, I really do, but Oregon is simply on another level. Marcus Mariota and company should lead the Ducks to another comfortable win. PICK: Oregon Bigalke: Look, I saw what Washington did to Stanford last week. Then again, they went one further against Stanford last season and still lost by 31 in Eugene the next week. This time, the Huskies lost in Palo Alto… which means absolutely nothing for this game. What this really comes down to, in my mind, is a situation similar to Wisconsin-Northwestern. Can Washington’s mediocre run defense stop the third-best ground game in the country? I have serious doubts that they can hold them up for four quarters. Though we might actually see Mariota and the starters play into the second half, this spread is far too generous to the home team. PICK: Oregon Strobl: There’s no reason to drag this out. Washington is good, but Oregon is much, much better. Even on the road a two touchdown spread is nothing the Ducks can’t handle. PICK: Oregon   Oregon State Beavers at Washington State Cougars (-1) Mitchell: This is essentially a pick ‘em, as it should be, with Washington State being favored by merely a point at home against Oregon State. The Beavers suffered an embarrassing defeat to Eastern Washington on the season’s opening weekend, but credit to Mike Riley, who turned things around after that defeat to lead his team to four straight wins, including a 2-0 start in conference play. Speaking of turnarounds, Mike Leach has Washington State a much better football team in year two after struggling in his first season on the sidelines in Pullman. They’re 4-2 overall, including a win over USC. A tough schedule lies ahead for the Cougars, so this is a huge game in terms of getting bowl eligible. This is a coin flip, with two offenses who love to throw the ball. In a pass-happy game, I’ll go with the more reliable Sean Mannion over the streaky Connor Halliday. PICK: Oregon State Bigalke: I am skeptical about both these teams. Oregon State has the better record heading into this game, but their one loss came against FCS Eastern Washington at home whereas Washington State has lost at Auburn and versus Stanford in Seattle. Two high-octane passing offenses will square off against two mediocre-at-best defenses. The scoreboard might ignite in Pullman. Ultimately, though, the Beavers average over ten more points per game. Mannion and his targets will find those ten points in the Palouse on Saturday. PICK: Oregon State Strobl: Of the games on this week’s slate, this is the one I’m least sure about. Given the spread, the same is true of the oddsmakers. In the end, I think the difference will be Sean Mannion. He’s been the Beavers’ saving grace throughout the season, gutting out wins with prolific passing stats even as the OSU defense struggles to keep opponents off the board. Facing Mike Leach and a decent Wazzu offense, Oregon State will probably be faced with another shootout. But that’s nothing new, and I expect the visitors to earn another close victory. PICK: Oregon State   Baylor Bears at Kansas State Wildcats (+17.5) Mitchell: I wrestled with this pick, because it’s tough for me to see Bill Snyder getting blown out, regardless of the opponent. He’ll look to control the clock with Daneil Sams and John Hubert to keep the high powered Baylor offense on the sideline. But, the Bears score so quickly, it probably won’t matter. Baylor is legit, and they look like the class of the Big 12 to this point in the season. If you remember back to last season, Baylor blew the doors off of Kansas State’s national championship hopes with a resounding 52-24 stomping of Kansas State. Well, this Baylor team is much improved, and this Kansas State team doesn’t have Collin Klein. Bryce Petty, Lache Seastrunk and company are just too good. Even on the road, look for Baylor’s offense to remain unstoppable as they cruise to another win. PICK: Baylor Bigalke: Like Oregon’s line, Baylor’s otherworldly offense is being treated too modestly by Vegas. Quite simply, this isn’t the Kansas State team that threatened for an BCS title shot for much of last season. The offense hasn’t found its new Collin Klein, the defense is merely so-so, and the team has one of the worst turnover ratios in the nation. The Wildcats would have to play an absolutely perfect game in all phases just to keep this one close. Expect Seastrunk to bulldoze K-State’s 71st-ranked run defense, and for Petty to carve up a secondary that has benefitted numbers-wise from a lack of true tests to date. PICK: Baylor Strobl: Let’s put this in perspective. Baylor’s week one 69-3 whipping of poor Wofford is the only time this year the Bears didn’t top 70 points. They’re averaging 70.5. In four games, Baylor has 3,126 yards of total offense, or 781.5 per game. To call this offense prolific would be an absurd understatement. The Bears’ defense has been surprisingly effective as well, no doubt aided by the fact that offense spends most of the game in the endzone. Kansas State isn’t the sacrificial lamb that Wofford was, but Baylor doesn’t seem to be distinguishing among its victims. Everyone is getting trampled. PICK: Baylor   Texas A&M Aggies at Ole Miss Rebels (+6) Mitchell: Another one of those trust Vegas games. This spread seems way too low, especially after Ole Miss lost their second consecutive game last week. The Rebels got off to a promising 3-0 start, but their two week trek into the state of Alabama yielded unflattering results. First, they were shutout by Alabama. Then they were shut-up by Auburn. Now, the Rebels face a Texas A&M team led by Johnny Manziel fresh off a by week, whose only loss of the season came by a single touchdown at home against Alabama. Why is this only a six point spread? Even with the majority of the public siding with the Aggies, the spread actually dropped from 6.5 to 6 this week. Someone knows something I don’t know. Texas A&M has serious issues on defense, and Ole Miss should be able to exploit them with their bevy of offensive