It's Wednesday and you know what that means - it's time to make some Week 10 college football picks.
And with that, we have both some good and bad news.
The bad news is that last week was again a losing week, a frustrating cold stretch, the likes of which I have never been part of.
But the good news is this: We were literally one play from having a winning week, as the final play of the Florida State-Clemson game screwed both our UNDER bet of 47.5 and also the Florida State (+9.5) line. In terms of all time, historic, brutal beats, that is up there among the worst.
Still, you don't care about bad beats just like I don't care about your fantasy football team (sorry, but it's true) and so with it, the show must go on.
Before we get to the picks - a quick reminder: If you're not subscribed to the "College Football Betting" show with Aaron Torres, I encourage you to do so. Good thing is, I don't make picks on the show - just try to get you the best information you possibly can, going into a college football weekend. I believe we do that, and you guys seem to agree. Our numbers go up every week.
Also, as always, our point spreads are provided by our partners at DraftKings Sportsbook. DraftKings has been an incredible partner, and has a great giveaway for first time users that is listed below.
Anyway, enough with the small talk. Let's get to the picks:
No. 5 Ohio State at Nebraska (+14.5): Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, FOX
So long-time readers of the picks know that I used to have a strict "never bet in any game involving Adrian Martinez" policy. Put simply, I just am not comfortable in having money on a player who has, literally, made a career of making the worst possible mistakes, at the worst possible times.
But here's why I'm breaking that rule for one week: Martinez still makes bad mistakes at the worst possible times (see, last week when he threw four interceptions against Purdue, or a late fumble against Michigan). But now he's doing it in close games.
Nebraska's track record of playing in close games, but not quite winning them, really is staggering at this point (although again, probably due in large part to Adrian Martinez). The Cornhuskers are 3-6 this year, and here is how many points they lost each game by:
Illinois - eight point loss
Oklahoma - seven point loss
Michigan State - three point loss in overtime
Michigan - three point loss
Minnesota - seven point loss
Purdue - five point loss
I mean it really is staggering that this team has six losses - all by one possession or less. And it's not like they're losing to bad teams. Three of the teams they've lost to (all by a touchdown each) are in the Top 10 of the new playoff poll, and Minnesota is ranked in the Top 20.
Put simply, I don't think Nebraska will win this one, because, well, Nebraska.
But they are the best offense Ohio State has faced all year, and I believe will do enough to make the Buckeyes sweat, even if they don't ultimately win.
No. 9 Wake Forest at North Carolina (OVER 76): Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, ABC
Before we get to the preview, fun fact: This game is actually considered a non-conference game between these two schools. They are long-time rivals but were off the schedule both in 2019 and 2021, so rather than not playing, they scheduled themselves as non-conference foes.
Kind of cool, huh? Well yeah, unless you're Wake Forest and could probably use one more out of conference win to pad your resume for a potential playoff berth.
Either way, this number may seem high - but I'm still rolling with the OVER here. First off, these are two incredibly explosive offenses. Wake is actually better, putting up over 35 points in each of its games this season (they actually rank fifth nationally in scoring offense). North Carolina isn't quite as good as you think, *only* putting up 36.5 per game, but have put up at least 34 in three of their last four games.
More importantly, both defenses seem suspect, especially against the pass. Each ranks towards the bottom half of college football in pass defense (59th for Wake, 61st for UNC) and both defenses have struggled to get stops. Take out a game against Duke, and Wake has given up 35+ in their three games before that, and UNC has given up 35+ in their last three.
Oh, and if there are any more concerns about that over number - when these two teams played last year, it was 59-53, so yeah, the points should be raining down.
No. 13 Auburn at No. 14 Texas A&M (-4.5): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
So when I first started thinking about this game, my initial thought was that this game is exactly like that Spiderman meme you see on social media sometimes. You know, the one where the two Spiderman's are pointing at each other, because they're exactly the same?
Two low-scoring, ball control offenses that want to win with the run game and defense, and take the ball out of the QB's hands. So, just go with the UNDER of 49 in this one, right?
Well maybe, but instead I'm going to go in a different direction and take the favored Aggies here.
One, they're coming off a bye and should be refreshed after eight straight games in eight weeks to start the season.
Two, I think their strengths, play right into Auburn's weaknesses.
It's clear that Bryan Harsin wants to run the ball and limit Bo Nix from well, basically doing anything. And while it's worked the last few weeks, I'm not sure it will jive against Texas A&M, a Top 40 run defense nationally that's held three of its last four under 100 yards rushing.
As for Auburn, I really, really like what Harsin has done on the Plains so far.
But let's also be honest here: They beat LSU when trailing by two scores going into the fourth quarter, were outgained by Arkansas in a win against the Hogs and last week beat a banged up Ole Miss squad that was playing its fifth SEC game in five weeks. Even then, they scored just three points after half.
Jimbo Fisher's team wins, setting up a fascinating home stretch where they are one Alabama loss away from going to the SEC title game.
LSU at No. 2 Alabama (-17 - first half): Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
So anyone who has followed my work this year knows that I've been out on Alabama. I think they're a good team but not elite, with real holes that need to be addressed. Even in their last game before a bye two weeks ago, they beat Tennessee 52-24. But even that was a one-possession game early in the fourth quarter, before Tennessee simply ran out of gas.
So safe to say, I'm not in love with this Bama team relative to some others in recent years.
At the same time, there are a few reasons why I'm going to roll with Bama in the first half of this game.
