In a week that may be full lopsided college football games, Mississippi State-LSU stands out as a game that should be competitive.
The No. 22 Bulldogs travel to Baton Rouge for a 6 p.m. kickoff in what will be the marquee SEC match-up of the week.
Senior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and the rest of the MSU offense seemed to find their groove in a 23-9 victory over Auburn on Oct. 6. First-year head coach Joe Moorhead has made the wise decision that it’s best to give the ball to Fitzgerald and get out of his way. He ran for 195 yards and two touchdowns against a good Auburn defense.
The win over Auburn was nice, but those Tigers are fading fast entering the second half of the season.
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No. 5 LSU, which is a 6.5-point favorite, has a defense that gives up 120.4 yards a game on the ground and should be more of a challenge.
My pick: Tigers cover — LSU 31, Mississippi State 20.
11 a.m., Saturday — No. 6 Michigan at No. 24 Michigan State (+7.0) — The Spartans went from winning and losing ugly through the first five games to picking an impressive 21-17 win at Penn State a week ago. I still see the Wolverines handling their rival with ease. My pick: Wolverines cover — Michigan 31, Michigan State 17.
11 a.m., Saturday — No. 9 Oklahoma at TCU (+8.0) — The Sooners have gone from boom to bust on defense with coordinator Mike Stoops pushed out the door. They gave up 78 points total to Baylor and Texas the last two games. My pick: Sooners cover — Oklahoma 41, TCU 24.
11 a.m., Saturday — Maryland at No. 19 Iowa (-9.0) — I’m not feeling the Terps right now. There hasn’t been much impressive about the team since they stunned Texas 34-29 in the season opener. My pick: Hawkeyes cover — Iowa 34, Maryland 21.
11 a.m., Saturday — No. 20 Cincinnati at Temple (-3.0) — I expect a defensive battle with the Bearcats (6-0) preserving their perfect mark. I don’t think this game will come close to the over/under of 48.5. My pick: Temple doesn’t cover — Cincinnati 20, Temple 13.
11 a.m., Saturday — Illinois at No. 23 Wisconsin (-25.0) — The Illini (3-3) continue their fade into oblivion. My pick: Badgers cover — Wisconsin 45, Illinois 17.
2:30 p.m., Saturday — No. 1 Alabama at Tennessee (+29.0) — This will be the CBS game of the week, but I’m not sure how much of a game it will be. My pick: Tide covers — Alabama 49, Tennessee 20.
2:30 p.m., Saturday — No. 16 North Carolina State at No. 3 Clemson (-17.5) — The term “Clemsoning” is irrelevant now. My pick: Tigers cover — Clemson 45, N.C. State 21.
2:30 p.m., Saturday — Colorado at No. 15 Washington (-16.5) — This may be my safest bet of the week. My pick: Huskies don’t cover — Washington 30, Colorado 21.
2:30 p.m., Saturday — No. 18 Penn State at Indiana (+15.5) — The Nittany Lions are desperate to halt a two-game slide. My pick: Penn State doesn’t cover — Penn State 38, Indiana 27.
6 p.m., Saturday — No. 10 UCF at East Carolina (+21.5) — UCF (6-0) finally made things interesting last week, falling behind and rallying to win 31-30 at Memphis. My pick: Knights cover — UCF 48, East Carolina 20.
6 p.m., Saturday — UConn at No. 21 South Florida (-34.0) — Randy Edsall’s expiration date at UConn is fast approaching. My pick: Bulls don’t cover — South Florida 49, UConn 17.
6:30 p.m., Saturday — No. 2 Ohio State at Purdue (+13.0) — My pick: Buckeyes cover — Ohio State 41, Purdue 21.
6:30 p.m., Saturday — No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington State (-3.0) — I don’t buy Mike Leach’s squad as the favorite here. My pick: Cougars don’t cover — Oregon 42, Washington State 31.
6:30 p.m., Saturday — Vanderbilt at No. 14 Kentucky (-11.5) — My pick: Wildcats cover — Kentucky 31, Vanderbilt 14.
11 a.m., Saturday — Auburn at Ole Miss (+3.5) — Auburn is struggling and undeserving of its favorite status in Oxford. Auburn (4-3) is a physical team with a tough defense, but that offense is a hot mess. My pick: Tigers don’t cover — Ole Miss 31, Auburn 28.
6 p.m., Saturday — UTSA at Southern Miss (-17.5) — UTSA (3-4) ranks 122nd in the nation in rushing offense at 99.9 yards a game. USM (2-3) is close behind at 124th at 98.6. The difference between these two teams is the Golden Eagles rank 13th in the nation in passing offense at 318.6 yards a game and UTSA lags behind in 115th in the nation at 155.7. My pick: Golden Eagles don’t cover — Southern Miss 31, UTSA 20.
6:30 p.m., Saturday — UAB at North Texas (-1.5) — This should be a fun, tightly-contested game in Denton. UAB (5-1) has allowed just 14 points over the last three games while North Texas (6-1) has a decent defense to match a strong offense. My pick: UNT doesn’t cover — UAB 24, North Texas 21.