Week 9 College Football Picks: It's Comeback SZN, baby!

Updated: Oct 31, 2020



It's Wednesday and you know what that means - it's time to make some college football picks.


And I can't lie guys, the last few weeks haven't been pretty. After a scorching hot start, where I was a staggering 71 percent through five weeks, the last two weeks have been rock bottom. After having five straight winning weeks to start the year, I've now had two straight losing weeks and gone just 4-10 overall. Not ideal.


(On a positive note, my guy Austin has been killing his NFL picks - after going 6-1 last week. Make sure to check in with him every Friday)


Still, even after a few brutal weeks. I'm not feeling sorry for myself. It's like the great philosopher Vince Vaughn once said:


"Rule No. 76, no excuses, play like a champion." And god dammit, that sandbagging son of a b*tch is right!!!



Now, let's get to the picks!


As always, the bets are presented by my guys at MyBookie. If you're gambling this weekend - even if it's to fade my picks - go ahead and use MyBookie promo code "TORRES." Use the promo code and MyBookie will double your first deposit. So you want to put $50 on Ohio State this weekend, MyBookie will give you $100 to play with.


Here are this week's picks:


No. 5 Georgia (-15.5) at Kentucky: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network


Sometimes in life, you just can't overthink things. Just take a deep breath, say it out loud and the answer will come to you.


Like this game, for example.


Look, I love the Kentucky defense and how hard they're playing. But if you just do what I said, take a deep breath and say it out loud, how can you like Kentucky here? After what we've seen from Kentucky on offense this season, what makes you think they're going to be able to cover a little over two touchdowns against an angry Georgia team coming off a bye and embarrassing loss to Alabama?


It's not a knock. Just a reality. And while I know there is some real optimism about the idea that Joey Gatewood will start this week at quarterback (regular starter Terry Wilson has missed practice this week with an undisclosed injury) this is just a tough spot to throw him into, against arguably the best defense in college football.


Add in the fact that Georgia should be refreshed, coming off a bye and wants to get the taste of that Alabama loss out of their mouths, and I just don't see this one staying competitive for four quarters.


Could I see the Kentucky defense playing well enough to keep it close for a half? Yes I could.


But an entire game? I just don't see it. I really don't.


Ole Miss (-17) at Vanderbilt: Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network


On the one hand, there's an argument to be made that Ole Miss's defense is so bad that betting them to cover a big number is a bad idea in any spot. And normally, that's a sentiment I'd agree with.


But there are a few reasons why I actually like Ole Miss here - and not just because they're playing Vanderbilt.


Well, actually, that's a huge reason.


But there are several other reasons why. Here they are in no particular order:

  • As bad as Ole Miss's defense has been, it has actually been slightly improved these last few games. They actually outgained Arkansas two weeks ago (although they certainly weren't helped by seven turnovers) and well, we all know what happened in the Auburn game. I'm not calling them the '85 Bears or anything. But they are clearly improved from the first few weeks.

  • Ole Miss is also motivated. I mean, you saw how that Auburn game ended.

  • Lane Kiffin is pissed off - and you know how Lane Kiffin is going to take out that anger? By putting up a bunch of points against a helpless opponent.

  • Speaking of which, even in the best of times, Lane Kiffin loves running up the score. It's kind of his thing. Like you know how you look forward to that moment late at night when the kids are put to bed, you can just sit on the couch and drink a cold beer and have 10 minutes of solitude? That's how Lane Kiffin feels about running double reverses up by 30 in the fourth quarter. Considering this might be the Lane Train's only chance to run up the score on anyone all season, I expect him to take full advantage.

So yeah, that's a whole lot of words on Ole Miss, and then there's Vanderbilt. Besides the fact that they're just plain awful, there is something else to consider as well. They haven't played in two weeks, and the one thing that teams who have had to take extended breaks this season (Notre Dame, North Carolina etc.) have discussed, is how hard it is to get things ramped back up after being off.


Well, take that into account and remember that Vanderbilt already wasn't be good to begin with.


I'd grab this number now as it's been going up all week and will likely be higher by kickoff.


Arkansas (+12) at No. 8 Texas A&M (UNDER 54.5): Saturday, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network


Initially I was going to take Arkansas plus the 12 points, and if you want to do that, I can't really blame you. With the way their defense has been playing, I'm not sure they should be a double-digit underdog to anyone other than maybe Alabama in the SEC right now. Not to mention that this series has been insanely close the last few years. Of the last six games, three have gone into overtime and five have been decided by a touchdown or less.


My concern however is two things. One, this game isn't being played at Jerry World like it normally is, but instead, in College Station. And as we saw a few weeks ago against Florida, A&M isn't, ahem, afraid to play up its home-field advantage.


