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Senior College Football Columnist

Picks: Tide get payback vs. Aggies; Huskers to edge Bruins

I had a pretty good week last week, going 12-7 against the spread, putting me at 24-17 for the season against the number. The good: picking Michigan to handle Notre Dame. The bad: picking Texas to beat BYU. The ugly: picking Southern California to cruise past Washington State. Here are this week's guesses:

Texas Tech 31, TCU 30: Gary Patterson's D will be a much stiffer test for young Baker Mayfield, but I think Kliff Kingsbury will have him ready. It doesn't hurt that Tech has some keen understanding of the Horned Frogs system (former TCU assistant Trey Haverty now coaches for the Red Raiders.)

Oklahoma 49, Tulsa 17: Tulsa has been very shaky against the run in the first two weeks and the Sooners can -- and will -- pound the ball.

Nebraska 23, UCLA 21: If this game were in LA, I would go with the young Bruins, but my hunch is Bo Pelini's team will respond with a big performance.

Stanford 44, Army 3: David Shaw's team is too big and too good on D for this one to be close for longer than half of the first quarter.

Michigan 52, Akron 13: Devin Gardner continues to blossom as he eats up the nation's No. 101 pass defense.

Louisville 49, Kentucky 17: If you can't beat Western Kentucky, you're not ready for Teddy Bridgewater and the Cards.

Oregon 49, Tennessee 20: This is where things start to get really rough for Butch Jones and the Vols.

Alabama 35, Texas A&M 34: After a week spent behind the scenes with the Aggies (for an upcoming story), I was very tempted to pick the big upset. I'm convinced Johnny Manziel and the A&M offense are that good ... but the Aggies are young and will miss DB Floyd Raven, their most physical player and a great special teamer. And, it's really, really, really hard to beat Nick Saban twice in a row.

Florida State 54, Nevada 20: The brutal nonconference schedule for new Pack coach Brian Polian continues against Jameis Winston and the loaded Noles offense.

Washington 31, Illinois 24: I like the improvement the Illini have made on offense, but Keith Price has gotten a lot better too. Huskies DC Justin Wilcox should be able to slow down Nathan Scheelhasse enough.

South Carolina 27, Vanderbilt 13: The Gamecocks' athleticism and balance on offense will be too much for Vandy in hostile territory.

Ohio State 35, California 24: Urban Meyer has two really talented QBs and the Buckeyes have enough athletes to handle the trip west. Young Jared Goff and a gifted crop of young receivers will give OSU some problems.

LSU 48, Kent State 6: This one will be a rout by the second quarter. The Tigers will just run over KSU.

Oklahoma State 55, Lamar 10: Despite the distractions around the Cowboys' program, OK State still will have little trouble here.

Mississippi 27, Texas 23: The Longhorns are banged up and just had a staff shakeup. Hugh Freeze's team is banged up but has had extra time to get ready for this one. Expect the young Rebels, who already have a nice road win this year (at Vandy), to pull the upset.

Notre Dame 31, Purdue 6: The Irish had fits with the Michigan offense. Purdue's not talented enough now to make this one interesting.

Northwestern 44, Western Michigan 9: Pat Fitzgerald's offense shouldn't have much trouble against the winless Broncos.

Arizona State 24, Wisconsin 17: Neither team has played anyone close to decent this season. My hunch is to go with the home team since I think they're pretty close in skill level, it's not an easy trip and it's late at night Badgers time.

 
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