College Football

COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEKLY PICKS: Week 7

#18 UCLA at #15 Stanford (-6.5)

The Cardinal ran up against a brick wall in week one against the Northwestern Wildcats, being held to just six points on 3.9 yards per play. Stanford has been dumptrucking fools to by an average score of 42.3 to 19.8 on 7.4 yards per play. Meanwhile after a hot start, UCLA and its freshman quarterback Josh Rosen saw some of its shine wear off with an ignominious loss to Arizona State on which they’ve had twelve days to stew. The Cardinals’ offense, on the back of Christian McCaffrey (second nationwide in all-purpose yards) deals the Bruins a second loss. STANFORD 34, UCLA 27

#17 Iowa at #20 Northwestern (+2.5)

If the undefeated Hawkeyes and leading rusher Jordan Canzeri aren’t for real, this might be the last opportunity for an opponent to expose them. On a normal week I’d take the Hawkeyes by two touchdowns even against a stingy Northwestern defense, but Iowa’s list of injured players includes defensive end Drew Ott, left tackle Boone Myers, wide receiver Tevaun Smith, tight end Jake Duzey, and running back LeShun Daniels . . . leaving pretty much just Canzeri and a hobbled quarterback in C.J. Beathard. The Wildcats’ toothless offense may lack the claws to challenge even a weakened Hawkeye team. IOWA 16, NORTHWESTERN 13 (To read NCB’s preview of this game, click here.)

#13 Ole Miss at Memphis (+10.5)

What a fun showcase of fantastic offenses. I don’t expect Memphis to win this game (their defense doesn’t stand a chance), but I do expect quarterback Paxton Lynch and the Tigers’ offense and head coach Justin Fuente to put up a fight. OLE MISS 52, MEMPHIS 35

#10 Alabama at #9 Texas A&M (+4)

It was the Johnny Manziel-led Aggies who cracked the Crimson Tide’s veneer in 2012 and since then, spread/tempo teams have given Nick Saban headaches. This year’s Ags have some question marks on offense despite having playmakers like dual-threat quarterback Kyle Allen and do-everything freshman Christian Kirk, but if A&M can win, it will be because their mean-as-heck defensive line shut down the Crimson Tide’s potent ground attack, which I just can’t see. I think Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake let Bama control tempo and keep Allen and Kirk off the field. ALABAMA 30, TEXAS A&M 21

#19 Oklahoma at Kansas State (+5)

I’ve been flat-out wrong about the Wildcats multiple times this season, and I hope to atone for it this week. Last week the Sooners fell to an inferior Texas team because the ‘Horns ran the ball and controlled the trenches, exactly the same way Kansas State will attack them this Saturday. The Wildcats haven’t beaten the Sooners in Manhattan since 1996, but I think this time they break that streak. KANSAS STATE 33, OKLAHOMA 27

#7 Michigan State at #12 Michigan (-8)

A preseason playoff contender, the Spartans have Florida Stated their way to an undefeated record thus far, but there are some pretty obvious cracks in the armor. Meanwhile, the Wolverines could not possibly be any hotter, coming into this contest on three consecutive shutouts. MICHIGAN 27, MICHIGAN STATE 10

#8 Florida at #6 LSU (-9.5)

Despite the suspension of Gator quarterback Will Grier, this one was always going to come down to Leonard Fournette vs. the Gator defense. While it seems we’re due for a baffling Les Miles game management decision, thus far he’s been smart enough to know where the Tigers’ bread is buttered. LSU 24, FLORIDA 17 (To read NCB’s preview of this game, click here.)

USC @ #14 Notre Dame (-7)

Gosh, what a week for the Trojans. How do you move forward and have any energy to focus on a game with the news of Steve Sarkisian’s leave of absence and eventual termination? USC is not hurting for talent: with the likes of Cody Kessler and Adoree Jackson (and scores of others) the Trojans could probably go 8-4 even without a coach. But given the malaise surrounding the program and a tough road game against a physical foe, I think the Irish handle a crippled foe with ease. NOTRE DAME 28, USC 14

LAST WEEK, STRAIGHT UP: 5-2
SEASON, STRAIGHT UP: 34-12
LAST WEEK, ATS: 1-6 (LOL)
SEASON, ATS: 11-15 (LOL)

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