Well, would you look at that? After floundering for weeks, I finally broke through for a perfect 4-0 performance in Week 8. It was a long time coming and, frankly, if anyone deserved it, it was me. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.
We’re not done yet. There’s still plenty of College Football on the horizon as I try, perhaps in vain, to reach at least .500 with my NCAA Football picks. Here’s what I do know, I’ve got the odds, lines and totals with which to work some magic. Here’s what I’ve picked out for you this week.
CLEMSON AT NC STATE (+9.5, O/U: 43.5)
Location: Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, N.C.
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 28, 2 p.m.., CW Network
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Where once this was a must-watch type of game of two ACC powers, now they’re both also-rans, just playing out the season before they make an appearance in the Duke’s Mayonnaise Raisin Potato Salad Bowl. Clemson (4-3, 2-2 ACC) is coming off 28-20 loss to Miami. Cade Klubnik was 18 of 34 passing for 314 yards, two touchdowns and a pick in the loss. Jake Briningstool caught five passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns.
NC State (4-3, 1-2 ACC) also lost last week, falling 24-3 to Duke in embarrassing fashion. The Wolfpack managed a field goal in the opening quarter and never put a point on the scoreboard again. MJ Morris got on all the NSFL scouting boards with a 24 of 40 passing performance for 193 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. He also led the team rushing with 14 carries for 38 yards.
Hey, this was a tough week to pick four, so Clemson once again made the cut. The Tigers are having a bad year and won’t get better until Dabo Swinney embraces NIL and the transfer portal. Still, they should be able to handle their business against the Wolfpack. Clemson 38, NC State 17
DUKE AT LOUISVILLE (-4.5, O/U: 46)
Location: Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Ky.
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 28, 3:30 p.m., ESPN
Here’s an ACC matchup with a little more teeth to it. The No. 20-ranked Duke Blue Devils (5-2, 2-1 ACC) travel west to Kentucky to take on the No. 18 Louisville Cardinals (6-1, 3-1 ACC). Last week, as mentioned above, the Blue Devils handled their business against NC State, winning 24-3. Henry Belin IV didn’t do much passing, going just 4 of 12 for 107 yards, two touchdowns and a pick. Jordan Waters rushed 13 times for 123 yards and a touchdown.
The Cardinals took their first loss of the year last week, falling 39-21 to Pitt. Jack Plummer was 29 of 52 passing for 350 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Jamari Thrash caught nine passes for 120 yards. The defense held the Panthers to just 88 total yards on the ground.
I like Louisville in a bounce back game here. Neither of these offenses are outstanding, but the Cardinals are at home and probably have the better defense. Louisville 27, Duke 23
TENNESSEE AT KENTUCKY (+3.5, O/U: 51.5)
Location: Kroger Field, Lexington, Ky.
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 28, 7 p.m., ESPN
It’s the Border Bowl, where No. 21 ranked Tennessee (5-2, 2-2 SEC) and Kentucky (5-2, 2-2 SEC) face off for their yearly Wildcat beat down. The Volunteers lead the all-time series 82-26-9. Those 26 total Kentucky victories is an interesting number because, coincidentally, from 1985 to 2010, the Vols won 26 straight over the Wildcats. Last week Tennessee fell predictably to Alabama, 34-20. Joe Milton, and this is true, probably had his best game of the season for the Volunteers, going 28 of 41 passing for 271 yards, two touchdowns and no picks. He led the team rushing with 15 carries for 59 yards.
Kentucky is coming off its second straight loss, getting knocked out of the Top 25 by Missouri, 38-21 last Saturday. Devin Leary continued to stink it up, going 14 of 27 passing for 120 yards, two touchdowns and a couple of picks. Ray Davis was the lone bright spot on offense, recording 20 carries for 128 yards.
While the Wildcats might have picked up some victories, three to be exact, over the Vols since 2011, it’s safe to say this has been a very one-sided annual meet and greet. Tennessee has won four of the last five and, Saturday, will make if five of the last six. Tennessee 31, Kentucky 23
OREGON STATE AT ARIZONA (+3, O/U: 57.5)
Location: Arizona Stadium, Tucson, Ariz.
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 28, 10:30 p.m., ESPN
Our last game in the picks also happens to be the last game to kickoff Saturday as the No. 11 Oregon State Beavers (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) make their way to the desert to take on the Arizona Wildcats (4-2, 2-2 Pac-12). Oregon State had a terrific win over No. 18 UCLA a week ago, claiming the 36-24 victory. DJ Uiagalelelei was 14 of 24 passing for 266 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Damien Martinez rushed 15 times for 90 yards. Jack Velling caught three passes for 83 yards and two scores.
The Wildcats enter this one off an emphatic 44-6 thumping of No. 19 Washington State last Saturday. Noah Fifita was 34 of 43 passing for 342 yards, no touchdowns and no picks in the win. Arizona scored five rushing touchdowns, with DH Williams carrying the ball 12 times for 37 yards and a score. Rayshon Luke had 10 rushes for 71 yards and a TD and Jonah Coleman toted the rock 11 times for 70 yards and three trips into the paint.
You know what? After last week, I’m feeling confident, if not downright cocky. I’m going with the upset to wrap the evening. Arizona 43, Oregon State 40
Straight up: 4-0
Against the spread: 4-0
Straight up: 9-15
Against the spread: 9-15
Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan.