Conference play is in full swing and I have four best bets for Saturday. Read the full writeup of each pick on Fansided.
Auburn and Wisconsin play in the first New Year’s Day game. Auburn didn’t meet their season expectations and finished their brutal schedule with a 8-4 record. Wisconsin won the weak Big Ten West, and were embarrassed by Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Auburn may have not met their season goals but I still think there will be motivation and effort from the Tigers. Winning this game would get the program back on the right path after losing three games in November. Former Florida head coach Will Muschamp has already been named the defensive coordinator for 2015. There will be a lot of preseason hype about Auburn and I think they will use this bowl as a way to get momentum before the spring. Auburn still has a quick strike offense and they probably enjoyed watching Wisconsin’s defense on film against Ohio State.
Since the nightmare against Ohio State, Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen shockingly left for Oregon State. Former coach and current Athletic Director Barry Alvarez will be on the sideline just like he was for the 2013 Rose Bowl. The focus might not be there for the Badgers after Andersen departed out of nowhere. Auburn has a very weak passing defense but Wisconsin’s pass offense might be even worse. If the Badgers can’t get running back Melvin Gordon going, then Auburn should contain the Wisconsin offense and score plenty of points of their own.
Pick: Auburn (-6.5) over Wisconsin
After a horrible 0-5 weekend in college football, I am going to be more selective for the last week of the season. The good news is that bowl games are coming up, which is my favorite part of picking college football games. Here are my two picks for this week:
Oklahoma State (+21) over Oklahoma: If there’s one thing I learned about rivalry games last week is that big underdogs can cover spreads. Oklahoma State has struggled this season but this is always a big game and the Cowboys need to win to make a bowl game. Oklahoma State burned quarterback Mason Rudolph’s redshirt two weeks ago and he impressed against Baylor. It’s not confirmed that Rudolph will start but I think he will see some time if Daxx Garman struggles under center. I think this line is a bit higher than it should because of the rumors that Mike Gundy will leave Stillwater for another coaching opportunity this winter. I still think Oklahoma State shows up in Norman on Saturday, and don’t think Oklahoma is a good team.
Wisconsin (-4) over Ohio State: It’s a shame that J.T. Barrett won’t be playing in this game. Ohio State’s offense has been rolling in conference play with the freshman under center. Barrett sustained an injury late in the game against Michigan and now it’s Cardale Jones’ opportunity to start at quarterback. With no game preparation, I think the Ohio State offense will struggle. Wisconsin’s running game with Melvin Gordon will tire out the Buckeyes defense, and Joel Stave won’t be forced to make plays. I also think the distractions of the Playoff rankings will hurt Ohio State in this game, while Wisconsin knows they can play spoiler.
Oregon (-14.5) over Arizona- Friday Night
Hornets (+3) over Bulls: The Bulls played a double overtime game last night against the Mavericks. Now they have to go back on the road after a brief stop at home.
Bucks (+5) over Mavericks: See above
Duke (+4) over Wisconsin: I think this is a bucket game either way. Duke is a young team and Wisconsin has a great home court advantage. However, I think Wisconsin should only be a two-point favorite and are getting respect because of their final four run last year.
Here are my Week 9 college football picks and the rest of the pool plays:
Wisconsin (-10.5) over Maryland
Under 48 in Kansas State vs Texas
North Carolina (+7) Virginia
Under 49 in Michigan State vs Michigan
Oklahoma State (-1) over West Virginia
LSU (+4) over Ole Miss
Over 65 in Auburn vs South Carolina
Under 46 in Tennessee vs Alabama
Washington (+3) over Arizona State
Oregon (-17.5) over California- Friday Night
Illinois (+6) over Minnesota
I have four picks for the first Saturday of the college football season. The explanation for each game is hyperlinked in the pick.
Iowa over 8.5 wins (-115): This pick mostly has to do with the schedule. The Hawkeyes avoid Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan in the East. Their toughest non-conference game is at Pittsburgh. Starting 10-0 is a really possibility for Iowa before hosting Wisconsin and Nebraska to end the season. The Hawkeyes return most of their offensive contributors including quarterback Jake Rudock and running back Mark Weisman. Continue reading