I'm not sure which teams I trust entirely at the top of college football at the moment. Even No. 1 Georgia, the two-time reigning national champion, looks relatively pedestrian. The quality at the top of the Pac-12 -- unquestionably the best conference top-to-bottom in the country -- is terrific but preseason favorite No. 9 USC still does not seem to have a functioning defense. No. 4 Ohio State passed a big test at No. 10 Notre Dame, but perhaps needed some luck to do so. No. 2 Michigan is at best untested. No. 3 Texas has played well, but I'm hesitant to say the Longhorns are "back" before we see a full season of success. The month of October can hopefully help us sort the wheat from the chaff.
Each week, I use this space to tell you what I think are a few of the best bets heading into the weekend. I also throw in an upset of the week, which will feature a team that is at least a touchdown underdog that I am picking to win outright. I will also give you picks on other games involving potential College Football Playoff teams. This early in the season, any major conference team that hasn't lost twice yet is technically still a CFP candidate. So, for now, I'll go with the current top 12 in the AP Top 25 rankings.
Last week was not the greatest for my picks as a couple of normally reliable teams were not so reliable. I will go back to at least one of those wells this week. I'm 7-5 on the season and the upset special is still looking for the first hit, so I'm due. Let's get to this week's picks.
Odds via SportsLine consensus
Week 6 picks
No. 2 Michigan (-19.5) at Minnesota
Michigan's defense just smothers every team it plays. You can't run against them. Last week, Nebraska was averaging 235 yards per game rushing and got 106 against the Wolverines. You can't throw against them because the attempts are usually out of desperation. Minnesota has not shown us any reason to believe it will be the first team to get within three touchdowns of Michigan. Pick: Michigan (-19.5)
Texas A&M lost starting quarterback Conner Weigman for the rest of the season after injuring his leg against Auburn two weeks ago. Max Johnson, the former LSU transfer, played well in leading the Aggies to a win against Arkansas last week, but Alabama is different. The Crimson Tide are coming off arguably their best performance of the season last week at Mississippi State. While Bama still does not look like BAMA yet, it's hard to trust Texas A&M in games like this. Pick: Alabama (-2.5)
Iowa QB Cade McNamara is likely lost for the season after suffering a leg injury last week against Michigan State. That is a big blow to an offense that struggles to score under the best of circumstances. Purdue's offense is showing signs of improvement, but the Iowa defense is a tough nut to crack. The only way this game goes over is if the defenses or special teams score, which could happen because each team's defense and special teams have scored this season. Pick: Under (38.5)
Upset of the Week
North Texas at Navy (-6)
North Texas has the worst rushing defense in the nation, giving up 242 yards per game. That's not a great thing against Navy except that the Midshipmen are one-dimensional; you only have to defend the run. The Mean Green also give up 262 yards per game through the air, but Navy cannot take advantage of that. I expect Navy's defense to struggle more than the North Texas defense will. Pick: North Texas (+6)
Other CFP candidates
- No. 20 Kentucky No. 1 Georgia (-14.5) Pick: Georgia
- No. 12 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Texas (O/U 60.5) Pick: Over
- Maryland at No. 4 Ohio State (O/U 57.5) Pick: Over
- Virginia Tech at No. 5 Florida State (-24) Pick: Florida State
- Arizona at No. 9 USC (-21.5) Pick: Arizona
- No. 10 Notre Dame (-6.5) at No. 25 Louisville Pick: Notre Dame
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 6, and which underdogs will win outright? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned more than $2,000 in profit over the past seven-plus seasons -- and find out.