Let me state that before I brag about how I was close to a perfect week last week, I did get one thing wrong. I said Memphis would keep it close against Ole Miss but ultimately lose.
Now that THAT's out of the way...
I came within Louisville-Florida State of a perfect week, and realistically, that pick many told me wasn't the worst pick in the world. It was really the first time the 'Noles looked like a Florida State team, and Louisville apparently isn't that good.
As for the rest of my picks, I absolutely crushed it last week, grabbing Memphis, Notre Dame, Utah, and Houston (who has been a godsend for me this year) for the best week to date. This is where confidence is booming and everything feels right—and also where you have to be most careful.
When you get too confident, you make some really dumb picks. You have to really level off the confidence by continually doing work and knowing what teams are most likely going to absolutely flush their game down the toilet this week. If you get too confident, you wind up making too many crazy predictions. If you make a crazy prediction, you're almost guaranteed to lose.
Perfect example: East Carolina is favored by three over Temple. Temple is ranked this week for the first time since Woodrow Wilson was President (no but seriously? It's been a while). ECU, though, is sneaky good and got their season back on track after opening up 1-2. They beat Virginia Tech and only lost by a touchdown to Brigham Young. So did they just beat up on bad teams like SMU or Tulsa? Or are they very capable? I don't know, but I don't trust Temple until after they beat ECU against teams like that. It's a little bit too tough to call. Stay away from that.
So without further ado, let's get this thing going!
Last Week: 4-1
#18 Memphis (-11) at Tulsa
Tulsa is 3-3 with wins over some really bad football teams. In their three losses this year, they were soundly beaten by Oklahoma, Houston, and (last week) ECU. Memphis, meanwhile, feels legit after beating Ole Miss. If Memphis is capable of beating a team that good, they should have no problem handling Tulsa, even on the road on a short week with the game on Friday night.
For what it's worth, I can't wait to see the race between the MAC and the AAC to determine who winds up winning the G5 spot for the New Year's Six games.
#21 Houston (-21.5) at UCF
I'm taking Houston, even though the point spread is astronomical for this part of the year. Why? Well, the Cougars are 6-0 and have won four games by 21 or more points. They've been destroying bad teams. Central Florida, by the way, is a bad football team. They're 0-7 bad. They lost 40-13 to Connecticut. They lost to FIU. They lost by two scores to Tulane.
Give me the points.
#3 Utah (+3) at USC
REALLY? Utah is in the driver's seat for a spot in the College Football Playoff provided they can keep momentum going in the PAC-12. They just beat Arizona State, 34-18. As I mentioned last week, USC is in a bad place after firing Steve Sarkisian. This is a listless program that I had high hopes for at the beginning of the year. Now at 3-3, they're a mess trying to stem the tide after back-to-back losses.
I think USC very easily could go out and win this game, but I just think they have some major issues internally that are causing problems on the field. They scored points against Notre Dame. But I can't justify taking them as three-point FAVORITES over the #3 team in the nation.
Hawaii (+7.5) at Nevada
Nevada is 3-4 on the season but just delivered a loss to the Wyoming Cowboys on the road. Wyoming was previously winless.
With the exception of their paycheck game against Arizona, the Wolfpack haven't beaten anyone noteworthy. They struggled to beat Buffalo. They pummeled New Mexico, but New Mexico, at 4-3, isn't bad.
Hawaii, for the record, only lost by a point to New Mexico, and even though their only non-FCS victory came in the first week at home against Colorado, I see this team as better than their 2-5 record would indicate. They took paychecks to go on the road and get smoked by Ohio State and Wisconsin. They were shutout by Boise State. In those three games, they were outscored 121-0.
But they've been improved the last two weeks. I don't think they're going to win this game, but I think Nevada is going to win by less than the point spread is giving me.
LOCK OF THE WEEK
#19 Toledo (-14) at UMass
I have been waiting a really long time to hammer the Minutemen with a pick. In true MAC fashion, I have no idea why this is only 14 points. Toledo is absolutely steamrolling teams this year in league. To imply UMass can stay within 14 is to completely look beyond the fact that Kent State just beat them 15-10. UMass is 1-5 with its only win over FIU. They are back to their old ways of not playing defense. Two weeks ago, they gave up 62 points to BOWLING FREAKING GREEN.
Give me Toledo. I'm looking back at Sam, and there's only one thing I have to say about this game to you...