The ACC played a large slate of games in Week 5 and, with them, took a massive step toward deciding who will head to Charlotte for the conference’s championship game this December. This week, not so much as nearly half the conference is taking a bye week.
We’ve still got two of the head-to-head matchups and another involving an ACC team in the game picks still to come. Unfortunately, I have another LSU game in here as well as I can’t help but choose pain for myself. Last week, they fell flat on their face blowing a two-score lead to my wife’s alma mater, Auburn, and added another loss to my record.
Thanks to that result, I’m back below .500 on the year. Through six weeks of picks — remember I did five Week Zero games as well, I’m at 26-29. Not great, but not terrible either. Still lots of football left to get back out of the red.
Our top commenter, Ukedadnole, continues to crush me each week as he trotted out another nonchalant 5-4 week.
Reminder that all lines come from Tallysight.com.
- No. 6 Oklahoma (-3.5) vs. No. 21 Texas (Noon ET, ABC)
The Red River Shootout is getting the College Gameday treatment this week despite being one of the more lackluster matchups between the two programs in recent years. For Oklahoma, it’s been a season of near misses as they’ve escaped with one-score victories against Tulane, Nebraska, West Virginia and Kansas State. The positive for the Sooners is they are still undefeated, but they don’t look to be anywhere near as explosive as they normally do and I can’t trust an OU defense to be what carries them to the College Football Playoff. Texas, on the otherhand, has been very explosive. The Longhorns average nearly 44 points per game and feature one of the best backs in the country in Bijan Robinson. Oklahoma is due for a loss and Texas, despite the blowout in Fayetteville a few weeks back, seem poised to grab a big win.
Prediction: Texas +3.5
- No. 13 Arkansas (+5.5) at No. 17 Ole Miss (Noon ET, ESPN)
I heard this game referred to as the loser’s bracket of the SEC, not for each team’s typical standing at the bottom of the conference, but because of last week’s games against Georgia and Alabama respectively. Both the Razorbacks and Rebels got the privilege of going on the road to face the two teams that appear far-and-away better than anyone else in the sport. The question now becomes who will be able to bounce back and keep pace in the conference for a potential New Year’s Six bowl game. For me, Ole Miss looked more impressive last week despite Lane Kiffin’s now infamous “Get your popcorn ready!” comment during the pregame interview. They were able to move the ball and looked competitive despite constant failure on fourth down so I’ll ride with their ability to rebound.
Prediction: Ole Miss -5.5
- Maryland (+20.5) at No. 7 Ohio State (Noon ET, FOX)
Despite their early season loss to Oregon, Ohio State appears to be gearing up for another charge at the CFP. Thanks to some early chaos in the rankings this season, the Buckeyes are back in the top-8 and will almost assuredly slide into the top-6 with Penn State and Iowa going head to head if they’re able to win. They’ve been much better since the Oregon loss against lesser opponents so this week will be their first decent test. Maryland is 4-1 with a win over West Virginia though Iowa just crushed the Terps last week. My issue though is that Maryland really held themselves back as they tried to make too much happen. If they play within themselves this week and focus on cleaning up themselves, I think they’ll be more competitive than the line suggests.
Prediction: Maryland +20.5
- No. 2 Georgia (-15.5) at No. 18 Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)
So Bo Nix is good again huh? The Auburn Tigers QB wasn’t even the team’s sure starter heading into Baton Rouge last weekend after getting pulled in the team’s fourth-quarter comeback against Georgia State. He did get the start and led his own comeback to steal the win at LSU. Some of the big plays for Nix were ad-libbed chaos, but the announcers continually showed that his footwork was much better than previous weeks on normal throws. If that holds, Auburn has a chance to pull the upset. My problem is that they were down to scores to an LSU team that seemingly couldn’t get out of its own way as the Bayou Bengals tried to close out the game. Georgia won’t have a problem delivering the dagger.