I'd also add that I'm a little worried about that Arkansas offense. For all the excitement following the win over Ole Miss two Saturday's ago, what's easy to forget is this: While their defense played great, their offense simply couldn't put away the Rebels until late. I can't tell you how many angry tweets I got about Kendal Briles play-calling during that game, tweets that were largely forgotten when the Razorbacks sealed the victory.


Therefore, while I could absolutely see the scenario where Arkansas covers here, I think the safer bet is the UNDER.


While Arkansas's offense has been hit or miss, their defense has come to play every week of the season. Considering that A&M - thanks to opt outs and injuries in their receiving corps - isn't particularly dynamic on offense, I suspect they will try to keep the ball on the ground with Isaiah Spiller, control the clock and win a lot scoring game.

Take Arkansas if you want, but to me, the safer play is the UNDER.


Missouri (+14) at No. 10 Florida (OVER 61.5): Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network ALT


Like Georgia-Kentucky up top, in this one I tried to not to overthink things too much. Missouri is actually pretty well. Florida is explosive, but their defense is questionable. Barring something surprising it feels we should get plenty of points.


Sometimes, it really is that simple.


Look, I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't all too crazy about the Eli Drinkwitz hire when it happened (in my defense, his name is "Eli Drinkwitz" how could I take him seriously?) but it's hard not to be impressed by what he's done at Missouri. Not only are the Tigers 2-2, but in their opener against Alabama, they played the Crimson Tide hard, late into the game. It's clear that whatever he is selling behind the scenes, the guys are buying into. I'm obviously a little worried that this the Tigers' first road game since the Tennessee debacle a month ago, but do think they're catching Florida at the right time.


Speaking of Florida, as mentioned up top, the fact that they had to pause football activities for a while does concern me a bit. But this offense was humming at such a high level, it feels like they should largely be able to pick things up right where they left off. I'm not nearly as sold on the defense, which wasn't really all that good even when they were firing on all cylinders. Missouri should be able to move the ball on them, no differently than they did against LSU a few weeks ago.


As things stand, MyBookie has this line at 13.5 but I bought the half point to make Missouri a two touchdown dog. I love them in that spot, along with the OVER of 61.5.


No. 3 Ohio State (-12.5) at No. 18 Penn State: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC


Admittedly, there are reasons to like Penn State here. They have played Ohio State tougher than anyone in the Big Ten the last few seasons and although they lost to Indiana last weekend, they outgained the Hoosiers comfortably. The fact that they're less than a two touchdown underdog, coming off a road loss and a 35-point Ohio State win is probably a good sign.


Still, I'm not buying it.


Look, as tough as Penn State has played Ohio State these last few years, this just isn't a vintage Penn State team, specifically on the offensive side of the ball. Not only did they lose their best wide receiver from a year ago, but their two best running backs have also been lost to injury over the last few weeks. Not to mention that their best defensive player (Micah Parsons) opted out of the season and never returned.


With all those offensive pieces gone, it puts a lot on QB Sean Clifford's shoulders. Even under the best of circumstances Sean Clifford isn't equipped to go score-for-score with Justin Fields. These are hardly the best of circumstances.


Therefore, while I could see Penn State keeping things close for a half, Ohio State simply has too much firepower to keep them in check for four quarters.


The Buckeyes roll out of Happy Valley with a victory.


Stay Away's:


Michigan State at No. 13 Michigan (-24.5): Saturday, 12:00 p.m. FOX: Michigan is clearly the better team, and Jim Harbaugh loves nothing more than beating down his rival. But the Wolverines are coming off a big win and could come out flat, while the Spartans are coming off an embarrassing loss. I'd lean Michigan, but not enough to bet it.


LSU (-3) at Auburn: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET CBS: I mean, have you seen Auburn? Like, literally at all this season? Every game has more twists and turns than a season of "Ozark." I just don't see how anyone who actually values their hard earned money at all, can bet on or against Auburn at this point.


Mississippi State at No. 2 Alabama (-30): Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN: On the one hand, Mississippi State has been hemorrhaging players all week. Just in the last 10 days they've lost two back-up quarterbacks, running back Kylin Hill opted out and three more players entered the portal this week. The Bulldogs are also coming off a bye, and this is Alabama's final game before the bye, so I could see them being a bit flat. I just don't want to bet against Alabama's offense, see them up 31-3 at halftime and feel sick to my stomach for the rest of Saturday.


Remember, if you're going to wager on these games or any others, make sure to use MyBookie. Put in the promo code "TORRES" at checkout, and you automatically receive a 100 percent sign-up bonus.

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