Pray for Us
Your frighteningly uninformed college football analysts are back for another week of wild stabs in the dark. We continue to plow through undeterred by lack of results. As they say, “trust the process.”
|Thru Week 9 Records||Wins||Losses||Push||Winning %|
#1 Tennessee at #3 Georgia (-8.5, o/u 65)
Kickoff: Saturday 11/05 3:30 EST, CBS
Nate: We’ll just go ahead and do the game that everyone who watches college football is thinking about because we aim to please our half dozen loyal readers.
Our very own Brian Butcher has a very thorough write-up on this as part of his Behind the Hedges series on all things Georgia, but around here we aren’t content with one very thorough and thoughtful analysis. We have to add our own mediocre opinions to the fold.
Ultimately, this may be a square bet, but I’m not sold on the Dawgs being this big of a favorite here. Normally, my contrarian brain would have me on Georgia 100/100 times, but I can’t do it here. 99/100.
The Vols are good and Hendon Hooker is playing like an absolute grown man right now. Football Outsiders rates this offense as second in efficiency behind only Ohio State, and this is without a doubt going to be the best offense that Georgia will face in the regular season. By nearly any other metric you look at, Hendon Hooker is elite. And he shows up in big games, which we saw when he erupted for 385 yards and five TDs against Alabama.
One area that Georgia has looked vulnerable has been on pass defense.
Anthony Richardson has struggled passing all year for Florida, but he managed to put together a pretty nice game against Georgia last week. If Richardson can get yards through the air, I have no doubt that Hooker will be able to do the same.
Tennessee runs a fast and aggressive offense and should come out with their foot on the gas pedal, which may unsettle this vaunted, but potentially overrated Georgia defense.
Call me a square, but I’m not laying 8.5 points against the best team in the country. Pick: Tennessee +8.5.
Burnt Orange is Ugly
Jack: Nate’s analysis is sound and reasonably persuasive. I’ve been off the Vols all year and have continually experienced the burn. There’s nothing worse than underestimating a good team week in and week out, fading the public, and losing.
I should take Tennessee, right?
I’m not taking those clowns now. I’m past the point of no return. They’ve cost me too much scratch, too much green, too many large ones. Besides, I already emptied out enough cheese to supply a local Taco Bell on the Dawgs. I will not falter.
I can’t get over the fact that Tennessee’s defense is awful. They rank 80th in the country, averaging 393.6 yards/game. Teams average 5.20 yards per play against this Vols squad. That’s a first down every two plays. Some analysts argue that UT scores so quickly that it’s impossible for the defense to get a breather. Maybe so. They still have to stop a potent UGA offense with the best tight end room in the country and a veteran QB at the helm.
What about UGA’s defense? They rank 4th in the country, averaging 262.2 yards/game. They have given up 7 touchdowns this year. Seven. That’s the lowest in the country by a wide margin. UT is in for a long day. Stick with the Dawgs. Pick: UGA -8.5.
#6 Alabama at #10 LSU (+13.5, o/u 56.5)
Kickoff: Saturday 11/05 7:00 EST, ESPN
Nate: This one seems straightforward enough. Nick Saban does that thing he does where he proceeds to steamroll every obstacle God and College Football can put in his way after a loss that will necessitate Alabama running the table from here on out in order to get into the CFP.
LSU stinks against the pass and that’s bad news against a talent like Bryce Young.
On the other side of the ball, the defensive line should make life very difficult for an LSU offensive line that is still struggling to find its cohesiveness.
Don’t overthink this. Death, Taxes, and Nick Saban running the table after a loss. Pick: Roll Tide -13.5.
Jack: This game snuck up on all the loyal SEC West fans. While everyone patiently waited for Bama to get back on track after an ugly game in Knoxville, Brian Kelly upset Ole Miss and put his team squarely in a position to win a trip to Atlanta to compete for the championship. The formula is simple: win out and you hold the tiebreaker against Ole Miss. If ever there was a game for the Tigers to get up for, it’s this one.
I like Bama in this game, but this isn’t your step-brother’s Crimson Tide. They are more heavily penalized than any other Nick Saban team in history. Bill O’Brien’s play calling doesn’t pass muster when compared to his predecessors. Saban looks tired.
