October 10, 2015 (11:00 AM ET)
ATTENTION: Sunday's NFL picks will be released at 9:00 PM ET tonight.
There are 5 college football picks today! All five were released on Friday afternoon. Please scroll down to view them.
1) Take Nebraska at -1 spread against Wisconsin for 3% of the bankroll.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers have had a rough go of it this season, losing on a Hail Mary in the opening contest and once again suffering a tough loss at home against the Illinois Fighting Illini. This is a far cry from the Huskers of the 90's that once ruled the Big 10 and there is no doubt that public perception has limited their stock to an all-time low. The entire Huskers organization is likely re-thinking their decision to let former coach Bo Pelini go after a 9 win season as the Mike Riley era is surely off to a rocky start.
Despite the two heartbreaking losses on their resume, the Huskers actually haven't played that badly this season. A few unfortunate breaks have cast them in a negative light and we plan on taking advantage of that. Lincoln Nebraska is an incredibly tough place for opposing teams to play. Not only will the Huskers players be looking to atone for last week's defeat, but they will also have a manner of revenge on their mind in this contest as the Wisconsin Badgers have thoroughly handled them in recent meetings. The extra added motivation should pay dividends in this contest.
The Wisconsin Badgers are another team that has taken a step back this season. The loss of Melvin Gordon has certainly hampered the offensive chops of this run-first team and injuries in the backfield to Corey Clement have only caused their offense to go more stagnant. Joel Stave is a veteran quarterback, but he is by no means a prolific passer. Putting the offense on his shoulders is certainly not a recipe for success and we believe that point will be brought to light in this contest.
There is no doubt that the Huskers have struggled on the defensive side of the ball this season, but their weakness has been against the pass, not the run and that is not something that we believe the Badgers can exploit. As we said, Stave is not the type of quarterback who can shoulder the offensive load. Everyone has been talking about the Wisconsin defense and how stout they have been this season. While that is certainly true, the Cornhusker defense has actually been statistically better against the run. They have limited their opponents to just an average of 85 yards per contest. They key for the Huskers in this contest is to continue doing what they have been doing and contain the run. Stave will not be able to make enough plays through the air to carry the Wisconsin offense, especially in what will be his team’s first 'true' game on the road this season. Wisconsin has had the luxury of playing in front of their home fans for much of the season, but things will surely be different as they take to the road in front of what should be a very raucous crowd.
Nebraska's Tommy Armstrong Jr is the more talented quarterback in this contest as he can make and extend plays both with his arm and with his legs. He has a much more diverse skillset and with his teams back against the wall in almost a must-win situation to salvage their season, we expect him to rise to the occasion and perform. Public perception and recent history has no doubt swayed this line, however even despite their unfortunate circumstances this season, we view the Huskers as the all-around better team. Armstrong should make the plays when his team needs it most and come away with the victory.
2) Take California at +7.5 spread against Utah for 3% of the bankroll.
The Utah Utes Utes will no doubt come into this contest brimming with confidence after their most recent blowout victory over the Oregon Ducks. While they did have a bye week after that big win, we do feel that they will still be in somewhat of a letdown spot in this contest when they take on the California Golden Bears.
Cal has arguably the best quarterback in the country under center in Jarrod Goff. Goff is a precision pocket passer and is arguably the most NFL ready quarterback in the country. Everyone was high on Goff in the offseason and he has delivered on the hype thus far, but I don't think anyone quite expected just how good and well-rounded this Cal team truly is. There is no doubt that they will face a stiff test in the altitude of Utah, however it is always tough for a team to beat such a prolific offense by more than a touchdown.
Utah has certainly shown their chops this season and they are definite a playoff contender. They have a solid balance on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, however they have been know at time to rely heavily on their defense to keep them in ball games. Their offense can be inconsistent at best and facing a surgeon such as Goff is a dangerous proposition. A hangover after the Oregon game is not out of the question and there is no doubt the betting public remembers that contest and is expecting another dominant display in this contest. We happen to see things a little different.
There are four ways that this game can play out and 3 of them favor Cal and the points. With their offense, Cal has the ability to win this game outright, which could certainly happen. This could also be a closely contested matchup which goes down to the wire, in which the points come into play and we cash our tickets. It could be a lopsided affair where the Utah defense shuts down Goff for the better part of 3 quarters and when the game is out of reach the Cal offense scores some touchdowns and sneaks in the backdoor for the cover. The only way that we potentially lose this wager is by a complete and total Utah blowout (which could happen), however we feel that is highly unlikely. Statistics play a big role in handicapping and a 3 to 1 edge certainly favors the Golden Bears in this contest. The points should come into play in this one.
3) Take Tennessee at +3.5 spread against Georgia for 3% of the bankroll.
Both of these teams are coming off extremely tough losses; however we believe that it will be much tougher for the Bulldogs to bounce back in this contest. The Georgia Bulldogs were extremely pumped up and motivated to flex their muscles against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Alabama is the benchmark team in the SEC that other teams use to compare themselves and the Bulldogs fell completely flat. They were manhandled by the Tide and it was ultimately a crushing loss. Those types of losses are tough to bounce back from and we believe we'll see that in this contest. Greyson Lambert was praised heading into Georgia’s contest with Alabama and to see him almost completely crumble under the pressure of the moment was tough to watch. The fact that he was pulled from the game will no doubt have affected his confidence and could have a profound effect on his performance this afternoon.
