IAKOW Staff Week 6 Picks

A seemingly comfortable two game lead over NWB vanished by me missing on three games he got right (Clemson-Notre Dame, Florida-Ole Miss and Georgia-Alabama), so now I trail by one. Let’s see if I can catch (or pull back in front of) him.

SEC Games

New Mexico State @ Mississippi

NW Blackmon: Rebels get back on track against a really bad football team. Ole Miss 63, New Mexico State 14

Neil Shulman: It’s the GatorBait Bowl! Because, you know, both teams took a beating at the hands of the Gators… well, anyway. That little tidbit should provide more entertainment than the game, in which a battered Chad Kelly will go nuts. Ole Miss 70, New Mexico State 19

South Carolina @ LSU

NWB: Credit LSU for all they are doing to help South Carolina in this troubled time. Thoughts and prayers to all those struggling in South Carolina. The football game will be a nice distraction, even if the outcome won’t. LSU 35, South Carolina 14

NS: Even if this game was in Columbia as it was scheduled to be prior to some awful flooding, the Gamecocks wouldn’t have an answer for Leonard Fournette. So they certainly won’t in what’s become a true road game. LSU 31, South Carolina 7

Georgia @ Tennessee

NWB: This game tends to bring the drama. I think it delivers on that and by night’s end, moves Butch Jones seat from warm to hot. Vols will be 2-4 with Alabama next and Nick Chubb and company will be a win over Mizzou away from a SEC East title game in Jacksonville. School Up North 28, Tennessee 21

NS: I don’t think either coach will be sitting too pretty with his fan base with a loss here, but boy, if Tennessee loses this game, Butch Jones better run; his pre-season Top 25 (and trendy SEC East Champ pick) team will be in serious jeopardy of missing a bowl game. His team will play hard for him, but the Bulldogs are also smarting from a humiliating loss to Alabama at home. And from an X’s and O’s standpoint, Tennessee simply won’t be able to stop Nick Chubb. Georgia 41, Tennessee 24

Troy @ Mississippi State

NWB: Bulldogs didn’t execute in College Station and the Aggies played well. I think Dan Mullen’s team is the best 3-2 team in the country, for whatever that’s worth. They win handily here, but you have to wonder how much value they get from the constant string of cupcakes they play. Miss State 45, Troy 17

NS: Come on already, Cowbell Clangers. Enough with these pointless snoozers. Mississippi State 42, Troy 3

Arkansas @ Alabama

NWB: If the game were in Fayetteville, I’d pick the Hogs, who have played well the last two weeks despite dropping a game. The Tide looked the part of playoff contender last week, but they’re still a team that’s limited at the quarterback and receiver position and has questions in the secondary. Close- but Bama holds the Hogs off with Derrick Henry late. Alabama 24, Arkansas 17 

NS: Amazing to think that Bret Bielema would have been on the hot seat with a loss to Tennessee last week. Good thing for him that it didn’t happen, because now they face an Alabama team with a second wind following a 38-10 demolition of Georgia. And Nick Saban’s team- which has finally gotten some good quarterback play out of Jacob Coker- isn’t about to let Arkansas ruin their dimmed but still existent playoff hopes. Alabama 31, Arkansas 13

Florida @ Missouri

NWB: Just haven’t felt good about this game all week. Russell Hansbrough returns for Mizzou, and while it is only freshmen Drew Lock’s second start, he ignited the Mizzou offense last week and is at home in front of a good offensive line. Mizzou also boasts a defense in the top 20 nationally and while the star power on last year’s DL is gone, they still are great against the run (top 20) and will shut Florida down on the ground. The Gators will be closer than they were to Mizzou the last two years (average loss 40-15), but the lack of a reliable placekicker will cost them a football game. Mizzou 19, Florida 16

NS: The thought of a letdown entered my mind immediately following Florida’s stunning 38-10 romp over Mississippi. But with Maty Mauk remaining suspended, Missouri just doesn’t have the pieces offensively to pull it off, even at home. The Gators will probably struggle offensively for at least two, maybe even three quarters, which means it will be an ugly, low scoring affair for much of the day. But Will Grier will come through with a big fourth quarter to save the day. Florida 27, Missouri 10

National Games

Texas vs. Oklahoma (Red River Rivalry- Game in Dallas, TX)

NWB: This game is always the opposite of what people expect. Here, most expect a Sooner rout. Even Bevo is going to miss the game, fearing another Longhorn loss will exacerbate his illness. I think the Horns will show up, and push a Sooners team that is just starting to believe it is really good. In the end, however, Baker Mayfield and Austin, Texas native Samaje Perine make enough plays late. Oklahoma 38, Texas 23

NS: I smell an upset brewing. And by upset, I mean an upset fan base. And by upset fan base, I mean Texas Longhorns fans are about fed up with their coach. A 1-5 start just isn’t going to cut it in Austin, and Charlie Strong as well as anybody knows that he might be coaching to save his job. So Texas will fight, Texas will fight… but it may be goodbye to Charlie Strong. Oklahoma’s offense will dominate the second half en route to a blowout. Oklahoma 45, Texas 14

Northwestern @ Michigan

NWB: Two salty defenses and mediocre offenses. Harbaugh’s team is at home, so I’ll go Wolverines. Michigan 13, Northwestern 9

NS: Can Pat Fitzgerald’s team finally reach the coveted label of “national championship contender?” Maybe next year. I doubt that they’ll be able to generate enough offense to pull off the shocker in Ann Arbor. Michigan 24, Northwestern 7

California @ Utah

NWB: Jarred Goff is the latest young Jedi QB at Berkeley, where Sonny Dykes has something brewing. Another game where the location dictates the pick. Another future pro, Devontae Booker, is the difference in a great #PAC12AFTERDARK showdown. Utah 42, Cal 30 

NS: Hey there, Cal. Welcome to the national spotlight. And enjoy it, because it won’t last for long. Travis Wilson and Utah will simply keep on putting up the points, as if they think the nation believes that their blowout over Oregon was a fluke. Cal won’t go quietly, but they just won’t be able to stop the Utes’ offense. Utah 49, California 31

Georgia Tech @ Clemson

NWB: Tech spent the summer reading the magazines talking about how they were a sleeper playoff team. I bought in too. Their games with Clemson are typically battles, but Clemson has the nation’s longest winning streak against unranked opponents and it continues Saturday. Clemson 31, Georgia Tech 23

NS: The triple option offense is always a difficult one to prepare for, but other than that, Georgia Tech doesn’t seem to have any real advantage over Clemson. Most notably: the Yellow Jackets will not be able to stop Deshaun Watson. Clemson 38, Georgia Tech 24

Miami @ Florida State

NWB: Dalvin Cook is ailing, and the Noles are naturally showing the effects of losing Jameis Winston, one of the best receivers in school history in Greene and the best TE in school history in O’Leary, as well as all five starting OL from the previous season. But– Golson hasn’t made the big mistakes and the defense is splendid. FSU will be tough to beat until they play Clemson November 7th. FSU 24, Miami 10

NS: Why is this game the 8:00 ABC game, again? Well anyway, FSU’s offense consists of exactly one threat- Dalvin Cook- who may not even play, and their defense, while solid, isn’t great by any means. So this may be the Hurricanes’ best chance to end their recent skid against the Noles. Unfortunately for Miami, they don’t enough offensive firepower to do so. Brad Kaaya throws an interception in the final minute to seal the FSU win. FSU 20, Miami 13

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