College Football Pick’em: Week of 11/2

Boy oh boy, last weekend was a surprising ending to an already shocking month. Here’s quick summary of all that happened in October:

And then, after a month of one improbable even after the other, the selection committee gives us even more to be excited about with its first iteration of this season’s College Football Playoff rankings. Sure, we might not be in those rankings, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy watching other teams’ championship aspirations rise and fall. Besides, who knows, if we keep playing well, we could potentially run the tables and make it to the Pac-12 Championship (everyone, please knock on wood)!

For all the curious readers who have been wondering how our model has been performing these past few weeks, it has leveled out at a 76 percent accuracy rate. Not quite as good as the 80 percent accuracy we started with but hey, at least we’re better than a coin flip, right?

On that less than inspiring note, here are this week’s predictions and top games!

Day Time Home Team Away Team Spread
Wed NA Bowling Green State Ohio -20.5
Thu 04:00 PM Kent State Buffalo -1
Thu 04:30 PM Appalachian State Arkansas State -16.5
Thu 04:30 PM Kansas State Baylor 19
Thu 04:30 PM Western Michigan Ball State -14
Thu 06:00 PM Missouri Mississippi State 8
Thu 07:30 PM Fresno State Nevada 11.5
Fri 05:00 PM Southern Methodist Temple -6.5
Fri 05:00 PM Texas-El Paso Rice 9
Fri 08:30 PM San Jose State Brigham Young 17
Sat 01:00 PM Tennessee South Carolina -14.5
Sat 01:00 PM Texas State New Mexico State 6.5
Sat 01:00 PM Tulane Connecticut -1
Sat 01:30 PM Oregon State UCLA 13
Sat 03:00 PM Nevada-Las Vegas Hawaii -15.5
Sat 04:00 PM Memphis Navy -14.5
Sat 04:00 PM Nebraska Michigan State 11
Sat 04:00 PM Oklahoma Iowa State -19
Sat 04:00 PM Texas-San Antonio Old Dominion -17.5
Sat 04:30 PM East Carolina South Florida -6
Sat 04:30 PM Texas A&M Auburn -9.5
Sat 04:30 PM Washington Utah 6
Sat 05:00 PM Alabama Louisiana State -10.5
Sat 05:00 PM Ohio State Minnesota -15
Sat 05:00 PM Texas Kansas -17.5
Sat 07:30 PM Oregon California 1
Sat 07:30 PM Southern California Arizona -19.5
Sat 09:00 AM Florida Vanderbilt -16
Sat 09:00 AM Florida International Charlotte -17
Sat 09:00 AM Georgia Kentucky -5.5
Sat 09:00 AM Massachusetts Akron -2.5
Sat 09:00 AM North Carolina Duke -10.5
Sat 09:00 AM Northwestern Penn State -8
Sat 09:00 AM Pittsburgh Notre Dame 12.5
Sat 09:00 AM Purdue Illinois 9
Sat 09:00 AM Tulsa Central Florida -20
Sat 09:00 AM West Virginia Texas Tech -8.5
Sat 09:00 AM Western Kentucky Florida Atlantic -20
Sat 09:30 AM Boston College North Carolina State -10
Sat 09:30 AM Louisville Syracuse -18.5
Sat 10:00 AM Colorado Stanford 15
Sat 11:00 AM Georgia State Louisiana-Lafayette -7
Sat 11:30 AM Miami (Ohio) Eastern Michigan -10
Sat 12:00 PM Miami (Florida) Virginia -8.5
Sat 12:00 PM South Alabama Idaho -6.5
Sat 12:00 PM Wyoming Colorado State -4.5
Sat 12:30 PM Air Force Army -19
Sat 12:30 PM Clemson Florida State -16.5
Sat 12:30 PM Houston Cincinnati -17
Sat 12:30 PM Indiana Iowa 7
Sat 12:30 PM Louisiana Tech North Texas -20
Sat 12:30 PM Maryland Wisconsin 17
Sat 12:30 PM Michigan Rutgers -16
Sat 12:30 PM Mississippi Arkansas -0.5
Sat 12:30 PM New Mexico Utah State 18
Sat 12:30 PM Oklahoma State Texas Christian 2.5
Sat 12:30 PM Troy Louisiana-Monroe -1.5
Sat 12:30 PM Washington State Arizona State 8
NA NA Toledo Northern Illinois -17