Brian Kelly is 0-2 against Saban and neither game has been competitive, but I’m willing to bet Reverend K. can keep his team focused enough to lose by 12. That’s all I need with this massive spread. Geaux Tigahs! Lose by 12! Pick: LSU +13.5.
Florida at Texas A&M (-3, o/u 54.5)
Kickoff: Saturday 11/05 12:00 EST, ESPN
Nate: One last SEC game for the column, then we’ll move on to our typical riveting takes on the Big 12 and Big Ten.
To put it frankly, this Aggie defense scares absolutely nobody. And Florida acquitted themselves pretty well on offense against a much tougher defense when they played Georgia.
This is a Gators team that runs the ball very well and very often, which is going to put A&M in a bind sooner rather than later with their porous rush defense.
Not only do the Gators run it well, they are very capable of ripping off big plays to score quickly.
I think the wrong team is favored here, so I’ll bite on this line. Pick: Florida +3.
Both Teams Probably Stink!
Jack: I don’t know how a defense acquits themselves by giving up 42 points. What did Nate expect? 70? He’s just mad because UF covered and so now he’s ready to ride with the Gators. Compound that with the fact that he’s been fading the Aggies all year and I could have told you the man was going to roll with Gainesville.
I have no interest in the spread for this game. Both of these defenses struggle to slow anybody down and the offenses operate a fast clip. This game will look more like a Big 12 game than an SEC one. Take the over. Pick: Over Total Points +/- 54.5.
#4 Clemson at Notre Dame (+4, o/u 44)
Saturday 11/05 7:30 EST, NBC
Nate: Clemson just feels like a fraud team that will sneak into the CFP, then get their doors blown off by a good team. They dodged, ducked, dipped, dove, and dodged their way to an undefeated record while playing a significantly inferior schedule than most elite teams.
Simply put, they just look overrated as they’ve struggled to close out some pretty unremarkable ACC teams.
This total is low, the weather will probably suck, and both teams would prefer to control the game by running the ball. In a low-scoring, ugly game, I’ll take the points with a team that has the talent to match up with an underwhelming Clemson squad. Pick: Notre Dame +4.
Jack: Nate is about 0-150 when he plays weatherman. This is top flight sicko behavior when your buddy turns to meteorology to try and get an edge on a boring college game.
Do you like statistics? Notre Dame averages less yards per game than Buffalo. No, not the Bills. Simply put, the Irish can’t move the ball very effectively and I see no reason why they suddenly find God while facing a top 25 defense.
Whatever problems you think Clemson has right now, the defense is not one of them. Look for Notre Dame to turn the ball over a few times and implode when the moment gets too big. This is not an upset alert. It’s a blowout. Pick: Clemson -4.
Texas Tech at #7 TCU (-8, o/u 69)
Kickoff: Saturday 11/05 12:00 EST, FOX
Nate: TCU’s offense is ridiculous and they are going to get their points in a variety of ways that Texas Tech is going to have a tough time stopping.
Texas Tech hasn’t been electric this season on offense, but they do crank off some big plays and they move at an absurdly fast tempo.
This just feels like an up and down game. TCU has shown that their defense can be vulnerable to giving up big plays and quick scores.
I’m anticipating a track meet here. Pick: Over 69.
Jack: This spread should be 14. Texas Tech has been about as good as we expected, which is not great if you root for the Red Raiders. TCU is the best team in the Big 12 and keeps getting the snub from the talking heads because of their strength of schedule, etc. I’d probably lay 12 and be comfortable with it. This is going to be a blowout. Pick: TCU -8.
#15 Penn State at Indiana (+13.5, o/u 51)
Kickoff: Saturday 11/05 3:30 EST, ABC
Nate: It wouldn’t be right to have this column without discussing that weird Big Ten game that nobody really cares about. So here we are to talk about some more totals.
Penn State hasn’t been what we expected and Clifford has struggled with consistency at quarterback for them. All that being said, this is an excellent time for Sean Clifford to pop up with a big game.
Indiana’s defense, particularly their pass defense, is just horrible by almost any measure. I’m not sure that the Hoosiers are going to be able to get Penn State off the field.
This total just feels a little bit too low, and that may be a testament to how bad Indiana is on offense.
This feels like a game where the Nittany Lions get up big and Indiana is forced to try and air it out to keep up. That sort of script makes me think that the over is the play here. Pick: Over 51.
Jack: I will never stop betting the Hoosiers! Pick: Indiana +13.5.