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Week 5 picks

Time to reveal my plays of the week. These are the 10 games I would bet on if I were a degenerate gambler. For those who don’t know already, the first team listed is my pick, unless it’s an over/under selection. Odds provided by DocSports. If I were you, I’d bet on these games. You can thank me (or hate me) later. I went 6-4 in my picks last week and I’m hitting 60% on the season, so heed my advice!

Last week against the spread: 6-4

Season record against the spread: 24-16 (.600)

Florida State -23 at Boston College

Too much talent disparity in this one. Florida State will score early and often and drop BC to 2-2 on the year. Another big game for Jameis Winston.

Florida State 45, Boston College 14

Minnesota +2 vs. Iowa

Minnesota has found its quarterback in freshman Mitch Leidner. I look for the Gophers to play mistake-free, fundamentally-sound football and score the mild upset.

Minnesota 31, Iowa 27

Arizona State -5 vs. USC

USC has struggled against the weakest part of its schedule and now must take a step up in class against a talented Sun Devils squad. Look for Marion Grice and Jaelen Strong to have big games as ASU rolls.

Arizona State 27, USC 10

Oklahoma -3.5 at Notre Dame

Week 2 of the Bell Dozer under center will continue to pay dividends and the Sooners will have just enough offense to grind out a win against a tough Irish front seven.

Oklahoma 21, Notre Dame 17

OVER 58.5 points, Colorado at Oregon State

These are two offensively skilled teams with suspect defenses. To me, that spells a lot of points which is why I’ll take the OVER.  Oregon State wins over a much-improved Colorado squad.

Oregon State 42, Colorado 31

Stanford -9 at Washington State

The WSU defense is pretty solid, especially the front line, but it’s never wise to get into a slugfest in the trenches against Stanford. The Cardinal will methodically tear the Cougars apart and win going away.

Stanford 31, Washington State 13

Texas A&M -14 at Arkansas

It’s really simple here: Arkansas can’t stop Texas A&M and the Razorbacks are not the same offensively without quarterback Brandon Allen, who may or may not play. Either way, Arkansas can’t keep up.

Texas A&M 52, Arkansas 24

Alabama -14 vs. Mississippi

The Ole Miss scheme plus Bo Wallace isn’t enough to make up for the talent disparity that exists between the two teams. Now that it’s back in SEC play, Alabama will cut down on mistakes and play closer to its potential.

Alabama 42, Ole Miss 21

OVER 62, Arizona at Washington

We should see a lot of offense from these two teams and I expect a wild one up in Seattle. Washington has more weapons, though, and should pull out the win.

Washington 41, Arizona 31

Pitt -5 vs. Virginia

Pitt is slowly putting together a nice little offense based around senior quarterback Tom Savage and a couple freshmen, running back James Conner and receiver Tyler Boyd. I don’t think Virginia can keep them in check.

Pittsburgh 35, Virginia 24

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Week 4 picks

Time to reveal my plays of the week. These are the 10 games I would bet on if I were a degenerate gambler. For those who don’t know already, the first team listed is my pick, unless it’s an over/under selection. Odds provided by DocSports. If I were you, I’d bet on these games. You can thank me (or hate me) later. I went 4-6 in my picks last week but I’m still hitting 60% on the season, so heed my advice!

Last week against the spread: 4-6

Season record against the spread: 18-12 (.600)

OVER 58 North Carolina at Georgia Tech

The Yellowjackets defense has been great so far but now it will have to take a step up in class going against a UNC offense that has a lot of weapons. Meanwhile, the Tar Heels have struggled the last couple years against Georgia Tech’s offensive scheme. I look for this one to be a shootout with UNC coming out on top in the end. Take the OVER.

North Carolina 42, Georgia Tech 38

Minnesota -3.5 vs. San Jose State

The Gophers don’t seem to be affected by Jerry Kill’s seizures. They are a fundamentally sound team that doesn’t make many mistakes. David Fales has gotten off to a slow start and I think the Spartan offense struggles again in this one.

Minnesota 27, San Jose State 17

Baylor -30.5 vs. Louisiana-Monroe

The Baylor offensive machine should have another huge day against ULM and I think Lache Seastrunk gets his first 200-yard game of the season.

Baylor 62, ULM 21

Utah State +7 at USC

Chuckie Keeton has a huge day against a tired USC defense and the Aggies pull off the upset win in the Coliseum, which may precipitate the end of the Lane Kiffin era a couple days later.

