The Six Pack: Georgia-Missouri, Miami-North Carolina among the best Week 15 college football picks
It’s especially in accordance with 2020 all in all that this school football season feels like it’s been going on for eternity. However, simultaneously, I can’t accept we’ve pretty much arrived at the end. This weekend denotes the last normal season few days of the year, and one week from now will be an abnormal mixed drink of gathering title games just as other cosmetics games and improvised challenges put together by meetings in order to get in more games. There’s likewise a bowl game in the blend!
The entirety of this, I’m certain, will be anything but difficult to cripple! Truly, while I have a triumphant record on the season in this segment, this has been the most testing year I’ve encountered when attempting to sort out what will occur. Like some other year, I’ve been fortunate on occasion and unfortunate at others, however at no time have I had an inclination that I’ve had a strong handle on what will occur.
That’s probably not what you want to read just before we get to my picks for this weekend, but I’m not going to lie to you. The picks I have in the column this week — and every week so far — have been my most confident calls each week — it’s just that my confidence in 2020 has not come close to reaching the level it’s been at in recent seasons. Hopefully things will have returned to normal (for the most part) by the time the 2021 season starts because I can’t say I’ve enjoyed this feeling much.
Games of the Week
No. 9 Georgia at No. 25 Missouri
So imagine a scenario in which the College Football Playoff Selection Committee just put Iowa State as high as it did to divert us from the way that it just snuck Missouri in there at No. 25? Wouldn’t excessively be wild? Anyway, better believe it, I like Missouri. Eli Drinkwitz is making an incredible showing in his first season, however I don’t know what the Tigers have done to justify incorporation in the best 25 now. They come into this match having dominated three straight, however those successes have come against South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Arkansas. The initial two were playing the week in the wake of terminating their mentor. Arkansas is the most amazing success of the bundle, and it required a semi-marvel to occur.
In this matchup against Georgia, I can’t state I’m too sure about the Tigers’ odds. While the Bulldogs were legitimately discounted as season finisher competitors following misfortunes to Alabama and Florida, they’re still safely in that second level of groups simply outside season finisher dispute. The Georgia protection actually positions second broadly in SP+, and its offense has stepped forward since giving the keys to JT Daniels. Missouri is adequate to keep this one decent, however the Dawgs cover a larger number of times than not. Georgia 31, Missouri 17 | The Pick: Georgia – 13
No. 17 North Carolina at No. 10 Miami
Miami got back to action a week ago and glued Duke 48-0 … also, no one gave it a second thought. Truly, after the ACC basically advised the Canes to kick shakes, the remainder of the nation went with the same pattern. That is to say, consider everything. In the event that someone had let you know before the season that Miami would be 8-1 with its solitary misfortune coming to Clemson and positioned in the main 10, you’d expect it would be serious. However, here we are and no one wants to think about it.
It’s weird, yet it’s additionally entirely 2020. What’s more, I can’t resist the urge to accept if Miami loses this end of the week against North Carolina, that is when individuals will set aside the effort to take note. Indeed, I’m grieved, Miami, however I believe you will be taken note. At the point when I take a gander at this matchup, I see two extremely touchy offenses, however North Carolina has more equilibrium. That ought to end up being the distinction in a game I hope to be close and high-scoring regardless of the champ, however I will take the focuses. North Carolina 38, Miami 35 | The Pick: North Carolina +3
Lock of the Week
NAVY at ARMY
Wait a second. Did I say earlier that I lacked confidence this season? Well, believe me, while that might be true elsewhere, it’s not a problem when it comes to Service Academy Unders. This is the part where I remind you that in games between service academies, the under has gone 36-9-1 since 2005. Now, maybe you think this total is too low and you’re scared. I understand, but none of the last six meetings between these two have gone over 38 points. The last time it did was in 2013 when Navy won 34-7. These are low-scoring affairs because the clock never stops and possessions are limited. Plus, while Navy’s defense was a tire fire earlier this season, it’s improved drastically as of late. Army 21, Navy 14 | The Pick: Under 38
Underdog of the Week
ILLINOIS at NORTHWESTERN
What has the Northwestern offense showed you in the last couple of years that makes you want to trust it as more than a two-touchdown favorite? The Wildcats offense ranks 104th in SP+ and 89th in points per drive at 1.86. That number is slightly misleading, however, because the Wildcats averaged 3.91 points per drive in their opener against a bad Maryland defense. In five games since, the Wildcats offense is only at 1.54 points per drive, which would rank 113th. Where Northwestern excels is on defense as it likes to keep games lower-scoring. Considering the struggles of this Illinois team at times, the Wildcats are going to win this game far more often than not. But by more than two touchdowns? I’m skeptical. Northwestern 23, Illinois 16 | The Pick: Illinois +14.5
Under of the Week
Virginia at Virginia Tech
These are two teams that want to run the ball. On the season, Virginia has run the ball on only 48.6% of its plays, but that’s misleading. When the Cavaliers are tied or winning a game, they run the ball 56.2% of the time. Virginia Tech runs the ball 66.8% of the time when in the same position (only seven teams run it more often, and four of them are option teams). So, with that in mind, the total for this matchup seems a bit too high. Now, if I have a concern, it’s that Virginia Tech’s not exactly a stalwart rushing defense. It ranks 113th nationally in success rate against the run, but those concerns are balanced by Virginia ranking sixth. Also, while last year’s game finished with 69 points scored, the average total in this series over the last decade has been 42.8 points. Virginia Tech 27, Virginia 26 | The Pick: Under 62
Fade of the Week
Wake Forest at Louisville
How can anybody in their right mind want to bet on Louisville as a favorite right now? Let’s recap how the last few weeks have gone for the Cardinals. First of all, they’re 3-7 on the season, and their wins have come against Western Kentucky, a Florida State team that’s been dying to have the season end for months and a Syracuse team that’s been decimated all year long. A couple of weeks ago, the team’s star running back, Javian Hawkins, opted out for the rest of the season. This week, the team’s leading receiver, Tutu Atwell, followed suit. All of this took place while Scott Satterfield was openly flirting with the South Carolina job. Even after staying at Louisville, he openly admitted that he’d listen if certain other schools called. Now, I’m not going to argue there’s anything wrong with it; in fact, I admire Satterfield’s honesty, but does Louisville strike you as a team that’s in a good place right now? It doesn’t to me, and frankly, I think Wake Forest is just a better team. So if you’re going to give me points with them, sure. Give me the points. It is the holiday season, after all. Wake Forest 38, Louisville 30 | The Pick: Wake Forest +1.5
SportsLine Pick of the Week
No. 15 USC at UCLA
Not only is this one of the greatest uniform matchups in college football, but it’s also a game I have a strong play on. Unfortunately, I ran out of room in The Six Pack.