weapons. Look for the Rebels to lean on the running game with Jeff Scott for a lot of the night. This figures to be a shootout, because it’s unlikely that Ole Miss has much of an answer for Manziel and the Aggies’ offense, but I’ll again side with Vegas and take the points. PICK: Ole Miss Bigalke: And we thought Ole Miss was supposed to be a sleeper in the SEC West this year? Frankly, that performance against Auburn last week — coming on the heels of being shut out by Alabama — proved far more than wins over Vanderbilt, Texas and FCS Southeast Missouri State every could. Texas A&M isn’t as good defensively as either of the teams that have knocked down the Rebels a peg or two, but they don’t have to be. Quite simply, the Aggies have the offense that Ole Miss currently wishes it had. There will be some weeping in Oxford when the final whistle pierces the air. PICK: Texas A&M Strobl: And the third Vegas Special of the week. As in the Georgia game, the favorite is giving a surprisingly small number of points on a line that has moved in the wrong direction. A&M opened at -6.5 and despite being heavy favorites, saw that line drop to an even six. Mississippi isn’t the team so many wanted it to be, and after getting smoked by Alabama, the Rebels were easily handled by Auburn. The Aggies are a heck of a lot better than the Tigers, so what gives? Not to repeat myself, but something this doesn’t feel right either. PICK: Ole Miss   Pittsburgh Panthers at Virginia Tech Hokies (-9) Mitchell: Pittsburgh’s offense has been hit or miss this season. They racked up 49 and 58 points respectively in wins over New Mexico and Duke. Then, they only scored 13 and 14 respectively against Florida State and Virginia. Now, they get to go up against one of the best defenses in the nation, with a secondary that will likely intercept a pass or two thrown by Tom Savage. Also, Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas has looked like a much improved player the last two weeks, and the Hokies are riding a five game winning streak after their season opening loss to Alabama in the Georgia Dome. Look for the Hokies’ defense to swarm the Panthers offense, and for Logan Thomas to continue his strong play of late. PICK: Virginia Tech Bigalke: Virginia Tech’s defense is carrying this team; they very well could and probably should be 3-3 instead of 5-1 after nearly losing back-to-back games to East Carolina and Marshall. The fact that Logan Thomas has looked great against ACC defenses says more about the true quality of that conference than it does about any offensive turnaround by the Gobblers. That said, Pittsburgh — one of the league’s two newest members along with Syracuse — is merely mediocre both on offense and on defense. Against Tech, in Blacksburg, that could be a recipe for disaster. Let’s face it… the Panthers are no Thundering Herd. PICK: Virginia Tech Strobl: Pittsburgh has a reasonable offense. Pittsburgh also allowed better than 50 points to Duke. In contrast, VT has as stingy a defense as there is in the game. Something has to give, and my guess is that it’ll be the Panthers. Faced with Beamer-ball, a Blacksburg crowd, and that intimidating stop unit, I expect Pitt to fall by double-digits. Tech’s Logan Thomas has picked up his play significantly of late, so points shouldn’t be an issue for the Hokies. PICK: Virginia Tech   Upsets of the Week Mitchell: Arkansas Razorbacks (+6) over South Carolina Gamecocks I’m going to stick with the trend of trusting Vegas this week, and call for this upset. Even on the road, South Carolina should be more than a six point favorite over a .500 Arkansas team that has dropped three games in a row. Predictably, the public has sided with the Gamecocks, but the spread hasn’t budged from six all week. Frankly, South Carolina isn’t as good as I thought they were this season, and a lot of it has to do with their defensive struggles, highlighted by the disappearing act performed by preseason Heisman candidate Jadeveon Clowney. The Gamecocks have been far from a dominating defensive team, ranking 42nd in the country in total defense this season. Arkansas struggled to move the ball last week against Florida’s defense, but South Carolina isn’t on the same level, which is something I never would have said in the preseason. Look for Brandon Allen to have a bounce back week, and for Alex Collins to exploit South Carolina’s defensive front with some big runs. Arkansas should cover, and don’t be surprised if they pull the upset outright.   Bigalke: San Jose State Spartans (+3.5) over Colorado State Rams This has turned into a nightmare season for Spartans senior David Fales. After entering the season as one of the Mountain West’s top quarterback prospects, Fales has seen his numbers dip precipitously. He’s completing 16% fewer passes and averaging 1.5 fewer yards per attempt from his 2012 numbers, and San Jose State has already lost more games than it did all last season. If the Spartans are going to right the ship at all in their first MWC season, this trip to Fort Collins presents the perfect opportunity. The Rams are ranked 108th in passing yardage allowed, 114th in opponent passing efficiency, and 95th in scoring defense. SJSU isn’t a great team this year, but they’re far better than the Rams.   Strobl: South Florida Bulls (+5.5) over Connecticut Huskies Maybe it’s suicide to bet on South Florida after the Bulls’ terrible start. But in week 6 things finally looked better as USF topped Cincinnati 26-20. Connecticut, which has looked equally awful except (somehow) for its performance against Michigan, is giving 5.5. Yet the Huskies have a new coach, a new QB, and a boatload of unanswered questions coming out of their bye week. Last time they took the field, the Huskies were steamrolled by Buffalo to the tune of 41-12. I don’t expect a lopsided outcome of that type this week, but I do think the Bulls can keep it within a field goal.     THIS SEASON: Bigalke: 33-25-2 Strobl: 32-26-2 Mitchell: 24-34-2

