Last week, I began an experiment to see if I could successfully pick select college football games against the spread (ATS). The results were pretty good. I went 10-3. I am going to pass on picking NFL games for the time being. The phrase “any given Sunday” isn’t “any given Saturday” for a reason. The NFL is too unpredictable even when you’ve seen all the teams play. It’s almost impossible to get a feel to start a season. So, this week I’ll be making only college picks again. I liked my picks a lot more last week than I do this week. Some of the lines earlier in the week were much nicer than they are today. Nonetheless, these are games that I would bet on if I were a gambler:
Season record to date: 10-3
BOISE ST. -8 Oregon St. (Thursday Night)
Boise St. plays better at home but it lost to an average Oregon St. team on the road last year by three. As far as I know, Boise St. was better last year and Oregon St. was worse last year. Boise St. should not win this game by more than eight, if at all.
Pittsburgh -8 CINCINATTI (Friday Night)
Nobody knows for sure how good Pittsburgh is. It handled Virginia last week in a surprise. Tyler Palko is now a veteran quarterback which can sometimes be all the difference. I guess you can file me under the “Pittsburgh is for real this year” crowd.
Louisville -40.5 TEMPLE
I’m starting to think I should make my picks earlier in the week. This line started out at -38. Now it’s at a less desirable -40.5. Still, Temple is really bad and Louisville loves to punish bad teams.
Auburn -20 MISSISSIPPI STATE
Road games in big-time conferences like the SEC AND Big Ten can be trap games even against below average teams. However, in the past few years since Auburn’s resurgence began, it has blasted bad teams. Mississippi St. will be forced to start a redshirt freshman at QB. I’ll stick with the trend and take Auburn.
MICHIGAN STATE -25.5 Eastern Michigan
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again. Michigan State laid an egg against Idaho last week in terms of the point spread. I’m going to chalk that up to first game rust and go with the Spartan offense picking it up this week.
Iowa -18.5 SYRACUSE
Syracuse currently has a ten-game losing streak. Iowa generally pounds bad teams. It is my hope that Syracuse doesn’t pick this week to buck that trend. Iowa was a bit shaky against Montana last week but there were a lot of shaky performances and Montana is a good D-2 program.
NOTRE DAME -8 Penn State
I was a bit surprised at how little press Penn St. has received coming into the season. Granted, it lost some key players but this is a team with talent all over the place. South Bend is usually not the kind of place a young quarterback wants to make his road debut at so things could be tough early. However, Penn St. will fight hard.
LSU -15.5 Arizona
I thought Arizona was going to be a little better this year with Willie T. at QB but last week’s unimpressive win over BYU has me thinking other things. Willie T. will score big-time points in the Pac-10 but I’m guessing LSU puts the stop on him in Baton Rouge.
Indiana -3.5 BALL ST.
I’m going with the hot hand. The Hoosiers stepped up for me last week and covered the spread. I like them to do it again.
TENNESSEE -20 Air Force
This line reeks of respect for Air Force. There is no reason for Air Force to be anywhere near -20 especially after Tennessee proved last week that they’re out for blood. I could be wrong as always but Tennessee should cruise.
TEXAS -2.5 Ohio State
In a game like this, I look at the QB position. Texas has a new guy who has only faced North Texas. Ohio St. has Troy Smith who has faced everyone. The Buckeyes should score touchdowns this year whereas they settled for field goals last year. This is going to be a helluva game.
Texas Tech -7 UTEP
This line is out of respect for Mike Price. Texas Tech runs up the score against weaker teams. Price has rejuvenated the UTEP program but I have to think over a full game, the Red Raiders are good for seven more points at least.
TEXAS A&M -21 Louisiana Lafayette
I’m starting to wonder if Dennis Franchione will get the A&M program to the next level. It was supposed to happen already. Nonetheless, Louisiana Lafayette is not good. A&M should cover.
SOUTH FLORIDA -20 Florida International
South Florida is good. I’m hoping that nobody else knows this. It crushed Louisville last year. This should be a blow out. I’m a little nervous about this one.
MICHIGAN -28.5 Central Michigan
I’m surprised that CMU’s showing against BC didn’t earn them a more generous line. CMU is the kind of team that comes at you all game. That means it’ll likely score meaningless fourth quarter points. Nothing ruins more bets than meaningless fourth quarter points.