Mitch's Week Nine College Football Picks: Part Two

Mitch WilsonSenior Writer IOctober 22, 2008

Well, last night's game was just how we called it: horrible to watch, and my two out of 10 rating was more than fitting in my confidence in my pick—though if you waited long enough, the line went to four, which would have given you a push.

It's games like that where I don't have an opinion really one way or another, and I needed help.  I reached out to Jordan at Prolific Picks, who has a great record picking those weekday games we wouldn't normally touch and a pretty solid record overall, and he was money. We hope to hear a lot more from Jordan in the future as well.

In any event, I was digging through the numbers and came up with pretty interesting stats as we're just passing the halfway point of the season. Favorites have covered a not too surprising 50.41 percent; away favorites have covered 56.8 percent of the time.

I found these numbers interesting as we hear the term "home dog" so often we sometimes actually buy into it, but once again the numbers and facts tell us we would be buying into some bad hunches and advice. In general the home teams cover 54.2 percent of the time. These numbers just reinforce that the guys who set the lines really know what they are doing.

You, of course, still have the opportunity to show how you stack up against other people who like to pick games in my free game picking contest. I have already started to receive some entries, but it isn't too late to sign up and get in. I'm excited to see who everyone picks as everyone already knows my pick.

Speaking of picks, we have some great games this week, so let's continue on with more picks and predictions.


Oregon -4 1/2 at Arizona State (Saturday, Oct. 25, 10 EST): 7 out of 10

This line opened at 3 1/2, and when I said in yesterday's video that I wanted to pick 15 games but would spread them out like I normally do, this was one of the games I would have picked.

Despite the extra point I have to lay, I still like the Ducks in this one, as they figure at least a touchdown better than the Sun Devils and could easily be more the way ASU has played at times this year. The Ducks didn't look especially strong two weeks ago beating UCLA by seven, but they were a bit deflated from the beating they took the previous week at the hands of USC.

ASU comes in riding a four-game losing streak and experiencing an extremely disappointing season. While Arizona State's defense hasn't played too poorly, a team is always hard-pressed to be successful when they have trouble running the ball and scoring points.

Neither of these teams has much in the trend department that supports them either winning or losing this contest, but the Sun Devils have just looked uncompetitive at times during their recent losing run.

Oregon sports the No.  6 rushing offense and No. 11 scoring offense in the country this year, and the Sun Devils haven't scored more than 20 points since Sept. 6. Oregon is clearly the better team and should have more than enough in the tank to cover in this one.


Tennessee +6 1/2 Vs. Alabama (Saturday, Oct. 25, 7:45 EST): 5 out of 10

For those of you who like my general light football talk, you may not like this more than likely unpopular write-up, but I am going to do it anyway: Yes, I'm going to talk X's and O's. My whole reasoning behind this pick has to do with the injury to Alabama defensive tackle Terrence Cody.

Last week when Cody was injured, we saw an entirely different Alabama defense and an entirely different mental state of the entire Alabama team. I expect to see more of the same this week at Rocky Top.

While we can call Ole Miss' near upset win and easy come from behind cover coaching genius and gutsy play, as it was all of that, I strongly believe it had more to do with the loss of Cody and a reverting to the '07 Tide team that didn't have the 360-pounder.

It's all basics: If you have a huge defensive tackle who can move like Cody, he occupies several blockers and allows other tacklers to run free. Linebackers running around unblocked make it extremely difficult for the running game. It takes several blockers to even neutralize Cody for just a few seconds.

While Alabama more than likely has a player or several to play in Cody's spot, you just can't coach that kind of size and quickness. While the Vols have had a disappointing season, they do have an experienced offensive line and a loaded backfield of tailbacks.

While Bama has seemed to have steamrolled everyone in their path, the numbers don't bear that out as they have a losing record against the spread this year. I am going with the Vols at home, and while I have a light rating on the cover, I would think that if they do cover they have an excellent chance of winning the game outright.

See the rest of Part Two of Mitch's College Football Picks here.