College Football

COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEKLY PICKS: HATE WEEK

It’s here, everyone, the greatest week in college football: HATE WEEK, when your school’s upstanding young men go to do battle with the filthy degenerate criminals upstate/across town/over the river/what have you. We’ve got ALL* of the biggest and angriest rivalries here for you to read up on.

*some

THURSDAY:

TEXAS TECH AT TEXAS (-1.5) (CHANCELLOR’S SPURS)

Preseason, we figured Texas would at least have a defense . . . but through ten games, they haven’t found one yet. Meanwhile the Red Raiders are exactly what we thought they’d be: all the points. Through eleven games, Tech has scored 44 or more points six times. Unfortunately, their opponents have also done so five times. Texas Tech 42, Texas 38 (To read NCB’s preview of this game, click here.)

FRIDAY:

#15 NAVY AT HOUSTON (-1)

Not a rivalry, just a really good game between two really fun teams! Houston’s dreams of a perfect season came crashing down last week against a bad UConn team, and now they have a short week to bounce back from that and prepare to stop Navy. Tom Herman will really have to be the coaching prodigy people suspect he is to get the Cougs ready. Houston is ponying up to try to keep Herman . . . would a Power Five program have any interest in Ken Niumatalolo? Or is “Niumatalolo” too hard to say? Navy 45, Houston 35

#4 IOWA AT NEBRASKA (+1.5) (HEROES’ GAME)

5-6 Nebraska would like nothing more than to ruin the Hawkeyes’ perfect season, and to be honest, they match up pretty well. Despite playing nearly perfect all season, offenses are starting to figure out Iowa’s defense. If Minnesota’s miserable offense can go for 7.6 yards per play, so can Nebraska’s, especially with a bye week to prepare. Nebraska 31, Iowa 30 (To read NCB’s preview of this game, click here.)

OREGON STATE AT #17 OREGON (-34.5) (CIVIL WAR)

Oooh, Beavs. You poor darlings. You have to play the Ducks when they are one of the hottest teams in the nation and Vernon Adams can’t miss. (Gird your loins, eventual middling Oregon bowl opponent, because seriously these stats since Adams came back from injury are terrifying.) Oregon 56, Oregon State 10 (To read NCB’s preview of this game, click here.)

WASHINGTON STATE AT WASHINGTON (NL) (APPLE CUP)

Luke Falk may or may not play (hence no line), but even if he doesn’t, the Cougars have been downright scrappy, playing insane offense while winning six of their last seven.  Washington has been erratic as all heck, beating Arizona and Oregon State by a combined 101-10 and but going 1-5 in games decided by 11 or fewer points . . . this one is ending in Husky pain, isn’t it? Washington State 30, Washington 27 (To read NCB’s preview of this game, click here.)

#7 BAYLOR AT #19 TCU (+1.5) (THE “NO TOTALLY NOT A RIVALRY” RIVALRY)

Last year’s shootout in Waco wound up having enormous Playoff implications, and even though both teams are probably out of the playoff picture, so will this one. Sooner and Cowboy fans will be watching this game with tremendous interest. Also, it is an absolute shame that injury has kept this from being the Seth Russell/Trevone Boykin fight card we anticipated for over a year. Baylor 34, TCU 30

SATURDAY:

MARYLAND AT RUTGERS (CABLE BOX CLASSIC)

INDIANA AT PURDUE (+7) (OLD OAKEN BUCKET)

The Hoosiers were so . . . close . . . for a few weeks, and after unleashing some frustrations on hapless Maryland last week and probably thinking it felt pretty good, they’ll be ready to go this week. I really hope Kevin Wilson gets to keep his job because I think he’s a darn good, fun coach and I like watching his team. Indiana 41, Purdue 24

#8 OHIO STATE AT #10 MICHIGAN (EVEN) (THE GAME)

The Buckeyes now have one whole loss on their résumé, which means I get to ask questions like “WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED TO OHIO STATE THIS YEAR?” Hopefully the offensive decline doesn’t get in the way of a game which has been appointment football the last four seasons. Oddly, neither team is out of Big Ten East contention: the winner, coupled with a Penn State upset of Michigan State, would take the division. But with players talking about leaving for the NFL and a locker room which clearly hasn’t been itself this season, can the Buckeyes muster enough of an effort to knock off Michigan at the Big House? Michigan 28, Ohio State 24 (To read NCB’s preview of this game, click here.)

#1 CLEMSON AT SOUTH CAROLINA (+17) (PALMETTO BOWL)

Dabo Swinney, apparently the inventor of the hip dance craze “dabbing,” has to be on his game here: an upset loss would more or less dash their Playoff hopes. But the Tigers’ defense is way too good to allow the Gamecocks’ 76th-ranked offense to hurt them. Winner gets this totally dope new trophy! (Seriously, it’s cool.) Clemson 42, South Carolina 16

VIRGINIA AT VIRGINIA TECH (+3.5) (COMMONWEALTH CUP)

Will the Cavaliers spoil Frank Beamer‘s finale? No, but they’ll sure try. Hokes on game-winning field goal. Virginia Tech 29, Virginia 27

GEORGIA AT GEORGIA TECH (+5) (CLEAN, OLD-FASHIONED HATE)

