Mass Confusion: Week 9 College Football Picks

Growing up, I seemed to be pretty good at math. As time went by, it always got a little harder. Algebra turned into Geometry, which went on to Trigonometry, and then ended up in Calculus. Some things do not get easier as time goes by. I consider myself pretty good at analyzing football and picking outcomes of games and assessing the football landscape for the College Football Playoff. Much like the road with Math over the years, as the weeks go by in college football it seems to be harder and harder to figure it out. Unlike Math, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As we get to the very end, it will all become clear and shake out. Until that time, we are in the midst of a hot mess of a difficult math equation. Let’s take a glance at my top 8 teams that are in the running and make some educated guesses on what the outcome for the final four playoff spots will look like.

1 – Alabama – This is the easy one. Bama could be one of the best college football teams in years. Doesn’t mean they can’t be beat though.

Toughest remaining games: next week they go to LSU and then the SEC Championship game.

Chances of making playoff: 93%

2 – Clemson – The more reps Trevor Lawrence gets, the better he looks. Travis Etienne is hitting his stride.

Toughest remaining games: This week, they travel to an improving FSU and have to go to Boston College and play South Carolina, along with ACC Championship game.

Chances of making playoff: 85%

3 – Notre Dame – The move to Ian Book at quarterback has put the Irish in the playoff mix.

Toughest remaining games: The luck of the Irish – no conference championship game to worry about. Home games against FSU and Syracuse and at a struggling USC.

Chance of making the playoff: 70%

This is where it gets tough to figure out. Who is taking that 4th spot?

4 – LSU – The Tigers have had a great year. It’s about to get a whole lot tougher. I don’t see them in this spot much longer.

Toughest remaining games: Home against Bama and at A&M. Potential SEC Championship game.

Chance of making the playoff: 23%

5 – Michigan – Close loss to Notre Dame aside, the Wolverines are back in it and control their own destiny.

Toughest remaining games: Home against Penn State next week and then at Ohio State. Potential Big 10 Championship game.

Chance of making the playoff: 52%

6 – Oklahoma – Close game to Texas might cost them, but if they finish strong, I like their chances.

Toughest remaining games: At West Virginia and Texas Tech. Potential Big 12 Championship Game.

Chance of making the playoff: 48%

7 – Georgia – Can they redeem  themselves? Yes. Will a potential game with Bama knock them out? Yes.

Toughest remaining games: Florida this weekend and at Kentucky and home against Auburn. End of year game against Georgia Tech is never easy. Possible SEC Championship game.

Chance of making the playoff: 35%

8 – Ohio State – Horrible game last week, but if they crush MSU and UM and do well in Big 10 title game, it is possible.

Toughest remaining games: At Michigan State and home against Michigan.

Chance of making the playoff: 28%

Others with a 10-15% chance: UCF, Texas, Florida

Hail Mary chance: Washington State, West Virginia, Iowa

Last week I went 5-2 ATS. Would have been 6-1 if the Washington player didn’t fumble out of the end zone at the 1 yard line with minutes left in the game.

Here are this week’s winners:

Duke -2.5 at Pittsburgh – The Blue Devils and Pitt both have played quality football as well as shown that they can lay some eggs. I think Duke is simply the better team.
Duke 24 Pitt 20

Stanford -3 vs. Washington State – Wazzu does a lot better in track meets. Stanford will continue to work their methodical ball control game plan to keep the ball out of Gardner Minshew’s hands. Bryce Love continues to be MIA but KJ Costello does enough for the Cardinal to eek out a victory.
Stanford 28 Washington State 24

Georgia -6.5 vs. Florida – Everyone is writing off UGA. They simply have too much talent and Fromm will re-emerge to win this QB battle. Both teams have a strong running game. Should be a great game. Bulldogs wear them down, in the end.
Georgia 31 Florida 20

Mississippi State -1.5 vs. Texas A&M – Trap Alert! Public should be all over A&M here. Mississippi State is due for a big home game. Predicting an unexpected, low-scoring defensive battle.
Mississippi State 20 Texas A&M 17

Missouri -7.5 vs. Kentucky – Drew Lock shines in this one. Kentucky has had a great year, but I don’t like this matchup for them.
Missouri 34 Kentucky 23

Houston -7.5 vs. South Florida – South Florida is the worst 7-0 team I have seen in a long time. This game will be a shootout won by the Cougars. Home field will be huge in this one.
Houston 45 South Florida 34

Iowa +6.5 at Penn State – The Hawkeyes are a hard-nosed, solid football team. Penn State has always struggled with them. Something is out of sync with the Nittany Lions this year. They are struggling against teams they should be steamrolling.
Penn State 27 Iowa 24

Iowa State -3.5 vs. Texas Tech – The Red Raiders have been playing much better than I have expected this year. I hate to bet against them, but I really like the Cyclones coming off the bye week after beating Okie State and West Virginia back-to-back with true freshman quarterback Brock Purdy.
Iowa State 31 Texas Tech 27

OVER 66 in the NC State – Syracuse game – I don’t have confidence that either defense will be able to stop the offensive firepower in this game. I think this total is 10 points lower than it should be. Over covers easily.
NC State 41 Syracuse 38

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