I made a big mistake last week.
I got so excited to bet on NC State's 17 point line over South Alabama, I left them as a regular pick instead of inserting it as my Lock of the Week. So I would up putting BYU over Michigan as the lock, even though I didn't feel good about that.
It doesn't matter what you have for a gambling manifesto, you'll always keep learning lessons.
If there's one lesson that I learned, it's that I can swap my picks around after I make them. I can make something a lock that I didn't think was a lock because, in relation to the rest of the picks, it's a confident selection. Last week, I made two picks with the utmost of confidence - Notre Dame over UMass and NC State over South Alabama. After making the rest of the picks, I thought BYU would outright beat Michigan, but I messed up by not picking it with the point spread.
As it turns out, BYU wound up losing anyways. That goes to show that you have to remember - you're not picking the winner. You're picking the point spread.
Does any of that make sense? No? Good. I'm honestly just making excuses at this point for my second straight losing week. Let's just move on with the picks, shall we?
Last Week: 2-3
Air Force at Navy (-5)
It's Game One of the Commander-in-Chief's trophy when the Air Force travels to Annapolis to take on Navy. This game will be played at 3:30 on Saturday, and since Maryland is due to take the Mid-Atlantic's brunt of Hurricane Joaquin, it's possible gambling on this game is like handling nuclear waste with an oven mitt. After all, the great equalizer is really, really, really bad weather.
This is going to be a very even game. Both teams run the option and average six yards per carry, and Air Force at 2-2 has had a tougher schedule than Navy. But I think the Middies are better prepared for the elements, and I think a touchdown or two difference isn't out of the question. If the wind picks up or is impacted by the rain, the team that's able to be better will score more. I think that's Navy.
Northern Illinois (-2.5) at Central Michigan
NIU was totally, unequivocally shut down by Boston College last week. So they're going to come out incredibly hungry.
Central Michigan is 1-3 on the year after losing to Oklahoma State, Syracuse, and Michigan State. Their lone win is against Monmouth.
I'm taking the Huskies and the fact that they've won 10 games every year for the past five years. That counts for something when you're leveling the playing field in the MAC.
Florida International (+3) at UMass
I'm pretty much taking this game because UMass is awful, and I want to tell everyone how awful they really are. UMass played Notre Dame very tough for the first quarter and a half or so, but their game strategy idea of trying to get in a track meet with a CFP contender was interesting at best and idiotic at worst.
UMass can pile up points and yardage if they get rolling, but FIU's defense is pretty stout for a mid-level team. They beat Central Florida, 15-14, and they're only allowing 20-27 points in their losses at Indiana and Louisiana Tech.
Well okay Dan, that's great, but UMass can really pile up points, can't they?
For all of their hype, UMass scored 14 against Colorado, 23 against Temple, and 27 against Notre Dame. Over that same stretch, they didn't play defense at all. They should've been putting up 40 against either Colorado or Temple based on what people in Amherst said about them, but that wasn't the case.
So I'm taking FIU, even though this game is actually being played in Amherst. Again, keep an eye on the weather. If it's windy, that will ground the UMass air attack - and all but guarantee them a loss.
#3 Ole Miss (-7) at #25 Florida
This is a great opportunity for Florida, but I'm buying on Ole Miss as a championship caliber team. If they can take care of Alabama, they can certainly go into the Swamp and take care of Florida.
For what it's worth, Florida will only lose a couple of games this year and be bound for a very good bowl berth when it's all set and done.
LOCK OF THE WEEK
#6 Notre Dame at #12 Clemson (-1.5)
BOLD PICK ALERT!!!
Look, I think Notre Dame is very good, but they're going to Death Valley to take on a Clemson team realizing they have to win out in order to make it to the College Football Playoff.
But Notre Dame is dealing with mounting injuries. As we've learned with Boston College, that's not something you can just move past. Talent aside, there's always some type of growing pains. In a game where Clemson is actually favored, you can't help but take the Tigers in a virtual pick 'em.
That said, I wouldn't blame you for picking Georgia Tech next week after the Tigers win this week. #Clemsoning