By Garrett Jones
- Friday, Nov. 9
Louisville at No. 13 Syracuse- 6:00 PM on ESPN2
We’re used to seeing Syracuse ranked in the Top-15 come November- it’s usually in a different sport, however. The Orange are rolling on the gridiron as basketball season tips off. Junior quarterback Eric Dungey has reconciled the struggles that led to a loss against Pittsburgh three weeks ago, and has played at a high level in the team’s proceeding wins over Wake Forest and North Carolina State.
Louisville allowed a cool 77 on the scoreboard in a 61-point loss to No. 2 Clemson last Saturday. There’s no shame in losing to Clemson; but there is in losing by that margin. I’m surprised Bobby Petrino is still coaching this team.
Pick: Syracuse 45, Louisville 13.
No. 23 Fresno State at Boise State- 9:15 PM on ESPN2
You bet Boise State- possibly the best all-around “Group of Five” football program- will relish this opportunity to prove itself on national TV, and against a ranked opponent. Fresno State looking to prove itself as it strives for the Group of five automatic New Year’s Six Bowl bid- and maybe even more.
Pick: Boise State 27, Fresno State 23.
- Saturday, Novemeber 10
TCU at No. 9 West Virginia- 11:00 AM on Fox Sports 1
West Virginia won a classic last week in a 42-41 win over No. 15 Texas in Austin Saturday, highlighted by a game-winning rushing touchdown from vaunted Heisman Trophy candidate and quarterback Will Grier. He’ll look to use this home game against a disappointing TCU team as a way to springboard his Heisman campaign, and add another win as the Mountaineers stay on the cusp of the playoff conversation.
Pick: West Virginia 42, TCU 28.
No. 10 Ohio State at No. 18 Michigan State- 11:00 AM on FOX
Once a sure-fire playoff contender, Ohio State has immensely struggled after a blowout road loss to unranked Purdue Oct. 20, and a narrow home win over lowly Nebraska- with a bye week in between. Michigan State has been extremely inconsistent, falling in and out of the rankings week by week. This game is no write-off- the two match-ups in 2015 and 16 were decided by a total of four points.
Pick: Ohio State 21, Michigan St. 20.
Navy at No. 12 Central Florida- 11:00 AM on ESPN2
Real tough schedule you’re playing there, UCF. Outspoken Athletic Director Danny White once again recently pled his team’s case for the Playoff- and despite being just one of four undefeated FBS teams- under no circumstances should that happen. According to former BCS ranker Jeff Sagarin’s schedule rating, the Knights schedule the 108th-ranked schedule in College Football. If we allow UCF into the playoff, should we include 9-0 North Dakota State as well?
Pick: UCF 52, Navy 14.
South Carolina at No. 15 Florida- 11:00 AM on ESPN
With its schedule intensifying in the coming weeks, highlighted by a matchup at No. 2 Clemson- South Carolina desperately needs a win. But, so does Florida. There are still questions at the quarterback position- but more clarity after Kyle Trask, who came on in relief for Feliepe Franks in Saturday’s loss to Missouri, injured his foot- meaning Franks will start.
Pick: Florida 28, South Carolina 23.
Wisconsin at No. 20 Penn State- 11:00 AM on ABC
Two Big Ten teams that entered the season with playoff hopes, but have since tapered off thanks to disappointing losses and a lack of offensive production. Both stars, Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor and Penn St. quarterback Trace McSorely, have recorded pedestrian performances in recent losses to Northwestern and No. 4 Michigan, respectively. They’ll both have a chance to redeem themselves as the teams face off.
Pick: Penn St. 31, Wisconsin 17.
No. 16 Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama- 2:30 PM on CBS
The rankings of this matchup make it seem like it has a lot more allure than it actually does. However, both Alabama quarterbacks are banged up, and Mississippi State playmaker Nick Fitzgerald has regained his confidence in recent wins. Following last year’s classic that nearly saw the Bulldogs pull off a massive upset in Starkville, this matchup could have a great game in store- but I refuse to believe that any team will contend against head coach Nick Saban’s Alabama team until proven otherwise.
Pick: Alabama 49, Mississippi St 10.
No. 4 Michigan at Rutgers- 2:30 PM on BTN.
Yikes. Luckily for Rutgers, this beatdown won’t be aired on national television. The last time these two teams played in New Jersey, the Wolverines slaughtered the Scarlet Knights, 78-0. Expect to see a lot of Michigan backup quarterback Dylan McCafferey in this one.
Pick: Michigan 56, Rutgers 7.
No. 8 Washington State at Colorado- 2:30 PM on ESPN
Make time to watch head coach Mike Leach’s pixie-dust-laden funhouse Washington State team this weekend. The Cougars have won six straight after a loss to USC in September and led by quarterback Gardner Minshew, find themselves pitted against a struggling Colorado team that has lost four straight.
Pick: Washington State 28, Colorado 17.
Oklahoma State at No. 6 Oklahoma- 2:30 PM on FS1
It still feels strange playing Bedlam this early in November. That was a move initiatied by the Big 12 to avoid a potential repeat matchup in its rechristened title game starting last season. That won’t be an issue this season, but a win is crucial in the Sooners’ case to stave off No. 9 West Virginia for the conference hunt. This rivlarly game is always fun and worth watching.
Pick: Oklahoma 45, Oklahoma State 35.
No. 24 Auburn at No. 5 Georgia- 6:00 PM on ESPN
There’s a lot less riding on this game than there was last year- the Bulldogs took their only loss last season at Auburn in November. The Tigers struggling offense has a chance to redeem itself, but after a Mid-October loss, Georgia and appears to be once again firing on all cylinders.
Pick: Georgia 24, Auburn 13.
No. 2 Clemson at No. 17 Boston College
This is a fun game. Clemson has really hit its stride at this point in the season, and Boston College with its dynamic backfield of quarterback Anthony Brown and running back A.J. Dillon get the chance to prove themselves on a national stage with ESPN’s College Gameday in town. They’ll have a chance to move from relative wild-card to New Year’s Six contender with a playoff-altering win, but Clemson might be too much of a task.
Pick: Clemson 31, Boston College 21.
No. 11 Kentucky 27, Tennessee 13
No. 21 Iowa 28, Northwestern 23
No. 22 Iowa State 31, Baylor 21
No. 7 LSU 49, Arkansas 21
No. 19 Texas 45, Texas Tech 41
Photo Credit: AJ Dillon, Twitter. (@ajdillon7)