If you survived last week without taking too much of a pounding, you're probably still feeling really good about your chances for the last month. If you didn't survive...well...don't read this and for the love of God, don't make any picks this week.
The last month of the season is always a mad dash to the finish. There's going to be upsets, big games, big losses, big wins, and excitement at every turn. The point spreads are going to be a lot closer once you hit some of the rivalry games. Records tend to mean a little bit less to the game, and the spreads become that much more volatile.
Last week, I survived with another 3-2 week. I fanned badly on the FIU-FAU game and put way too much trust in Syracuse to actually cover a 20-point spread against Florida State. Florida and Ole Miss saved the week, with Clemson winning an absolute shootout over NC State that probably shouldn't have been that close.
Kudos to Vegas for the Ole Miss-Auburn game. Ole Miss was favored by 7.5 and won by eight. Doesn't get any better than that.
So since I'm still riding strong into this week, I'm going to start out big and see where we go.
Last Week: 3-2
North Texas at Louisiana Tech (-30)
LET'S GET WEIRD. Louisiana Tech being favored by 30 should be enough to scare me away from wanting to take them. After all, a team seldom if ever wins by that many points. But North Texas is so bad, I couldn't help myself.
North Texas lost 66-7 to Portland State this year. Portland State plays in the FCS-Big Sky Conference. They're coming off a win over Texas-San Antonio, which nobody really saw coming, but they're heading to Louisiana to play a team capable of scoring points. North Texas is probably going to lose by a lot, so like I said, I couldn't help myself.
Take Louisiana Tech and sit back to watch the show. This is one of the few times where it's okay to root for a team to get absolutely destroyed.
Army at Air Force (-17)
Welcome back, Army! I haven't picked a Black Knights game in a while, but the 2-6 West Pointers are headed west to take on Air Force in their first game of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy series. This is a trophy set up to incorporate Air Force since the Army-Navy Game is as fantastic and traditional as it is. The winner of the three-game series wins the trophy.
Army enters after losing by seven to Rice but just two weeks removed from a win over Bucknell and a few weeks after giving a scare to Penn State. But the Duke loss makes me think they could really struggle in this game, and this is a huge game for Air Force. After losing to Navy earlier in the year, Air Force needs this win in order to still have a chance at the CIC Trophy.
The cadets crushed Fresno State and Hawaii in each of the last two weeks. A win over Army makes them bowl eligible, which means they're going to be all kinds of ramped up. I'm taking Air Force with the points in this one.
#22 Temple (-13) at SMU
If there's one thing that scared me about Temple last week, it's that they hung close with Notre Dame. That could lead them to being overconfident into tonight's game against SMU, a team that has a knack for hanging around before falling apart late. But if you think about it 13 points really isn't all that much. Temple should be able to nurse a touchdown lead over the Mustangs, then capitalize on a mistake.
As for SMU, this is one of those games where if Temple is as good as they looked this season, they could honestly get destroyed just as easily as they could hang around. Both recipes end with a Temple victory and the points.
#11 Stanford (-16) at Colorado
I entered this season really thinking Stanford was not going to be a particularly good football team. I was also wrong.
Colorado, meanwhile, is exactly who we thought they were. They're fighting for bowl eligibility at 4-5, heading into a brutal stretch where they'll play Stanford, USC, and Utah, along with Washington State.
I'm taking Stanford with the points because I really believe in the Cardinal this year; they've won me over. While I normally look at games like this and say that anything's possible, this is a game where Stanford loudly announces how good they can be. A one-loss Cardinal could win the PAC-12 and backdoor their way into the CFP race with the right bricks falling the right way.
Lock of the Week
Central Florida at Tulsa (-17)
UCF is a terrible football team this year and has a good chance at being winless. Tulsa put a little bit of a scare into Memphis and proved they're perfectly capable of scoring good chunks of points, going over 80 in the last two weeks combined.
If all else fails, I reiterate - CENTRAL FLORIDA IS A BAD FOOTBALL TEAM.
If nothing else, SCOOT AWAY YOUNG KNIGHT.