Boy, has the shine come off these two teams. A world in which the Yellow Jackets blasted Mississippi State in the Orange Bowl feels like an alternate one, and Mark Richt could very well find himself job hunting in a week. Which Bulldog quarterback will play? Will The finally find the offensive groove they’ve struggled to find after week two? The Georgia offense may be a wreck but the defense is legit. Georgia 17, Georgia Tech 13

PENN STATE AT #5 MICHIGAN STATE (NL) (LAND GRANT TROPHY)

To assume Michigan State’s ticket to the Big Ten Championship game is punched would be premature, as they’ll likely trot out a backup quarterback against a very good Nittany Lion defense; albeit, one that may be lacking a key contributor itself in Carl Nassib. Until last Saturday, Sparty had struggled to run the ball. They’ll need to this week. Michigan State 20, Penn State 17

#2 ALABAMA AT AUBURN (+14) (AWWRN BOWL)

The Tide have played up to their nickname perfectly this season: you can set your calendar by its slow, inexorable crawl. A fourteen-point spread feels pretty generous for this struggling Auburn offense. Alabama 34, Auburn 7

#14 NORTH CAROLINA AT NC STATE (+6)

A Wolfpack defense that has struggled to contain big plays does not line up well against an offense which breads its butter by them. UNC 35, NC State 24 (To read NCB’s preview of this game, click here.)

WISCONSIN AT MINNESOTA (+2.5) (PAUL BUNYAN’S AXE)

These athletic directors haven’t answered my letter yet suggesting we change this trophy to the wampa’s arm Luke Skywalker severed in The Empire Strikes Back. Lame cold jokes aside, gosh, it just feels like Minnesota is due, doesn’t it? They’ve come up short in upset bids against Michigan, Ohio State, and Iowa, two by less than a touchdown. I think they earn bowl eligibility against a suspect Wisconsin offense. Minnesota 26, Wisconsin 23

#22 UCLA AT USC (-3) (VICTORY BELL)

Strange season in Troy, which fired its coach and subsequently won four of its next five before Oregon blasted it. There’s plenty of film out there from Vernon Adams’ shredding of the Trojan defense for Josh Rosen to study. Plus, Jim Mora has owned USC in this series. UCLA 34, USC 27

#16 NORTHWESTERN VS. ILLINOIS (+3.5) (CHICAGO, IL; LAND OF LINCOLN TROPHY)

How does Northwestern keep winning football games? Their style of shamelessly ugly football is such that even many Iowa fans would rather claim 8-3 Wisconsin as their quality win. Nonetheless, the Wildcats are 9-2 and have wins over Stanford (!!!), Duke, Penn State, and Wisconsin. Both teams play great defense, but Clayton Thorson and Co. will find a way to win. Northwestern 17, Illinois 16

VANDERBILT AT TENNESSEE (-17.5)

Tennessee, winners of four straight games after a 3-4 start, is quietly putting together a pretty good season. 17.5 feels pretty ambitious for a Vol team to cover against a very stout Commodore defense, but I’ll take it given Vandy’s utterly woebegone offense. Tennessee 27, Vanderbilt 3

KANSAS STATE AT KANSAS (+20) (GOVERNOR’S CUP)

Why’d we pick this game? Oh right, rivalry week. Bill Snyder announced this week that he will coach Kansas State into the next millennium. Kansas State 38, Kansas 14

#18 OLE MISS AT #21 MISSISSIPPI STATE (+1) (EGG BOWL)

Y’all probably aren’t playing close enough attention to Dak Prescott, who is quietly rewriting a lot of record books. He’s been both a bulldozer and a sniper rifle and we will miss him. I think #CLANGA sends him out with a win in the best-named rivalry seriesMississippi State 38, Ole Miss 35

#6 NOTRE DAME AT #9 STANFORD (-3.5) (LEGENDS TROPHY)

Christian McCaffrey is the best running back you probably haven’t seen because you probably go to bed at a reasonable hour. The Irish have to bounce back from a sloppy showing against a very good Boston College defense, and taking a show on the road to play stuff-the-box-and-beat-the-crap-out-of-you Stanford (and that’s just on offense!) doesn’t seem like a good matchup. Especially when injuries are finally starting to get the better of you. Stanford 34, Notre Dame 24

#13 FLORIDA STATE AT #12 FLORIDA (+2) (FLORIDA CUP)

Theoretically, Florida is still Playoff-eligible, if they only beat Florida State (heh) and beat Alabama (heeeehhheheh) and everyone else loses. The Gators are stingy on defense but advanced stats suggest they might have a big play weakness, and Dalvin Cook is pretty good at those. He’ll be the difference in a slobberknocker. Florida State 24, Florida 17

#3 OKLAHOMA AT #11 OKLAHOMA STATE (+7) (BEDLAM)

The winner of this game might or might not be propelled into the Playoff, depending on the vagaries of the Committee. Baker Mayfield‘s health will be critical to Oklahoma’s success, but I have zero confidence in the Pokes’ run game. Oklahoma 41, Oklahoma State 31 (To read NCB’s preview of this game, click here.)

LAST WEEK, STRAIGHT UP: 4-5 (64-29 SEASON)
LAST WEEK, ATS: 6-3 (33-40 SEASON)

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