The Otter Room’s Weekly College Football Picks

A 6-8 performance last week brings the season record to 24-26-2.

Iowa State (+4.5) vs. Texas

You don’t just walk into Jack Trice Stadium and expect to come out with a W. Over the last decade, upsets tend to happen in night games, especially weeknight games in Ames. Texas’ last outing vs. USC seemed to quell the Tom Herman skeptics, but I think that is more of an indication that USC isn’t as good as everyone says. This will be a tight contest for four quarters and Iowa State will have a chance to pull the outright upset. Also, have you seen the Cyclones’ helmets for the game?

That’s gotta be worth at least a few points.

Nebraska (-5.5) vs. Illinois

The fact that the Cornhuskers didn’t cover on a relatively small spread vs. Rutgers at home last week is a testament to the state of the program. However, the Illini could give Rutgers a run for their money as the worst team in the Big Ten. If Nebraska doesn’t cover, Mike Riley shouldn’t even bother getting on the flight back to Lincoln.

#21 Florida vs. Vanderbilt (+9.5)

Vandy was embarrassed by Alabama last week – hardly the first instance of that occurance, but the Commodores still have a stingy defense that can easily hold down the inept Florida offense. On the other sideline, the Gators are two fluky plays away from being 0-3. The Swamp crowd has been sparse for noon games against lesser competition in recent years, which will result in a friendlier atmosphere than Vandy faced a week ago at home when ‘Bama fans took over Nashville.

Minnesota (-13)
vs. Maryland

Maryland is snake-bitten at the quarterback position. This is the fourth time in the last six years that the Terps have used at least three different starting QBs in a season. This time, they are on QB No. 3 and we are still in September. No amount of girls smashing beers on their heads can save the Terps. The Gophers are 3-0 vs. a very pedestrian schedule, but with Maryland starting a third-stringer on the road, Minnesota should win easily.

Tennessee (+7.5) vs. #7 Georgia

This is a must-win for Butch Jones and the Tennessee. Vol nation is splitting at the seams after another heartbreaking loss to Florida and a lifeless effort vs. UMass last week. UGA had been one the more impressive teams of the season thus far and their wins over Notre Dame and Mississippi State are as good as anyone’s in the country to date.

However, Knoxville will be the most hostile atmosphere Jake Fromm has faced. It would be well within the bi-polar nature of Tennessee to backup a near-disastrous performance vs. UMass with a win that could be considered the biggest of the Butch Jones era. The Vols keep the Georgia running game in-check and force Fromm into some turnovers as they upset UGA on Rocky Top.

Stanford vs. Arizona State – O/U: 65.5 – OVER

Both teams had big wins last week. The Cardinal were able to right the ship and annihilated UCLA at home, while the Sun Devils upset Oregon in Tempe to take the heat off of Todd Graham for the moment. The line is 17, which is a hard one to bet, but I guarantee there will be points.

#13 Auburn vs. #24 Mississippi State – O/U: 52.5 – OVER

Auburn’s offense was dominated by Clemson a few weeks ago, but as Jarrett Stidham gains more experience and Gus Malzahn understands his strengths a little better, the Tiger offense could look like the 2013 version that went to the National Championship. Like Auburn, Mississippi State was embarrassed by a superior defense in Georgia, but have plenty of weapons and have a talented dual-threat QB in Nick Fitzgerald. Neither defense will be able to matchup with the weapons both offenses possess for four quarters – expect a shootout on the plains.

Oregon vs. Cal (+13.5)

Cal hung with USC for most of three quarters last week before the Trojans’ firepower proved too much for the Bears. Luckily, this week they play a team with not as many offensive weapons. Oregon still has a high-powered attack, but Cal won’t be outclassed by their athletes like they were vs. USC. Justin Wilcox has done wonders with a defense that was one of the worst in the country a year ago. Cal has enough to keep it close with the Ducks even in Eugene.

Hawaii vs. Colorado State (-7)

Colorado State has played three power five teams thus far. The Rams destroyed Oregon State in the season opener, before losing to Colorado. The Rams second loss came at Alabama where CSU more than held their own as they put up 23 points in Tuscaloosa – more than most SEC teams will put up vs. the Tide. Hawaii is coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to Wyoming and won’t have answers for Colorado State’s offense.

Ravens vs. Steelers (-3)

Rarely put NFL games in here, but this is too good to pass up. The Steelers will rebound from a stinker against the Bears last week and the Ravens have to deal with the post-London hangover.

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