College Football Picks: Picking Winners Week 10

College Football Picks: Picking Winners Week 10

This article is part of our College Football Picks series.

CHRIS' PICKS

That I'm celebrating a winning (3-2) week speaks to where these picks have gone. Going 5-5 the last two weeks I can actually stomach, and maybe there's some consolation that the two losses last week were by a total of seven points. Perhaps I'm close to a breakthrough. Perhaps.

I'm worried this week however, and while this is purely entertainment, I've made it a personal rule to not bet on "my" teams. I simply feel too close to the situation to offer a clear opinion. Rules were meant to be broken, and hopefully that breaks this season-long slump. Both my alma matter (South Carolina) and my childhood team who still gets donations from me (Miami) are going to help get me some wins this week, for opposite reasons.

Pittsburgh (+3)
at Miami

The homer in me says there's no way Miami can lose five straight games. But the realist in me knows this team has one of the worst offensive lines in the country. Miami has struggled to gain 3.5 yards per carry since conference play began, and have allowed 13 sacks in their last two games. Quarterback Brad Kaaya is a statue, and has been hit so hard I'm not sure he's as healthy as the team wants you to believe. Facing a Panthers front that ranks seventh nationally with 28 sacks, that's also getting points? The Hurricanes have played harder under Mark Richt than they did Al Golden, but the loser mentality remains, and will continue

CHRIS' PICKS

That I'm celebrating a winning (3-2) week speaks to where these picks have gone. Going 5-5 the last two weeks I can actually stomach, and maybe there's some consolation that the two losses last week were by a total of seven points. Perhaps I'm close to a breakthrough. Perhaps.

I'm worried this week however, and while this is purely entertainment, I've made it a personal rule to not bet on "my" teams. I simply feel too close to the situation to offer a clear opinion. Rules were meant to be broken, and hopefully that breaks this season-long slump. Both my alma matter (South Carolina) and my childhood team who still gets donations from me (Miami) are going to help get me some wins this week, for opposite reasons.

Pittsburgh (+3)
at Miami

The homer in me says there's no way Miami can lose five straight games. But the realist in me knows this team has one of the worst offensive lines in the country. Miami has struggled to gain 3.5 yards per carry since conference play began, and have allowed 13 sacks in their last two games. Quarterback Brad Kaaya is a statue, and has been hit so hard I'm not sure he's as healthy as the team wants you to believe. Facing a Panthers front that ranks seventh nationally with 28 sacks, that's also getting points? The Hurricanes have played harder under Mark Richt than they did Al Golden, but the loser mentality remains, and will continue to linger against a competent Pitt offense.

South Carolina (-7)
vs. Missouri

This is a case of two teams going in opposite directions. I picked on the Tigers last week, and they held true to form, getting routed at home by Kentucky. Missouri has now lost four straight games, the closest of which was a six-point defeat to Middle Tennessee State, and have lost all three road games by at least 15 points, and by an average of 25.3 points. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks have won two consecutive, coinciding with their two best rushing outings of the season. That should bode well against a Tigers defense that ranks 119th against the rush, allowing at least 287 yards on the ground in each of their last four games. Mix in quarterback Jake Bentley keeping Mizzou honest, and I expect the Gamecocks to inch one game closer to bowl eligibility, comfortably.

Florida State (-5.5)
at North Carolina State

The question is simply with regards to Florida State's motivation. Coming off of a hard-fought loss, and having a banged up quarterback is less than a perfect scenario. Playing with three losses and no hope for a meaningful postseason further adds salt to the wound. But loyal readers know how bad the Wolfpack have been recently outside of September. And they're a hurricane-soaked outing against Notre Dame from a seemingly predictable four-game losing streak at this point, capped by a seven-point loss to lowly Boston College last Saturday. The 'Noles are easily two touchdowns better than the 'Pack, if they want to be.

Old Dominion (-11)
vs. Marshall

Old Dominion has one of the lesser-known, top home fields in the nation, entering the year with 48 straight sellouts. They've oddly played just three times in the friendly confines this year, winning each game by 14 points or more. They'll host a Thundering Herd team that is winless on the road, there closest game being 10 points last week at Southern Miss, and they are a team that has only beaten Morgan State and Florida Atlantic. Further, they rank 93rd against the rush and 107th against the pass defensively. ODU should be able to pick their poison on the way to a big win.

