Think you know college sports? Brag House gives players a FREE chance to test their sports acumen to win cash and prizes. To get ready for each week, our in house expert Shea Freeman analyzes each AP Top 25 team and what to expect for the weekend; gives you his predictions on the upcoming games of the week; and follows up with takeaways to help you make sense of the crazy things that happened on Saturday. Make sure you subscribe now for Brag House launch details and to get on the right side of the week!
Last Week: 12-3; 9-6 ATS;
Overall: 52-15; 37-29 ATS
Game of the Week: Georgia faces a huge test this week when they travel to Auburn to face the Tigers. They are in position to make a big statement for a playoff bid, but the Tigers will be ready. Both offenses put up similar numbers, however the Bulldogs have been struggling as of late and are missing three key players on the offensive line. This game is ultimately going to come down to the trenches, and whether or not Georgia’s historically good run defense can shut down Auburn’s run heavy attack and force freshman Bo Nix to beat them with his arm. The same, however, could be said about Auburn’s gameplan: attack the offensive line and force Jake Fromm to beat you. While Nix plays better at home than on the road, I like the veteran leadership of Fromm, Swift and Georgia’s offense to get it done in a close game.
Pick: Georgia (-3)
Rock Solid Lock of the Week: After last week’s loss vs LSU, Alabama should be pretty fired up to play Mississippi State and make a statement that they still belong in the discussion. Aside from a couple of crucial turnovers, the offense looked pretty good last week (541 total yards against LSU) and should continue to put up big numbers against a Bulldogs team that is giving up close to 30 a game. Tua threw for 400 yards and four touchdowns on a bad ankle and put them in a spot late in the game to actually win it. Don’t be fazed by that loss last week, because Nick Saban and Co. sure aren’. Lock in the Tide for a big bounce back game on Saturday.
Pick: Alabama (-18)
Penn State got a taste of the playoffs for one week but it turned sour after four quarters of play. Hopefully they got that bad taste out of their mouths over the week because they are facing an Indiana team that is riding a bit of a hot streak lately, averaging at least 34 on their current four game win streak. Granted, those wins came against teams with losing records. Going into Happy Valley is no easy task and the Hoosiers haven’t played a defense like Penn State. Their win streak was fun, but it’s coming to an end on Saturday.
Pick: Penn State (-14.5)
Tigers QB Kelly Bryant missed last week’s 27-0 loss to Georgia but she should be in the lineup this week against Florida. The Gators took part in a shutout of their own, except they beat Vanderbilt 56-0 in what was probably their best offensive outing of the year. It’s gonna be a tough road test playing in the cold, but Missouri has been on the decline as of late, dropping their last 4 games including one to Vanderbilt a couple weeks ago. Florida has played well even against tough competition and there’s no reason to think they can’t get it done regardless of the weather conditions.
Pick: Florida (-7)
This weekend, the Badgers and the Cornhuskers will face off for the 7th annual Freedom Trophy game, whatever the hell that is. Whether or not that should be considered a real thing, the trophy has belonged to Wisconsin as they’ve won the past 6 meetings. With Jonathon Taylor looking like his old self last week (250 yards vs Iowa) and the defense giving up only 239 yards per game, the trophy should stay in Wisconsin’s possession for another year.
Pick: Wisconsin (-14.5)
Prior to the bye week, Michigan was playing some of their best ball of the year. Inspired ball, really. You gotta think they’ve heard the chatter about their coach and about how they can’t win big games. While Michigan State May not be any good, it’s still a big rival and the Spartans will be up for this game. However, they won’t be able to keep up with the Wolverines on Saturday as they’ve lost their last four games by an average of 34 points per game. Combine that with a rowdy atmosphere in Ann Arbor and you’re looking at a long day for Sparty.
Pick: Michigan (-13.5)
Did you know that Cowboys RB Chuba Wubba Hubbard, aside from having the best name in college football, also leads the nation in rushing with 1,604 yards and 18 TDs? That’s an average of 176 yards and 2 touchdowns every game. It’s also 23 yards more than the entire Jayhawks rushing offense puts up on average. Another fun fact? Kansas gives up 253 rushing yards a game, more half of the 478 of total offense they give up. If Chuba doesn’t get a Heisman nod this year, he’s the front runner for next year. And on Saturday, he might just jump into the conversation.
Pick: Oklahoma State (-17.5)
Potential Upset: Navy had the week off last Saturday as the nation honored the brave men and women in our nation’s armed services. This week, it’s back to business for the midshipmen and they face a huge task in #16 Notre Dame. The Irish had a nice bounce back win last Saturday against Duke and look to use that as momentum, but they will have to shut down Navy’s NCAA leading rushing attack (357 yards a game) which is an area they struggle in, giving up 155 per game to opposing teams. This is the second straight week I’ve put them on upset alert and this time I think they might fall.
Pick: Navy (+7.5)
If you even glanced at the score for the Buckeye’s last win you’d think it was a typo. Yet it’s true, Ohio State put up 70+ on Maryland and shut them down on the defense despite not having their best player on that side of the ball. I thought last weeks 44 point spread was insane but this week they are a whopping 52 point favorites. Considering it’s Rugters, they should put up 80. Someone should call the police because the Scarlet Knights are about to get that ass beat in their own home.
Pick: Ohio State (-52.5)
Well Wake Forest really screwed the pooch last week, huh? For the first time this year we could’ve seen an ACC game where both teams were ranked in the top 25. Instead, we’ll have to settle for this. Sure, the Demon Deacons can put up points on offense and they are easily the best team Clemson has faced all year, but the Tigers have been insanely hot lately. They’re averaging 52 a game over their last five, including dropping at least 55 in their last three. They’re defense has been equally impressive, giving up only 11 points per game during that stretch. It’s a home game in November. You’re going with Clemson.
