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Nate’s Pick Six: Florida State, Michigan Pass Muster

The Skinny

Nate: Your crack(pot) analysts are back at it with red-hot takes on a few games you may actually want to watch and several you probably should just go mow your lawn before halftime. Florida State fans: get those beers on ice, it’s gonna be a long Saturday. 

Jack: The better half of your crack team of major morons is jumping in the fun to give you more suspect picks for your sunny Saturday. The good news: I went 3-2 last week and can feel a once in a lifetime scorcher brewing. The bad news: Nate keeps picking teams like James Madison to try and make me look stupid. Since I’m perfectly capable of that on my own, let’s jump right in.

#22 Wake Forest at #23 Florida State (-7)

Saturday 10/1 3:30 PM EST ABC

Nate: This is a massive spot for Florida State to prove they are for real after destroying Boston College last week 44-14. Wake Forest gave it everything they had and still came up short against a Clemson team that shredded the defense. 

Florida State has a pretty good pass defense, but Sam Hartman is a level of quarterback they haven’t encountered yet. Ultimately, I think this game is decided by the Florida State offense. Wake Forest looked vulnerable on defense against Clemson. Jordan Travis and Co. should be able to exploit this defense through the air, and they should be able to move the ball on the ground when they need to. 

We need to find some winners and soon, otherwise my creditors might finally catch up with me. Let’s start here. Pick: Florida State -7.

Jack: Wake Forest has clocked two consecutive wins against the Seminoles the last two years. But this isn’t your step-sister’s ‘Noles. We doubted their abilities last week and they burned us on a Friday night. 

Both of these offenses are very efficient. 

Sam Hartman runs a mesh-RPO scheme at Wake Forest. He finds success using his athleticism to make the right read, control the clock, and find the end zone. 

Florida State likes to score early and often. Jordan Travis has 945 passing yards this season with 5 passing touchdowns. If they can do it through the air, they will. 

Wake hasn’t shown much of an ability to stop the pass, so seven doesn’t feel like much to give. 

The problem centers around Hurricane Ian. Florida State is providing tickets to Hurricane Ian evacuees. It’s going to be an emotional game. Many of the players will have family who have been devastated by the damage. While that can be a good motivating factor, I’m thinking this is too much of a distraction for FSU. Pick: Wake Forest +7.

Watch Mike Norvell’s press conference after the Boston College win below.

#4 Michigan at Iowa (+11, o/u 42)

Saturday 10/1 12:00 PM EST FOX

Nate: The Hawkeyes tend to be unusually game against highly ranked opponents at home, and the home field advantage for them is real and they showed it by beating Penn State in a thriller last year. This is a defense that can definitely hang with Michigan and keep them competitive. 

Michigan hasn’t had to show much yet and the offense has been very good; however, their schedule is uber-soft, so it’s hard to put much weight in those performances. Iowa will probably have trouble scoring, but that’s nothing new for them. I don’t think we see a blow out like the last time these two teams matched up against each other when Michigan won the Big 10 Championship in a noncompetitive 42-3 drubbing. 

This game is shaping up to be one that will probably not be very fun to watch as both teams may struggle to get much going on offense. For those reasons I think that Iowa is the play with the points. Take the under for good measure. Pick: Iowa +11. Under Total Points +/- 42

Jack: Iowa’s offense is ranked 101st in the country. They average 232.5 yards per game, which makes them the worst offense in America. The UMass Minuteman have a better chance of moving the ball.

Nate is thinking that this is all a fluke, that 11 is too many points to give in a rivalry like this, that the Hawkeyes have to show up at some point. He’s wrong. 

The Iowa defense could be better than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and they’d still lose to Michigan. Please don’t take those points. This is a trap game. Take the under and hope Michigan only scores 41. Pick: Michigan -11. Under Total Points +/- 42.. 

#10 NC State at #5 Clemson (-7)

Saturday 10/1 7:30 PM EST ABC

Nate: Look at us! Ranked teams playing in prime time! 

Usually your intrepid analysts are scouring the depths of ESPN3 during some of these time slots, but we’re picking fun games this week (mostly). 

These are two undefeated teams with big aspirations. Around here, we’ve been liking what NC State has been building for a while, and that’s not changing. Clemson showed real vulnerabilities on defense against Wake last week, and the Wolfpack should be able to exploit them similarly. It was an emotional win for Clemson in a double-OT shootout and the team is classically primed for a little bit of a letdown both physically and emotionally, so this matchup couldn’t come at a worse time for them. NC State on the other hand has pretty much been on cruise control for the last three weeks after their season-opening scare against ECU. 

