Scully’s NCAAF Week 9 picks: Four home teams
TCU is averaging 247.4 rushing yards per game and returns home off an encouraging performance at Kansas State, in which they enjoyed a sizable statistical advantage but lost a tough one in the final seconds. Quarterback Max Duggan is starting to make more plays with his arm, with 132 passing yards and 115 rushing yards last week, and should enjoy a career day Saturday, as TCU will control the clock with time-consuming drives.
Pick: TCU +2
Navy is starting to play its best football, has scored 114 points over the last three weeks, and has run its record to 5-1. The Midshipmen may be a tough out the rest of the year. They are 4-0 ATS at home this season and easily lead the country with 328.8 rushing yards per game. They take no prisoners with their outstanding triple-option attack, and an improved defense makes them legitimate. This is clearly the best stop unit in the 12-year tenure of Ken Niumatalolo, with Navy ranked 15th in points allowed (18 per game) and 17th against the run (103.8 yards per game), and defense will be the difference as the Midshipmen draw away from Tulane.
Pick: Navy -3.5
South Florida exits a dreadful 35-3 loss to Navy last week, and the quarterback situation isn’t pretty. Blake Barnett is out, and Jordan McCloud is banged up with wrist and shoulder injuries, which leaves walk on Kirk Rygol likely to run an anemic offense.
First-year coach Mike Houston is starting to turn things around at East Carolina, while Charlie Strong appears on his way out at South Florida.
Pick: East Carolina +2
Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book threw for only a combined 330 yards against Virginia and USC, despite both games being in the balance during the fourth quarter, and I don’t like how the Irish nearly squandered a 20-3 advantage by allowing USC to score on every second-half possession last week.
After Michigan fell behind 21-0 to Penn State, the Wolverines were finally able to get the ball outside to receivers, with Ronnie Bell and Nico Collins providing necessary balance, and quarterback Shea Patterson threw for 276 yards against a good Penn State defense. Running back Zach Charbonnet (5.4 yards per carry and two touchdowns last week) will do some damage with a viable passing game, and Michigan’s defense finally lived up to expectations by keeping Penn State mostly in check over the final 2 1/2 quarters.
Jim Harbaugh said the pity party after Michigan's loss is over. "Optimistic that our team is gelling," he said in our weekly one-on-one conversation. Harbaugh also said he believes Shea Patterson is terrific and sees him playing in the NFL. pic.twitter.com/geJLEdNas2— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) October 21, 2019
The Wolverines can reverse their slide against ranked opposition with a strong showing in the Big House.