I suppose it was inevitable after last week's amazing schedule we get a dud of a Saturday this week, with only one matchup of two Top 25 teams. That one barely counts, since it features a quickly fading Ole Miss team headed to College Station to take on Aggie. In an effort to keep things interesting for you, dear reader, we're going to add a little extra intrigue with the picks today. For Entertainment Purposes Only, of course.
Through seven weeks, 14 undefeated teams remain in college football and quite honestly, it would be a shock if any of them aren't still undefeated next Tuesday. Almost all of them are playing one of the worst teams in their respective conferences, or in the case of LSU, a team from a vastly inferior conference. So along with my picks — and hopefully Jon will play along — I'll also predict when each undefeated team will lose. Or not.
I narrowly came out on top last week by going 6-4 to improve to 37-32-1 overall, while Jon went 5-5 to fall further behind at 34-35-1. On to the picks.
|Saturday, 11 a.m. McLane Stadium, Waco TX|
LT: If you'd like to watch an historically great offense face little to no resistance, this could be a fun game to flip over to should things go poorly in Austin. Baylor has scored at least eight touchdowns every week, and I don't see Iowa State becoming the first team to end that streak. So, can the Cyclones score at least 19? I kind of doubt it, and that probably wouldn't be enough anyway. Bears cover.
If Baylor's going to lose, it's going to happen in November during a three-game stretch that features tests at Oklahoma State, vs. Oklahoma and at TCU. It's tough to see the Bears or anyone else getting through the conference unscathed, but it's tougher to see any of those teams knocking off Baylor, especially since OSU and TCU haven't been all that impressive recently. So, I'm saying the Bears go 12-0, win a semifinal and then lose in the national title game....to someone.
JM: I'm going to let you in on a secret. In my top 25 this week, which I do entirely by resume, Baylor is... well, not in the top 20. I know, I know, that's crazy, right? But there's a reason; their SOS rank so far is abysmally bad. The good thing for Baylor now is that their pastry-filled non-conference slate is over, they've dealt with Kansas, and after this weekend -- which should actually improve their SOS, to let you in on just how bad it is -- the worst team left on their schedule is Kansas State. What I'm getting at here is that Baylor's going to start climbing out of that hole, and I will agree with Luke: they're headed for Glendale.
As for Iowa State... man, 37 points is a lot to ask anyone to cover against anyone. Look at some of the dominant teams of the last quarter-century, and you'll see plenty of instances where they went up against a pillow-soft opponent and only won by 25, or 20, or 14 points. But those teams weren't averaging over 60 points a game. Bears cover.
|Saturday, 11 a.m. Sun Life Stadium, Miami FL|
LT: If you believe in "Clemsoning," then Dabo Swinney hates you, and this would be a great week for it to happen. The Hurricanes aren't that good, but there's enough individual talent on the roster to put things together for one week and pull off an upset. That being said, I don't think it happens. Tigers cover.
The thing about the ACC this season is that it sucks. Clemson gets Florida State at home and won't play another team close to the Top 25 until the ACC championship, and right now there are only two ranked teams in the Coastal Division: #23 Duke and #25 Pitt. Picking Clemson to go 13-0 seems crazy, but I think it happens. Then the Tigers will finally face reality and lose in the BCS semifinal, probably.
JM: Miami's just not that good this year, and Clemson really is. I see no reason whatsoever why any sane person would take Miami and the points. Clemson does not Clemson.
The Tigers will end their season on New Year's Eve, because I can almost guarantee you that unless something strange happens the final four are going to be Ohio State, Baylor, Utah, and the SEC champion. That said, however, Clemson's very likely to get a beatable opponent in their bowl game, and may well end up 14-0 with nothing to show for it.
|Saturday, 6 p.m. Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge LA|
LT: Leonard Fournette will run for 200 yards, because that's what he does and LSU's offensive line is a lot bigger and better than Western Kentucky's defensive line. But here's the thing: The Hilltoppers have a pretty good offense, led by reigning C-USA Player of the Year, quarterback Brandon Doughty. He won't quite lead his team to a win, but he'll help WKU cover.
LSU looks to me like the SEC's best team, but they're nowhere near dominant enough to get through the West gauntlet undefeated. Look for the Tigers to lose Nov. 7 at Alabama.
JM: This game fascinates me. The idea that LSU could very conceivably lose this game is mind-boggling, but it's there. The idea that on Sunday there could be five Group of Five teams ranked is insane, but it's there. I'm with you; I think LSU wins, but the Hilltoppers make a game of it and cover.
I also agree with you regarding when LSU is going to lose, because Roll Tide and all.
|Saturday, 6:30 p.m. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles CA|
LT: This is as close as you'll ever get to free money in the Pac-12. A reeling USC team is favored against the Utes, who have looked really good against one of the toughest schedules in the country. Are you serious? This is the most egregious case of Vegas overrating the name on the front of the jersey I've ever seen. Utes cover.
I'm still not convinced Utah is good enough to go undefeated, even if it has passed some of its toughest tests already. Plus, the Pac-12 is weird, which is why I'll say the Utes lose their first game at home to UCLA on Nov. 21.
JM: You are learning, padawan. I am so proud. Yes, this is a mindlessly stupid pointspread. Utah's defense is just too good for USC to put up points against. Utes cover.
Unlike Luke, I don't see Utah losing a game before December. They might get tripped up in the Pac-12 championship game, though. But if we get all transitive, just remember that Stanford lost to Northwestern who got blown out by Michigan who lost to Utah.
|Saturday, 7:00 p.m. High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway NJ|
LT: The fact that this is ESPN's primetime game underscores just how terrible Saturday's schedule is. But hey, the Buckeyes have had some troubles putting teams away this season. Then again, Rutgers is really bad and lost 28-3 to Penn State, who lost to Ohio State 38-1 last week. I'll take the Buckeyes to cover.
It's quite possible Urban Meyer sacrificed a child to the college football gods and won't lose again this year, but I'm hopeful there is justice in this world and Michigan will be the Buckeyes in the Big House on Nov. 28 to crush the dream of an undefeated season.
JM: Normally, I would say "I don't trust Ohio State to beat anyone by 21 points," but this is Rutgers were talking about. Buckeyes cover.
Ohio State has flaws. But they just keep winning, and things do seem to be solidifying as the season goes on. Michigan and Michigan State are also flawed; the latter has exactly the same problem putting away teams that Ohio State has, while Michigan is still a bit talent-light. That they've fared as well as they have is as much on Jim Harbaugh as anything. If Ohio State survives Michigan, which I agree with you is very questionable, they'll win the Big 10... and then lose in a semifinal.
Five more unbeatens, because Jon has decided that yes, Virginia, he will play along.