This season is unlike anything we have ever experienced. Computer simulations -- if that's your thing -- mean nothing with only a smattering of nonconference games between FBS schools currently scheduled and four of the leagues not playing any at all. Nevertheless, we must work with what we have.
I will use this space each week to tell you what I think are a few of the best bets heading into the weekend. I will also throw in an upset of the week, which will be a team that is at least a touchdown underdog that I am picking to win outright. I will also give you picks on other games involving potential College Football Playoff teams. Considering we are still relatively early in this strange season, I'll go with the top 12 teams in this week's AP poll.
Last week, I was 2-1 on my regular picks and hit again on my upset pick. The upset pick is 3-1 so far this season. No. 9 Wisconsin at Nebraska was canceled on Wednesday due to a spike in COVID-19 positive cases within the Badgers program, and the No. 19 Marshall at FIU game was postponed Tuesday morning, so we have 44 games to choose from this week.
Odds below provided via William Hill Sportsbook
Week 9 Picks
No. 3 Ohio State at No. 18 Penn State (+12): Penn State was thought to be the primary challenger to Ohio State in the Big Ten East, but that was before the Nittany Lions gave one away at Indiana. Now, Penn State is short at running back following the loss of Noah Cain for the season due to an injury. Ohio State looked every bit what we expected against Nebraska in its opener. The Buckeyes have won seven of the last eight in this series, but the last time the victory at State College came by double digits was in 2012. I might feel differently about this if PSU could have its traditional whiteout, but the stands will be empty. Pick: Ohio State (-12)
No. 16 Kansas State at West Virginia (-3.5): Every once in a while, I look at a line and feel like I missed a memo somewhere. The Wildcats are undefeated in conference play and a half game ahead of Oklahoma State for first place. The Mountaineers are undefeated at home, but those games were against Baylor (in overtime) and a 21-point win over Kansas, which is the closest the Jayhawks have played anyone in the league. It may not be a walkover, but I like the Wildcats. Pick: Kansas State (+3.5)
Hawaii at Wyoming (+1.5): Again, this feels like the wrong team is favored. Yes, Hawaii got its season off to a nice start with a win at Fresno State, which is expected to be down this season. However, Wyoming, along with Nevada, were expected to be the top challengers to Boise State, so it is no surprise that they played an overtime game at Nevada last week which the Wolf Pack won. Hawaii is typically not as good away from the islands, and the Warriors will be welcomed to Cheyenne with 40-degree temperatures and 20 mph winds. That's Cowboy weather, and they are the better team anyway. Pick: Wyoming (+1.5)
Upset of the Week
Arkansas at No. 8 Texas A&M (-12.5): This pick is more about Arkansas than the Aggies, who have played better since getting crushed by Alabama. Sam Pittman has done a great job getting the Razorbacks competitive right away in his first season at the helm, and Arkansas is a blown call away from being 3-1 and 2-0 on the road. The Razorbacks will show up and put up a fight. Pick: Arkansas (+12.5)
Other CFP candidates
- Boston College at No. 1 Clemson (-31) Pick: Clemson
- Mississippi State at No. 2 Alabama (-31) Pick: Alabama
- No. 4 Notre Dame at Georgia Tech (+20) Pick: Georgia Tech
- No. 5 Georgia at Kentucky (+15) Pick: Kentucky
- Texas at No. 6 Oklahoma State (-3.5) Pick: Oklahoma State
- Memphis at No. 7 Cincinnati (-7) Pick: Cincinnati
- Missouri at No. 10 Florida (-13.5) Pick: Missouri
- Western Kentucky at No. 11 BYU (-28) Pick: BYU
What picks can you make with confidence this week, and which Big 12 underdog will pull off a shocking upset? Visit SportsLine now to see which teams will win and cover the spread, all from a proven computer model that has returned nearly $4,000 in profit over the past four-plus seasons.