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

PLAYERS: Connor Halliday
TEAMS:
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kam Chancellor will miss remainder of 2017 season with neck injury

It's all on Russell Wilson as injuries decimate Legion of Boom

Simone Biles criticism leads to apology from Gabby Douglas

Lonzo Ball explains why he skipped Lakers-Suns fight

Dale Earnhardt Jr. shares early-career regrets

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

LaVar Ball downplays President Trump’s role in helping son

Philip Rivers cleared to play Sunday against Bills

Simone Biles blasts Gabby Douglas over response to sexual abuse post

D'Angelo Russell underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Friday

Derrick Rose to miss at least two weeks with ankle injury

Jameis Winston: Uber driver’s ‘accusation is false’

Sports & Politics Intersect: Is Jerry out of his league?

The 'An I, Tonya for an eye (or knee)' quiz

Should the Broncos make Tyrod Taylor their next quarterback?

15 mid-majors you need to know before you hear about them in March

NCAA college football 2017 Week 12 predictions

NFL Week 11 predictions

Follow Ben Simmons as he leads us to the NBA's unknown future

The Saints flipped the script to revive their season

The 15 best and 15 worst MLB signings of the last decade

The 'It's a major award!' quiz

Vikings' unnecessary quarterback conundrum is Mike Zimmer's doing

Time to admit the Blues are good, but can they be great?

Cougars News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Sports & Politics Intersect: Is Jerry out of his league?

15 mid-majors you need to know before you hear about them in March

The 'An I, Tonya for an eye (or knee)' quiz

Should the Broncos make Tyrod Taylor their next quarterback?

The 15 best and 15 worst MLB signings of the last decade

The 'It's a major award!' quiz

Follow Ben Simmons as he leads us to the NBA's unknown future

The Saints flipped the script to revive their season

NFL Week 11 predictions

NCAA college football 2017 Week 12 predictions

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker