Another week of shocking upsets in the book. Iowa defeats Penn St. in Happy Valley. Oregon dismantles Cal at home. South Carolina shocks Ole Miss. South Florida embarrasses FSU on their home turf. A total of seven ranked teams lost, six of them to unranked opponents.
Will this week be more of the same? It's time for me to help you out, and I'm sure I'll be able to feed your wallets again this week.
Last Week's Record: 14-8 (Won Lock of the Week)
Season Record: 14-8 (1-0 Lock of the Week)
Friday, October 2
Utah St. (1-2) @ No. 20 BYU (3-1)—Line: BYU -24
Max Hall needs to start playing better. I'm not saying he's been bad this year by any means, but he's simply not the Heisman candidate they had hoped for. This week he will play better, but the BYU defense will not be able to hold the Aggie offense down all game and the Aggies will get a cover out of it.
The Pick: Utah St. +24 Cougars 42 Aggies 24
Saturday, October 3
No. 22 Michigan (4-0) @ Michigan St. (1-3)—Line: Michigan St. -2.5
This looks like the sucker bet of the week. A 4-0 team getting points from a 1-3 team. Well, this is an in-state rivalry and it will definitely play much closer than the records would predict. Although Michigan St. is 1-3, their three losses are by a combined 13 points with two of the games being on the road.
They have played better the last two weeks despite their losses and they will continue to do so. Still, with all of these factors, I can't see the Spartans pulling out a victory here. Call me a sucker, but I'm taking the Wolverines and QB Tate Forcier.
The Pick: Michigan +2.5 Wolverines 34 Spartans 30
Arkansas St. (1-2) @ No. 13 Iowa (4-0)—Line: Iowa -21
Iowa played physical and completely manhandled the Nittany Lions last weekend. Arkansas St. lost on the road to Troy. This looks like an obvious mismatch.
The thing is, Kirk Ferentz's teams rarely ever blow anyone out and they play the clock control game. Ferentz won't allow a letdown game, but his style of play will allow the Red Wolves to stay within striking distance.
The Pick: Arkansas St. +21 Iowa 24 Arkansas St. 10
No. 6 Virginia Tech (3-1) @ Duke (2-2)—Line: Virginia Tech -16.5
The Hokies stifled the 'Canes offense last week and played great special teams, as usual. Frank Beamer has this team playing with attitude. He knows their strengths and he utilizes them.
Their running game with Ryan Williams has been dominant as of late and that will continue this weekend. Duke should be able to put up a few points, but not as many as they've been getting so far this year (29 points per thus far). The Hokies win this easily. The Pick: VaTech -16.5 Hokies 38 Blue Devils 14
No. 3 Alabama (4-0) @ Kentucky (2-2)—Line: 'Bama -16 ** Lock Of The Week**
The Tide is everyone's new pick as national champions after the injury to Tim Tebow last week. Well, I'm not on that bandwagon yet and I think they still have a lot to prove. This week an aggressive and hard-hitting Wildcat team will put them to the test.
Aside from an attrocious first quarter last week, Kentucky pretty much held their own that game. They will start this game the way they played the last three quarters last week and will keep it up throughout the game. I think the Tide will win a close one, but don't be surprised to see the 'Cats pull out a victory.
The Pick: Kentucky +16 Crimson Tide 27 Wilcats 24
No. 10 Cincinnati (4-0) @ Miami (OH) (0-4)—Line: Cincy -28.5
The Bearcats played a surprisingly close game (to everyone except me, if you look at my picks last week) against Fresno State last week. The Red Hawks have had a very disappointing year so far.
Cincy moved into the top 10 and have been a team on the rise the last few years. They will continue to rise and the Red Hawks nightmare of a season will continue. Tony Pike and Marty Gilyard will shred the Miami defense and this game will be over quickly.
The Pick: Cincy -28.5 Bearcats 49 Red Hawks 7
No. 15 Penn St. (3-1) @ Illinois (1-2)—Line: Penn St. -7
Neither the Illini nor the Nittany Lions are as bad as either of them looked last week. The problem is, neither are as good as they were thought to be before the season started.
The Illini and Juice Williams will play well in front of the home crowd, but an inspired Penn State team will come away with the win. Earl Royster and Darryl Clark will lead them to a fairly comfortable win.
The Pick: Penn St. -7 Nittany Lions 31 Illini 21
No. 4 LSU (4-0) @ No. 19 Georgia (3-1)—Line: Georgia -3
This is the first real battle of top-tier SEC opponents so far this year. The Tigers head to Georgia, where the Bulldogs usually dominate between the hedges. LSU got lucky against the Bulldogs last week with a last-second goal line stand; they won't be as lucky this week against these Bulldogs. Georgia controls the ball and plays great defense.
The Pick: Georgia -3 Bulldogs 24 Tigers 13
No 21 Mississippi (3-1) @ Vanderbilt (2-2)—Line: Miss -8.5
The Rebels offense was exposed by the Gamecocks defense last week and QB Jevan Snead looked lost. He somehow managed to get himself completely out of the Heisman picture in one week.