This game means a ton for NC State. Pick: NC State +7

Jack: I cannot believe this line is seven. This is a gift for anyone who has been paying attention to the ACC this year. 

Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei doesn’t pass the eye test for me. Yes, yes, I know he cut up that Wake Forest secondary. But NC State is not your great-uncle’s Wake Forest. These Wolfpack DB’s are wasps and they force a ton of turnovers. 

Pay attention to the matchup in the trenches as well. Clemson has an extremely talented defensive front in Brian Bresee, K.J. Henry, and Tyler Davis, but NC State has some of the best offensive linemen in the country. Grant Gibson in particular is a beast up front. Some might say that the Wolfpack aren’t ready for the moment. I disagree. I think they cover easily. This game is going to be close. Pick: NC State +7

Texas State at James Madison University (-22)

Saturday 10/1 1:30 PM EST ESPN+

Nate: All right, after three highly anticipated breakdowns between ranked teams, we are here now, scratching that sick degenerate itch, so get that ESPN+ app fired up for this extremely awkward time-slot game. 

As remnants of Hurricane Ian travel up the eastern seaboard, this game will likely feature some “football weather.” It’s figuring to be cold, windy, and rainy in Harrisonburg, VA. 

James Madison is coming off a huge win after upsetting Appalachian State. This is massive for a program just making its way to the FBS-level this year. I’m not going to sit here and tell you Texas State is good, they’re not. The one thing they do relatively well though is defend against the pass. 

The win for James Madison last week was improbable, and probably not quite indicative of their play. This is a classic letdown spot for JMU after a huge win, playing an opponent they won’t be taking seriously. Add those considerations to the weather this weekend, and 22 points is just way too many to lay here. Pick: Texas State +22

Jack: You had me at “football weather.” I’ll take the under. Pick: Under Total Points +/- 51.5.

Iowa State at Kansas (+3)

Saturday 10/1 3:30 PM EST ESPN2

Nate: This is the week when Jalon Daniels finally loses, and I can stop being angry about losing bets against Kansas. They’re finally playing a real defense as the Cyclones enter this game with the best rush defense in the conference. 

Kansas thrives in shootouts, but Iowa State will not oblige them the way previous opponents have. Iowa State is bringing a defense that should slow the Jayhawks down considerably. The Cyclones aren’t flashy, but they should be able to move the ball against a pretty porous Kansas team. You already knew where I was going with this, just like every other week when I complain about Kansas. Pick: Cyclones -3

Jack: This is not Nate’s best take. He’s angry at the Kansas Jayhawks and Jalon Daniels for squeaking through a cover in the Duke game. He’s not a believer. He says Lawrence is overrated. I’m here to tell you differently. Jalon Daniels is a playmaker. 

The Cyclones are a middle-of-the-road Big 12 team. They beat Iowa 10-7. Wow. Sure, they feature more playmakers on the defense than Jalon Daniels saw last week against Duke, but they haven’t really beaten anyone I respect. 

Nate is going to whiff again. The guy can’t see Kansas clearly. Conquer your anger, Nate. Pick: Kansas +3

Michigan State at Maryland (-8)

Saturday 10/1 3:30 PM EST FOX SPORTS 1

Nate: This is that one weird Big Ten game that pretty much nobody will care about, and your friends are going to ask you to change the channel to something else. Be strong, we have money to make here. 

At this moment in the season, there isn’t much good to say about the state of Sparty football. They sucked against Minnesota. But this is a new week. Maryland’s quarterback, Taulia Tagovailoa, has been stellar against bad teams, but he’s struggled when playing decent defenses. The Spartans have a decent defense, so they should be able to slow him down. Pair this with Michigan State’s ability to run the ball, and we could have an upset brewing. I cannot trust this Maryland team, and this line is partially a reaction to how bad they looked in their 34-7 loss against Minnesota. New week, new matchup, new team. At least that’s what I told myself to keep from vomiting after submitting this bet. Pick: Sparty +8

Jack: I don’t really know what Nate means when he says that Michigan State has the ability to run the ball. They don’t have the ability to do much of anything. Sparty looked embarrassing the last two weeks. 

When they lost to Minnesota, my lone Sparty fan took to the bottle and posted “Fire Mel Tucker” on every social media platform. When I picked him up from the bar, he kept muttering “freaking Mel Tucker.” Check on your friends in Michigan. 

Even so, I agree with Nate. This line is an overreaction to two horrible games from the Spartans. The problem with that analysis is that Washington and Minnesota are very good. Sparty is not. But they aren’t going to get waxed by Maryland. They’ll lean on the defense to force the Terps to make mistakes and control the clock enough to keep it safe. Don’t overreact. Take Michigan State. Pick: Michigan State +8


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