While my NFL plays are off to a 16-4-1 start this season, anyone that has followed my college football picks knows that I’m in a funk. After starting the season hot, I’m ice cold now, sporting a 10-13 ATS record on the season.
I have no ego. If you want to fade the picks below, I don’t blame you. In fact, given my current record, it might even be the smart decision. That said, if you choose to follow, I appreciate your backing. Either way, best of luck on this fantastic college football Saturday!
333 LSU Tigers at 334 Florida Gators, 2:30 p.m. CT
In hindsight, I should have never hopped off the LSU bandwagon when I took the underdog Tigers in Week 1 against Miami. They pulled off the upset, then I promptly started fading the Ed Orgeron’s, at least against Auburn and Ole Miss. I won’t make that same mistake again today.
The total for today’s game is sitting at 44.5 points. Florida ranks ninth in the country in scoring defense, while LSU ranks 12th. This will be a defensive struggle throughout, so the question in my eyes becomes: Which quarterback do you trust?
Gators signal-caller Feleipe Franks keeps improving, but those improvements have been incremental. He was good enough against Mississippi State last week (22-of-31 for 217 yards with an interception) and was potent against Tennessee (9-of-18 for 172 yards with four total touchdowns), but the Vols are rebuilding this season. In the loss to Kentucky, Franks completed less than 50 percent of his passes and turned the ball over once, which he’s been prone to do.
Joe Burrow, meanwhile, has yet to throw an interception all season and averaged 11.68 yards per attempt with three scores last week versus Ole Miss. Granted, the Rebels are dreadful on defense, but it nevertheless was the first time Burrow has completed more than 60% of his passes in a game this year. While he hasn’t always had big games this season, Burrow has certainly had big moments, including in the fourth quarter against Auburn and in the second half versus Miami.
Bottom line, if we know both defenses will play well, I want the quarterback I trust more, which is Burrow.
Prediction: LSU -2.5
355 Arizona State Sun Devils at 356 Colorado Buffaloes, 3:00 p.m. CT
Nobody outside of Boulder believes in Colorado and on the surface, I understand why. The Buffs are 4-0 but their wins have come against Colorado State, Nebraska, New Hampshire and UCLA. Not exactly a murder’s row of foes.
Just because Colorado hasn’t beaten anyone of note, doesn’t mean the Buffs haven’t been impressive. In fact, they won those four games by a combined 161-56 margin, so it’s not as if they’ve just gotten by. (Not to mention, Colorado State is a big in-state rivalry and the Buffs were underdogs in Nebraska.)
As for Arizona State, Herm Edwards’ team has been more impressive than people thought they’d be pre-season. That said, they’re getting too much credit for beating Michigan State at home when the Spartans were dealing with travel, time zone changes and the desert heat, as well as hanging with Washington as an 18-point road dog. They also lost at San Diego State as a 4.5-point favorite, making the Sun Devils 0-2 on the road this season.
The Buffs have scored 40.2 points per game thanks to the trio of quarterback Steven Montez, receiver Laviska Shenault and tailback Travon McMillian. Montez is completing 75.8 percent of his passes and ranks second in the Pac-12 in passing efficiency at 173.7. Edwards’ 3-3-5 defensive scheme could give this Colorado offense trouble for a half, but eventually the Buffs should start moving the ball efficiently.
I expect this game to be close throughout but this is a nice “prove it” opportunity for Colorado, which is flying under the radar despite being ranked 22nd in the latest polls.
Prediction: Colorado -2.5
381 Kentucky Wildcats at 382 Texas A&M Aggies, 6:00 p.m. CT
I think everyone keeps waiting for the Wildcats’ bubble to burst but I’ve been impressed with Kentucky. It’s not as if they’ve been winning with smoke and mirrors. They forced four turnovers a week ago in their win over South Carolina, out-gaining the Gamecocks in the process. Two weeks ago, they out-gained Mississippi State 300-201 and racked up 454 yards versus Florida’s stout defense in their most impressive victory of the year (27-16 win in the Swamp).
The Wildcats have won with a simple formula this year: Run the ball effectively with Benny Snell, play sound defense, and force turnovers. That’s the good. The potential concern is what happens when they get behind. They haven’t been forced to play catch up this season and they’re not built to do so, thus, getting a lead tonight in College Station is paramount.
Nevertheless, this is a top-25 team that has proven it can win on the road in a hostile environment that is also receiving points. Texas A&M was impressive in losses to Clemson and Alabama this year but the Aggies have also lost six straight games to ranked opponents.
Prediction: Kentucky +5.5
Season ATS Records
MLB: 54-31-2 (63%)
College Football: 10-13 (43%)