Josh Kendall

Dangerous games up and down the college football slate

Alabama coach Nick Saban
Alabama coach Nick Saban AP

Last week was another great week for my straight up picks at 8-2. Against the spread, you ask? Let’s don’t focus on the negative, but it was another rough week.

This isn’t one of the marquee weekends on the college football slate, but it’s very big from the standpoint of teams potentially suffering devastating losses. Think the loser of LSU-Auburn is on the hot seat? What if Vanderbilt loses to Western Kentucky a second straight season? Is it possible Ole Miss loses its third game of the season, or that Tennessee loses its 12th straight to Florida?

Find out here (and when they play):

Penn State at Michigan (minus-18.5)

Nittany Lions coach James Franklin punted from Temple’s 33-yard line in a game last week. For that, he deserves to win no more games this season. He won’t win this one, for sure.

Straight: Michigan

Against the spread: Michigan

Mississippi State (minus-21.5) at UMass

Yep, this game is at UMass. If Bulldogs athletics director Scott Stricklin gets the Florida AD job (He’s the top candidate, according to an ESPN report), he sure won’t be scheduling the Gators to play at UMass. In this battle of South Carolina opponents past and future, the Bulldogs will enjoy some crisp fall weather and an easy win.

Straight: Mississippi State

ATS: Mississippi State

Pittsburgh at North Carolina (minus-7)

Panthers running back James Conner remains one of college football’s best stories. In the season after coming back from cancer, Conner is 33rd in the country in rushing with more than 93 yards per game. Georgia running back Nick Chubb had 222 yards against the Tar Heels, and Conner will have a big day, too.

Straight: North Carolina

ATS: Pittsburgh

Kent State at Alabama (minus-43)

Will Nick Saban take it easy on his alma mater? Probably not, but 43 points is too many to give away.

Straight: Alabama

ATS: Kent State

Vanderbilt at Western Kentucky (minus-7)

Yes, Western Kentucky is a touchdown favorite over the Commodores. If this isn’t Derek Mason’s last season, it’s his next-to-last.

Straight: Western Kentucky

ATS: Vanderbilt

Wisconsin at Michigan State (minus-5.5)

This is the first time these Big Ten teams have played in four years, and the Badgers are running into a hot Spartans team. Michigan State of late has added some marquee recruits to its blue collar foundation and looks dangerous.

Straight: Michigan State

ATS: Michigan State

Arkansas at Texas A&M (minus-6)

There will be two undefeated SEC West teams after this weekend – Alabama and whoever wins this game. With Auburn out of the mix and LSU an unproven commodity at this point, the winner of this game also takes on the role of “only threat to Crimson Tide to win the West.”

Straight: Arkansas

ATS: Arkansas

Georgia at Ole Miss (minus-7)

The Rebels have blown not one, but two 21-point leads this season. The good news is both times it came to a team better than the Bulldogs (Florida State and Alabama). The bad news is that kind of season, on top of a long and looming NCAA investigation, can eventually take the life out of the team. Will it this week?

Straight: Ole Miss

ATS: Georgia

Florida at Tennessee (minus-6.5)

The Gators players are talking trash and Florida coach Jim McElwain is laughing about it. This isn’t your typical lead-up to a big game. The Volunteers, who’ve looked shaky all season, haven’t beaten the Gators in their past 11 tries, and have significant injury issues on defense.

Straight: Florida

ATS: Florida

LSU (minus-3.5) at Auburn

Does the losing head coach of this game get fired immediately after the horn sounds? No, but it could seal the fate of one of these guys at the end of the season. The Tigers are 0-7 in their last seven home games against Power 5 opponents. That stat alone could doom Gus Malzahn.

Straight: LSU


Last week: 8-2 straight, 4-6 ATS

Season: 22-8 straight, 13-16-1 ATS