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College Football Week 9 Picks, DFS Plays & Podcast: Utah-Oregon, Duke-Louisville lead battle for conference positioning

And all the fun happens in the afternoon

NCAA Football: Utah at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Pac-12 is the gift that keeps on giving this year.

They’re absolutely stacked with fun teams that seem to all play completely different styles and this week. Everybody has varying degrees of the same strengths and the same weaknesses. Almost all of them are really good offenses with terrible to above average defenses.

Then there’s Utah. The Utes are missing their starting quarterback Cam Rising who seems destined to take this year as a medical redshirt as he works his way back from a torn ACL in last season’s Rose Bowl. And yet, they keep winning.

Why? The defense is elite.

So elite they were able to bring along former Utah pig farmer Bryson Barnes to a pretty decent QB. Safety Sione Vake has become a star RB the last two weeks and they’re right there in the mix for the Pac-12 title game and a playoff spot.

In their way this week is perhaps the only other Pac-12 defense I trust in Oregon. The Ducks aren’t quite Utah good on defense, but they make up for it with an offense that isn’t quite Washington good but pretty close.

Elsewhere, the Pac-12 also treats us to Colorado at UCLA and Oregon State at Arizona as wonderfully fun contests to feed us football late into the night.

Thank you to our west coast friends for taking this last season together with a bang. Us east coast college football sickos appreciate it more than we can ever show.

Last week’s Pac-12 offering of USC-Utah was a winner for us as my picks ended up going 6-4 against the spread. I continue that slow march closer to .500 as my overall record inches up to 43-44.

Plenty of you also went 6-4 this week, but two people broke through for a 7-3. Congratulations to 85 Chief and JGsped for taking home the top spots this wee. Welcome to the Comment Section Hall of Fame!

Comment Section Hall of Fame

  • Week Zero: MexiNole and Topnole (5-2)
  • Week One: Yapo.SD and Topnole (7-3)
  • Week Two: Kylefsu02 (7-3)
  • Week Three: Kylefsu02 and Ukedadnole (7-3)
  • Week Four: trojan24man and Brian (7-3)
  • Week Five: NoleInAggieland (7-3)
  • Week Six: medav (8-2)
  • Week Seven: csfuu (9-1)
  • Week Eight: 85 Chief and JGsped (7-3)

Could you be the next Comment Section Champion of the season? Leave your picks to the 10 games below in the comment section at the bottom of the page. You have to pick the 10 games I provided to be eligible for the Hall as those are the only ones I grab. Most correct is our winner.

On the DFS side, my co-host on the Sharpen the Point podcast — Chris Tyndall — and I gave you some good pieces last week, but we didn’t put them together quite well enough to end up profitable. Hopefully, you did a better job of creating that puzzle and got yourself into the cash.

Want to get more details on those picks? Listen to the Sharpen the Point podcast, where we talk in-depth on game picks as well as the Daily Fantasy Sports contests on DraftKings each weekend. New to DFS? We can help you through the thought process of building a team.

Reminder that we are just two guys with keyboards and microphones, not gambling professionals, so follow at your own risk and play responsibly.

Let’s get to the ATS and DFS picks. All lines and DFS pricing from our friends at DraftKings.

Brian’s College Football Week 2 Picks

No. 4 Florida State Seminoles (-20.5) at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Noon ET, ABC)

For my pick and the rest of the staff’s predictions, click here.

Brian’s Pick: Florida State -20.5

No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners (-10.5) at Kansas Jayhawks (Noon ET, FOX)

It appears the bye week will not be enough time for Jalon Daniels to make his triumphant return for the Jayhawks. The star QB has been out of the lineup with back issues for their last few games. The hope was he’d be back for this huge game in Lawrence, but Lance Leipold said Monday that he’s in the doubtful/questionable category, not making it very likely that he makes the return. Oklahoma felt ripe for the upset last week, but UCF couldn’t seal the deal. With Daniels, I would like their chances. Without him, not so much.

Brian’s Pick: Oklahoma -10.5

No. 8 Oregon Ducks (-7.5) at No. 13 Utah Utes (3:30pm ET, FOX)

This is the battle for the best team in the Pac-12 for me. I think the Utes are super legit especially on defense. Unfortunately for them, quarterback is the biggest question, though Bryson Barnes has been playing well lately and made some clutch plays against USC on the game-winning drive. Oregon is pretty self-explanatory. They’ve got the most experienced QB in the sport, a strong run game and a great defense in their own right. I believe Oregon to be that top-tier team in this conference, but their two toughest games — Washington and this one — are on the road. I think Oregon prevails but not as easily as we may expect.

Brian’s Pick: Utah +7.5

No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs (-14.5) vs. Florida Gators in Jacksonville (3:30pm ET, CBS)

This doesn’t feel like a contest on the surface right? Georgia is the best team in the sport, despite their early season struggles, and Florida is not that. They’ve had some success recently as Graham Mertz appears to be finding a bit of a rhythm. The real question in this game will be what does Carson Beck look like without Brock Bowers. The Dawgs star TE had ankle surgery before the bye week and could be out for the year. Bowers was playing banged up early this year and was still carrying this offense for large portions of it. Will a healthier running back room help enough to cover this spread as well? I don’t think it’s quite enough regardless of how mediocre I think Florida is this season.

Brian’s Pick: Florida +14.5

No. 20 Duke Blue Devils (+4.5) at No. 18 Louisville Cardinals (3:30pm ET, ESPN)

If you didn’t get enough of the will he won’t he on Riley Leonard last week, get ready for more this week. He remains uncertain for this one early this week, but I do think Duke will be able to use a bit more of their physicality against Louisville than they were against FSU. The question will be how much can Duke’s defense limit Louisville’s big play ability. WR Jamari Thrash and RB Jawhar Jordan are those big play guys and both are dealing with injuries. Jordan’s hamstring seems to potentially be a bit more of problem than Thrash’s wrist injury. I want to take Louisville at home, but Duke really impressed me last week with the physicality. I like them to make this interesting and wouldn’t be surprised if they win.

