#2 Georgia at #13 LSU:
Another week, another round of questions. LSU lost in the Swamp to a hard-hitting Florida team. The Dawgs have continued their reign of the SEC East beating Vanderbilt 41-13. By numbers, Georgia just seems to rank higher and produce better numbers than LSU. That one-point win over Auburn is looking a lot less pretty as we find the Auburn offense struggling to get going in the first half.
Nevertheless, 6-0 Georgia travels to Death Valley to battle the 5-1 Tigers. Death Valley is one of the hardest places to play, but the record when hosting top 2 ranked teams? 2-11-1. Those odds aren’t in favor of the Tigers.
Georgia is ranked sixth in total defense and Joe Burrow Struggled last weekend passing for 192 yards while throwing his first two picks of the season. Georgia has an Alabama-like factory of running backs with Brian Herrien, Elijah Holyfield, D’Andre Swift and the list goes on… LSU will be inclined to stop a fierce run attack while limiting Jake Fromm’s passing ability.
The game is still close, and I will TAKE the seven-point favorite of Georgia over LSU. Dawgs win 28-21.
#7 Washington at #17 Oregon:
Ah, the Pac-12. Every team fighting for their chance to be THE one-loss or undefeated team in the Pac-12 so they can be considered for the College Football Playoff. The interesting thing is, as long as they they don’t destroy each other from the inside through conference play, there may be a team that can make it.
Oregon and Washington both have high-powered offenses averaging 503.6 and 442.7 yards per game respectively. While Jake Browning and the Huskies have throttled Oregon with a 70-21 win in 2016 and a 38-3 win in 2017, this is still a rivalry. It’s a rivalry with a much improved Oregon team with the talented QB Justin Herbert that has led them to a 4-1 record.
Expect both quarterbacks to be passing a bit, but balancing it out with the run game. Winner of this one I think will go represent the north in the Pac-12 Championship at the end of 2018. With that said, I will LEAVE the Washington 3.5 favorite and flip that to Oregon being a three-point favorite. Oregon wins at Autzen Stadium 48-45.
#15 Wisconsin at #12 Michigan:
So last week I was completely wrong about Michigan being in a low-scoring affair with Maryland after they won 42-21. This week may be different if Michigan’s defense comes to play.
The bulk of Wisconsin’s offense comes from RB Jonathan Taylor who has rushed for 849 yards this season (6.74 YPC). Michigan boasts the sixth-ranked rushing defense, but it has not been the toughest challenge for Wisconsin and their run game so far this season. The first challenge came from the fifth-ranked Iowa defense in Iowa City at night and Jonathan still rushed for 113 yards while Alex Hornibrook passed for 205.
Shea Patterson lit it up last weekend while Karan Higdon continued his success at running the ball. I still expect this to be a close one, but I will LEAVE the 9.5 Michigan favorite, and go with a four-point favorite. Wolverines win 28-24.
#10 Colorado at USC:
Back to the Pac-12. Don’t count them out, the Buffs are 5-0 this season and Steven Montez has really settled into his position at Colorado. He’s completing 75 percent of his passes while only throwing two interceptions this season.
Since Sam Darnold and others left USC last year, the Trojans seem to be be really fresh meaning they really aren’t as good as they were before. To their credit, they have only lost to then 10th-ranked Stanford and and then 22nd-ranked Texas. Since then Stanford has dropped from the rankings with blowout losses to Notre Dame and Utah while Texas has skyrocketed to ninth in the country.
In short, the Pac-12 seems to be a roller coaster and the biggest fights for these teams are fights within the conference. This is another chance for Steven Montez and Laviska Shenault Jr. (13.9 YPR) to make a statement Colorado is here to stay relevant.
USC is a seven-point favorite, but I will LEAVE that and flip it. Buffs win by 7, 35-28.
The ‘beat the brakes off you’ pick of the week: Notre Dame over Pitt. I know many are calling it an upset alert, but unless the Irish were going to play at Pitt, you won’t convince me. Notre Dame is a 21-point favorite and I don’t see it looking any different than that prediction.
Upset: Iowa State is hosting West Virginia at night. In 2017, the Cyclones beat third-ranked Oklahoma and fourth-ranked TCU just three weeks apart. Their final record was 7-5. This year they are 2-3, but have a win against then 25th-ranked Oklahoma State. Will Grier knows how to pass the ball, and the Mountaineer defense is stout, but crazy things seem to happen against the Cyclones.
Other predictions: Bama over Missouri, Auburn over Tenn, Florida over Vandy, Indiana over Iowa, Maryland over Rutgers, Ags over South Carolina, Penn St. over Mich. St., Miami over UVA, Ole Miss over Ark., UCF over Memphis