Pick: Clemson (-34)
The Tigers had a huge win their last time out, a 54-48 win against then #15 SMU, and they had the week off last Saturday to regain their focus. They have been stellar all year on offense, averaging 41 points per game on 475 total yards. Memphis QB Brady White looked great against SMU (350 yards, 3 TDs) and he may be in line for another productive outing against a Cougars defense that is pretty generous against the pass (290 yards allowed). Houston is capable of putting up points of their own (30 a game on 409 yards) but Memphis has more fire power and more to play for at this point in the year.
Pick: Memphis (-10.5)
Potential Upset: This is a lowkey fun game because both teams are coming off big games last week. The Longhorns got a big win against #24 Kansas State, while Iowa State almost killed Oklahoma’s chances at competing for the Big 12. The Cyclones chose to go for the win rather than play for OT and lost on the gamble on a two point conversion interception. If they play another game with that sort of tenacity, and get another big game out of QB Brock Purdy (290 yards, 5 TDs), they be able to get it done at home against a Longhorns D that gives up 300 pass yards per game.
Pick: Iowa State (-7)
The Wildcats were looking pretty good after going up 14-0 early last week versus Texas but were pretty subpar for the rest of the game. However, they’re facing a West Virginia that has lost five straight games and has been terrible on the ground all year, on both sides of the ball (75 rushing yards per game, allowing 172 on defense). Kansas State’s Big 12 title run came crashing down after that loss last week, but they should get their confidence back this Saturday im front of their home crowd.
Pick: Kansas State (-13.5)
Minnesota has their biggest win in program history after upsetting #4 Penn State to continue their perfect season. The Gophers are averaging 37 points per game behind a balanced offensive attack that proved last week they can beat you through air. They face another tough challenge on the road at #20 Iowa, a place they haven’t won since 1999. While the Hawkeyes have a top 5 defense (11 points allowed per game), they have been underwhelming on offense and are facing a Golden Gophers team that have 14 interceptions on the year, three coming last week in that upset win. Minnesota is legit, but once again they’re the underdogs. And we all love a good underdog story, right?
Pick: Minnesota (+3)
After their first win against Alabama in eight years, you would’ve thought LSU already won the national championship. They’ve done everything they need to do to get to the playoffs… however they have to go to Ole Miss first and take care of business. The Rebels are giving up an average of 267 yards through the air to opposing SEC QBs and this week will have to try to stop Heisman favorite Joe Burrow (3,198 yards, 33 TDs) and the virtually unstoppable Tigers offense (46.7 points, 538 yards per game). Yeah, good luck with that.
Pick: LSU (-21.5)
The Bearcats had their most well rounded win of the year after shutting out UConn 48-3. The Bulls, for their part are better than the Huskies, however not by much. They’ve lost two of their last three scoring ten points combined, although sandwiched in there is a 45-20 win at East Carolina. They give up nearly 200 yards on the ground per game and Cincinnati has been very effective in that area and rushing for that exact amount. South Florida has some talent on the offensive side of the ball, but they might not have enough to keep up with the Bearcats.
Pick: Cincinnati (-14)
This game should be the game of the week, and the only reason it’s not is because I’m not sure what to make of it. Baylor is undefeated but has had to squeak out virtually every win, and Oklahoma plays lights out on offense (48 points, 587 yards per game) and then disappears on defense, giving up 44 points average in their last two games. The Sooners are the better team and they should win this game, but they were one Iowa State 2-point conversion away from dropping two straight and if there’s one team you don’t want to keep in a close game it’s this Bears team. If the game were to go 5OT I wouldn’t be shocked, but if Oklahoma wins by 20 I wouldn’t be either.
Pick: Oklahoma (-10.5)
#25 Appalachian State (8-1)
Potential Upset: The last time I picked an Appalachian State game I was dead wrong and the Mountaineers suffered their first loss. I apologize. It was Halloween, stuff got weird. You wanna know what else is weird? Georgia State, winners of four of their last five, score just as many points per game as they give up, both 36 exactly. That’s weird, right? Also, both teams are playing for a spot in the Sun Belt Conference Championship game and both teams are averaging over 215 rushing yards per game. The Mountaineers are coming off a big program win at South Carolina, but they are facing a Panthers offense that is looking to run all over them (275 rush yards, 484 total offense per game) and looking to spoil their season. Expect a high scoring game.
Pick: Georgia State (+16.5)
After the weekend off, Utah looks ready to get back to work against UCLA and their resurgent run game, totaling 226 rush yards per game in three straight wins. The good news is the Utes are the best team in the country against the run, giving up 56 yards on the ground to opposing teams. On the flip side, they lead the Pac-12 in rushing offense (208 yards per game) and time of possession, making them the most balanced team in the conference. With QB Tyler Huntley (2,062 yards, 11TDs/1 INT) almost 100% healthy, Utah should have no problem getting the job done at home.
Pick: Utah (-21.5)
Boise State hasn’t looked all that great over the last few weeks but this Saturday they get a gift from the schedule gods in the form a 2-7 New Mexico team. The Lobos are giving up at least 35 a game on 490 yards of offense and have lost six in a row. It would’ve been seven had their game last week against Air Force not been postponed, but there’s an all but certain chance they will get that unlucky number seven this Saturday on the road in Boise.
Pick: Boise State (-28)
The other top team in the PAC-12 is looking to get things going again after their bye week. Oregon is looking like a pretty good bet for a playoff spot, especially if they win the PAC-12 with one loss. After a big offensive outburst against USC, the Ducks could do something similar against a pretty bad Wildcats defense (37 points, 481 yards allowed per game) that has dropped their last four games. QB Justin Herbert should have no problem moving the ball and finding the endzone in this one.
Pick: Oregon (-27.5)
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