I certainly get more picks right than wrong overall in a season, but boy was last week ugly. I had Florida State winning at Louisville and Oklahoma taking out visiting Ohio State, but the Seminoles and Sooners were blown out. Not shocked both teams lost as they played excellent opponents, but how they did was pretty stunning.
Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson is now the clear -200 favorite at sportsbooks to win the first Heisman Trophy in Louisville history. He threw for 216 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 146 yards and four more scores in the 63-20 win over FSU and has been responsible for 18 touchdowns already. Louisville is averaging a ridiculous 65 points per game and jumped to third in the AP poll this week, tying the highest ranking in school history. The 63 points scored on Saturday were the most ever allowed by Florida State. It was the third-largest victory over a top-two team in the 80-year history of the AP poll and the biggest since 2008.
After the game, Michael Vick tweeted that Jackson is five times better than Vick was while at Virginia Tech, and right now I'd have to agree. The Cards opened as 25.5-point favorites this week at Marshall in what seems to be a mega-trap game because Louisville is at No. 5 Clemson next week. Win that, and the Cards should be in the ACC title game.
Florida State is not out of the Playoff discussion as the Noles only slipped to No. 13 in the AP poll, but obviously they have to win out now. They would need two Louisville losses in the conference to get back to the ACC Championship Game, and it's hard to see that happening. FSU better not overlook a very good South Florida team in Tampa on Saturday. The Seminoles are -7. ( Click here for free football picks for this weekend.)
Oklahoma now has no shot at the Playoff with two lopsided losses on its schedule. The Sooners dropped to No. 25 in the AP Poll and get this week off to lick their wounds and prepare for a trip to TCU to open Big 12 play. It was another terrible weekend for the Big 12 with Texas also losing (at Cal). Ohio State moved up a spot to No. 2 with the 45-24 win over Oklahoma. I didn't think the Buckeyes would win simply because they are so young and in their first road game, but OSU is now 19-0 in road games under coach Urban Meyer and has won five consecutive road games against ranked foes. The Buckeyes are also off this week before hosting Rutgers to open Big Ten play. OSU won't be tested again until Oct. 15 at Wisconsin.
Here are a few Week 4 opening lines that caught my eye. Rankings from AP poll and games Saturday unless noted.
No. 11 Wisconsin at No. 8 Michigan State (-6): When will people learn to stop doubting Mark Dantonio's Spartans? Sparty upset No. 18 Notre Dame in South Bend on Saturday, 36-28. Tyler O'Connor, a fifth-year senior making his third career start, was 19 of 26 passing for 241 yards and two TDs. It was a typical Dantonio game as the Spartans pounded the ball on the ground with 260 yards rushing and won the turnover battle, forcing three Irish giveaways. That loss was Notre Dame's second on the season, meaning it's out of the College Football Playoff hunt. The Badgers almost were caught looking ahead to this one as they avoided a huge home upset to Georgia State, 23-17, as five-touchdown favorites. Starting QB Bart Houston was struggling so he was pulled for Alex Hornibrook, who led UW to scores on three of his first four possessions and finished 8 of 12 for 122 yards and a touchdown. The redshirt freshman is expected to start in East Lansing. It's not yet clear if UW will have top running back Corey Clement, who missed the Georgia State game with a sprained ankle. The pick: MSU wins its fifth straight at home in the series.
No. 19 Florida at No. 14 Tennessee (-6.5): The Vols have lost 11 straight games in the series and really blew it last year in Gainesville as they were up 27-14 with under five minutes left. UF won it 28-27 on a 63-yard TD reception by Antonio Callaway with 1:26 left. Vols kicker Aaron Medley missed a 55-yard field goal just wide right with three seconds to go. Florida had no trouble in beating North Texas 32-0 on Saturday but lost starting quarterback Luke Del Rio for 2-3 weeks to a sprained MCL. Gators coach Jim McElwain went nuts on the play after it happened, thinking the North Texas low hit was dirty. It might have been. The injury overshadowed a dominant performance by Florida's defense, which allowed a school-record 53 yards (on 50 plays). Purdue graduate transfer Austin Appleby will start vs. UT. He started 11 games the previous two years combined with the Boilermakers and frankly wasn't very good. That's why I love Tennessee here. The Vols were perhaps looking ahead to this one Saturday in beating Ohio just 28-19. UT also lost its best cornerback, Cam Sutton, for multiple weeks to an ankle injury. Sutton has started all 41 games in his collegiate career. Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin also left Saturday's game with a shoulder injury, but Coach Butch Jones said he will play against Florida. The pick: Tennessee, and jump on this immediately before it gets above 7.
Oklahoma State at No. 16 Baylor (-9.5): If you are Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, you have to be secretly rooting for Baylor here as the Bears are really the conference's lone remaining team with a shot to go unbeaten and likely assure itself a spot in the playoff. The only other conference team without at least one loss is West Virginia, but the Mountaineers haven't played anyone yet and they aren't that great. The Big 12 has just one nonconference win against a team even receiving any Top 25 votes in this week's AP poll. As usual Baylor played a joke of a nonconference schedule in blowing out Northwestern State, SMU and Rice. If the Bears win here, they should be unbeaten when visiting Texas on Oct. 29. The Pokes should be unbeaten but for that botched call at the end of their Sept. 10 Hail Mary loss to Central Michigan. They bounced back with a 45-38 win over Pitt on Saturday as Mason Rudolph passed for a school-record 540 yards. The total of this game is going to be huge, and I'd still go over. Both teams are 14th nationally in scoring at 44.3 ppg. Baylor won last year at home, 45-35, when the Pokes were 10-0. The teams combined for 1,141 yards of offense. The pick: Baylor, but at 10 or more I'd take the points.
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