It’s Wednesday and you know what that means, it’s time to make some college football picks!
Before we get started, I can’t lie, last week was a bit of a rough one. The picks took several brutal beats, ranging from South Carolina covering against Alabama with 11 seconds left in the game, Arkansas scoring three touchdowns in the final few minutes to cover a 9-and-a-half point spread and Texas and Rice going from “under” (our play) to “over” with two touchdowns in the final 90 seconds of the game. I mean, it was just surreal. And it led to our first losing week of the season.
But now, as Bill Belichick would say, “We’re on to Week 4” and we’re on to this week’s picks. And I can’t lie, I’m feeling good heading into the weekend.
As always, the point spreads are provided by our friends at MyBookie – and remember, if you’re going to be gambling this weekend, go to MyBookie and use promo code “TORRES.” Do that and you get a 100 percent sign-up bonus. Which is pretty damn sweet if you ask me.
Also remember, that unlike other sites, I don’t pick all the big games – just the ones that I think are the best value. Therefore, if you’re a Michigan fan upset that I’m not taking a side on Michigan-Wisconsin, I’m sorry, but I just don’t see value there. Same with Southern Miss-Alabama, Miami (OH)-Ohio State and a few others.
Anyway, now that we got the small talk out of the way, let’s get to the picks! And also, make sure you’re following the Aaron Torres Podcast Instagram page as well where I post my picks each and every week.
No. 10 Utah at USC (UNDER 53 ½, now UNDER 50 ½): Friday, 9:00 p.m. ET, FS1
The over/under in this game has dropped significantly since the number opened, and with good reason: USC is probably a little overrated based on one win against a bad Stanford team, and they’ll be playing a stacked Utah defense this weekend.
Sometimes, it really is that simple.
Yes, USC is a little overvalued based off their win two weeks ago against Stanford. Since that game we’ve learned that Stanford is flat-out terrible (they got smoked last week against Central Florida) and USC didn’t look all too good themselves with a loss at BYU. Quarterback Kedon Slovis has exceeded expectations early. But he also threw three interceptions last week and looked like, well, a freshman quarterback in a hostile environment, for most of the game.
On the other side is Utah, which – at least defensively – is wildly undervalued coming into this one. If you haven’t seen the Utes, here is what you need to know: Through three games, they’ve given up a grand total of three touchdowns. And if that wasn’t good enough, one came late in a blowout win in their opener (after a weather delay I might add) and another on a 75-yard broken play.
Which basically means they’ve given up one sustained touchdown drive all season. Not bad my friends. Not bad at all.
Utah’s offense is the only thing keeping me from taking the Utes to cover, but regardless, this will be close and low-scoring. Get the weekend off with a bang, by grabbing the UNDER here.
Tennessee at No. 9 Florida (UNDER 48 ½): Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
To me, this game is really actually pretty simple. Tennessee isn’t as bad as people think. Florida isn’t as good. And Tennessee’s defense, which is better than folks realize, is going up against Florida’s weakness – their offensive line.
Look, there is no need to get into too many specifics, but I’ll defend Tennessee on this: Their defense hasn’t been as bad as many think. Take out one bad quarter against Georgia State (the fourth) and one play against BYU (a 3rd and 20 conversion late in the fourth quarter) and there is a chance they are undefeated. Florida on the other hand, can’t move anybody. The Gators currently rank 91st in rushing offense nationally, and their offensive line was basically dominated by the two Power 5 teams they’ve played so far (Miami and Kentucky).
In the end, I expect this to be a low-scoring, defensive struggle and something like a 23-14 Gators win. But the UNDER is again the best bet.
Washington (-6, now 6 ½) at BYU: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
This is the classic example of a couple of weird, early-season results impacting the spread in this game.
Washington is just 2-1 overall. But that loss came on a last second field goal to Cal. The Huskies also outgained Cal in that game, but that really isn’t the story though. The story is that the game was delayed three hours by lightning and didn’t end until 1:30 a.m. PT time. The bottom-line is that game shouldn’t have been played at all. Instead, it put a loss on the Huskies’ resume that probably wouldn’t have been there otherwise and down the line may cost them a shot at the conference title.
Just another day in the Pac-12, huh?
On the other side, there’s BYU. Yes, they are 2-1. But anyone who follows college football even tangentially knows that they won those two games in overtime. If it weren’t for a blown coverage on Tennessee they definitely lose that one, and it’s not like they were lights out against USC last week either.
So go ahead and take one team that isn’t quite as bad as people think, and take another that isn’t quite as good as people think, and what do you get?
A comfortable Washington win on the road.