Prediction: Georgia -15.5
- Florida State (+17.5) at North Carolina (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Feels good to win again, doesn’t it? Mike Norvell put the gameplan squarely behind quarterback Jordan Travis and it paid off with a win. The goal with Travis appears to be limiting negative plays with a focus on the running/quick passing game with the hopes of a big shot connecting. That limits the disaster scenarios and keeps the team on track even if they’re at a talent deficit. They’ll certainly have that against a North Carolina team that was expected to be competitive entering this season with Sam Howell as the top QB in the sport. That style suggests a closer game than anticipated though I don’t expect to see an upset.
Prediction: Florida State +17.5
- No. 19 Wake Forest (-5.5) at Syracuse (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
The only team that seems remotely interested in winning the ACC this season is the Demon Deacons. They currently sit atop the Atlantic at 3-0 and 5-0 overall. They aren’t overwhelming but instead a solid team that challenges their opponents to play a mistake-free game. I expect Syracuse to make those mistake though their run game plan could again make it closer than the line, but I expect a late score to put this away for Wake.
Prediction: Wake Forest -5.5
- No. 4 Penn State (+1.5) at No. 3 Iowa (4 p.m. ET, FOX)
This game is getting the Big Noon Kickoff location for the week as Fox focuses their coverage on the Big Ten. It makes sense as it’s the biggest game on the slate in what would be a matchup of playoff teams if the season ended today. I’m not sure anyone expects either team to be there at the actual season’s end, but they’re there now and a win would solidify that position. Penn State has a victory over Auburn while Iowa has a victory over Iowa State. In reality, this game is huge for both programs, but it appears even bigger for the Nittany Lions as they battle Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State for the Big Ten East. Iowa doesn’t appear to have any real challenges on their side.
Prediction: Penn State +1.5
- No. 9 Michigan (-3.5) at Nebraska (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
Did anyone else not know Michigan was in the top ten? I guess I just assumed Jim Harbaugh was off to another bad start, but it appears he’s saving that for the end of the season this year. Picking against Scott Frost has been a staple of this article, but I just don’t believe in Michigan and this feels like a spot for them to lose a shocker as a road favorite.
Prediction: Nebraska +3.5
- No. 14 Notre Dame (PK) at Virginia Tech (7:30 p.m. ET, ACCN)
We’ve got a straight pick ‘em in Blacksburg this week as oddsmakers are starting to sour on Notre Dame after a run of disappointing performances to open the year. Yes, they’re 4-1, but a couple bounces could have them at 2-3. Cincinnati went into South Bend last week and outplayed the Irish. Now, they’ll travel to one of the toughest places to play out there (i.e. North Carolina Week 1). I want to go with Virginia Tech here, but I expected them to get some points so that pushes me back to Notre Dame.
Prediction: Notre Dame
- LSU (+3.5) at No. 16 Kentucky (7:30 p.m. ET, SECN)
I promise I’m not picking LSU each week just because I’m an alum. This game is hugely significant for a couple reasons that could matter to Florida State fans. For starters, LSU is the season opening opponent in 11 months and Ed Orgeron is on the way out. The pressure in Baton Rouge is reaching a boiling point as they’ve gone 8-7 since winning the national title and appear totally out of sorts on both sides of the ball. This team is winning on talent alone and it’s becoming more clear Orgeron and his coordinator hires are holding them back. Not to get too far in the weeds, the LSU AD did not hire Orgeron and has consistently hired big names in his past (Chris Peterson at Washington and Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M), so I’d expect him to want to make his own choice to lead the team. This game is one of only two games remainig on the schedule that LSU fans expect them to win so a loss would set off a really ugly season.
The other big thing to watch for is Kentucky potentially boxing Florida out of a New Year’s Six bowl game. The Wildcats just beat the Gators last week but likely won’t beat Georgia next week. A win here and they could run the rest of the schedule leaving them as a one-loss SEC team with a win over Florida all-but guaranteeing a trip to one of those games assuming Alabama and Georgia both make the CFP.
As for the game, I’ve told you many times that Kentucky is among my most underrated teams this season and last week they showed why — talented QB-RB duo and a solid defense. LSU is a one-dimensional team that likely try too hard to establish the run this week. To me, when you go search for an identity, you’re lost and have lost.
Prediction: Kentucky -3.5