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College Capper: Picking Games Week 7

Greg Vara

Greg Vara

Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the 2013 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. In addition to producing the weekly preview and the bulk of the draft kit content, Vara participates in Yahoo!'s "Experts Picks" where he routinely dominates. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.

We are nearly halfway through the college football season and the one question on everyone's mind is - can we get some Tuesday night football, please?

Seriously, although we are all going through some MAC football withdrawal, there are more pressing questions at the moment, such as, can anyone take down Alabama, and is this the year Oregon finally gets through the Pac-12 unscathed?

The answer to the first question might be directly related to the result of the second question, but that's a question for later down the line, and besides, we talk about handicapping games here, right? Enough of the big picture.

Back to the matter at hand. The question I like to ask each week is - did we learn anything last week?

Well, the Big Ten is still awful, though it's starting to look like there is one team that might actually be legitimate.

We learned that the young men that make up the Arkansas football team DO have some pride.

We also learned that Vegas can't set the total high enough for games involving West Virginia. Speaking of that, can you imagine the number if West Virginia played Oregon?

As for my picks, week 6 could have been better, but I picked up some much needed wins in the "Cream of the Crop" category, so hopefully that's a sign of things to come.

Let's take a look at the card this week.

WEEK 7

Cream of the Crop
(Week: 3-2-0/Season: 5-18-0)

Saturday

North Carolina at Miami: Miami sure didn't win any fans over with its performance last week against Notre Dame, but this is a new week and, more important, a conference game. The Hurricanes are actually undefeated within the conference and aren't about to accept a blemish on their record without a fight. North Carolina is the "hot" team entering this game after a beatdown of Virginia Tech, but this is a tough spot to be laying more than a touchdown against a team that has made a habit of battling to the end - against conference foes anyhow.

Side: Miami +8

Wisconsin at Purdue:
The Badgers have beat the snot out of the Boilermakers the last few seasons, which might lead to a bit of overconfidence entering this match-up. But as we've witnessed all season, this Badger team is simply not good enough to overlook anyone. Although they covered the number last week, the Badgers didn't exactly look that impressive. Purdue looked awful last week, but that had more to do with Denard Robinson than anything else. Considering Wisconsin's offense in no way resembles that of Michigan's, Purdue should be able to bounce back this week.

Side: Purdue -2.5

West Virginia at Texas Tech:
I think you know where I'm going here. As long as the total stays in the 70s and the Mountaineers opponent is somewhat capable of putting points on the board, I'm taking the over. Texas Tech struggled to penetrate the Sooners defense last week, but the Red Raiders should find the Mountaineers defense much less resistant this week. Expect yet another shootout from WVU and Geno Smith this week.

Total: Over 77.5

Best of the Rest
(Week: 2-2-0/Season: 13-16-0)

Saturday

Iowa at Michigan State:
Michigan State seems to be stuck in a funk, as the Spartans haven't really looked like a quality team in more than three weeks. Iowa, on the other hand, might have pulled out of its season-long funk two weeks ago against Minnesota. That win should give the Hawkeyes enough confidence to make this a game.

Side: Iowa +10

Illinois at Michigan:
As I mentioned last week, it looks like Illinois is the worst team in the Big Ten, and last week's effort at Wisconsin did nothing to dissuade me from that opinion. Michigan might have gotten its swagger back last week, and as long as the Wolverines stay focused, they should roll another conference opponent this week.

Side: Michigan -23.5

USC at Washington:
Entering last week, I thought the Trojans were due for a breakout win, and although they nearly covered a big number against Utah, that effort could hardly be considered a breakout. While I think that type of win is somewhere on the horizon, I don't think it will come this week. Washington has proven a tough beat at home this year as Stanford found out a few weeks ago, and I expect the Huskies to play the Trojans tough as well.

Side: Washington +12

Oklahoma State at Kansas:
Oklahoma State has been in a few shootouts this season, but this week looks like more of a blowout than a back-and-forth contest. It's hard to tell just how bad OSU's defense is because the competition has been pretty tough. Kansas should not pose much of a threat this week, and as such, I think under this rather large total is the play here.

Total:
Under 74

Utah at UCLA:
After getting so excited at the possibility of an upset of USC last week, I have to imagine it might be difficult to get up for this game. I'm also not sure just how good the Utes are; after all, they were gifted 14 points at the beginning of the USC game last week and they still needed a late TD to get a backdoor cover. UCLA looks pretty solid and the Bruins proved they can take care of an underdog as they easily beat Colorado on the road two weeks back.

Side: UCLA -8

PASSing Thoughts:
(Week: 2-5-0/Season: 12-17-0)

Thursday

Arizona State at Colorado:
I'll start by saying this, I hate this game. It is, however, the main attraction Thursday night, so I'll offer my opinion. Here goes. ASU is a solid team in all phases. Colorado is about the exact opposite, yet I'm having trouble with this number. ASU should win this game with ease, but unless there are a bunch of turnovers forced, I don't see a cover.

Side: Colorado +23

Friday

Navy at Central Michigan:
Entering last week's contest, Navy had totaled 17 points in three FBS games. Last week at Air Force, it appeared as though the Midshipmen had turned a corner, but then their leader, Trey Miller, went down with an ankle injury. Miller is listed as doubtful this week and his absence changes everything. CMU is not off to a great start this season, but this is a big spot for the Chippewas on national television, and I think they pull out the win.

Side: CMU -2

Saturday

Texas vs. Oklahoma:
Another coin-flip here as both teams have looked good this year at times and bad at other times. Oklahoma looks to be back on track after a thrashing of Texas Tech while Texas enters off its first loss of the season. This one is close, but I'm going to side with the team that's played at a slightly higher level this year.

Side: Texas +3

South Carolina at LSU:
The Gamecocks passed a huge test last week, but what lay ahead of them this week is something different altogether. I don't want to diminish their win over Georgia last week, it was very impressive, but beating Georgia at home is a walk in the park compared to Baton Rouge on a Saturday night.

Side: LSU -2.5

Ohio State at Indiana:
This pick makes me extremely nervous, but I think it's the right play. After facing the best the Big Ten has to offer the last two weeks, OSU finds itself in a classic letdown spot this week, and if Indiana can avoid a ton of mistakes the Hoosiers can keep it close, well close enough.

Side: Indiana +17

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