Simply put, there are too many good games, too many fun matchups, and too many bad Dana Holgorsen jokes to make for me to get cute with an intro here. It’s time to talk football, and it’s time to jump right into the Week 6 picks.
As always, the picks are against the spread, with point totals provided by BetUS.com.
And as always, I encourage you to share your own picks in the comments section below or on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.
Arizona (+9) over Stanford: Saturday, 3:00 p.m. FOX
The simple fact that the first game we’re previewing this week is a 3:00 p.m. West Coast start, should tell you everything you need to know about this one. Essentially, what it should tell you is… stay away from this game. Please, I’m begging you. For the sake of your own sanity and the sake of your bank account (if you plan on wagering on this one) just walk away. We’ll all be better in the end because of it.
Well, if I’ve said this once, I’ve said it 1,000 times: Never pick a young, offensively challenged team coming off a bad loss, returning home for a noon kickoff (in what will inevitably be a half-empty stadium), especially when they’re going against a team that can score points in bunches, and is playing with a chip on their shoulder after losing a game they should’ve won the week before.
Got all that?
I guess what I’m trying to say is, not only is Arizona going to cover the points here, they’re going to win this game outright.
Oklahoma (-4.5) over TEXAS TECH: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ESPN/ABC
For those of you who are regular readers of my work, you know I’m through with Oklahoma. I’m done. I’ve given up on them, moved all my stuff out of the apartment, and returned my set of keys to the landlord. I’m finished. If we never see each other again, it’ll be too soon.
Ok, weird random rant over.
At the same time, while I’m done with Oklahoma football, as it pertains to this game, I actually think they get the win here. After all, isn’t that what Oklahoma does? Whenever you count them out and leave them for dead, don’t they always show up, put up 28 first quarter points, win 52-13, and leave you thinking, “Oh yeah, that’s right. When they play like that Oklahoma is actually pretty good?”
Unfortunately they don’t play like that nearly enough.
But they will Saturday in Lubbock.
FLORIDA (+2) over LSU: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. CBS
After five games, it’s pretty clear that there’s something not totally right with LSU. Honestly, I don’t know what it is. Maybe they just miss Tyrann Mathieu. Maybe they’ve just dealt with too many offensive line injuries. Or maybe, Jordan Jefferson just mattered that darn much to this football team.
Ok, that last one was definitely a joke.
But that second one? About the offensive line play? Well that’s as real as a heart attack, my friends. I mean seriously, if you’ve really watched LSU play this year, doesn’t the offensive line have to be your No. 1 concer? Aren’t you worried that as hard as the running backs continue to run, they just aren’t getting the same push up front that they did last year? That’s LSU’s offensive just isn’t playing with the same “umph” they had in 2011?
More importantly, going against the best front seven that they’ll play until Alabama comes to town, don’t you have to wonder if LSU can actually match up? I know it sounds crazy, and I know that traditionally LSU is as tough as any team in college football. I’m just not sure that this week, after all the injuries they’ve faced they will be.
That’s also why I’m picking the Gators in a low-scoring, not-so-easy-on-the-eyes upset.
Florida 13, LSU 7.
Three weeks ago I wasn’t sure Will Muschamp would survive the season. By Saturday he’ll be favorite for National Coach of the Year.
Georgia Tech (+10.5) over CLEMSON: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ESPN
Look, I’m just gonna throw it out there: Every Friday I pick 10 games for this preview, but in the case of this particular week, there were only nine I was comfortable talking about. This game is No. 10, and I’d be lying if I said I had any feel for how it’s going to play out. Like, at all. So, not only should you take my pick of Georgia Tech to cover the points with a grain of salt, but a whole tablespoon too. Sorry Yellow Jackets fans, don’t get too excited about my selection of your team, although in your defense, you don’t actually have any fans so it doesn’t matter. But that’s beside the point.
So what was point?
