November 17, 2023


Well, after a couple of decent weeks, I’m back in the basement again. There’s basically one more week of college football left, after this one, and I’m well below .500 in both the straight up, and against the spread picks. Only the Bowl Games can save me. This is why I specialize in the NFL.

But, hey, I’m in here and I’m giving it the old, if you’ll forgive the pun, college try. Thanks to BetOnline, I have the odds, lines and totals with which to use to achieve my goal for the season. Just breaking even. Frankly, if you see my picks and just bet the opposite, you’ve probably done pretty well, so, you are welcome.

UCLA AT USC (-6.5, O/U: 65)

Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, Calif.

Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 18, 3:30 p.m., ABC

Well, here’s something probably no one, and I count myself in there, expected to see when the season began. UCLA (6-4, 3-4 Pac-12) traveling to USC (7-3, 5-2 Pac-12) in a late season game where neither team is ranked. Still, it should be a good one and one of our last chances to see Caleb Williams play college football, because there is no way he’s suiting up for some Russell Athletics Walmart Sweatpants Bowl played on Christmas Eve.

The Bruins come into this one on a two-game losing streak, both to Arizona teams. Last week they fell 17-7 to Arizona State. Collin Schlee was 11 of 18 passing for 117 yards and a touchdown in the loss.

USC has also dropped two straight contests, but both to very highly ranked opponents. Last week they lost a wild one, 36-27 to No. 6-ranked Oregon. Caleb Williams was 19 of 34 passing for 291 yards and a TD with no picks in the defeat. Brendan Rice caught five passes for 81 yards and a score.

The Trojans have limped to the finish line and while Williams was the season opening frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy, that is no longer the case. It’s why the only player to win it twice was Archie Griffin in 1974 and 1975. Still, this is his final chance to put on a show before shutting it all down before the NFL combine and I think he does it. USC 44, UCLA 27


Location: TDECU Stadium, Houston, Texas

Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 11, 4 p.m., ESPN2

Like the first game in the picks, both of these teams are coming off losses as Houston (4-6, 2-5 Big 12), being nowhere near the Top 25, has designs to take Oklahoma State (7-3, 5-2 Big 12) with them when they face off Saturday afternoon.

The Beavers were downright embarrassed by USF last week, losing 45-3. Alan Bowman was 19 of 36 passing for 225 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions in the loss.

Houston wasn’t quite that bad in a 24-14 loss to Cincinnati. Donovan Smith finished his day 16 of 28 passing for a paltry 102 yards, two interceptions and three picks.

Oklahoma State has had a rough season, but they should still be able to put it to the Cougars Saturday before they wrap their season next week. After all, this is the team that knocked off then No. 9 Oklahoma just a week before, right? Oklahoma State 34, Houston 20


Location: David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, Kan.

Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 18, 7 p.m., FS1

It’s a battle of relevance as No. 21 Kansas State (7-3, 5-2 Big 12) makes the trip to Lawrence to take on No. 25 Kansas (7-3, 4-3 Big 12) Saturday night.

The Wildcats get to venture into this one off a win, 59-25 over Baylor last week. Will Howard went 19 of 29 passing for 235 yards, three touchdowns and no picks in the win. Avery Johnson got some snaps, finishing 2 of 5 passing for 33 yards and a TD pass. DJ Giddens rushed 18 times for 115 yards.

Kansas, on the other hand, lost a heartbreaker, 16-13, to Texas Tech last week. Cole Ballard was mostly ineffective, going 9 of 20 passing for 124 yards, no touchdowns and a pick, which probably had every USFL exec’s attention. Devin Neal rushed 19 times for 137 yards and a TD.

You know what, I know I’m still underwater in the NCAA picks, but I like the upset here. Kansas 27, Kansas State 24


Location: Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Ore.

Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m., ABC

With the way No. 5 Washington (10-0, 7-0 Pac-12) has been showing out this season, it’s a shock to see them come into this one as an underdog, even by a single point against No. 11 Oregon State (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12).

The Huskies have, obviously, knocked off everyone on their schedule this season. Last week they defeated then No. 18 Utah, 35-28. Michael (the most dangerous name in college football) Penix, Jr. was 24 of 42 passing for 332 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the win. He also rushed for a TD.  Dillon Johnson rushed 23 times for 104 yards and a TD. Rome Odunze caught three passes for 111 yards and two scores.

Oregon State is coming off a 62-17 beat down over Stanford last week. DJ Oiagalelei was 12 of 19 passing for 240 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the victory. Aiden Chiles got some reps, going 5 of 8 passing for 75 yards and a TD. Damien Martinez carried the ball 15 times for 146 yards and four scores.

You know, I’ve picked against the Huskies this year and paid for it, so I’m going against all my instincts here. Washington 34, Oregon State 30

Last week

Straight up: 2-2

Against the spread: 1-3


Straight up: 15-21

Against the spread: 14-22

Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan.

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