The Otter Room’s Weekly College Football Picks

4-6 last week bringing the season total to 28-32-2. Three straight weeks under .500, so time to right the ship.

#24 N.C. State (+3) vs. #17 Louisville

N.C. State has one of the best defensive lines in the country and has the ability to neutralize Lamar Jackson’s athleticism. Carter-Finley is also one of the most underrated home field advantages in the county and can be a hornet’s nest for big games. Louisville’s defense has struggles over the last two years when they face competent quarterbacks, so expect Wolfpack QB Ryan Finley to have is way in the outright upset.

UConn vs. Memphis (-14)

Memphis got rocked at UCF a week ago, but expect the Tigers to bounce back in a big way against the Huskies who’s lone win came by seven-points over Holy Cross.

Vanderbilt (+17.5) vs. #5 Georgia

It’s probably no coincidence that my record is falling and I also have an irrational loyalty to the thought that Vandy is actually good. Maybe the early win over Kansas State was fool’s gold, but this is a lot of points to give against a stout Vandy defense and a perfect letdown spot for the Bulldogs.

Northwestern (+14.5) vs. #4 Penn State

The always dangerous 11 AM local start at Ryan Field. Northwestern hung with Wisconsin on the road a week ago and gets a unproven Penn State team at home. For all the hype PSU and Saequon Barkley has received, their opponents thus far this season have a combined record of 8-10 with no wins over Power Five opponents. Shocking a Big Ten team would receive unwarranted praise will facing a cupcake schedule.

Syracuse (-3.5) vs. Pitt

Although their record is 2-3, Syracuse is showing life in year two of Dino Babers. The Orange have hung with LSU and NC State on the road and have firepower on offense. Pitt, on the other hand, is a disaster and is vying with Boston College and UNC for the worst team in the ACC.

Purdue (-3.5) vs. Minnesota

Purdue is one of the most-improved teams in the country, while the Gophers are 3-1 against a soft schedule. Minnesota suffered their first loss of the season last week vs. Maryland and if they can’t keep a third-stringer from MD in-check, they have no hope in containing Jeff Brohm’s offense.

Florida State vs. #13 Miami (-3)

The Hurricanes have one of the most athletic defensive lines in the country, which will wreak havoc vs. the struggling FSU offensive line. QB James Blackman was able to pull out the victory at Wake last week, but he will be facing a different kind of athlete this week. The Seminoles will hang tough because the game is in Tallahassee, but expect this game to resemble FSU’s loss to NC State.

Boston College (+16.5) vs. #16 Virginia Tech

BC has played two elite teams thus far this season in Notre Dame and Clemson and the Eagles hung with both of those teams before collapsing late. Expect the Hokies to have a bit of a hangover after last week’s emotional loss to Clemson. BC has enough defensive talent to keep this close into the fourth quarter.

Kentucky (-10) vs. Missouri

Since their opening win vs. Missouri State, the Tigers have been garbage. They have lost four straight games by an average of 29 points per defeat. Kentucky looked predictably sluggish last week vs. Eastern Michigan after the heartbreaking loss to Florida. Despite the loss to the Gators, the Wildcats are easily the third best team in the SEC East and they will play that way against an inferior opponent at night at home.

#7 Michigan vs. Michigan State (+11)

I know the Wolverines are at home in front of the quietest 110,000 people in the world, but that is a lot of points to give vs. a rival with a backup quarterback. The Spartans bounced back from their loss to Notre Dame with a home win vs. Iowa last week. If you take out their performance vs. the Irish, the Spartans would have the No. 1 rush defense in the country. If MSU can stuff the run and make John O’Korn beat them through the air, the Spartans have the pieces to pull off the upset.

Nebraska (+12) vs. Wisconsin

Nebraska has been far from impressive this season, but Memorial Stadium will be the most hostile atmosphere the Badgers have faced to date. Early returns on Bob Diaco as defensive coordinator have been poor, but the Cornhuskers will be the first team that can match the Badgers physically on the offensive and defensive lines. Wisconsin has overpowered their first four opponents, but they won’t be able to do that Saturday.

#20 Utah (+5.5)
vs. Stanford

Bryce Love is the best running back in the country, but the Utes have the best defense in the PAC 12. Despite two losses and zero wins of note, the media loved giving Stanford and specifically David Shaw the benefit of the doubt. Playing in Salt Lake City is never easy and the porous Cardinal defense will be the difference as Utah pulls off the home upset.

UNLV vs. #19 San Diego State (-10.5)

I was all over South Florida preseason, but the Aztecs have emerged as the best team of the Group of Five schools. After there headline-grabbing win vs. Stanford, San Diego State has had close calls vs. Air Force and Northern Illinois. However, UNLV hardly has much of a home field advantage and although the Rebels have rebounded in recent weeks, you have to give the points vs. a team that lost to Howard to start off the season

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