College Football Picks: Picking Games Week 7

College Football Picks: Picking Games Week 7

This article is part of our College Football Picks series.

So ... how's that FPI looking about now? Just days after I wrote about the futile nature of predicting college football results out further than one week, the entire landscape explodes.

Week 6 of the 2014 college football season may go down as one of the most bizarre weekends in college football history. Sure, there are major upsets every season, but rarely do so many occur within one week. The crazy thing is, none of the upsets were a huge surprise.

That, however, is the state of college football now. There simply aren't any juggernauts ... yet. There may be a couple teams that can separate from the pack, but as of this moment, there isn't a single team that looks bullet-proof. In other words, thank goodness the playoff system is in play this season.

In years past, every top-ranked team that lost last weekend would spend the rest of the season looking for the teams ahead of it to fail. Now, for example, Alabama, which dropped to No. 7 in the polls, might need only a team or two to stub its toe down the stretch. It goes without saying, but Alabama obviously needs to take care of its own business as well, but one loss does not ruin a season anymore, and that's a good thing.

The beauty of what happened last weekend is it brought many teams back into the conversation. Michigan State, with its one loss at Oregon is now back in the conversation ... if

So ... how's that FPI looking about now? Just days after I wrote about the futile nature of predicting college football results out further than one week, the entire landscape explodes.

Week 6 of the 2014 college football season may go down as one of the most bizarre weekends in college football history. Sure, there are major upsets every season, but rarely do so many occur within one week. The crazy thing is, none of the upsets were a huge surprise.

That, however, is the state of college football now. There simply aren't any juggernauts ... yet. There may be a couple teams that can separate from the pack, but as of this moment, there isn't a single team that looks bullet-proof. In other words, thank goodness the playoff system is in play this season.

In years past, every top-ranked team that lost last weekend would spend the rest of the season looking for the teams ahead of it to fail. Now, for example, Alabama, which dropped to No. 7 in the polls, might need only a team or two to stub its toe down the stretch. It goes without saying, but Alabama obviously needs to take care of its own business as well, but one loss does not ruin a season anymore, and that's a good thing.

The beauty of what happened last weekend is it brought many teams back into the conversation. Michigan State, with its one loss at Oregon is now back in the conversation ... if it wins out. Oregon, the team that beat MSU, is also back with its one loss ... if it wins out. In other words, the end of the season looks to be as important as it ever was. That was one of my fears with a playoff system, that it could potentially water-down the end of the season, but with so many teams in the mix, I don't think it's possible ... at least this year anyway.

Well, it's bound to happen at least once per season, black Saturday. Across the board, the picks failed to hit. It was the first week of its kind this season as generally, one of the bottom two groups have come through. For those that believe in the bounce-back theory, this might be the week to hop on board the train.

As always, I'll tweet any insights I come up with post-article each week. You can follow me at @gregvara

Cream of the Crop
(Week: 1-3; Season: 2-13)

Thursday

BYU at UCF: Two teams heading in opposite directions meet up Thursday night as BYU tries to move on without its star QB Taysom Hill. BYU had high hopes entering the season and all was well until late in the first half of last week's game against Utah State. BYU struggled without its all-everything QB, and the struggles are likely to continue for a few weeks while everyone gets used to life without Hill. UCF is coming off a nice win last week at Louisville, and it seems to have left its slow start to the season behind.

Side: UCF -2.5

Saturday

TCU at Baylor: It's certainly possible that TCU comes into this one with a lack of focus after knocking-off Oklahoma last week and in that case, this pick becomes dicey, but I'm expecting the leadership to take control this week and have the Horned Frogs ready to roll. There's no way to knock Baylor here, the Bears are solid, especially at home, but they haven't been dominant against TCU over the past few years, which tells us, that is nothing else, TCU understands how to defend the Baylor offense.

Side: TCU +7.5

Oregon at UCLA:
This one has to get out of hand, right? We've witnessed what UCLA can do when firing on all cylinders, and what are the odds that Oregon gets slowed again? Arizona exposed the Ducks on defense last week, so I'm not worried about UCLA putting up points here and Oregon, while it looked a bit sluggish last week, will be ready to bounce back this week.

Total: Over 69

Best of the Rest
(Week 1-2; Season: 7-8)

Friday

Washington State at Stanford: Are we sure that Stanford can score enough to cover this line? Look, there's no doubt that Stanford is going to come out angry this week and the defense will likely stifle WSU's attack early, but with such a large line comes the possibility of the back-door cover.

Side: WSU +17

Saturday

Northwestern at Minnesota: A tough start to the season for the Wildcats, but the only thing that matters now is the Big Ten record and entering this game, they, along with the Gophers are undefeated. Minnesota picked up a nice win at Michigan two weeks ago, but it was just that, a nice win; it wasn't a great win, just a good one and I'm concerned that the Gophers are a bit inflated entering this contest. I expect this one to be close, so the 4.5 points is very enticing.

Side: Northwestern +4.5

West Virginia at Texas Tech:
That shootout that I expected last week at Kansas State, well that didn't pan out, but that just makes it all the more likely this week. Texas Tech isn't about to be stymied in consecutive weeks and WVU has some potency on the offensive side as well.

Total: Over 74

PASSing Thoughts
(Week: 1-4; Season: 20-9)

Saturday

Texas vs. Oklahoma: I've witnessed this scenario too many times to fall into the trap once again. Oklahoma comes out on fire, then loses early in the season, then plays angry for a period, then eventually falls flat late in the year. Guess what stage we are at this week?

Side: Oklahoma -14

Florida State at Syracuse:
I don't see any urgency from this FSU team and that makes it almost impossible to take the '0Noles when laying points, especially this many points ... on the road.

Side: Syracuse +23.5

Auburn at Mississippi State:
Just a heads-up, and I'll acknowledge how ridiculous this sounds before I write it, but I'm about to jump on the Auburn bandwagon, about 12 months too late and for some reason I'm expecting this to have a negative effect on the Tigers this week.

Side: Auburn -3

Penn State at Michigan:
I have a feeling it's going to get worse before it gets better, which in this case means, Michigan has yet to bottom out.

Side: Penn State +1.5

LSU at Florida:
It's hard to imagine Florida going over the total this week after its 10-9 showing last week, but neither one of these teams boasts a strong defense this season and when the total is in the 40s, you know what to do.

Total: Over 47

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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