Oh that’s right, I remember now. That point was, as much as I love Clemson (and man, do I love Clemson), my concern here is that with a bye week up next, and a big game (at least on paper) with Virginia Tech the following week, maybe, just maybe the Tigers will be looking ahead Saturday. Plus, coming off two straight ugly, ugly, ugly games, you’ve got to think if Georgia Tech was ever going to show a pulse, this would be the Saturday to do it.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, I like Clemson to win. But I also like Georgia Tech with the points and the cover.
At least that’s what I think, I think anyway.
Maybe we should just move on.
TEXAS (-6.5) over West Virginia: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. FOX
Ok, ok, so over the last few weeks West Virginia football and I have had a bit of an uneasy relationship. But even I can admit when I’m wrong (or at least not totally right), and in terms of Geno Smith I was wrong. Not only can the dude ball, not only is he the only contender for the Heisman Trophy, but incredibly, I actually think he’s a bit underrated right now.
As crazy as it sounds, it’s true. Forget the yards and touchdowns, for a second, and let me ask you this: Why isn’t anyone talking about the fact that he’s completing 83 percent of his passes right now? Or, as West Virginia beat writer Mike Casazza mentioned on my podcast this week that in three of the Mountaineers four games this year, Smith has actually had either the same number or more touchdown passes than he’s had incompletions? Are you kidding me? How is that possible?
At the same time, while I’m loving me some Geno Smith, I’m not nearly as bullish on the team around him. As a matter of fact, I think there are three big things working against the Mountaineers as they head to Austin this weekend:
1. Saturday will be West Virginia’s first road game all year. Texas has played their two toughest games on the road. Obviously, that’s advantage Longhorns.
2. As great as West Virginia was last week, let’s not forget that it was against a Baylor defense that was so bad ESPN will probably make a 30 for 30 documentary about them within the next few years. Let’s also not forget it just two weeks ago that the Mountaineers looked pretty average against a slightly above-average Maryland defense. And that it took two big plays (one from, gasp, their defense) to seal a victory over a Terps team that likely won’t be going bowling this year.
Point being, as good as this offense looked as a whole last week, it’s a far cry from how they were just one week before. I’m guessing West Virginia is going to be much closer to 30 points this Saturday than the 70 they put up in the last one.
3. Finally, there’s one more point which I don’t think nearly enough people are talking about right now: Didn’t Texas just get the best possible tutorial on how to beat West Virginia when they played Oklahoma State last week?
I mean seriously, if there is one team to prepare you to face Dana Holgorsen’s offense, isn’t it the team that…umm… runs Dana Holgorsen’s offense?!?!?!?!? Isn’t Oklahoma State just a slightly watered down version of West Virginia at this point? And most importantly, while Texas’ defense did look pretty bad last Saturday, didn’t it also serve as a litmus test, and ultimately, a 60 minute scout team session to get ready for this week?
I think it did, and I think Texas will be much more prepared because of it this weekend.
I also think Texas wins by 10.
Georgia (+1.5) over SOUTH CAROLINA: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ESPN
I said after their win Saturday against Tennessee. I said it on my podcast with Barrett Sallee this week. I said it to my dog last night, who then proceeded to roll over and lick himself. And I will keep saying it until someone listens: Georgia is a National Championship contender. They might not be the favorites going forward, but they are in the discussion. And in the beginning of October, what place would you rather be other than in the discussion as a true National Championship contender?
Now, as it relates to this game, I’ll just be blunt and say that I think the Dawgs go to Billy-Brice Stadium and pull off the win. Sure people are worried about the defense, but remember Georgia just brought back two starters last week, two starters who haven’t played all year, and two starters that happen to be … ALL-AMERICANS!!!!!! You think that Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree won’t figure it out? Especially, when they’re playing alongside Jarvis Jenkins, Cornelius Washington and seven other future NFL Draft picks? Yeah, I think Georgia’s defense will be fine.
