College Football Picks ATS – Week 9

No. 8 Cincinnati at Syracuse (+15 ½)—Tony Pike is likely to remain sidelined recovering from arm surgery as Cincinnati tries to stay unbeaten this week at Syracuse. The Bearcats’ second-ranked offense did not miss a beat without him last week as backup Zach Collaros paced them to a 41-point effort.

The Orange are 3-27 in Big East play since the start of 2005, and will look to avoid their fifth straight loss to the Bearcats. My guess is Akron was not the Orange’s best warm-up game for Cincy, who should roll right over them. Cincinnati 49, Syracuse 17.

No. 25 Mississippi at Auburn (+4 ½)—Ole Miss has not beaten Auburn twice in a row in 57 years, which means Auburn would like to keep tradition in check this weekend. The Rebels racked up over 550 yards of offense in a victory at Arkansas last week and will look to expose Auburn’s defense who ranks 10th in the SEC. Auburn’s offense has been in a downward spiral after opening up the season well but will need to right the ship against the nation’s ninth-ranked scoring defense in Ole Miss. Home underdogs in the SEC are tempting but I think Auburn is still a year away from really turning it around. Mississippi 27, Auburn 17.

Southern Miss at No. 18 Houston (-6 ½)—The Cougars will look to extend their home winning streak to 13 games this Saturday against Southern Miss. Houston QB Case Keenum leads FBS by averaging 417 passing yards per contest yet played a very balanced role in last week’s win over SMU. Southern Miss has been tweaking their offense due to injuries, but still relies heavily on senior tailback Damion Fletcher. The home track should be a bit too fast for the Golden Eagles this time around and Houston will outdistance them in what could be a shootout. Houston 40, Southern Miss 30.

Georgia vs. No. 1 Florida (-15) [in Jacksonville, FL]Many have debated whether or not there is still animosity over UGA’s famous (or infamous depending on whose colors you wear) TD celebration in their 2007 upset of the Gators. Regardless of where you stand on that debate, the stats do generally go out the window during this game and it should be another hard-hitting affair. Georgia has struggled to put it together on both sides of the ball during every game and their offense really will have a tough time against the top-ranked Gators’ Defense. Florida has yet to impress the critics enough to solidify their votes as the number one team, but I think they make a push this week by covering against the Bulldogs. Florida 38, Georgia 13.

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Lewis will lead Duke to a bowl game this season

Duke at Virginia (-7 ½)—It is not often that you can say Duke controls its own destiny to win the ACC in near-November but it is true even though they have five wins to go. The Blue Devils will head to Charlottesville to take on the ACC’s biggest yearly enigma in UVA who still can salvage their 3-4 season. This year’s matchup is a bit more interesting as it features the ACC’s top passing defense (UVA), against the top passing offense (Duke) led by Thaddeus Lewis. I think this will be a tight one and an upset for the Dukies. Duke 24, Virginia 20.

No. 12 Penn State at Northwestern (+17 ½)—Penn State has seemingly been forgotten about since their loss to Iowa last month yet here they stand at 7-1 entering this week’s action. QB Daryll Clark leads the conference’s top offense up against the Wildcats who had to rally from 28-3 down at home just last week. Northwestern’s escape against Indiana may have been what they were waiting for to kick start the back half of their season. I don’t often expect blowouts in the Big Ten, but I don’t see how Northwestern can score against the nation’s stingiest point givers. Penn State 30, Northwestern 10.

No. 11 Georgia Tech at Vanderbilt (+12)—Georgia Tech is coming off a major conference win and will try to avoid a letdown against out of conference opponent Vandy who stumbles in at 2-6. The Yellow Jackets will provide the usual heavy dose of the ground attack (291 yards per game) against Vandy’s 85th ranked rushing defense, a potential perfect storm. The ‘Dores will need to step up to end a four-game slide that has seen them score only 40 points. Don’t expect a letdown. Georgia Tech 28, Vanderbilt 14.

No. 22 South Carolina at Tennessee (-6)—South Carolina goes to Knoxville this week to face a Vols team that is still steaming mad over the heartbreaking loss to Alabama last week. Hopefully, they can catch them still thinking about it because they are 1-13 at Tennessee in their history. QBs Stephen Garcia (South Carolina) and Jonathan Crompton (Tennessee) will have their work cut out for them against the nation’s third and sixth best pass defenses, respectively. There will be no style points in this game, expect another low-scoring affair. Tennessee 21, South Carolina 14.

No. 3 Texas at No. 14 Oklahoma State (+9 ½)–Texas hasn’t lost to Oklahoma State since 1997 and leads the all-time series 21-2. QB Colt McCoy continues to lead the nation’s highest-scoring offense as they try to take complete control of the Big 12 South and push towards the BCS No. 1 ranking. Oklahoma State is missing a big piece in WR Dez Bryant but has plenty of weapons for a good old-fashioned shootout. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, they have yet to see a defense like this one. Texas 45, Oklahoma State 24.

No. 5 USC at No. 10 Oregon (+3)—Oregon is the one hanging onto first place come this year’s marquee matchup of the PAC-10’s top two squads. The Trojans’ early stumble against Washington can be rectified in Autzen Stadium on Saturday night but they will need to tighten up a defense that has allowed over 900 yards in two games. Oregon has been on fire offensively plus leads the PAC-10 in takeaways with 19, a potentially huge factor going up against USC frosh QB Matt Barkley. USC usually comes through in these big games and I bet against Barkley once already at Notre Dame…not again…USC 27, Oregon 23.

Last Week: 4-6

Season: 32-29

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