No. 8 Auburn at No. 17 Texas A&M (-4): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
If there’s one stat I think about coming into the game its this: Since Jimbo Fisher got to Texas A&M, his defense (which is really “Mike Elko’s defense”) has given up more than 28 points just twice in 16 games.
Those two times: When A&M played at Alabama last year, and in that seven-overtime thriller versus LSU last year. So basically, when the Aggies aren’t either 1) Playing the best program in college football on the road (Alabama) or 2) Going to seven overtimes, their defense is lights out.
Now, why do I bring this up? It’s because I love this defense going up against a true freshman quarterback on the road this weekend.
That’s right, for all the hype about Auburn coming out of that Oregon game a few weeks ago, they could have easily lost that game. If Oregon converted a few plays early (they had a dropped touchdown, that ended up being a missed field goal in the first quarter, and also a fumble inside the red zone that was recovered by Auburn) Auburn isn’t even in that game. And even after all those missed opportunities by Oregon, if Bo Nix’s late-game pass falls incomplete, the Tigers would have lost outright.
Point being, I think Auburn is a bit overrated at this juncture of the season, and with a true freshman quarterback on the road, Elko and that Aggies defense eat him alive. Texas A&M wins this game comfortably.
Louisville at Florida State (OVER 61): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ESPN
Really, what this pick boils down to is this: We have two of the ACC’s best offenses going head-to-head in this game. And conversely, two defenses that can’t be trusted.
Look, I’m not going to sit here and try to say nice things. Florida State is a hot mess right now. Like, “Ronnie from Jersey Shore” kind of mess. This is a team that was driving to beat Virginia last week, got into the red zone and had a chance to spike the ball to stop the clock with just seconds to play and potentially win the game.
Instead, they didn’t. And when asked why, rather than take blame, head coach Willie Taggart said it was the offensive coordinator’s fault.
What a time to be alive, huh?
As for Louisville, well, say what you want about Scott Satterfield, and the fact that he looks like a middle school geometry teacher. That guy can coach football. The Cardinals moved the ball early against Notre Dame and put up a bunch of points against both Eastern
Kentucky and Western Kentucky last week.
I’m not quite sure who will win this game (I think it might be Louisville) but the one thing I do know is that points will be coming fast and furious.
Take the OVER here.
West Virginia (-4) at Kansas: Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET
To me this line feels like a total overreaction to last week’s Kansas win. Look, nobody loves Les Miles more than I do. It’s great that he is back in college football. And yes, that 48-24 beat down of Boston College last week was awesome.
It felt like 2010 all over again.
But let’s be honest here. Just because it was fun to watch Les Miles run up and down on Boston College, it doesn’t mean that it is reflective of some incredible turnaround by the Jayhawks. After all, this is college football… and weird sh*t happens all the time in college football. Remember, last year, Purdue beat Ohio State. Does that mean that Purdue was better than Ohio State? Or just again, that weird stuff happens in this sport?
The latter obviously. And I think it’s the same with Kansas this week.
Look, we all love Les Miles, but this is a team that struggled to put away FCS school Indiana State in Week 1 and lost outright to Coastal Carolina in Week 2.
Therefore, unless Coastal Carolina is an under-the-radar playoff contender nobody knows about (they’re not) I’m taking the Jayhawks to come back down to Earth this week, and West Virginia to win on the road.
Notre Dame at Georgia (-14, now -14 ½): Saturday, 8:00 p.m. CBS
Listen, I’m not Mr. Anti-Notre Dame guy. I’m not the dude claiming that “11 teams in the SEC would beat Notre Dame” or anything like that.
But these picks are about matchups. And I just think this is a brutal matchup for Notre Dame.
The bottom-line is that the one thing that the Irish don’t do well is defend the run. Yes, we only a two-game sample size, but the Irish rank 120th nationally in rush defense and are giving up nearly five yards per rush. Not good, especially when you consider that they are going up against arguably the best run offense in the country. The Dawgs are averaging over seven yards per carry – SEVEN!!! – behind their offensive line which is roughly the size of the Canadian Rockies.
To make matters worse, the Irish offense comes into this game banged up, with their best running back (Jafar Armstrong) out with injury, with the possibility that their top tight end and one of their better wide receivers are out as well. it’s so bad that the Irish moved a defensive back over to offense and he is expected to get carries this week.
Point being, Notre Dame already has a matchup disadvantage on defense. And I’m just not sold Ian Book will be able to drive the ball on this Georgia defense with so many limitations on offense.
The line is now up to 14 ½, so buy the half point if it makes you comfortable (I would in this situation).
But take Georgia.
They pull away late.