And by the way, for all the lack of confidence in Georgia’s defense, what has South Carolina done on offense to get people to buy into them? Sure they put up a bunch of points against Vanderbilt, Missouri and Kentucky, except, who doesn’t look good against Vanderbilt, Missouri and Kentucky? As a matter of fact, wait a second… didn’t Georgia put up nearly twice as many points as South Carolina did (89 compared to 48) against Missouri and Vandy, their two common opponents?
Point being, Georgia’s offense is explosive. Really explosive. And as long as their defense is even incrementally better than it was last week, it’ll be enough to get them a win on the road.
Miami (+14) over Notre Dame: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. NBC (at Soldier Field, Chicago)
So I’m just gonna say it: Miami actually has a really, really good offense. Granted, nobody knows it since all their games are at noon, on ESPNU, and played in front of fewer spectators than a typical livestock auction at your local state fair. But I promise you that the Canes can score points.
And while we’re on the subject, what has Notre Dame done this year to prove they should be two touchdown favorites against anyone? Sure, their defense is going to carry them Saturday, and yes, this unit is probably as good as anyone’s in the country. At the same time that doesn’t totally matter when the offense doesn’t score (they haven’t put up more than 20 on anyone other than Navy this year) and has less overall horsepower than the ’94 Mazda I was driving up until a few months ago.
The Irish will get the win Saturday. But it’s going to be a close one.
NC STATE (+17) over Florida State: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ESPN2
In the end, I like Florida State to win on Saturday, but NC State to cover for two very big reasons:
1. Unless Florida State gets super-explosive plays from the running game (like they did against Wake Forest and Clemson) they’re not built to blow anyone out. Yes, they’re built to beat you, and yes they’re built to win ugly, low-scoring games by final margins like 21-6, 20-7, 24-10, scores like that. They’re not built to beat most teams 48-14 though.
2. With their season evaporating faster than the California coastline, if NC State doesn’t at show a pulse here (at night, at home, against the No. 3 team in the country), when will they?
Nebraska (+3) over OHIO STATE: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ABC
Hey college football fans, are you ready for the clusterf*** of the century? That’s right, with almost half of their season done, this is the reality of where things stand with Ohio State: If the Buckeyes win Saturday, there is a real, tangible, honest chance Ohio State could finish the regular season undefeated. Yes, I’m being serious.
Granted, I’m not totally sure how that’s possible. But when you mix in Braxton Miller’s greatness, with the Big Ten’s terribleness (yes, I think I just made up a word) and a little bit of Urban Meyer magic, if the Buckeyes can somehow survive Saturday, it’s hard to see them losing another game left on the schedule. Sorry Penn State, Illinois and Indiana fans, it’s true.
Thankfully, I think Nebraska will save us from our national nightmare and pull off the win in CBus Saturday. This team showed me a toughness last week that I didn’t know they had, and Taylor Martinez showed me a football IQ that I thought he’d lost somewhere under the bed in his dorm room as well. In the process they spent the second half dominating Wisconsin in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Those are two places where, up until last week Ohio State seemed very susceptible.
No, these aren’t your older brother’s boring, old, can’t-beat-anyone-half-decent Nebraska Cornhuskers.
They’re the best team in the Big Ten, and will prove it Saturday night in Columbus.
OREGON (-24) over Washington: Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ESPN
Given that this preview has gone on about 500 words longer than planned, let me get straight to the point on this one.
On the one hand, Oregon’s offense has barely hit full-stride, and really hasn’t come anywhere close to reaching their full potential. Yet, guess what? They’re averaging 52 points per game. And they’re only going to get better. So yeah, good luck with that, Pac-12 teams.
Speaking of offenses, while everyone is super eager to take way too much out of Washington’s victory over Stanford last week, let’s not forget just how bad their offense was, even that win. Oh, you forgot about that, huh? You forgot about how they couldn’t block, how they dropped easy passes, and how Keith Price needed all nine of his lives just to get out of Seattle alive, let alone with a win.
So let me ask you, do you really think that Washington team, the one that’s going on the road this weekend is going to keep up with Oregon?
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