Well, I guess I deserved this. I got too cocky after a couple of solid weeks of NCAA football picks and shot for the moon last week, only to miss and careen off into space, never to be seen again.
But, you know, a new week brings new opportunities and, as such, I’ve handpicked a selection of games you and, if you were to pick the opposite of what I’ve done here, I could hardly blame you.
MICHIGAN AT PENN STATE (+4, O/U: 45)
Location: Beaver Stadium, University Park, Pa.
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 11, noon, FOX
It’s the big game before the big game for the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten) as they make the trip to the middle of Pennsylvania to take on No. 10 Penn State (8-1, 5-1 Big Ten). The Wolverines are firmly in the College Football Playoff picture with two specters looming before them. The first is their regular season finale meetup with No. 1 Ohio State and the other is an NCAA investigation into their head coach, Jim Harbaugh, and their entire coaching staff for stealing opponents’ signals. In spite of that, they’ve rolled. Last week they obliterated the Purdue Boilermakers, 41-13. JJ McCarthy was 24 of 37 passing for 335 yards, no touchdowns and no picks in the win. Roman Wilson caught nine passes for 143 yards.
The Nittany Lions have piled up two straight victories after their lone loss, a 20-12 decision to the aforementioned Buckeyes. Last week they crushed Maryland, 51-15. Drew Allar was 25 of 34 passing for 240 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Kaytron Allen rushed 14 times for 91 yards and a score. KeAndre Lambert-Smith hauled in eight passes for 95 yards. Dante Cephas had six grabs for 53 yards and two TDs.
The Wolverines are a team on a mission this year — to win a national championship that they will be forced to vacate after Jim Harbaugh and the school are punished by the NCAA for cheating. As such, I’m not feeling great about the Nittany Lions’ chances. Michigan 34, Penn State 27
TEXAS TECH AT KANSAS (-3.5, O/U: 62)
Location: David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, Kan.
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 11, noon., FS1
No. 16 ranked Kansas (7-2, 4-2 Big 12) has won two straight, including a season-ruining victory over No. 17 Oklahoma that the Sooners have yet to recover from. Texas Tech (4-5, 3-3 Big 12) had experienced a rough season, hanging with the better teams, but piling up the losses. Last week the Jayhawks kept the good times rolling, knocking off Iowa State 28-21. Jason Bean was 14 of 23 passing for 287 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in the win. Lawrence Arnold caught three passes for 112 yards and a score.
The Red Raiders halted a two-game losing streak by knocking off TCU 35-28 in a shootout. Nehren Morton was 28 of 36 passing for 282 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the win. Tahj Brooks rushed 31 times for 148 yards and a TD. Coy Eakin caught eight passes for 78 yards.
Kansas has already spoiled Oklahoma’s season and they’re not done yet. Tech has made some good news recently but is due for a fall. Kansas 29, Texas Tech 23
UTAH AT WASHINGTON (-9.5, O/U: 50)
Location: Husky Stadium, Seattle, Wash.
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 11, 3:30 p.m., FOX
No. 5-ranked Washington (9-0, 6-0 Pac-12) has everything to lose when they face off against 18-ranked Utah (7-2, 4-2 Pac-12) Saturday. The Huskies are right on the edge of the College Football Playoff rankings and all they need to do is keep winning and they’ll make it into the bracket thanks to the season ending matchup between Ohio State and Michigan. As much as you could argue that Michigan and Ohio State should remain in the Top Four even with a loss to each other, there’s no way you can keep an undefeated Washington team out of the playoff. The Utes, of course, hope to ruin that completely.
The Huskies come into this one after a monster 52-42 win over No. 20 USC. Michael (the most dangerous name in college football) Penix, Jr. was 22 of 30 passing for 256 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the win. Dillon Johnson rushed 26 times for a ridiculous 256 yards and four touchdowns. Rome Odunze caught five passes for 82 yards.
I’m all in on the Huskies after last week. I’ve picked against them twice in big games and they’ve shoved it into my face. No more. Washington 41, Utah 27
TENNESSEE AT MISSOURI (+2, O/U: 57)
Location: Memorial Stadium, Columbia, Mo.
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 11, 3:30 p.m., CBS
No. 13 Tennessee (7-2, 3-2 SEC) doesn’t have a shot at the College Football Playoff, but they still have a chance to land a New Year’s Six Bowl. To secure that, they need to stand strong against No. 14 Missouri (7-2, 3-2 SEC) a team that has been a nice surprise in the SEC East, in its last iteration, this season.
The Volunteers came into this one off a glorified scrimmage, a 59-3 win over UConn. Joe Milton has put together a solid month of performances for UT. Last week, he was 11 of 14 passing for 254 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the win. Future starter and the guy every Tennessee fan weeps over whenever they see him, Nico Iamaleava (I dread learning to spell that name out all the time next year) was 5 of 9 passing for 86 yards and a TD. Jaylen Wright had eight carries for 113 yards and a TD. Squirrel White caught two passes for 94 yards and a score. Ramel Keyton hauled in two for 81 yards and a touchdown. It was that kind of day.
The Tigers lost, as everyone has, to No. 2 Georgia last week, 30-21. Brady Cook was 14 of 30 passing for 212 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Cody Schrader rushed 22 times for 112 yards and a TD. Theo Wease, Jr. caught five passes for 90 yards.
This is a legit game that no one saw mattering when the season began except maybe the people at Missouri. And, you know, kudos for them because they’ve proven it on the field. The fact is the Volunteers are just a couple of years ahead of Mizzou and that’s probably the difference here. Tennessee 31, Missouri 27
Straight up: 1-3
Against the spread: 1-3
Straight up: 13-19
Against the spread: 13-19
Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan.