Last week’s results were surprisingly decent given the amount of games we picked and the number of those contests in which the points played an important part. I (7-4) lengthened my season lead over Zach (6-5) slightly, but all in all I am inclined to not pick so many games again anytime soon. College football is in the home stretch and the NFL has passed mid-season, but there is lots of fantastic football remaining. I am hopeful that includes a playoff berth by our Pittsburgh Steelers, a fun bowl location for my Marshall Thundering Herd, and any kind of post-season appearance for the West Virginia Mountaineers, although only one of those three things seem likely at the moment.
My Season: 39-31
Zach’s Season: 34-36
Penn State at Ohio State (-17.5)
This is the big matchup of the weekend. The Buckeyes are undefeated and #2 in the rankings. A lot can still happen, but their playoff spot seems to be secure unless they lose twice in the next few weeks, which seems unlikely. The Nittany Lions fell to Minnesota a couple of weeks ago and are currently ranked #8, but there is a path to the playoff if they win the Big Ten title game and a couple of other dominoes fall. If this game were in Happy Valley my perspective might be different, but it’s in Columbus so I just can’t imagine Ohio St. will lose. But will they cover?? 17+ points is a lot. Penn St. rebounded nicely from their loss with a victory over Indiana, but that’s not exactly impressive. I’m going to climb out on that fragile limb and predict that the Buckeyes will open up a can o’ whoopass at home. They don’t necessarily need “style points”, but it can’t hurt. Zach reluctantly admits that the Buckeyes are playing on another level and defensive end Chase Young is a legit force who’s difficult to stop. However, he isn’t comfortable with the points and is hopeful that Penn St. will step up & atleast cover.
My Pick: Ohio State
Z’s Pick: Penn State
Texas A&M at Georgia (-13.5)
Another week, another brutally tough opponent for the Aggies. The #4 Bulldogs are back in the playoff hunt and their inexplicable double overtime loss to South Carolina last month is all but forgotten. They’ve already secured a spot in the SEC title game and will likely play #1 LSU, so a loss this week doesn’t necessarily kill their playoff hopes if they go on to win the conference championship. Meanwhile, at 7-3 A&M is playing for bowl position. They’re building for the future and haven’t looked that bad in losses to Clemson, Auburn, & ‘Bama (LSU lies ahead next week). Could this be a not-as-surprising-as-you’d-think upset?? I won’t go that far, but Georgia has been shown to be somewhat vulnerable and I think A&M is atleast as good as if not better than South Carolina, so I believe this game will be decided by less than two TDs. Zach is quite specific in opining that A&M will keep things close until 6 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter. I’m not sure what’s going to happen then, but if that is indeed precisely when the tide turns I’m taking that young man to Vegas immediately. He just feels like Georgia has too much offensive firepower.
My Pick: Texas A&M
Z’s Pick: Georgia
Texas at Baylor (-5.5)
Baylor was so close to beating Oklahoma!! Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be, which validated all of the disrespect they were getting. That’s too bad because I think they Bears are legitimately a good team. Fortunately for them they will get a rematch in the Big 12 title game. The Longhorns aren’t necessarily worse than I predicted, it’s just that a couple of surprising teams jumped them in the standings. After losing a tight one to Iowa St. a week ago the same logic I applied to that game can be used here…I think Texas is athletically superior and will keep the game close, whether or not they can close in the 4th quarter. If Baylor wins it’ll be by less than a touchdown. Zach thinks Texas is too inconsistent and predicts that Baylor will rebound nicely with a comfortable win.
My Pick: Texas
Z’s Pick: Baylor
Seattle at Philadelphia (-1.5)
So I guess everybody is jumping off of the Russell Wilson bandwagon and hopping aboard the Lamar Jackson Express. Personally I believe that to be fool’s gold, but we’ll see. The Seahawks are 8-2 but battling the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC West crown. They’re riding a three game winning streak. The Eagles are in a dogfight with the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC East and probably need to win the division to make the playoffs. I think Seattle has the better team right now and Wilson is just playing lights out. I don’t believe Philly will be able to stop him. Zach concurs.
My Pick: Seattle
Z’s Pick: Seattle
Green Bay at San Francisco (-3)
A-A-Ron vs. Jimmy G. is the QB skirmish you never knew you always wanted to see, and we’ll all have a front row seat on Sunday night (well…I’ll be watching WWE Survivor Series, but someone keep me posted). This will certainly be ‘Frisco’s toughest test yet, but atleast it’s at home instead of The Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field. I thought the Packers would be battling the Chicago Bears for NFC North supremacy, but instead it’s the Minnesota Vikings who are posing a challenge. Okay okay…to be honest way back in August I predicted both the Vikings & Packers would go 8-8 while the Bears easily won the division, but obviously that’s not how things have played out. At any rate, I think I like the 49ers defense a little more and that’s enough for me to pick them. Conversely, Zach thinks Rodgers is just too good and will have a big game.
My Pick: San Francisco
Z’s Pick: Green Bay