First off, Nick Saban is basically lights out with more than one week to prepare. We all know that. Two, LSU is just as beat up, if not more so than Tennessee was two weeks ago. It's been discussed at length, but this team has two All-American corners (Derek Stingley Jr., Eli Ricks) out for the season, as well as their best skill position guy (Kayshon Boutte) and a bunch of other starting caliber players.
They were able to muster up just enough juice to beat Florida a few weeks ago, but I don't suspect they'll be able to do the same here. Max Johnson is still a limited quarterback and the run game reverted back to it's awful, early season state against Ole Miss a few weeks ago.
Finally, let me just say this: It isn't often, that Saban can go into his locker room and genuinely have motivational fuel for his team, but this week is the exception. Remember, the last time LSU came to Bryant-Denny Stadium was the famous game where Joe Burrow beat Alabama, and after the game Coach O gave an, umm, impassioned speech that ended in "Roll Tide, What? F*** you?"
You think that isn't playing on loop all week long at the Alabama facility?
The game total scares me simply because I expect to pull the starters late in the game, but I like the first half line of 17.5. I bought the half-point, just to be safe.
Tennessee (PK) at No. 18 Kentucky: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
I have a lot of Kentucky fans who follow my work, so umm, let me delicate when I say this: I have been kind of waiting for the wheels to fall off for Kentucky for weeks now.
Yes, the first half of the season was unreal, and Mark Stoops building Kentucky into - in my opinion - the clear second best team in this division is an incredible accomplishment. But this team has had two big problems all year: Their offense hasn't really been all that good. And they turn the ball over wayyyyyyyyyy too much.
It all came to a head last week at Mississippi State, where they turned the ball over four times and had just 216 yards of total offense in a 31-17 loss.
Really though that just continued those two trends all year. As a matter of fact, after hearing all off-season how different this offense would be, it's kind of staggering how bad they've been.
Here is their offensive output in the last five games:
16 points at South Carolina
20 points against Florida, but six came via special teams (so 14 total points from the offense)
42 points vs. LSU
13 points vs. Georgia (six came in the final 10 seconds of the game)
17 points vs. Mississippi State last week
So really, take out the LSU game - the one that literally cost Coach O his job - and this team has struggled to score points, and failed to move the ball against most everyone. Well, 17-20 points simply isn't going to get the job done against a Tennessee team that has basically moved the ball against everyone this year, especially when you turn the ball over too much.
This opened with Kentucky as a five-point favorite is already down to a pick 'em. I got a bad number, but I still bet it's better than what you'll get if you wait until Saturday to bet this one.
Clemson (-4) at Louisville: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network
So anyone who follows my work knows two things: One, I hate taking road favorites. And two, I have been ahead of the curve on how awful Clemson is this year.
Add in the brutal beat that Clemson gave me last week and you're probably wondering: "Torres, how the hell can you back Clemson here?"
Well let me say this: For as brutal as the beat was last week, I watched that whole game. Florida State finished with 20 points. Seven came on a strip and score on Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, and another seven came on this absurd play below.
Obviously that's a big gainer, but if Clemson tackles the kid, they probably hold Florida State to three points. Instead it became seven.
(By the way, when you add those two plays in with how that game ended, there were basically 20 of 50 points scored on completely fluky plays. The fact that game went over is a crime against humanity)
So that's part of why I like Clemson: For all the struggles of the offense, the defense is still elite.
Then there is the offense, and let me say a few things: One, they finally found a ground game against FSU, with Will Shipley rushing for 128 yards on the ground.
Two, if DJ can't get right in this game he never will, as Louisville ranks 122nd nationally in pass defense, and they also lost their best cornerback to injury this week.
I'm not going to go crazy and say I'm back on the Clemson bandwagon or anything. But literally every advantage in this one goes to Clemson.
They should be able to win by at least a touchdown score.
Indiana at No. 7 Michigan (UNDER 51): Saturday, 7:30 p.m., FOX
Look, you don't want to read about an Indiana-Michigan football game, and I don't want to write about it, so I'll make this one quick.
Indiana has played several elite defenses this year, here is what they have put up offensively against them: six points vs. Iowa, 24 vs. Cincinnati, zero versus Penn State, 15 vs. Michigan State and seven vs. Ohio State.
One, that's not a great look for Cincinnati claiming they're one of the best teams in college football. But two, Indiana simply can't move the ball against good teams, and they are down to their third string quarterback.
Michigan meanwhile is reeling off last week's loss to Michigan State, and I doubt they want to put too much on tape with a trip to Penn State next weekend.
Michigan wins somewhere in the neighborhood of 37-6 and the under cashes with ease.
No. 2 Michigan State (-3) at Purdue: Saturday: 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC: Michigan State's one true weakness is pass defense - they actually have the worst statistical pass defense of any team in Power 5 football (No. 127 nationally out of 130 teams). Purdue has an elite pass offense, but one that has sputtered the last few weeks. I was hoping this line would be closer to Michigan State being a touchdown or so favorite, but at three, I just can't convince myself to pull the trigger.
No. 17 Mississippi State at Arkansas (-5.5): Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network: This line seems fishy to me, with Mississippi State coming off three straight wins, and Arkansas three straight SEC losses. The Bulldogs as a touchdown dog is probably the right play, but Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom at Mike Leach's lunch last year, so I'll just stay away.
No. 4 Oregon (-6.5) at Washington: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC: Oregon seems to be playing its best ball of late, and Jimmy Lake's wild comments on Oregon should have the Ducks fired up. Still, Washington has the No. 1 ranked pass defense in college football and Anthony Brown has been mistake prone at times this year. I just can't justify putting my money on a team favored by a TD on the road.
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