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College Football Week 12 Picks

College Football: Week 11 was a terrible week overall. We went 1-4 on the week. There’s no getting around it. It was a bad week but we still hold a winning record on the season at 26-25.

Our lone victory of the week was Maine over UMASS. The Black Bears fell behind 10-0, only to score the final 35 points in a landslide victory. We are now 4-0 betting against UMASS on the season.

The other games didn’t turn out so well. #11 Texas A&M left the offense in College Station, as the host Rebels piled-up over 400 yards of offense in the first half, en route to a 10-point home victory. South Carolina’s rally fell short in a three-point loss at Mizzou. Oklahoma’s offense never got going against Baylor, and Penn State gave up a late GW TD to Michigan.

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A Look Ahead to Week 12

Week 11 has a solid slate, much like the previous two weeks. #7 Michigan State will play #4 Ohio State at the Horse shoe. #10 Wake Forest travels to Clemson to play the 7-3 Tigers. Iowa State will play #13 Oklahoma in Norman. #21 Arkansas will play #2 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and #23 Utah closes the day hosting the #3 Oregon Ducks.

We were the kiss of death last week for A&M and Oklahoma on their road quests. This week, we’re going a different route, except for UMASS. We are going back to that well once again.

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

 

UMASS at Army -35.5

Here we are again, staring at a UMASS spread, sharpening our utensils for another feast. Last week, the Minutemen were soundly beaten by mediocre FCS Maine. This week, they face likely the most disciplined team in all of college football. The spread is quite heavy for a team like Army, but they had no issues destroying Bucknell last week, 63-10. Yes, Bucknell is comparable to UMASS.

UMASS has lost five of their nine games this season by at least 38 points. They are undisciplined and offensively (and defensively) inept. As weak as Army has been in pass defense this season (see Wake Forest game), the inept passing proficiency of UMASS should create a few opportunities for this game to snowball even further towards Army.

In the betting world, this line is probably higher than it should be. Army’s secondary and UMASS’ tendencies to pass the ball indicate there is opportunity here for UMASS. Also, the books hate to love over and over on the same teams.

Even if this game was shifted about 7.5 points from where it probably should be, there’s little reason to believe in UMASS this week. Army is far too disciplined on offense and UMASS isn’t proficient enough on offense to stay within 35.

Army 45 UMASS 7

 

Texas +2.5 at West Virginia

We whiffed earlier in the year on Texas against Arkansas. This time around, we know who Texas is. They are a talented offensive team, who tends to deflate as the game goes on. They are also a team with a wildly inconsistent defense. Last week, the Longhorns trailed 35-14 to Kansas, before rallying and eventually losing 57-56 on OT. Last week was rock bottom and the only way to go from there is up.

West Virginia has had an odd year, like Texas. They beat Virginia Tech, Iowa State, and TCU but have been crushed by Baylor, lost to Texas Tech, and were nearly shutout against Oklahoma State. The odd part is, they aren’t very good from a talent perspective. Gone are the days of Geno Smith, Tayvon Austin and Stedman Bailey putting up 500 yards of offense per week.

Fun Fact: Texas is 4-2 at WVU.

This game is a contrarian pick, for sure. WVU has a more proven defense, but they’ve only managed to score more than 29 points in just one Big 12 game this season. I expect the balance of the Texas offense will cause some issues for WVU on defense and anticipate Texas will have their own moments on defense to put last week’s nightmare performance to bed. Bounce-back Texas game incoming!

Texas 38 West Virginia 31

 

Iowa State at #13 Oklahoma -3

As it turns out, one bad finger injury was all it took to derail Oklahoma’s quest for the CFP. Last week, the Sooners couldn’t get their offense going against Baylor. Now, the Sooners have an opportunity to avenge their regular season loss to Iowa State from last season.

Iowa State lost last week on a 63 yard field goal against Texas Tech. They have been solid defensively this season, but have yet to see a QB as dynamic as Caleb Williams. The question you have to ask yourself is, when the play breaks down, are the defenders going to key-in on the WRs breaking off their routes? The other question is, do you want to face Oklahoma after a bad loss?

With Caleb Williams healthy this week, the Sooners and Williams should be able to circumvent the challenging ISU pass rush and turn those into big plays downfield. Oklahoma has the size up front to match Iowa State on both sides of the ball and the talent to win the individual battles.

Oklahoma 41 Iowa State 20

 

Old Dominion +3.5 at MTSU

By the naked eye, this looks like a bad matchup for Old Dominion. It’s a road game against a team with a better record and a better QB. However, the matchup is actually quite nice when you see the run vs pass breakdown. MTSU is weak defending the run, where ODU is very strong. MTSU is also very strong in the pass, where ODU happens to be better defending.

MTSU is not a great team by any means. However, they have some serious flaws with their team. Disguised by an efficient and safe passing game, the dirty secret of MTSU is their schedule. Big wins against Monmouth, FIU, and UCONN really dragged their overall stats in a positive direction. The reality is, ODU has a poor run defense, but MTSU is awful at running the ball.

I expect MTSU will run the ball a little more in this game, but ODU should have less trouble stopping the Blue Raiders and an easier time on the other side of the ball. In a game of matchup-based execution, ODU checks all the boxes this week as a sneaky pick. MTSU also has just a passer rating of 26.4 under pressure, so the blueprint is there for ODU.

Old Dominion 27 MTSU 23

 

Appalachian State -9.5 at Troy

This is a heat-check pick. Over the last month, App St took down undefeated Coastal Carolina and thumped three other teams. They are alone atop the East in the Sun Belt and look amazing as of late. Over this stretch, they have scored 42 PPG and allowed just 19 PPG. In order to get back to the Sun Belt title game, App St knows they must take down Troy and Ga St to close the season.

Troy has lost two of their last three games. They have had some issues on defense since Week 3. After not surrendering more than 23 points in any of their first three games, the Trojans have given up at least 23 in each of their last seven games (31.5 PPG last 3 games). As things are, they only average 357 yards of offense per game, with a negative EPA both rushing and passing.

The advanced stats backup App St even more. App State has a better passer rating under pressure (91 to 64), a better big time throw pct (6.6% to 3.9%), and a lower turnover-worthy play pct (2.87% to 3.44%).

Appalachian State 38 Troy 17

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