There were quite a few highly-ranked teams that got off to roughs starts last week, and Pick Six can certainly relate to their struggles. Going 3-3 isn't exactly an awful performance, but it definitely isn't the kind of success rate I'm looking for.
The good news is that it's just one week. I know that, in order to make myself feel better about it, I'm just telling myself, "There's no way you could have known, Tom. You hadn't seen anybody play yet! You just didn't have enough information available to you that would have allowed you to make the best possible choices, but you will this week. Also, you look very handsome today. Is that a new shirt? I like it."
Anyway, while I had an off week, our readers did pretty well. They nailed both Houston +10 and Florida State -4.5 in the Games of the Week and are off to a 2-0 start. So I suppose I can take some solace in knowing I have smart readers.
I'm proud of you all, but let's get to this week's games.
Games of the Week
Tennessee (-10.5) vs. Virginia Tech: It's hard to predict how things will go with the game being played in the middle of a NASCAR track, and I have to admit that after seeing Tennessee struggle against Appalachian State last week, I'm a bit hesitant in this pick. Not hesitant enough to avoid making it, though. The Vols definitely had their problems last week, but I don't want to overreact. It's still a very talented team, and now it's a team that could be looking to make a point on Saturday night. Plus, while the final score may not show it, Virginia Tech didn't exactly cover itself in glory last week against Liberty.
The Hokies won 36-13 but actually trailed 13-10 in the second quarter before pulling away. The Hokies also turned the ball over four times, and the offense averaged only 5.15 yards per play. This tells me that there are going to be some speed bumps along the way as Justin Fuente overhauls Virginia Tech's offense, and I believe that will continue this weekend against a much more talented defense. Tennessee 31, Virginia Tech 17
Twitter Pick: Virginia Tech +10.5 (56 percent)
TCU (-7.5) vs. Arkansas: Two more teams that had their own struggles to start the year, as TCU actually trailed South Dakota State late in the first half, and was tied with the Jackrabbits in the third before finally pulling away. Arkansas, on the other hand, needed a fourth quarter touchdown to put Louisiana Tech away in a 21-20 win. So, you know, each team seems to have some flaws.
What concerns me about Arkansas heading into this game is its run offense. It's not exactly a secret the Bret Bielema-coached teams like to run the ball, but the Hogs really struggled moving the ball on the ground against Louisiana Tech. Arkansas averaged only 2.7 yards per carry in the contest. Now, while the TCU defense had its struggles, they were mostly in the secondary. The TCU run defense didn't look bad.
So I think the best way to attack TCU is through the air, and I just don't have enough confidence in Arkansas' passing game to believe the Hogs can do it effectively enough. TCU 27, Arkansas 17
Twitter Pick: TCU -7.5 (56 percent)
Lock of the Week
Duke (-5) vs. Wake Forest: Wake Forest is 1-o on the season, and it should be proud of that. What Wake Forest shouldn't be proud of is the way it played against Tulane. The Demon Deacons won the game 7-3 and managed only 175 yards of offense in the process. Seriously, only 175 yards total. It was an average of 3.18 yards per play. The only offense to average less yards per play than that last week was USC ... but at least USC was playing Alabama. Now, Duke only played North Carolina Central, but the Blue Devils routed it 49-6; even taking the opponent into consideration, the offense still looked competent. So when I see this line so small for a game being played in Durham, it's really hard to go any other way. Duke 21, Wake Forest 6
Underdog of the Week
Penn State (+5.5) at Pittsburgh: I have a pretty simple rule when it comes to picking rivalry games. It doesn't work 100 percent of the time, but I've found it works out more often than it doesn't. I go with the underdog. Of course, that rule alone isn't enough to cause me to name Penn State my Underdog of the Week. This is more about how much the Pitt offense struggled against Villanova last weekend. The Panthers offense scored three touchdowns, but the longest of those touchdown drives was 49 yards, and even that one took 10 plays. All in all, the Panthers averaged only 2.5 yards per carry, and considering this is a running team, that's not a good sign. On the other side of the coin, I think Penn State's new style of offense could pose some problems for the Panthers stout defense. Penn State 24, Pitt 21
Over/Under of the Week
Vanderbilt vs. Middle Tennessee (Under 47.5): In times of trouble, people always turn somewhere for comfort. Some go to church, others go to therapy, and many more just head to their local watering hole. Me? I take the under in Vanderbilt games. You may question my beliefs, but they've been good to me. Vanderbilt 16, Middle Tennessee 13
Hail Mary Parlay
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 did work three times last year), but when it does, it pays off nicely.
Saturday Morning: UMass vs. Boston College (Under 39.5)
|Last Week||2016 Overall|
|Games of the Week||1-1||1-1|
|Lock of the Week||1-0||1-0|
|Underdog of the Week||0-1||0-1|
|Over/Under of the Week||1-0||1-0|
|Hail Mary Parlay||0-1||0-1|
Every week, you can count on me being here to make six picks for the upcoming weekend's college football games. I promise that these picks will make you rich beyond your wildest dreams.