MoQ PICK$ for Week 6 // @jdamis & @JonathanAdams
It’s week 6 in college football, which means some teams will reach bowl eligibility this week (please god not Washington). Josh Damis and Jonathan Adams are here to guide you through this week’s Pac-12 games, as well as a few other key match-ups. Note: All picks are against the spread and our Oregon-UW picks will be in a separate game preview post on Friday.
JA: Let me take a moment to bask in the glory of going 6-2 last week. Only the worthless Arizona schools kept me from perfection (I never should have trusted Todd Graham). Anyway, I’m sure it won’t last and my slide back to mediocrity starts with…
…taking USC (-5) over Colorado. This feels like last year’s Utah-USC game where Utah came in with a lot of buzz and USC won because they have better players. Pete Carroll he ain’t, but if Clay Helton gets all of those 4-and 5-star players aimed in the right general direction, they can be pretty good, and I’m betting they’re about a touchdown better than the Buffs.
JD: Congrats to you, Jon. I honestly don’t even wanna go back and look at mine. I did pretty terrible (2-5). I agree with you here. I think USC may be finding its groove with Sam Darnold, and this game is a must win for them if they hope to win the South. I like USC to cover and win by two scores.
Down in Corvallis, the Beavers are a 13.5-point underdog at home. Meanwhile, Cal has lost both of its road games due to its poor defense. This game opened Cal -10, and has since climbed to Cal -13.5. Cal put up 40+ points in all of its road contests, and going against another bad defense here, I think that’s more than doable again. The Beavers have yet to put up more than 24 points against an FBS defense while playing some mostly mediocre teams. I think I like Cal -13.5 here.
JA: Last week Pac-12 home teams were undefeated both straight up and against the spread. We both like USC to continue that streak this week, but I’ll join you in taking the Bears to to put a halt to it. This is a game that should be over at halftime, and I agree with you — how are the Beavers going to score enough points to cover? As you said, count on Cal to get to 40 (at least), so if you take the Beavs you’re essentially betting on them scoring 4 touchdowns. Considering that OSU has scored just 10 touchdowns in 4 games and only 8 on offense, I’m quite confident picking Cal.
The only Pac-12 match-up featuring two teams coming off losses is Arizona (+9.5) at Utah. Arizona seems like a bad team and Utah has to still be reeling after the way they lost last week. I’m not a Utah fan and I’m still shocked that Cal(!) won a game thanks to a goal line stand. Even with a possible hangover I still like Utah’s defense enough to think that they win this game by 10-ish, maybe 27-17 or 31-21. So if the line stays under 10, give me the Utes.
JD: For whatever reason, Utah tends to struggle with Rich Rod’s Arizona teams. In fact, Kyle Whittingham is winless against Rich Rod since he came to the Pac-12 in 2012. That ends this week, I think. Sensing a trend here, but I also like Utah -9.5.
UCLA -10 at Arizona State is one of the toughest games for me to pick this week. ASU took quite the beating last week, and I really can’t figure out how good or bad UCLA really is. I have a bad feeling Todd Graham will make me look like a fool for a second straight week, but I think I’ll take ASU +10 at home, just because they’ve been putting up some points at home.
JA: At first glance, it seems to me that UCLA is favored by too much. But I’m not going to trust that wristband wearing doofus again, so give me UCLA. Yes I know that means trusting Jim Mora, but he is 17-6 on the road in his career at UCLA.
Now for the weirdest matchup of the week: Washington State (+7.5) at Stanford, a game where the line has dropped a whopping FIVE points this week. A line dropping that much without a surprise suspension or injury popping up is very rare, and you don’t often see Las Vegas miss like that on an opening line. David Shaw said it looks like both of Stanford’s starting corners will again be out with injuries, so I’m going to jump on WSU here. Stanford’s offense might be bad — they haven’t scored more than 27 points in a game this year — and the Cougs played them tough last year, only losing by two.
JD: I’ve somewhat had a feeling that Stanford might be secretly bad all season, and I like the momentum WSU is going into this game with. I gave Stanford too much credit last week, as I expected to be proven wrong, but their OL and defense isn’t as good as in the past, and their QB is one of the worst starting QBs in the league, according to my eyes. I like WSU to cover +7.5 and win outright.
Moving over to our non-Pac-12 slate of games this Saturday…
Tennessee is a 7-point dog at Texas A&M. This feels like a close game that could go either way. Texas A&M has the better QB and a slightly better defense, so give me Texas A&M -7 at home.
JA: I can’t figure out if Tennessee is 2013 Auburn and this string of miraculous wins is going to continue into November and perhaps beyond, or if they’re merely a decent team masquerading as a very good team, and a hard fall is coming. The Vols have trailed by 10 or more four times this season but they’re still undefeated. I suspect that if they fall behind by 10 to A&M then their winning streak ends in College Station. The Aggies have more than a few injury concerns, so I’ll take the points and Rocky Top in this one.
Staying in the SEC, unbeaten Alabama (-14) heads to Fayetteville to take on one-loss Arkansas. This is the start of Bama’s toughest stretch of the season: at Arkansas, at Tennessee, home for A&M, bye week, at LSU. For almost any other team I’d say this is the look-ahead game for the Tide, and Arkansas might be able to catch them flat-footed and maybe steal one, or at the very least cover the spread. But Nick Saban is a Sith lord and I just know that if I bet the Hogs it’ll be 41-13 when the 4th quarter starts and I’ll be praying for a miracle backdoor cover. Roll damn Tide.
JD: Arkansas likes to run the ball. This weekend they’re a 14-point underdog and hosting the team with the top ranked run defense in the Power 5 conferences, Alabama. The one time this season Arkansas has played an FBS defense ranked better than 48th against the run, they were blown out. I think this game is close for a half, and then Alabama puts it on Arkansas in the second half. Give me Alabama -14.
For our last game, who knows if this game will actually take place this weekend, but Florida State is a 3-point underdog when they visit Miami this weekend. Statistically, Miami has a top three ranked offense and defense, from a YPP perspective. Given how awful FSU’s defense has been, this line feels kinda low for the home team. I’m taking FSU +3 here.
JA: That line does seem strangely low, as the stats certainly make the case that Miami should roll in this one, especially since they’re playing at home. But Florida State is going to be on a weird delayed travel schedule due to the weather, and I’m not going to bet against the Hurricanes while playing in a hurricane. I like Miami to cover and end FSU’s six game win streak in the series.
Agree: USC (-5) vs. Colorado; Cal (-13.5) at OSU; Utah (-9.5) vs. Arizona; WSU (+7.5) at Stanford; Alabama (-14) at Arkansas.
Disagree: Damis takes ASU (+10) vs. UCLA and Texas A&M (-7) vs. Tennessee; Adams likes Miami (-3) vs. Florida State.