NCAA Football Predictions: Week 7 Opening Line Report and Picks
I told you last week that the only thing scary about October is when ranked teams have to take on unranked opponents. It wasn’t a complete Friday the 13th massacre, but No. 1 Alabama went on the road to Kyle Field and lost to unranked Texas A&M as 18.5-point favorites. Fourth-ranked Penn State went to Kinnick Stadium to tangle with No. 3 Iowa and fell three points short in what was surprisingly a great game from start to finish. Those two games alone are enough to shake the College Football Playoff rankings to its core. I don’t believe you can put Alabama in the top four after this week given the fact that No. 3, No. 5, No. 6, No. 7, and No. 9 all won. If it were up to me, and I’m fully aware it will never be up to me, I’d rank Georgia first, Iowa second, Cincinnati third and Michigan fourth. Those four teams are not only undefeated but they play excellent football on both sides of the ball and are complete teams.
As far as last week’s results go, we didn’t do too bad, but we also didn’t do great. It was a 2-2 week, with Texas Tech getting run off the field and Wake Forest barely scraping by Syracuse for a lousy three-point win. We did have Kentucky and Iowa, who covered as small three-point favorites, so we move onto this week and aim for a 3-1 or 4-0 week.
Doc’s Sports offers college football picks for every game on our college football predictions page.
Pittsburgh Panthers at Virginia Tech +4, 58
Oh, what could have been for Virginia Tech. They were a mere four minutes away from pulling off a great home win against No. 14 Notre Dame, but they let the Irish score 11 points in the final 2:26 of the game to fall to yet another defeat. That game was a weird one in a sense Notre Dame was the better team as they out-yarded Tech, but Tech won the time of possession and the turnover battle. How can Virginia Tech regroup after letting that one slip away? I just don’t see it happening, and I see Pittsburgh, a team coming off a bye week and a team that is better coached, coming into Lane Stadium and walking out a winner. The Panthers are quietly putting together a nice little season as they sit 4-1 on the year and are coming off a 52-21 drubbing of Georgia Tech. The Panthers have the better defense, and when “on” their offense is a joy to watch. Just look at what they did against a half-decent Tennessee squad earlier this year. I think the Hokies are going to have a major letdown in this spot, and I think the Panthers roll to a big win. Keep in mind, this line opened up as VT -1.5 but has since been bet the other way to Pittsburgh -4. Give me the Panthers.
Pick: Pittsburgh -4
Arizona State at Utah +1, 51
I’m really excited to watch this game. You have the No. 22 Arizona State Sun Devils heading to Rice-Eccles Stadium to tangle with the Utah Utes, a team who just laid a beating down on USC at the Rose Bowl. Utah is a team that’s been known for its defense over the last handful of years, and, yes, they do have a stout defense once again, but the offense has taken off and has scored at least 24 points in each of their three wins. They are just 3-2 on the season, but losses to BYU and San Diego State are games that could have gone either way. Now, Utah gets to be one-point home underdogs to a 5-1 Arizona State team that is coming off a win vs Stanford – a game in which they tallied 430 yards of offense, including 255 on the ground. There is a saying out there that states “teams can only play the teams on their schedule”. Arizona State is 5-1 but has very few big wins to brag about when you take into account two of the wins came against Southern Utah and UNLV. An underdog win vs No. 20 (at the time) UCLA is the biggest win of the season, but beating Colorado and Stanford is hardly newsworthy. I believe Utah is the play here as Arizona State needs to run the football to be successful, and the Utes just simply have too much talent on the defensive side of the football to get run of their own turf.
Pick: Utah +1
Brigham Young at Baylor Bears -5, 48
Speaking of BYU, who coincidently beat both of the teams in the above section, they get to travel to Waco to take on a Baylor team that is coming off an impressive showing against West Virginia. Both teams come into this game at 5-1, but it’s the Cougars who are nationally ranked despite losing their last game to Boise State. This game opened up with the Cougars laying 1.5 points on the road, but it has quickly been bet the other way, and big. The Bears are now sitting as five-point home favorites, and perhaps rightfully so. Baylor dominated West Virginia last week to the tune of 45-20 and now gets to remain home for the second of three straight home games. I want to trust BYU on the road, but I think the Bears have too many weapons on offense for BYU to handle.
Pick: Baylor -5
Toledo Rockets at Central Michigan Chippewas +5, 52.5
And lastly, you can never go wrong with a little MACtion. Although it may take a few years off your life or cause grey hair, the MAC is always a conference I love watching because it’s just utterly insane football. Both teams come into this game with a 3-3 record, but they come off different results last week. Central Michigan got a late TD from Kalil Pimpleton to escape Ohio with a 30-27 win. Toledo, on the other hand, fell to Northern Illinois 22-20 on a made field goal with just 30 seconds left in the contest. So why am I talking about this game? Well, the last time these two teams hooked up, it was a 24-23 Toledo win and it was chaos from the opening kick. Toledo turned the ball over four times and still managed a one-point win as they scored the go-ahead touchdown with just a minute left in the contest. I highly doubt Central Michigan has forgotten about that game, and I see them getting revenge here today. Look, I like the Chipps’ offense more than the Rockets. The Chipps have talent, and getting five points on their home soil is disrespectful.
Pick: Central Michigan +5
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