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Will Missouri kill the SEC’s playoff hopes?

One of the most intriguing matchups coming up on championship weekend in college football is the one between Alabama and Missouri for the SEC title.

On paper, this looks like a walk in the park for the Crimson Tide. The oddsmakers agree, establishing Bama as a 14.5 point favorite over the Tigers.

But while there is a significant talent disparity between these two teams — the Tide is loaded with NFL prospects — keep in mind that there are a few factors working in Mizzou’s favor.

Namely, there is the fact that the Tigers are working under the radar, with very little expectations. They were in the SEC title game last year, so they have some understanding of the stage on which they’ll play. Don’t expect Missouri to be wide-eyed and scared in this one. All the pressure is on the other side of the field.

Second, if there’s one tendency that Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has in games like this, it is to go conservative. We are likely to see the Tide play things close to the vest and try to ‘out-talent’ the Tigers. This should create an opening for Mizzou to out-scheme Bama.

The Tide struggled at times this year on offense, producing 10 points against Mississippi, 14 against Arkansas and 13 against LSU in regulation. If Kiffin decides to open things up, this game shouldn’t be a contest and Alabama will roll. But if he puckers, look for this one to go down to the wire.

If Missouri pulls off the upset, we’re likely to see the SEC left out of the four-team playoff. Who would’ve thought THAT would happen just a few weeks ago?

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Picking this week’s games

Last week was rough for picking winners against the spread. I had my first losing week, going 4-6 (but with 2-3 very narrow losses), but considering all the upsets in college football that went on, I think that’s an okay mark. On the year, I’m now 28-22 (.560), so things are still on the plus side of the ledger.

Here are my top 10 picks for this week, with spreads courtesy of DocSports.com. Picks are in bold.

Michigan State – 21 at Purdue

The Spartans defense will dominate a lackluster, non-athletic offense like Purdue’s. The MSU offense is actually underrated and does not try to control the ball like most great defensive teams. It likes to score as much as possible, so I expect a blowout on the order of 42 – 10.

LSU -1 at Florida

Florida is a mess. The Gators had been starting a true freshman at QB and he’s suspended, so they’ll go with former starter Jeff Driskel against LSU. The Tigers are also starting a true freshman QB, but I thnk he’s actually pretty solid. LSU is just better and will win this one easily, 24 – 9.

OVER 70 total Washington at California
California’s offense is a juggernaut and UW has real issues in the secondary. At the same time, California’s defense can’t stop anybody and UW’s offense has shown signs of life at times. Both teams should be in the 40s in this one so I like the OVER. Cal 52, Washington 42

NC State -3.5 vs. Boston College

The Wolfpack have a mobile QB in Jacoby Brissett who can also throw. They gave FSU all it could handle before losing and then they had a letdown last week vs. Clemson, but I think they’ll put it together to beat BC. NC State 31, Boston College 24

Clemson -10 vs. Louisville
Deshaun Watson is the best young quarterback in the country and Clemson offense is turning into a monster. I think the Tigers start slow but eventually overwhelm the Cardinals in Death Valley. Clemson 35, Louisville 17

Auburn -3 at Mississippi State
I see Auburn as the best team in the country with the best coach. This is going to be a back and forth game, but the Tigers will find a way to win by a touchdown or more. Auburn 38, Mississippi State 27

Arizona +3 at USC
The Wildcats just have too much offense for USC to handle, but I think the Trojans will put up a good fight. This should be a barn burner with Arizona coming out on top, 41-31.

Oregon -3 at UCLA

One of these teams is going to leave with a two-game losing streak. I see Oregon as being mentally tougher than the Bruins right now. Having arguably the best player in the country  to work with in Marcus Mariota gives the Ducks the edge. Oregon 45, UCLA 35

Notre Dame -17 vs. UNC

North Carolina’s defensive struggles will continue in South Bend. I don’t see the Tar Heels doing too much on the offensive side of the ball either. Another big game for Everett Golson and the Irish romp, 35-13.

OVER 64 total TCU at Baylor
As well as these two defenses have played so far this year, I don’t think either has seen an offense as good as what they’ll see on Saturday in Waco. I’m not sure who’s going to win this, but I think we’ll see a lot of points so I’m taking the OVER. Let’s go with Baylor 38, TCU 37.

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Picking this week’s games

I’m on a roll now.

Last week was my second-straight 7-3 week against the spread and I’m now at 24-16 (.600) on the season. Let’s see if I can keep it going. Here are my 10 plays of the week, with all lines courtesy of Docsports. My picks are in bold.