This week is the one he and the Rebels turn it around. Vandy will try to bring pressure all day and Snead will hurt them downfield. The Rebels offense finally explodes and puts up numbers their fans have been expecting out of them all year.
The Pick Ole Miss -8.5 Rebels 42 Commodores 20
No. 9 Ohio St. (3-1) @ Indiana (3-1)—Line: Ohio St. -17
The Buckeyes came through with my lock of the week last week, pitching a 30-0 shutout of the Illini. Well, this week they head to Bloomington to face a surprising Indiana team that nearly upset Michigan in the Big House last week.
Ohio State's defense is much better than the Wolverines' and that will show this week in a dominating performance over the Hoosiers.
The Pick: Ohio St. -17 Buckeyes 37 Hoosiers 10
No. 25 Georgia Tech (3-1) @ Mississippi St. (2-2)—Line: GTech -5.5
Jonathan Dwyer had a huge game last week while playing hurt, and the Jackets rebounded from a bad defeat to the 'Canes the week before. This week, the Bulldogs look to rebound from their heartbreaking loss to LSU. Their goal line play calling was questionable at best.
This week, the Jackets will exploit the Bulldogs' defensive line and will run the option all day to the tune of 300-plus yards on the ground.
The Pick: GTech -5.5 Yellow Jackets 34 Bulldogs 17
UC Davis (1-2) @ No. 5 Boise St. (4-0)—Line: No Line
Here's the weekly bowl sub-division game. I'm aware that Boise probably has a tough time scheduling teams to come play on the blue turf, or even trying to get home-and-home's, but they need to start scheduling better competition if they want a legit complaint about not being in the title game or a BCS bowl.
Go to someone's home field and beat them up on their turf if you want the respect. Stop playing cupcake inferior teams when you know your conference schedule isn't good enough to begin with. Anyway, Boise obviously romps.
The Pick: Broncos 52 Aggies 3
SMU (2-1) @ No. 11 TCU (3-0)—Line: TCU -28
TCU has one of the top defenses in the country, just as they've had the last few years. They don't seem to rebuild on defense; they appear to just reload year after year. The same can't really be said about their offense.
Although they are efficient in both the ground and the air, they don't dominate in either aspect. That's why they'll easily beat SMU, but won't blow them out enough to cover. The Pick: SMU +28 Horned Frogs 31 Mustangs 10
No. 8 Oklahoma (3-1) @ No. 17 Miami (3-1)—Line: Oklahoma -7
This line indicated to me that the prognosticators count on Bradford playing in this game. My gut tells me he'll play, but it also tells me he'll be rusty. I went with the 'Canes last week solely because they're one of my favorite teams, but this week I go with them because I think they'll stun the country once again.
Jacory Harris will get back on track in the Miami sun and the 'Canes will move back into the top 10.
The Pick: Miami +7 'Canes 38 Sooners 33
No. 7 USC (3-1) @ No. 24 California (3-1)—Line: USC -5
I'd like to believe that the Trojans are finally equals with the rest of the college football world, and they're an above average team that's not going to consistently have top five talent. I'd like to believe that, but the fact is, it's untrue.
Cal boasts the quick and elusive Jahvid Best, and he'll get his yards, but the Bears will be no match for the Trojans and will lose for the second straight week. The Trojans will either come out flat after the scare with Stafon Johnson, or they'll play inspired football. My money is on them playing inspired.
The Pick: USC -5 Trojans 42 Golden Bears 24
No. 12 Houston (3-0) @ UTEP (1-3)—Line: Houston -16
For Houston's sake, I hope they blow out UTEP. If not, they will take a major step back in the eyes of the voters. Texas dominated the Miners to the tune of a 64-7 drubbing last week. This leaves Houston no option but to come out and win a blowout.
The problem is, the Cougars will be worn down after their rough three-game stretch with two games against Big 12 opponents. They win the game, but only by a couple of scores.
The Pick: UTEP +16 Cougars 35 Miners 24
Washington St. (1-3) @ No. 16 Oregon (3-1)—Line: Oregon -32
The Ducks fell down 3-0 early last week and then went on to pull off the biggest shocker of the year. The shock wasn't just that they won, but how they won, with a 42-3 crushing of Cal.
The Cougars actually looked decent against USC and although it will be a long rebuilding process, they appear to be on the right track. Can the Cougs possibly make this game closer than Cal did? Maybe, but I'm not sold.
The Pick: Oregon -32 Ducks 48 Cougars 13
Well, that wraps up the picks for this week. I don't predict many big upsets, but I definitely see a lot of close games coming this weekend. Well, that is if you don't consider Georgia over LSU and Miami over Oklahoma upsets (which by rankings they are).
Will the trend of one top-five team losing each week will finally come to an end? Watch out Tide and Tigers. Check back next week to see how I did.