Utah State 31, USC 28

Oregon State -8 at San Diego State

One thing that’s for sure is that the Beavers know how to score. With the Aztecs struggling on offense, I think the OSU defense steps to the plate with a solid game, too. Another huge day for Sean Mannion is in the works.

Oregon State 42, San Diego State 20

OVER 55 Auburn at LSU

I don’t think Auburn will be able to stop LSU’s usually methodical offense from scoring at will in this one. Meanwhile, Gus Malzahn will have a few tricks up his sleeve and make this fun for a while before the Bayou Bengals pull away.

LSU 42, Auburn 24

UCLA -42 vs. New Mexico State

UCLA’s offense should score 42 in the first half alone and then cruise to 60. The Bruins should rush for 350-plus yards.

UCLA 66, New Mexico State 17

OVER 62 Utah at BYU

There’s a lot of firepower in this game with two playmaking quarterbacks in Travis Wilson and Taysom Hill. I think it’ll be a shootout with Utah winning in the end thanks to Wilson’s dual-threat magic.

Utah 45, BYU 38

OVER 79 Texas A&M vs. SMU

The Aggies should be ornery after losing last week to Bama and I believe they’ll take it out offensively on SMU. But the Mustangs have the ability to put up points and I think they’ll do so in the second half to top the point total.

Texas A&M 65, SMU 21

Stanford -6 vs. Arizona State

The Cardinal have been vanilla on offense and bored on defense in the first two games, but they will be up to the challenge against the Sun Devils. I look for Stanford to put the clamps down on the ASU offense while Kevin Hogan has a big day passing.

Stanford 33, Arizona State 21

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Week 3 Picks

Time to reveal my plays of the week. These are the 10 games I would bet on if I were a degenerate gambler. For those who don’t know already, the first team listed is my pick, unless it’s an over/under selection. Odds provided by Betus. If I were you, I’d bet on these games. You can thank me (or hate me) later. I went 7-3 in my picks last week — almost 8-2 — and I’m hitting 70% on the season, so heed my advice!

Last week against the spread: 7-3

Season record against the spread: 14-6 (.700)

Stanford -29 at Army

I can’t see Army getting anything going offensively against the very tough Stanford defense. Meanwhile, I think the Cardinal will put up over 300 rushing yards and jump out to a huge lead.

Stanford 52, Army 9

Louisville -13.5 at Kentucky

The Wildcats will give the Cardinals a test early, but Teddy Bridgewater should get rolling and help UL pull away for the easy victory. Look for another four touchdown passes for the Heisman Trophy contender.

Louisville 45, Kentucky 24

UCLA +4.5 at Nebraska

The Bruins have too many weapons on offense for these Blackshirts to handle. I expect big games from both Brett Hundley and Taylor Martinez, but UCLA is mentally tougher and will come away with the quality road win.

UCLA 37, Nebraska 34

Oklahoma -24.5 vs. Tulsa

Blake Bell will start for the Sooners and I think he’ll be the spark the OU offenses needs. Meanwhile, the Sooners defense will continue to play at a high level.

Oklahoma 42, Tulsa 14

OVER 50 Southern Miss at Arkansas

I see Arkansas putting up a lot of points due to big games from Brandon Allen, Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins. The Razorbacks defense will be its usually porous self, too, which should mean we’ll have no problem getting over the point total.

Arkansas 49, Southern Miss 13

Boston College +14 at USC

USC has a hard time scoring 14 points, much less covering it. The Trojans will continue to play it close to the vest on offense, which means the Eagles will be in the game until the end with a chance to pull off the mild upset.

USC 17, Boston College 16

OVER 65 Ohio State at California

The Bears have some real issues on defense that I think the Buckeyes will exploit, even if Braxton Miller doesn’t play. At the same time, Cal’s offense is just too explosive to keep down for long. Ohio State and Cal easily top the point total.

Ohio State 49, California 31

Auburn -6 vs. Mississippi State

Auburn looks to me like a team that is getting better every week and I expect quarterback Nick Marshall will have his best game in this one. The Bulldogs will struggle on offense against a very opportunistic Auburn defense.

Auburn 28, Mississippi State 20

Arizona State -5.5 vs. Wisconsin

ASU will be pumped up for this one and Wisconsin will struggle to adjust to the dry desert heat. The Sun Devils will be too fast and athletic for the Badgers and Taylor Kelly will have another huge game.

