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Senior College Football Columnist

This week's picks: Spartans step up, 'Noles keep rolling and Mountaineers start Big 12 era with W

I had a decent week, going 11-8 against the spread. Still, it has been a dismal opening month where I'm eight under .500. (Want actual wisdom? Check out Dodd's picks. He's 10 over .500.) The good: Picking K-State to give OU problems. The bad: Picking Cal to hang with Southern California. The ugly: Picking UVA to give TCU some problems. Here are this week's guesses:

Stanford 28, Washington 24: Josh Nunes' first road test comes in a place that can get really, really loud. Still, I think the more physical team emerges with the W. Steve Sarkisian's team is No. 83 in run defense and No. 98 in sacks allowed, and anyone who saw the USC-Stanford game knows how capable the Cardinal front seven is.

West Virginia 42, Baylor 28: Quite a bit of crossover on these staffs. I'm going with the Mountaineers, who have the more experienced QB with the home-field edge.

Clemson 35, Boston College 17: The Eagles have struggled to get pressure and penetration (No. 101 in sacks and No. 117 in TFLs). That means too much opportunity for Tigers and their superior speed to get rolling.

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Georgia 24, Tennessee 17: The Dawgs' defensive front is nasty, but I'm expecting Tyler Bray to respond after a shaky performance against Florida. He should hit some big plays with his gifted wideouts. Problem is, UGA has firepower too and UT has the inferior D on the field in Athens.

Michigan State 14, Ohio State 10: Both teams have outstanding defenses and limited skill talent. Braxton Miller has been a lot of fun to watch thus far, but I think MSU defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi can contain him and force some mistakes. Look for the Spartans' run game to do enough to squeak one out here.

Florida State 34, South Florida 20: The 'Noles won't come out flat against a local team. Too many people have them on edge. Plus, the Bulls have proven too sloppy with mistakes to pull off a stunner here.

Boise State 42, New Mexico 14: Bob Davie's team is off to a nice start, but there's still too much of a talent discrepancy with the Broncos. BSU's offense has struggled, but it should perk up against a very suspect pass defense.

South Carolina 42, Kentucky 13: Rival coaches say Jadeveon Clowney has made huge improvement this season and is downright scary, becoming more of a physical presence, sparking the rest of a loaded D-line. That's bad news for a Kentucky team that got shut out last week at Florida.

LSU 63, Towson 6: Les Miles won on the road in the SEC and still fell in the polls. That doesn't bode well for a Towson squad that comes into this game No. 118 in turnover margin at the FCS level.

TCU 35, SMU 10: Casey Pachall and his young crew of receivers are blossoming in Fort Worth and the Horned Frogs' unheralded linebackers also have played very well. I don't see Gary Patterson's D having much trouble with Garrett Gilbert and Co.

Texas 24, Oklahoma State 13: Nice test for young UT QB David Ash, who has gotten off to a fast start and not thrown any picks. The Cowboys do have some quality covermen. I realize UT standout LB Jordan Hicks is banged up, but I still think the 'Horns D will bounce back from a shaky showing at Ole Miss.

Louisville 34, Southern Miss 13: The Cards are cruising along while Ellis Johnson's bunch is among the worst in the nation in almost every offensive and defensive stat. Expect Teddy Bridgewater to light up the country's 118th-ranked unit in pass efficiency D.

Nebraska 28, Wisconsin 21: Bo Pelini's squad has really been tested once so far (at UCLA) and it failed, but getting rugged Rex Burkhead back is a big help. The Badgers have looked awful all four times out. I'll go with the home team with the more dynamic QB, especially after he just got called out by his opponent.

Alabama 49, Ole Miss 14: The Crimson Tide have shut down offenses with better talent than the Rebs have. Ole Miss' issues protecting the QB (No. 100 in sacks allowed) figure to be a big problem for Hugh Freeze here.

Oregon State 35, Arizona 30: Sean Mannion has been terrific, as has the Beavers' run D (No. 2 in the nation.) The Cats' attack offers different problems than Wisconsin or UCLA did though. Expect them to be sharper than they were in Eugene, when they went 0 for 6 in the red zone.

Oregon 58, Washington State 27: Chip Kelly's team is coming off a shutout of Arizona. The Cougars should have a bit more success passing than the Cats did since they rely on four-receiver sets that will test the Ducks' secondary depth some. The bad news for WSU: its O-line is as dreadful as its defense.

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