Senior College Football Columnist

Picks: LSU's Mettenberger to stay hot against Auburn; Bama, UCLA roll


I had a shaky week, going 9-9 against the line, keeping me at seven over .500 (33-26) vs. the spread for the season. The good: picking Texas Tech to handle TCU. The bad: picking Michigan to thump Akron. The ugly: picking Notre Dame to have no trouble with Purdue. Here are this week's guesses:

Clemson 27, NC State 20: Dave Doeren's off to a nice start at State and his team knows what it's like to knock off a top-five team at home (they did it last season to then-No. 3 Florida State). Look for the Pack to give Clemson fits until Tajh Boyd pulls the game out late.

Ohio State 59, Florida A&M 13: Doesn't matter who plays QB for the Buckeyes. The Rattlers barely managed over 200 yards last week at home against Sanford. Going to Columbus is going to be really rough for a team with a penchant for shooting itself in the foot with penalties.

Louisville 56, FIU 6: Two years ago, FIU upset Louisville in a game that didn't feel like all that much of an upset. Since then the programs have gone in opposite directions. FIU is a mess and just lost by three TDs to an FCS program.

Georgia 42, North Texas 7: Aaron Murray and the balanced Dawgs attack shouldn't have any trouble with the nation's No. 90 pass defense.

Washington 55, Idaho State 7: Steve Sarkisian's offense is rolling now since going up-tempo while ISU hits the road for the first time this season visiting a raucous environment.

Notre Dame 12, Michigan State 3: Pat Narduzzi is as good a defensive mind as there is, but MSU's offense is too shaky to overcome the talented ND front on the road.

Wisconsin 34, Purdue 7: The Badgers return home after a heartbreaking loss in Arizona State to face the listless Boilermakers offense. Purdue has been stout on D (No. 27 against the run) but the Badgers' ground attack, averaging a nation-leading 8.9 yards per carry on first downs, will prove too potent.

Florida 30, Tennessee 10: Butch Jones is now neck deep in the brutal part of his schedule and faces what should be an ornery Gators team coming off a bye after squandering so many opportunities at Miami. Jones simply doesn't have the horses yet to win in a setting like this. Expect the Vols to drop their 18th game in a row against a ranked opponent.

Northwestern 55, Maine 6: The Black Bears already own one FBS win this season, but Northwestern is a lot more dynamic than the horrible UMass team Maine beat on the road two weeks ago. Pat Fitzgerald's squad is averaging over 43 ppg this season.

Baylor 49, Louisiana-Monroe 24: I've been on the Baylor bandwagon for months, but I suspect Todd Berry's very experienced team, coming off a road win at Wake Forest, will hang around for a half or so.

Florida State 62, Bethune-Cookman 6: BCC is fresh off throttling an FBS opponent by three TDs, but the Noles aren't FIU. The fact that Jimbo Fisher can remind his team that their FCS opponent just knocked off one FBS program will ensure FSU doesn't sleepwalk through this one.

Stanford 24, Arizona State 13: The Sun Devils survived a controversial finish to beat Wisconsin while Stanford had an underwhelming showing against a suspect Army team. David Shaw's squad will respond well to the step up in competition.

Texas A&M 51, SMU 27: The Aggies are coming off a very emotional week, and now they face an SMU team that has looked really shaky in its first two outings, but is coming off a bye week. Look for June Jones' offense to do some damage early against the young A&M defense while Johnny Manziel and crew carve up the Mustangs.

Alabama 48, Colorado State 3: Jim McElwain faces his old boss Nick Saban, but he doesn't have the personnel to keep it interesting for even a quarter. CSU lost by two TDs to Colorado and got beat by a Tulsa team that lost by 27 to Bowling Green.

Texas Tech 39, Texas State 10: Last year, Dennis Franchione's team upset a rookie head coach from a bigger program (Tony Levine's Houston team) but I don't see TSU sneaking up on Kliff Kingsbury's squad, which has had a couple of extra days to get focused after beating TCU in prime time.

Miami 59, Savannah State 3: I realize the spread on this one stretched to 60 points by Wednesday, but no matter how dreadful the opponent I'm not sure Al Golden is going to run it up quite like that.

LSU 31, Auburn 18: Gus Malzahn's defense gave up over 400 yards to Mississippi State last week and almost 500 to a Washington State team with one of the worst O-lines in the country. I don't see the Auburn D holding up well in a very hostile setting against a hot Zach Mettenberger operating a more talented offense than those other two AU foes.

Michigan 31, UConn 7: The Wolverines looked sluggish last week against a woeful Akron team. I don't see two clunkers in a row, especially with them playing a team that lost by 15 points to FCS Towson.

UCLA 56, New Mexico State 7: The Bruins have settled down after a very emotional 10 days. Now they return home to face an abysmal NMSU team coming off back-to-back three-TD defeats at home to Minnesota and UTEP -- teams that have nowhere near the talent UCLA does.

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