NCAA Football Picks ATS – Week 6
No. 21 Nebraska at No. 24 Missouri (+4) – Both teams have proven they can move the ball ranking in the Top 20 in the country in points scored and yards gained. Interesting back-story: Mizzou QB Blaine Gabbert, who has yet to throw an interception in four games, originally committed to the Huskers before backing out and committing to the Tigers. This is a huge game in the battle for the Big 12 North; I like Mizzou as the home underdog playing in inclement weather. Missouri 24, Nebraska 20.
Boston College at No. 5 Virginia Tech (-13 ½) – This will be the fifth meeting in the last three seasons as these two rivals have matched up in the regular season and the ACC Championship for two years running…and possibly a third this December. Boston College is the last team to win in Lane Stadium (October 2007) and is revitalized by the play of 25-year old freshman QB Dave Shinskie. Virginia Tech is fighting for more than just an ACC title this season as their No. 5 overall ranking suggests. BC will put up a good fight (and barely cover) but the Hokies are a bit too strong for them defensively and on special teams this time around. Virginia Tech 30, BC 17.
No. 17 Auburn at Arkansas (+2.5) – Auburn has raced off to a 5-0 start and go into this SEC battle ranked for the first time this season. Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn has the Tigers in the Top 5 nationally in points scored and yardage. Arkansas has been airing it out with talented QB Ryan Mallett with mixed results and will try to avoid a three-game conference losing streak. Arkansas’ inability to stop their SEC foes has been their undoing so until they do, I can’t wager with them even as a home ‘dog. Auburn 35, Arkansas 27.
No. 3 Alabama at No. 20 Mississippi (+4) – Many would argue that Alabama is the most impressive team in the country at this stage of the season, with dominant performances on both sides of the ball in each of their first five games. Ole Miss stumbled against South Carolina early and looked to fold under the pressure of being a Top 5 team for the first time in decades. Frankly, if they walked into this game undefeated it wouldn’t change my outlook – Bama takes care of business again in Oxford. Alabama 34, Ole Miss 14.
Connecticut at Pittsburgh (-6 ½) – Pitt’s offense has looked much improved this season with QB Bill Stull leading them to 37 points-per-game. UConn will try to grind it out on the ground in their Big East opener and try to win a smash mouth contest but can their defense hold up? This one may not be easy to watch but Pitt covers very close. Pittsburgh 30, UConn 23.
Wisconsin at No. 9 Ohio State (-16) – The under-the-radar Badgers are 14th in the country in rushing behind John Clay as they have sped off to a 5-0 start. The Buckeyes have not let up a 100-yard rusher since September of 2008 and will be looking to take command of the Big Ten Conference. I just don’t see that many points being scored in Columbus so take them and run. Ohio State 24, Wisconsin 16.
Stanford at Oregon State (Pick) – Stanford is making an argument for a ranking and will look to go 4-0 in the Pac-10 led by the 1-2 offensive punch of QB Andrew Luck and RB Toby Gerhart. However, Corvallis is never a soft landing spot for opponents (see USC 2008) and sophomore RB Jacquizz Rodgers already has nine touchdowns on the season. This truly is a coin flip but I think Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh secures another signature win. Stanford 24, Oregon State 23.
UTEP at Memphis (+2 ½) – UTEP managed 18 yards rushing two weeks ago against Texas only to come back and upset No. 12-ranked Houston by scoring 58 points and picking up 305 yards on the ground. Memphis has struggled mightily to score points but I like them as the home underdog playing a team who will have a huge letdown after a major upset. Memphis 23, UTEP 20.
No. 1 Florida at No. 4 LSU (+7 ½) – There have been some very big matchups early on this season (USC-Ohio St., Bama-Virginia Tech) but none takes on the ultimate meaning quite like this game. The winner of this game is in charge of the national championship race, period. While there is cause for concern with Tebow, there is no doubt he will be out there playing his heart out for the Gators. LSU has won 32 consecutive Saturday night games but has been far from impressive on offense during their 5-0 start. The winner of this game has gone on to capture the last three BCS championships and this year will make it four for the Gators. Florida 33, LSU 20
Michigan at No. 12 Iowa (-8) – Iowa is 5-0 for the first time since 1995 and has won nine straight dating back to last season. Michigan suffered an OT heartbreaker to in-state rival Michigan State last week and will look for redemption in another huge Big Ten matchup. Michigan may be using a freshman QB in Tate Forcier but they look incredibly dynamic at times while Iowa has been inconsistent enough to keep the doubters filled with ammo. Michigan 33, Iowa 30.
Last Week: 8-2