A woman drove me to drink, and I hadn’t even the courtesy to thank her.W.C. Fields
An old drinking buddy of mine suggested that we enter into the Sober October challenge that has become so popular. After my laughter subsided and I wiped the tears from my eyes, I realized that he was in fact not joking. The gauntlet has been laid down. The challenge has been accepted. The terms of the bet finalized. You didn’t really think I’d do this with only promises of better health and a clearer mind and no chance of financial gain did you? So here we are clear headed, bright eyed, fairly bored and shaky, but fully ready for a six pack of picks.
West Virginia +11 vs Texas
West Virginia has steadily improved as the season has gone on. Austin Kendall is now up to the 65% completion mark passing, and the Mountaineers managed to run the ball much more consistently in their last two games against NC State and Kansas. Texas has a very depleted secondary and a game with Oklahoma on deck. The Longhorns are also 2-7 against the spread in their last nine Big 12 games as favorites and didn’t cover six of the last seven years in the game prior to Oklahoma.
Northwestern +7.5 at Nebraska
After an off season of hope Husker fans are now calling “hope” the dirtiest four letter word in the English language. Nebraska suffered a huge collapse at Colorado and were then humiliated on primetime in their home stadium when Ohio State came to town. The defense is giving up over six yards per carry in Big Ten play and will be without the suspended Khalil Davis on the defensive line this week. They have also thrown five interceptions and lost nine fumbles. Nothing about this team indicates that they will win anything handily in league play, especially against a team that has beat them three of the last four they have played and has only lost once by more than seven since 2011.
Buffalo +3.5 vs Ohio
Two teams with losing records square off here. Buffalo excels against the run this season allowing only 2.7 yards per carry this season. Ohio is dependent on QB Nathan Rourke, who is not throwing the ball well but is leading the team in both rushing attempts and yards. Frank Solich is known for trying to keep his Ohio teams controlling clock and running the ball. When they struggle doing that, they get beat. The home dog here is 9-2-1 against the spread in their last twelve as an underdog and has four outright wins in their last six of those contests.
Pittsburgh +5 at Duke
Duke is getting a lot of credit after winning three straight and showing off on a Thursday night game against Virginia Tech, a team that many people still think of as an ACC powerhouse. However, Pat Narduzzi is getting a lot out of this Pitt team, and this is a great spot to take them. The Panthers want to get into a rock fight with everyone, something Narduzzi has long been known for. That doesn’t mean they cover as big favorites but it does mean they often cover as an underdog. It works even better when they are playing a Duke team who is 0-9 in their last nine as a favorite and has lost eight of those games straight up.
Florida +2.5 vs Auburn
When Feleipe Franks went down for the Gators I wasn’t sure where their season would go but Kyle Trask has stepped in and earned rave reviews. I won’t go so far as to say they have upgraded, both of them have nearly identical numbers, but he is getting the job done. Auburn’s Bo Nix is also getting high praise after leading the Tigers to an undefeated start and a big win over Oregon. The praise for Nix might be coming just a bit soon, though. He is completing just 57% of his passes on the season, and I’m not comfortable taking a freshman in the Swamp. It should be strength on strength here, with Auburn’s rush against Florida’s rush defense. That usually translates to a low scoring tight game. That’s why I want the Gators at home where they were 4-0 against the spread when they were dogs in Dan Mullens first season with three straight up wins.
Oregon -18 vs Cal
The PAC 12 is not out of the playoff yet, but the top teams need top performances in conference to keep their hope alive. Cal was the biggest pretender of all the unbeaten teams until their loss to Arizona State last week. Now, they’ve lost their starting quarterback and the backup does not look ready for college football yet, especially for a road game to Oregon. Justin Herbert came back to prove himself this season and now gets to face a beat up Cal team to improve on his already gaudy numbers of 75% completions, 14 touchdowns, and ZERO interceptions. The Oregon offensive line will bulldoze this defense, and I honestly don’t know how Cal will score this game. Oregon has won eight of the last ten meetings with an average margin of victory in those eight wins of 26 points.
That’s all for this week friends! Best of luck to you all ,and thank you again for reading. I truly hope you enjoyed. Remember, you can see all my picks, halftime and in-game plays, and general degenerate activities by following me @tgslevi on Twitter.