No. 16 Florida State at No. 1 Clemson (Spread: -16.5)

This is the most important game the ACC will feature all year, and hopefully, the ACC referees will bring their A-game to this matchup. After all, this game will essentially decide the ACC Atlantic Division winner – Clemson would be 6-0 with a win, and everyone else in the division will have at least two losses, if FSU wins, they would have the tiebreaker between the only two one-loss teams. All things considered, things look grim for Clemson’s undefeated record. Clemson has lost four of the last five matchups against FSU, including one at home two years ago when they were also undefeated. On top of that, FSU will have both its offensive weapons back — quarterback Everett Golson is back after missing last week’s game due to a concussion, and running back Dalvin Cook will be looking to continue his streak of averaging more than eight yards per carry and 12 yards per reception despite hamstring issues as well as an ankle injury sustained in the loss at Georgia Tech. Nonetheless, Clemson’s offense is deadly and much more than just quarterback Deshaun Watson. Running back Wayne Gallman has become a star in the ACC. It’s these offensive threats, combined with Clemson’s tough defense that makes Clemson a strong favorite for this game.

No. 2 LSU at No. 4 Alabama (Spread: -10.5)

Both teams are coming off bye weeks, so they both should be well rested for what’s billed to be the best matchup this week. This matchup is a special moment from an odds standpoint; our model agrees with Vegas that Alabama, despite being ranked lower, is the favorite. Both teams operate with a taxing game plan: Run the football until the other team is too exhausted and banged up to fight back. LSU has been able to follow this blueprint quite well thanks to running back Leonard Fournette’s dominant performance this season. Alabama might not have Fournette but running back Derrick Henry can grind down defenses with the best of them.

And boy, are both running backs in for a long game. Both run defenses have allowed under 100 rushing yards per game this season.

This is usually the part where I say that this leaves both teams no choice but to rely on their quarterbacks. Sure, maybe Jake Coker and Brandon Harris will decide this game’s outcome. Or maybe this game will be a true SEC matchup that ends with both teams slowly wearing each other down.

No. 8 Texas-Christian at No. 14 Oklahoma State (Spread: 2.5)

To start the discussion of this matchup, let’s compare past opponents. TCU beat West Virginia, Kansas State and Texas by a combined 80 points, whereas Oklahoma State beat those same teams by 12 combined points, and one of the games went to overtime. This difference in offensive production seems to indicate that TCU should be the clear favorite. After all, TCU averages 616 offensive yards per game, more than 100 yards per game more than Oklahoma State. And TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin is breaking so many ankles that even the head coach of the opposing team felt compelled to give him a high-five. There’s no way the spread is so small, right?

Well, yes, you can definitely expect a good showing from TCU; however, the fact that Oklahoma State is undefeated this late in the season is no fluke. While the individual performances for Oklahoma State don’t jump off the page they way they do for TCU, this is a deep group that has proven themselves week after week to stay undefeated.

So yes, TCU is going to score a lot – maybe even more this week to prove they deserve a higher playoff ranking. But don’t expect Oklahoma State to just roll over after coming this far.

Arizona at USC (Spread: -19.5)

Who would have thought with everything that has happened this season, we would still be in the running for the Pac-12 South? Granted, Utah needs to lose one more time and we need to continue our interim head coach win streak but it’s college football — anything is possible!

For this to happen, USC will need to be able to stop Arizona’s run game, which is averaging 265 yards per game, and boy have we had a hard time stopping the run.

Now that hand surgery might sideline JuJu Smith-Schuster, when Kessler does drop back to pass, he might want to use the opportunity to begin spreading the ball around, since the passing game has been so one-dimensional for our offense.This will be a good spot to build the confidence of the younger kids, like sophomore Steven Mitchell and true freshman Deontay Burnett, who caught three balls for 82 yards against Cal. But if Helton continues to use our trio of running backs effectively, USC’s offense should have no problem running all over Arizona’s soft defense.