College Football Picks


By Ralph D. Russo - AP College Football Writer



College Football Picks: Ranking best ranked vs ranked games

You are going to need extra snacks. Maybe some of your kid’s Halloween candy.

The college football schedule on Saturday looks sublime. Seven games feature a matchup of ranked teams, and all of them have implications ranging from the College Football Playoff to conference races to the Heisman Trophy.

And it’s not just those seven games. College football fans have come to learn that often the best weekends are the ones without a bunch of high-profile games because that’s when things get weird.

There is potential for some of that, too: No. 3 Ohio State is at Iowa, trying follow-up last week’s comeback victory over Penn State; No. 5 Notre Dame, coming off two huge victories, hosts feisty Wake Forest; No. 10 TCU faces Texas, which has been oh so close to getting Tom Herman a signature win in year one; and No. 15 UCF tries to stay unbeaten at upstart SMU in a matchup of two rising coaches.

Sit back, relax and enjoy. Check that. It’s probably going to be tough to sit back and relax. Just enjoy. And go easy on the candy corn.

The picks:

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

No. 22 Memphis (minus 11 ½) at Tulsa

The Tigers are weekday warriors, now 13-0 in games not played on Saturday since 2014 … MEMPHIS 35-27.

SATURDAY

RANKING THE RANKED vs. RANKED

The day’s big games in order of most intriguing and potential for excitement

1) No. 8 Oklahoma (plus 3) at No. 11 Oklahoma State

For goodness sakes, it’s called Bedlam; the Cowboys are favored for only the sixth time since 1980, according to RJ Bell of Pregame.com … OKLAHOMA 42-38, UPSET SPECIAL.

2) No. 6 Clemson (minus 7) at No. 20 North Carolina State

Tigers have won eight straight games against ranked teams, but if the defending champions don’t make it nine they are pretty much out of the playoff race … CLEMSON 23-20.

3) No. 23 Arizona (plus 7) at No. 17 Southern California

Have you seen spectacular Wildcats QB Khalil Tate? Here’s your chance, though you might have to stay up late #PAC12AfterDark … USC 42-30.

4) No. 13 Virginia Tech (minus 2 ½) at No. 9 Miami

First place in the ACC Coastal and a straight shot to the conference title game on the line. Also, the Hurricanes are somehow still unbeaten … MIAMI 24-20.

5) No. 18 Stanford (plus 2 ½) at No. 25 Washington State

Heisman contender Bryce Love will be a game-time decision after missing last week’s game. If he doesn’t play, this gets a lot less interesting … STANFORD 31-27.

6) No. 7 Penn State (minus 7 ½) at No. 24 Michigan State

Saquon Barkley could use a big performance against a tough defense to bolster his Heisman case … PENN STATE 28-17.

7) No. 19 LSU (plus 21) at No. 1 Alabama

Maybe the Tigers can challenge the Tide. Maybe? … ALABAMA 31-14.

TRYING TO STAY UNBEATEN

South Carolina (plus 24 ½) at No. 2 Georgia

Bulldogs’ closest SEC game so far is 25 points against Missouri … GEORGIA 42-17.

No. 4 Wisconsin (minus 10 ½) at Indiana

Hoosiers are winless in the Big Ten, but the last three losses were by an average of six points … WISCONSIN 28-20.

No. 15 UCF (minus 13 ½) at SMU

In seven games this season, Knights coach Scott Frost has become the hottest commodity in coaching, but SMU’s Chad Morris is doing a really nice job, too … UCF 45-35.

UPSET ALERTS

No. 3 Ohio State (minus 17) at Iowa

Buckeyes QB J.T. Barrett ended last week’s game with a school-record 16 straight completions; the Hawkeyes did not allow a TD pass in October … OHIO STATE 35-14.

Wake Forest (minus 13) at No. 5 Notre Dame

Notre Dame has started a website to promote RB Josh Adams as a Heisman contender … NOTRE DAME 38-17, BEST BET.

Texas (plus 6 ½) at No. 10 TCU

Freshman QB Sam Ehlinger (concussion) returned to practice this week … TCU 28-23.

Oregon (plus 21) at No. 12 Washington

Last time the Huskies won two straight against the Ducks was 2002 and ‘03 … WASHINGTON 42-14.

No. 14 Iowa State (plus 2 ½) at West Virginia

Cyclones could hold sole possession of first in the Big 12, via tiebreakers, if Oklahoma wins Bedlam … IOWA STATE 28-24.

No. 16 Auburn (minus 15) at Texas A&M

Road team has won every meeting since the Aggies joined the SEC in 2012 … AUBURN 28-17.

LATE-SEASON SEC BREAK

UMass (plus 28) at No. 21 Mississippi State

Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has three straight 100-yard rushing games … MISSISSIPPI STATE 45-14.

TWITTER REQUESTS

Northern Illinois (plus 9) at Toledo, Thursday night — @nburzych

As is so often the case, first-place in the MAC West on the line … TOLEDO 31-24.

Georgia Tech (minus 9 ½) at Virginia — @therealdcunna

After 5-1 start, Cavaliers are now scrambling to get bowl-eligible … GEORGIA TECH 24-17.

Baylor (minus 8) at Kansas — @dtanner2194

Bears are the only remaining winless Power Five team and they are favored — which pretty much sums up the state of Kansas football … BAYLOR 31-21.

Florida (plus 3 ½) at Missouri — @FernParkGator

Hard to know what kind of effort to expect from the Gators … FLORIDA 35-31.

Northwestern (plus 1) at Nebraska — @Hey_TW1

Wildcats have won three straight to bounce back from a 2-3 start … NORTHWESTERN 24-21.

___

Record last week: 13-7 straight up; 8-12 against the spread.

Record this season: 151-49 straight up; 90-96-5 against the spread.

Upset specials: 3-6 (straight up).

Best bets: 6-2 (against the spread).

By Ralph D. Russo

AP College Football Writer