It’s been a few days since I’ve posted a column but I have shared picks on Twitter. After a 2-0-1 night in baseball, my MLB record is up to 45-21-1 and following Monday night’s loss, my college football record stands at 6-2.
Here’s what I like for Saturday’s college football slate…
351 Arkansas State Red Wolves vs. 352 Alabama Crimson Tide, 2:30 p.m. CT
I know, I know: Alabama could cover this number in its sleep. But this is one of the few times I actually like to fade Nick Saban’s teams. Alabama usually schedules one tough(ish) non-conference opponent in Week 1, followed by one or two softies before opening SEC play. This year, the Crimson Tide host Arkansas State one week after destroying Louisville. This is the game before Alabama opens conference play next week versus Ole Miss. This is your classic “sandwich game,” which can be tough for a team like ‘Bama to get up for. In fact, the Tide are just 0-4-1 against the spread the week before their conference opener. This is not a spot where Saban wants to make a statement before facing Ole Miss next week. He’ll want to get a comfortable lead today, pull his starters and run out the clock in the second half. That provides bettors value with the Red Wolves, who have a senior under center in Justice Hansen, who just threw a school-record six touchdown passes with completing 26-of-36 passes for 423 yards a week ago. This Arkansas State team isn’t going to go into Tuscaloosa and beat ‘Bama but can it cover the 36.5 points? I believe so.
Prediction: Arkansas State +36.5
365 Clemson Tigers vs. 366 Texas A&M Aggies, 6:00 p.m. CT
The Aggies racked up over 700 total yards (including over 500 on the ground) in their victory over Northwestern State. They’re in for a rude awakening tonight, however, as the Tigers have four NFL-caliber players along their defensive line. Jimbo Fisher won’t want to put either Nick Starkel or Kellen Mond in harm’s way tonight, so I expect A&M to keep the ball on the ground in efforts to dominate time of possession and win with their defense. Clemson could use a similar strategy offensively, which means we have a pair of teams that will lean on their running games and defenses to win tonight. That’s a nice recipe for the under.
Prediction: Under 51.5
381 Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. 382 Texas Longhorns, 7:00 p.m. CT
I usually avoid laying 20-plus points on any team but I’ll make the exception for Tom Herman’s Longhorns. This is a perfect bounce back spot for Texas, which was upset a week ago by Maryland. The Terps also upended the ‘Horns last season and Herman’s squad responded the following week by destroying San Jose State 56-0. Tulsa beat Central Arkansas a week ago but lost three fumbles and saw its sophomore quarterback Luke Skipper throw for just 196 yards (49 of those came on one touchdown pass to Justin Hobbs). With heat now on Herman, I expect Texas to come out focused and motivated. Covering the 22.5 points shouldn’t be an issue for a ‘Horns team looking to put last week behind them.
Prediction: Texas -22.5
College Football: 6-2