Iowa (+7.5)
at Penn State

The Nittany Lions could be due a let down Saturday. They've won four straight and followed up an upset of Ohio State with an impressive 38-point win at Purdue. Iowa meanwhile is coming off of a bye week and prior to their rest and recovery, seemed to have found their rush defense. They've allowed less than 3.9 yards per carry on the year, and less than 3.6 per carry in three straight, allowing just two rushing scores in that span. Fresh legs should help keep this game close against a team that has nine rushing scores over the last three weeks.

Over 45.5
Alabama at LSU

Perception may have casual viewers remembering the 9-6 OT game these two played, but that game was all the way back in 2011. Two of the last four meetings between these schools has topped this 45.5 number. Further, Alabama has topped that total five times by themselves this year, and all but one of their outings have seen less than 47 points. I'm a bit concerned about LSU's ability to find a downfield attack, and with rushing attacks, so bleeds the clock, but LSU has scored 38 or more in three straight, and I like Ed Orgeron's bunch to at least post some crooked numbers Saturday night.

Last week: 3-2, Season 9-17-1

GREG'S PICKS

Sometimes you look at the schedule and you just don't feel it, and sometimes, you think it looks too easy.

Last week was the latter for me. I was sure that not only a winning week awaited me, but a great week was in store. It was with that notion that my 3-4 record last week came as a big surprise. As has been the case over the last few weeks, I started well, only to lose what I had gained during the night.

The hot-start was a product of three fairly easy wins with Utah, Michigan State and Indiana. The only blemish on the early slate was Purdue, which to its credit, hung in there for a while, only to get its doors blown off in the fourth quarter. The night card did not go well, but it certainly could have. Clemson was up 17-0 and let up, to the point that it almost lost the game. Wisconsin was covering for a spell in the second half against Nebraska, but couldn't hold its double-digit lead.

As for this week's card; as is usually the case a week after feeling confident, it doesn't look as promising, but that doesn't always dictate the results.


UCLA (+13.5) at Colorado



Colorado might be the biggest surprise of the college football season. Whereas a few weeks ago, the Buffaloes were concerned with becoming bowl-eligible, now they are thinking about a much bigger prize. It certainly is a great story, but the Buffs are presented with a new challenge this week and that's playing the role of a big favorite against a competent team. UCLA has underachieved this season and the Bruins come into this one without the services of its star QB, but that didn't matter much last week when the Bruins hung 45 on a good Utah squad. 



Purdue (+17.5) at Minnesota

After a bit of a rough stretch, the Gophers seem to have righted the ship, but they are again in a spot this week that has given them fits – heavy favorite against a conference opponent. It worked last week because they were hitting on all phases and they benefitted from several turnovers. A few weeks ago however, they were in the same spot against a historically bad Rutgers team and barely won. While I think they'll learn from that, I don't think they'll have enough juice to cover this number.


Clemson (-26) vs. Syracuse



To put this simply – it's time for Clemson to start playing the part of national title contender. There have been too many close calls this season, but to this point, it hasn't mattered. The Tigers don't appear to be the same team as last year, but there's still time. I expect the final surge to start this week and for the Tigers to start looking the part again.

Over 75
Tulsa vs. East Carolina

A couple of teams heading in opposite directions, but one thing in common – both can light up the scoreboard. Tulsa is more adept at putting up points, but East Carolina is no slouch and while the Pirates were able to shut down Connecticut last week, Tulsa is an entirely different beast. Tulsa will surely do its part this week and if East Carolina can contribute just a bit, this game will go over.

Over 66.5
Western Kentucky vs. FIU

Western Kentucky's offense is rolling. The Hilltoppers have scored 50-plus points in four of their past five games, and the one game they didn't top 50, they scored 44. It seems more than reasonable that they will reach 50 points again this week, which means FIU just needs to contribute 17 points. That shouldn't be an issue as Golden Panthers have topped 24 points five weeks in a row.

Northwestern (+6.5)
vs. Wisconsin

The season could not have started worse for the Wildcats. Losses to Western Michigan and Illinois State signaled, what we though, was the end of the season before it even started. Fast forward six weeks and the Cats have really turned things around -- so much so, that they nearly knocked-off Ohio State in the Horseshoe last week. Wisconsin is coming off a hard-fought win against Nebraska last week and the Badgers might be a little worn-out, not from only the game last week, but the gauntlet that they've run through over the past two months. 



Last Week: 3-4; Season: 14-19

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Chris Bennett
Bennett covers baseball, college football and college basketball for RotoWire. Before turning to fantasy writing, he worked in scouting/player development for the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos. He's also a fan of the ACC.
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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