West Virginia -28 vs. Kansas

South Carolina -4 at Kentucky

Notre Dame +2 vs. Stanford

Tennessee -3 vs. Florida

Utah +13 at UCLA

Michigan State -7 vs. Nebraska

Baylor -15.5 at Texas

Oklahoma State -17.5 vs. Iowa State

Alabama -6 at Ole Miss

Mississippi State -2 vs. Texas A&M

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Picking this week’s games

I finally got on track this season by going 7-3 in my picks last week. On the year, I’m now 17-13 overall (.566), so hopefully I can keep my momentum going. Here are my 10 picks against the spread for this week, with my choices in bold. Lines courtesy of Docsports.

Baylor -23 at Iowa State

Colorado at California OVER 66 total.

Texas A&M -10 vs. Arkansas

Nebraska -21.5 vs. Illinois

WSU +13.5 at Utah

Oregon State +9 at USC

Notre Dame -10 at Syracuse

Louisiana Tech at Auburn OVER 61 total

Maryland +4 at Indiana

Michigan State -28.5 vs. Wyoming

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Picking this week’s games

So, I got lazy and decided to take last week’s games off. After all, I’d gone 10-10 against the spread in the first two weeks. And while that’s not bad in some places, it’s definitely not up to par in my book. No matter, I’m back at it again this week. Here are the my top 10 plays for this week. Picks in bold. Lines courtesy of Docsports.

Missouri – 14 vs. Indiana

Washington -35 vs. Georgia State

Texas A&M -35 at SMU

Clemson +14.5 at Florida State

Mississippi State +10 at LSU

California +8 at Arizona

Washington State +24 at Oregon

Wyoming -4 vs. Florida Atlantic

Duke -17 vs. Tulane

Maryland +1.5 at Syracuse

 

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FSU paid a heavy price when it beat Citadel

Clemson will visit Florida State on September 20, and the most important thing that the Seminoles had to do last Saturday against The Citadel was to make sure that their players would be in full health after the game, but price per head agents saw that this didn’t seem to work.

FSU beat the Bulldogs, 37-12, but the Seminoles paid a price as three of their defensive linemen had no choice but to pull out due to lower leg injuries thanks to the Bulldog’ cut-blocking system.

“When you play these kinds of teams [triple-option offenses] they’re constantly cutting those knees and ankles,” Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said. “Those guys that cut and chop like this, it’s crazy. I’d rather play more conventional teams.”

Nile Lawrence-Stample, Eddie Goldman, and Justin Shanks ended up leaving the game and were not able to return to action.

In the first half, Goldman – who after the game was in crutches and wearing a boot – left the field after going down. The player doesn’t just weigh 320 and is 6-foot-4, but he happens to be one of the team’s defensive linemen with the most experience. If the player is out of action for a lengthy amount of time, all of the defense could be affected.

“He’s a threat to O-linemen, so obviously they wanna double team him,” said Reggie Northrup. “That frees me up to go make plays.”

Derrick Mitchell Jr – another defensive lineman – was able to make it all the way through without being injured, and after the player’s teammates went down, he knew that he had no choice but to intensify his game.

“I wasn’t going to go out there and play conservatively,” said Mitchell. “I feel like when you do try and play conservative because of things like that, that’s when you get those injuries.”

If the player’s injuries prove to be serious, the Seminoles will use the services of freshmen Giorgio Newberry, Demarcus Christmas, and Derrick Nnadi. This change could end up being be very tough for other teams, but many price per head agents believe that

Florida State, being the No.1 team in NCAA football, should be fine.

“I feel like coach Odell Haggins and coach Sal Sunseri do a good job distributing the reps among the first and second string,” said Mitchell. “We all just rotate, first and second string, no matter what.”

Now the Seminoles hope that there will be enough time for Shanks, Goldman, and Lawrence-Stample to fully recover before their ACC showdown in two weeks.

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Picking this week’s games

I went 5-5 against the spread in my season debut. Here’s to a stronger week two. Now for my 10 plays of the week, lines courtesy of Docsports.com (picks in bold):

Arizona -8 at UTSA

Boston College +4.5 vs. Pittsburgh

Washington State -4 at Nevada

Navy -3 at Temple

Michigan State +11.5 at Oregon State

Missouri -4 at Toledo

Auburn vs. San Jose State 65.5 total (OVER)

Notre Dame -4 vs. Michigan

UCLA -23.5 vs. Memphis

Hawaii +10.5 vs. Oregon State

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