The Tennessee Volunteers are a team that also been highly praised in the offseason, however they have fell extremely short of expectations. Despite their off-putting 2-3 record, the Vols could arguably be 5-0 had it not been for some unfortunate late game mistakes that proved costly. Unlike the Bulldogs, the Vols have been somewhat accustomed to the type of heartbreaking losses that the Bulldogs just recently experienced, so they should be almost numb to it by now. Instead of allowing it to bring them down, we expect them to use that as motivation in this contest. All is not lost for the Vols at this point and a win over the Dogs will go a long way in salvaging their season. Alabama laid the game plan on what it takes to defeat Georgia and we expect Butch Jones to implement a similar game plan.
The Vols have the playmakers and speed on the edges to give the Bulldogs defense fits. They are an extremely athletic group and much like Derrick Henry ran all over the Dogs, we expect to see a heavy dose of Jalen Hurd in this contest as well. Both teams are in a bounce back mode for this contest, yet it's the Vols who ultimately need this win more. They have been a disappointment thus far this season but we expect this to be the contest where they turn things around and play a complete game for all 4 quarters. Even if Tennessee falls short of the outright win, this should be a highly competitive contest likely decided by the final possession in which case the points are likely to come into play.
4) Take Oregon at -17 spread against Washington State for 3% of the bankroll.
62-20 that is a number that will be ingrained in the minds of every player, coach and fan for this contest. That is the final score after the Utah Utes marched into Autzen Stadium and gave the Ducks the worst beating in the last decade! There is certainly no doubt that the Ducks remember what happened the last time they stepped foot on this turf and they will be out for blood in this contest.
The Ducks already have 2 losses on the season, something that we have been unaccustomed to seeing from a team of this caliber. A big reason for that has been because of their carelessness on the defensive end. There was no question that the Ducks were due for a regression on the defensive side of the ball; however no one expected it to happen this fast. Because of that we are actually getting the Ducks at a bargain in this contest. Last season the Ducks laid 21 points on the road against this Washington State team and the year before that, in this same venue, they were laying 40! Certainly things have changed since then with the departure of Heisman quarterback Marcus Mariota; however one thing that has not changed is the potency of the Ducks offense. This is still arguably the most prolific offense in the country and one that has quick strike ability and no problem with running up the score.
Mike Leach's Washington State team is arguably as one dimensional a team as they can get. They are a straight, pass, pass, pass team and don't even try to keep opposing defenses honest with a ground game. While there is no question that the Ducks defense against the pass has been less than spectacular, they also have not faced such a one-dimensional offense this season. Their lack of defense in the secondary can be negated with a consistent pass rush in this contest. They will not even have to honor the threat of a run, which will ultimately be the difference in this contest.
The Ducks offense will have no issues scoring at will in this contest and after the drubbing that they took in their game against Utah, we don't expect them to show any mercy to Washington State in this contest. We saw glimpses of their dominance in the second half of their game against Colorado and we expect that to spill into this contest tonight. The Ducks will likely score 53+ in this contest and we believe their often porous defense will do enough to keep the Cougars offense under 35 which will be enough to give us the cover.
5) Take Kansas State at +10.5 spread against TCU for 3% of the bankroll.
The TCU Horned Frogs are coming off a complete dismantling of the Texas Longhorns in their last contest. Their dominance (and Texas' shortcomings) was on full display in that contest and that is what the betting public clearly remembers. Despite the Horned Frogs dominance on the offensive side of the ball, their defense is still somewhat suspect as they have been giving up an inordinate amount of yards, in particular two weeks ago against Texas Tech in their last road game. Tech was able to move the ball up and down the field nearly at will and in all likelihood should have come away with a victory.
After last week's performance there is no doubt that everyone is back on the TCU bandwagon, however this matchup is an extremely tough one that should not be overlooked. Bill Snyder always put a quality team each and every season and this year is no different. Snyder Stadium is an incredibly tough place for opposing teams to play and that is evident by the fact that they are 129-29 over the last 20+ years at home. They are not an opponent that should be taken likely.
TCU has scored 50+ points in their last 4 contests; however they have not seen a defense like Kansas State's this season. The one time they played an above average defense was in their opening contest of the season on the road where the Minnesota Golden Gophers held them to just 23 points. Meanwhile, the Wildcats have had their fair share of highly potent offenses the last two weeks as they took on both Louisiana Tech and Oklahoma State. There is no doubt the thought of knocking off the #2 ranked team in the country will provide extra motivation in this contest. The fact that Kansas State is 9-1 ATS in the last 10 meetings shows that they have been competitive in this series.
When we choose underdogs we do so with the thought that they have a shot to win their respected contest outright and we believe the Wildcats have a chance to do just that. While many TCU backers are already looking towards the College Football playoff, it would be unwise to overlook the Wildcats. Even if Kansas State falls short of the outright win, they should keep this game competitive and stay within this number.
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