ASU 31, Wisconsin 24

Maryland -6 at Connecticut

The Terps are rolling right now behind dual threat QB CJ Brown and all-purpose dynamo Stefon Diggs. I think those two will play well against the Huskies to lead Maryland to a comfortable win.

Maryland 41, Connecticut 27


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Week two picks

Time to reveal my plays of the week. These are the 10 games I would bet on if I were a degenerate gambler. For those who don’t know already, the first team listed is my pick, unless it’s an over/under selection. Odds provided by BetUs. If I were you, I’d bet on these games. You can thank me (or hate me) later. I went 7-3 in my picks last week — almost 9-1 — so heed my advice!

Last week against the spread: 7-3

Season record against the spread: 7-3

UNDER 48 Miami vs. Florida

I think Florida’s pass defense — particularly its corners — will do a good job holding Stephen Morris and the Miami receivers in check. But I don’t see Florida’s offense doing much either. I think Miami pulls off the upset in a sloppy affair, but I’m going with the UNDER in this one.

Miami 21, Florida 17

Oklahoma State -27 at UTSA

The Cowboys struggled early last week against Mississippi State, but they finally found a groove once J.W. Walsh took the reins at quarterback. I think Walsh gives OSU another dimension with his mobility and this is the game where the Cowboys offense hits its stride.

Oklahoma State 56, UTSA 17

Oklahoma -21.5 vs. West Virginia

Trevor Knight threw for just 86 yards last week against Louisiana-Monroe, but that did include three touchdown passes and 103 rushing yards. I look for his passing numbers to improve in week two and for the Sooners offense to take a step forward. Meanwhile, the Mountaineers will struggle against the Sooners defense.

Oklahoma 45, West Virginia 13

Georgia -3 vs. South Carolina

The Bulldogs have their backs against the wall and I don’t see them starting the season 0-2. Gurley and Murray outshine Clowney and Co. and both teams even their records at 1-1.

Georgia 27, South Carolina 21

Auburn -10.5 vs. Arkansas State

Sticking with that theme of offenses improving in week two, I like the Tigers to continue to do well on the ground while Nick Marshall’s passing numbers become a little more respectable. The Red Wolves will score, but the Tigers will overwhelm Gus Malzahn’s former team in the end.

Auburn 42, Arkansas State 28

Notre Dame +4.5 at Michigan

This Notre Dame team has take a step up athletically, especially at the skill positions. Tommy Rees appears to be on his way to a great season and I think he leads the Irish to a win here as the Michigan ground game gets stifled.

Notre Dame 26, Michigan 19

Hawaii +27 at Oregon State

The Beavers will bounce back in this one, but Hawaii’s defense showed it was solid against USC. Sean Mannion has another huge day, but the Rainbow Warriors keep it relatively close.

Oregon State 38, Hawaii 17

Washington State +16 at USC

I expect Mike Leach to have something special in store in his game plan for the Trojans. USC will continue to struggle on offense and will need its defense to step up to force some big plays. The Cougars get off to a great start and pull the upset.

Washington State 24, USC 21

UNDER 48.5 San Jose State vs. Stanford

The Stanford offense will be a bit sluggish in its first game while the Spartans will experience the full wrath of the Cardinal defense. This should be a low scoring affair and that’s why I’m taking the UNDER.

Stanford 27, San Jose State 6

Minnesota -15 at New Mexico State

Philip Nelson and the Gophers looked very good against UNLV last week and I expect Jerry Kill’s team to pick up where it left off.

Minnesota 45, New Mexico State 28

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25 breakout stars for 2013


The following players aren’t being talked about too much right now, but by season’s end they will be:

Deion Belue, CB, Alabama — As if Bama needed another breakout star, right?  Belue has first round talent and should come into his own this season for the Tide.

Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State — At 6-4, Strong, a JC transfer, is that rare tall receiver who can actually run like he’s 5-11. He should develop into one of the Pac-12’s best receivers in 2013.

Jonathan Williams, RB, Arkansas — Williams is a big time talent who should flourish in Brett Bielema’s scheme. If there’s a dark horse to lead the SEC in rushing, he’s it.

Robbie Rhodes, WR, Baylor — I was the first to tab Rhodes as a breakout star back in February and he hasn’t disappointed during fall camp. He’s might be the top freshman wide receiver in the country.

