It promises to be a fascinating race for the final spot in the College Football Playoff, and one of my plays is Oregon, which must continue to pass the eye test in Week 13. All games previewed are Saturday.
Oregon should be in the College Football Playoff if it wins out, but the Ducks will need to jump Alabama to do so. That puts the emphasis on finishing strong, and Oregon will take no prisoners against an ASU squad that is staggering toward the end of the season.
The Ducks have been dynamic, covered in their last two games against overmatched foes (lopsided wins over USC and Arizona) and are 3-0 ATS in road games this year. Arizona State is going the wrong direction, enters on a four-game losing skid (0-4 ATS, as well) and its once-proud defense has surrendered 110 combined points over the last three games. The Sun Devils also can’t block anybody up front, with a pair of true freshmen at tackle.
Pick: Oregon -14
Saturday is Senior Day in Waco, and this one should be all about Baylor. A once-promising season has gone off the rails for Texas, and coach Tom Herman is falling out of favor from a growing segment of Longhorns’ fan base.
Baylor sustained a tough loss last week, when the Bears blew a 21-point halftime against Oklahoma, but they still need to win this game to guarantee themselves a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game.
Armed with stud receiver in Denzel Mims, Charlie Brewer has developed into a NFL prospect at QB, and the Bears possess a huge edge defensively over Texas. Baylor ranks 21st nationally at 20.9 points allowed per game, and it’s remarkable how hard they play for Matt Rhule, who has proven to be an up-and-coming star in the coaching ranks after he went 1-11 in his first season at Baylor two years ago.
Baylor’s defense is the best in the Big 12, in part because they’re the best in all of college football at pressuring the QB with only three rushers. Here’s what it looks like. @BUFootball #SicEm pic.twitter.com/X6vhnZ7kJX
— Trevor Matich (@TMatich) November 16, 2019
Texas does not play with the same desire and has surrendered 32.4 points per game in Big 12 play. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger was a dismal 22-for-40 in a road loss to Iowa State last week. I like Baylor by double digits.
Pick: Baylor -6.5
Tennessee has made significant strides defensively since the start of the season. The Volunteers have won four of their last five games (the one loss was to Alabama), and they have held opponents to a scoring average of 12.7 points per game in those victories. Off a bye week Tennessee will now face a team lacking offensive punch.
Mizzou won its first five home games, but the offensive production has gone into the toilet since mid-October. The Tigers have scored only 13 combined points in their last three games, and while Kelly Bryant is back at quarterback, it may not matter because they can’t block or run effectively.
Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, who appears in line to regain his starting job, looked good when he led the Volunteers to a come-from-behind win over Kentucky, and Tennessee is 5-0 ATS in its last five games.
Jarrett Guarantano dime + Marquez Callaway box-out rebound = nice touchdown for Tennessee. pic.twitter.com/l0E8Pr3vfx
— Jesse Simonton (@JesseReSimonton) November 10, 2019
Missouri, which is still appealing its bowl ineligibility with the NCAA, appears to have mailed it in with a 0-5 ATS record in its last five games.
Pick: Tennessee +4
I’m excited to play Oregon State as a double-digit underdog against Washington State, which has lost five of its last seven games. The Beavers enter on the upswing, with three wins in their last four games, and are 4-0 ATS on the road this season. Quarterback Jake Luton has stepped up, with 228 yards and four touchdowns through the air last week, and does not turn the ball over (only two interceptions on the year).
Jake Luton ➡️ Isaiah Hodgins!
These two have shown a STRONG connection this year and they had it once again in week 10!
— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 7, 2019
Washington State has been on a roller-coaster ride week to week, and its defense ranks 118th against the pass and 85th against the run. Both teams are bad defensively, and this promises to be a high-scoring affair that could go either way. I predict Oregon State will carry its improving form forward.
Pick: Oregon St. +10
San Diego State at Hawaii (-2.5), 11 p.m. ET, Facebook
The wrong team is favored in this game. San Diego State plays outstanding defense, has only 15.2 points per game (eighth nationally) and should have its way offensively against one of the worst defenses in the nation.
Hawaii brings a prolific passing attack, but the Warriors have proved incapable of stopping good defensive lines in lopsided setbacks against Air Force, Boise State and Washington. This matchup favors San Diego State, which should bludgeon Hawaii with its ground game, and stud wide receiver Kobe Smith should put up good numbers against a Hawaii defense that allowed 45.4 points per game in a recent five-game stretch (before a 21-7 win over UNLV last week). The Aztecs have covered three straight at Hawaii and are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven meetings in the series.