SIZZLING 7: Picks of the Week for October 31, 2015
by Bubba Rosenbaum (@BubbaRosenbaum on Twitter)
Each week, I choose seven games that I believe have very favorable odds.
Check out this week’s picks below.
OVERALL RECORD: 12-9 LAST WEEK (10/24/15): 4-3 (Take a look back at last week’s picks)
NOTE: MY PICK IS LISTED FIRST WITH THE POINTS THAT TEAM IS GIVING OR RECEIVING IN PARENTHESES; the line used was the line at the time of the pick.
All game times are Eastern.
Navy (-7) vs. USF – Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (Annapolis, MD) – CBSS – Noon
Saturday’s contest will be the first ever between these programs.
The Middies, who average just over 300 yards per game on the ground, will present Willie Taggart’s Bulls with the unique challenge of slowing down their powerful triple option attack.
Navy, which is 5-1 with its lone loss being a competitive one at Notre Dame, is the only real challenger to Memphis and Houston in the AAC’s West Division.
After a 1-3 start, the Bulls have bounced back to win three straight with their latest triumph being a 38-14 decision over SMU last weekend.
Navy’s attack is tough to defend–especially when you are facing it for the first time. Expect them to win this one by double figures at home.
USC (-5.5) @ Cal – Memorial Stadium (Berkeley, CA) – FOX – 3:00 PM
Prior to the season, many “college football experts” expected this Trojans’ team to be in the playoff hunt.
Needless to say, that ship sailed early on.
However, since Sarkisian was dismissed and Clay Helton took over, the men of Troy have looked more like what most people thought they would.
Last week, USC (4-3) took down previously unbeaten No. 3 Utah, 42-24, in the coliseum.
Can they build on it with a win at Cal? I think the Bears will put up some points, but struggle to stop Kessler and company.
Marshall (-16.5) @ Charlotte – Jerry Richardson Stadium (Charlotte, NC) – FSN – 3:30 PM
While the Herd certainly doesn’t possess the explosive attack it did under Rakeem Cato and company in recent years, Doc Holliday’s team does bring a 7-1 record–albeit against one of the worst schedules in the nation–into this road contest.
The 49ers, who are in their first-year of FBS football, have lost five straight–with only 2 of those being competitive for more than a half. Offensively, they have really struggled and placed a lot of pressure on their defense.
Don’t be surprised if they compete for a while–like they did against Temple, but Marshall should manage to gradually pull away to win this by at least three touchdowns.
#11 Florida (-2) vs. Georgia – EverBank Field (Jacksonville, FL) – CBS – 3:30 PM
Last season, the Gators shocked Mark Richt’s Bulldogs in this rivalry match-up. With the change of offensive scheme under first-year head coach Jim McElwain, it’s safe to say Florida won’t run for 400-plus yards this season.
However, UF–which went to Baton Rouge and nearly pulled out a victory with Harris replacing Grier at signal-caller–has been the more consistent of these teams.
Expect this to be a close, pretty low-scoring affair as both teams have defenses surrendering a little over 300 yards per contest.
FIU (-2) @ FAU – FAU Stadium (Boca Raton, FL) – AMSN – 3:30 PM
Last year, the Panthers pounded the Owls, 38-10, at home.
This time around, FIU sits at 4-4 and is seeking to become bowl eligible. FAU, which is 1-6 and has lost three straight, captured its lone win at Charlotte (17-7) in game 4.
The Panthers pummeled ODU, 41-12, in Norfolk last weekend and they will earn a second road win in as many weeks.
#9 Notre Dame (-10.5) @ #21 Temple – Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia, PA) – ABC – 8 PM
College GameDay is in Philadelphia………and yes, it’s for a Temple game.
Are the Owls a quality football team? Absolutely. Matt Rhule’s done a very impressive job of building on the program momentum that Al Golden and Steve Addazio developed.
After seeing them in person versus East Carolina last week, there’s no doubt they bring a lot to the table–particularly on defense.
The Pirates did a fine job of slowing down Temple’s standout running back Jahad Thomas. Thomas, who leads the American Athletic Conference with 822 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground, still did enough where you could see glimpses of his play-making ability.
However, after a slow start, P.J. Walker took advantage of second-half opportunities to exploit the suspect ECU pass defense and also missed on some throws where he had guys running wide open.
Defensively, the Owls are allowing just 14 points per contest, but the Notre Dame offense (500 ypg) they will be facing this weekend will be the most potent they have faced since squaring off with Cincinnati in week two.
The Bearcats, who lost the game 34-26, racked up 555 yards–427 of which were in the air–but five turnovers did them in.
Make no mistake about it, Brian Kelly’s club could certainly drop this one.
However, with slim playoff aspirations still alive, expect the Irish to bring their A-game and to pull away after Temple’s inability to muster enough offense causes its top notch defense to wear down after halftime. DeShone Kizer, C.J. Prosise and company will then have some success after some early struggles.
#8 Stanford (-10) @ Washington State – Martin Stadium (Pullman, WA) – ESPN – 10:30 PM
Contrasting styles will meet on Saturday night in Pullman, Washington.
The Cardinal (6-1) and Cougars (5-2) will be squaring off in a surprisingly critical Pac-12 North contest.
Both of these teams suffered surprising losses to start the year, but they’ve been turning heads from that point on.
Shaw’s club has reeled off six straight and put itself as a legitimate contender for this year’s college football playoff.
Meanwhile, Mike Leach’s club has notched five wins in six games with the lone blemish being a 34-28 defeat at Cal. The Cougars’ aerial attack with Luke Falk has been putting up video game like numbers. In last week’s 45-42 win at Arizona, he finished 47-of-62 for 514 yards and five scores.
While I do think WSU will get its yards through the air, I think Stanford’s physicality will be too much. The Cardinal averages more than 220 yards per game on the ground and the Cougars give up more than 200 rushing yards per contest.
The Cougars will become bowl eligible, but it won’t be this week as this match-up clearly favors Stanford.