Kenny Lawler, WR, California — While Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper are the headline wide receivers for Cal, Lawler is the one with the most upside. If spring ball is any indication, he should have a stellar redshirt freshman season. Continue Reading →

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Week One Picks


Time to reveal my plays of the week. These are the 10 games I would bet on if I were a degenerate gambler. For those who don’t know already, the first team listed is my pick, unless it’s an over/under selection. Odds provided by DocSports. If I were you, I’d bet on these games. You can thank me (or hate me) later.

North Carolina +13 at South Carolina

Everyone is sleeping on the Tar Heels but they are one of my surprise teams for this year. An explosive offense and an improving defense should make this game quite close. The Gamecocks are ranked sixth but I’m not impressed by their defensive line, outside of Clowney. I do love SC’s wide receivers, though. I think this one will be a barnburner with UNC having a good shot at an upset.

Score prediction: North Carolina 31, South Carolina 30

Mississippi -3.5 at Vanderbilt

The Rebel front seven is excellent and should keep the rather sluggish Vandy offense in check. Meanwhile, the Ole Miss offense led by Bo Wallace should be able to move the ball enough to get the cover.

Score prediction: Ole Miss 20, Vanderbilt 10

Alabama -20 vs. Virginia Tech

I think it’s going to be very difficult for Virginia Tech to have a legitimate offensive score in this game, meaning any type of score that isn’t the result of a turnover resulting in really advantageous field position. Alabama should be able to get 20 points just through inertia, but I expect the Tide offense to be clicking anyway. We should see big games for Amari Cooper and TJ Yeldon. This one won’t be close.

Score prediction: Alabama 35, Virginia Tech 6

Oklahoma -21 vs. Louisiana-Monroe

The perception of OU is that of a program in a bit of a decline, but the talent is there for another superb season. So much will depend on how freshman quarterback Trevor Knight performs. I like his receiving corps and think he’ll be excellent from the getgo. And if he’s not, there’s always Blake Bell, another talented player. I expect big production from the quarterback position in this game and for the Sooners to romp.

Score prediction: Oklahoma 45, Louisiana-Monroe 17

(OVER) 59.5 Total – Washington State at Auburn

Two offensive gurus go at it in this one — WSU’s Mike Leach and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn. Leach is in his second year at Wazzou so I expect the Cougars will be more proficient on offense than last season, while Auburn should also take a big step forward. Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall should have a good debut, at least running the ball. He’s a remarkable talent in the open field. I expect there will be lots of scoring, so go with the OVER.

Score prediction: Auburn 42, Washington State 31

(OVER) 65.6 Total – UCLA vs. Nevada

These are two good offensive teams who should have no problem putting up points against each other. Brett Hundley should have a field day against the Nevada defense while Cody Fajardo should be able to exploit UCLA’s young secondary. This’ll be an exciting shootout with UCLA coming out on top.

Score prediction: UCLA 49, Nevada 35

Northwestern -6 at California

I like what Sonny Dykes has done with Cal in the preseason, but hosting a very good Northwestern team with a freshman quarterback and a new offensive system could make this a rough debut. I expect the Bears will get some offense going eventually, but the dynamic duo of Kain Colter and Venric Mark will give Cal fits.

Score prediction: Northwestern 34, California 23

(OVER) 59.5 Total – Louisiana-Lafayette at Arkansas

I think the Arkansas offense has a chance to be pretty good. Running back Jonathan Williams is a potential star in the SEC and quarterback Brandon Allen is an accurate and efficient passer. Lafayette can also put up some points. Neither team should be getting much done on defense, however, which is why I think the play here is to take the over.

Score prediction: Arkansas 42, ULL 34

Northern Illinois +3 at Iowa

While I liked it better when this line was +6.5 a couple days ago, I’m still taking the Huskies. New Hawkeye quarterback Jake Rudock will have to come through, which may be too much to ask against a very good NIU team led by Heisman candidate Jordan Lynch.

Score prediction: Northern Illinois 28, Iowa 24

Minnesota -14 vs. UNLV

The Gophers struggled in a triple OT win over the Running Rebs in Vegas last year, but I expect they’ll overmatch them at home. Jerry Kill is in his third season and this could be his best team yet.

Score prediction: Minnesota 42, UNLV 24

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HP’s 2013 preseason top 10 teams

1. Alabama

2. Stanford

3. Oregon

4. Texas A&M

5. Ohio State

6. Georgia

7. Oklahoma

8. Texas

9. Clemson

10. Northwestern

On the cusp: Michigan, South Carolina, LSU, Louisville, Nebraska

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