First of all, Happy Thanksgiving and welcome to this week's Pick Six. It's a holiday in which we're all supposed to take a step back, look at everything we have, and be grateful for it.
I'm grateful for you, dear reader, but not as grateful as I am for a full weekend of football to enjoy along with all that wonderful Thanksgiving food.
And what's better than watching football and eating more food than you should? Making money while watching football and eating more than you should.
So let's get into the smart plays to make for this weekend -- the final full weekend of games we'll have this season.
Games of the Week
No. 2 Ohio State (-6.5) vs. No. 3 Michigan: This game is just so difficult to pick, as there are so many different factors at play here. There's the rivalry aspect, of course, and anything goes in rivalry games. Personally, I tend to lean toward underdogs in such games, particularly when there's nearly a touchdown spread between two teams as good as Ohio State and Michigan.
The problem is I have no idea who will be playing quarterback for Michigan. A few weeks ago, it was reported that Wilton Speight broke his collarbone, yet Jim Harbaugh has said all along that he is "day-to-day," and he was apparently practicing this week. So is Speight playing or not? That plays a large role in how I want to pick.
I can only go with what I do know, and if Speight really does have a broken collarbone, I don't imagine he's going to play. That means John O'Korn will once again fill in, and while I'd expect some improvement from him in his second start, that first start wasn't exactly encouraging. Michigan only put together two drives of greater than 40 yards against Indiana, and only one of them happened before the blizzard hit Ann Arbor. So it's hard to have faith in the offense.
Even if Ohio State's play-calling drives me nuts, it's a lot easier to trust that unit than it is the Michigan offense with O'Korn, so that's why I'm going with the Buckeyes to beat Michigan for the fifth straight year, and I'm taking them to cover as well. Ohio State 26, Michigan 17
Twitter poll: Michigan +6.5 (51 percent)
No. 5 Washington (-5.5) at No. 23 Washington State: The Apple Cup tends to be an entertaining game even when there's nothing on the line, so I can only imagine what's in store for us this year. Simply put, the winner of this game wins the Pac-12 North. The stakes are even higher for Washington, as a win here and a win in the Pac-12 Championship Game could send the Huskies to the College Football Playoff.
So what's going to happen? I wish I knew. It would make writing this column so much easier.
What I believe is going to happen is that Washington is going to win, and it's going to cover. Again, I tend to lean toward underdogs in rivalry games like this -- especially home dogs -- but even as strong as Washington State has been this season, I just think Washington's the better team. Plus, while one of the keys of Washington State's turnaround this season has been its run game, this is still an offense built around slinging the football. Well, we saw last week that Colorado's defense, with its strong secondary, was able to slow down that passing attack. Washington has a better secondary than Colorado does, and I think the Huskies will be able to do the same thing.
Washington also has a far more explosive offense than Colorado did, so in the long run, I don't think asking the Huskies to cover a touchdown here is too big an ask. Washington 37, Washington State 27
Twitter Poll: Washington -5.5 (53 percent)
Lock of the Week
Fresno State (+3) vs. San Jose State: There have been times this season when I've gone with a bad team as my Lock of the Week, and it has burned me every time. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson by now, but clearly I haven't because I'm sitting here trying to convince you why a 1-10 Fresno State team is something you should rely on. You'll just have to trust me here, people. I'm more than familiar with the bad teams of the world. I'm the guy that writes The Bottom 25 every week. Believe me, while I tell you that San Jose State is quite bad too, and even though it has a better record than Fresno, I think Fresno is actually the better team. So when Fresno is getting points at home -- where it's 4-0 against the spread this season might I add -- against a team as bad as San Jose State is, even if the Bulldogs aren't good, they aren't that bad. Fresno State 31, San Jose State 24
Underdog of the Week
Minnesota (+14.5) at No. 6 Wisconsin: There are quite a few underdogs I like this week, but this was the one that really grabbed my attention. Wisconsin is one of the best teams in the country according to the College Football Playoff Rankings, and I think that's affecting this point spread to the point that we can take advantage. Minnesota is not a bad team by any means. It's not ranked because it doesn't have an impressive win, but if we look at Minnesota's three losses, we see a three-point loss at Penn State, a seven-point loss versus Iowa and a seven-point loss at Nebraska. This isn't a team that gets blown out by anybody, and this series hasn't seen a final score greater than 13 points in the last three seasons. So even if Wisconsin is likely to win -- the Badgers have won 12 straight in this rivalry -- I expect the Gophers to stay within two touchdowns. Wisconsin 24, Minnesota 17
Over/Under of the Week
Georgia Tech at Georgia (Under 48): I almost went with Georgia Tech as my Underdog of the Week, but in the end, I just felt more comfortable going with the Under in this game. Tech's offense has finally gotten going in recent weeks, and when the Tech offense is working, it puts together long drives that chew a lot of clock. This week it will be trying to do that against a Georgia defense that has been effective against the run. So put all that together with a Georgia offense that struggles to score points a lot of the time itself, and the under just feels so, so right. Georgia 21, Georgia Tech 17
Hail Mary Parlay of the Week
If you aren't familiar with the HMP, a quick refresher: It's essentially a three-game parlay, but you only bet one game at a time. If the first game wins, you use the winnings on the next game, and so on. It's a play that won't come through most of the time (though it has twice this season, including last week), but when it does, it pays off nicely.
Saturday night: No. 22 Utah at No. 9 Colorado (Over 53.5)
|Last Week||2016 Overall|
|Games of the Week||1-1||13-11|
|Lock of the Week||1-0||5-7|
|Underdog of the Week||1-0||8-4|
|Over/Under of the Week||0-1||7-5|
|Hail Mary Parlay||0-1||3-9|