Brian’s Pick: Duke +4.5

BYU Cougars (+17.5) at No. 7 Texas Longhorns (3:30pm ET, ABC)

So the Manning era will have to wait in Austin right? QB Quinn Ewers is out for a few weeks with a throwing shoulder injury so logically everybody jumped to Arch Manning of Manning family fame. But on Monday, Steve Sarkisian made it seem like he wouldn’t be the one to get the call. Instead, Maalik Murphy figures to be the lead guy. The Longhorns struggled last week against Houston the road. BYU is a scrappy team. Why couldn’t they cover against a backup QB?

Brian’s Pick: BYU +17.5

Pittsburgh Panthers (+20.5) at No. 14 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3:30pm ET, NBC)

If all the other options at 3:30pm don’t interest you, you can always look ahead to Florida State’s next opponent. Pitt isn’t anything special, but it’s something to scout if you’d like.

Brian’s Pick: Notre Dame -20.5

No. 22 Tulane Green Wave (-11.5) at Rice Owls (4:00pm ET, ESPN2)

Now, if you’re really looking for something fun to watch in that 3:30(ish) window, I’ve got a great one for you. Tulane has been the Group of 5 darling since beating USC in the Cotton Bowl last season. This year, they’ve weathered an injury to QB Michael Pratt to be in the driver’s seat for the Group of 5 spot again. Rice has been up and down, but their QB JT Daniels, a former USC, UGA and West Virginia starter, is on his fourth team in his sixth college football season and putting up some numbers. Let’s have some fun. Hoot hoot!

Brian’s Pick: Rice +11.5

Colorado Buffaloes (+17.5) at No. 23 UCLA Bruins (7:30pm ET, ABC)

Hey Deion’s back! Remember the last time we saw him? It’s okay if you don’t. It was two Fridays ago with a 29-0 lead in the third quarter. Odds are you went to sleep at that point and woke up Saturday morning baffled why you had a drunk text from an old roommate that just said “LOL DEION!!!!! NO WAY!!!” That loss to Stanford was bad. They got a bye week to regroup and figure out what happened. Problem is... what happened is they aren’t talented enough in their two deep. They’ve got some marquee guy, but they need more big bodies and more usable depth. Chip Kelly is going to run it at them a lot and in a hurry. Bruins easy in this one.

Brian’s Pick: UCLA -17.5

No. 11 Oregon State Beavers (-3.5) at Arizona Wildcats (10:30pm ET, ESPN)

We can only Pac-12 After Dark after 10pm. This game is only here to fulfill our mission of honoring the final season of the Pac-12.

Brian’s Pick: Oregon State -3.5

Chris’ College Football Daily Fantasy (DFS) Plays

Saturday DK Early Main Slate


  • Garrett Greene, West Virginia ($8,100) — Greene has been nothing short of spectacular from a fantasy perspective so far this season, in the games he has played at least. The Mountaineers want to run the football and Greene benefits from it with his legs accounting for 117 on the ground last week, but more impressively for 71 yards against a stout Penn St defense in the season opener. Over the past two weeks, Greene accounted for 32 and 44 points respectively and this week sets up for him to carry a load as a 7-point underdog on the road in sunny Orlando.
  • Fernando Mendoza, California ($5,800) — To be completely honest here, I knew very little about Mendoza before the year started and have seen very little of him play as this is just his third start but the Cal coaching staff threw this Freshman to the wolves in his first two starts having to face Oregon St and Utah. Honestly, the kid played extremely well all things considered with two passing touchdowns in each game albeit on limited volume in the Utah game. Against USC, he will be forced to chuck it so 40+ pass attempts are on the cards with some rushing capability. A 28-point team total was surprising and facing a defense that has given up 20 passing touchdowns already it feels like Mendoza should be in for his best game yet.


  • RJ Harvey, UCF ($6,200) — Harvey is an explosive player in a run first offense that sees the bulk of the carries. This game feels like it could be a higher scoring one and quite frankly the analysis is as simple as putting Ollie Gordon’s stat line from last week… 29 carries 282 yards 4 TDs.
  • Nicholas Singleton, Penn St. ($6,300) — The Nittany Lions find a soft landing spot to regain some form against cellar dwellers Indiana. The backfield is split but Singleton leads the team in every rushing category even if by a small margin while being more involved in the pass game than his running mate. Facing a defense giving up 4.66 yards per carry, I have a feeling we see the more explosive Singleton break off a 50+ yard touchdown on his way to clearing 100 yards rushing this week in Happy Valley.


  • Jamari Thrash, Louisville ($6,100) — Old friends are the theme at WR this week with a pair that we have touted previously. Thrash leads us off as he has seen the volume we predicted early in the season culminating in last week’s 20 targets. Volume is king specifically in PPR (point per reception) and Thrash see’s more in this system than almost any WR in college football. The matchup is tough against a stingy Duke defense and he wouldn’t be in play if he was priced properly above $7k but this is too cheap.
  • Evan Stewart, Texas A&M ($5,800) — Whereas Thrash is a talented WR in a bad matchup, Stewart is a talented WR in a fantastic matchup with a bad QB. If you have listened to the podcast for the better part of the season you know by now we are not Max Johnson fans, but the fact is that his opponent this week South Carolina gave up 423/3 to the ghost of Graham Mertz. In fact, South Carolina gives up over 300 yards passing per game and frankly even Max Johnson can succeed in this situation which means Stewart could have himself a day coming off an 11-target performance, his most since Johnson took over for the injured Weigman.

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.