Man, Week 8 sure was a rough week for Lucas’ Surefire CFB Picks. In total I went 3-6, bringing my overall record to a measly 14-16. The wins from last week: Florida (-5), Auburn (-19), Minnesota (-28). The losses: Over 61 Clemson/Louisville, Wisconsin (-31), Louisville (+24), Over 61 LSU/Mississippi State, Under 50 Oregon/Washington, Arizona State (+13). I went 0-2 in the Clemson/Louisville game which was not a good start; Wisconsin losing to Illinois was obviously a huge upset that I was not locked into whatsoever; a scoring outbreak killed my Pac-12 under; and Arizona State only managed three points against the stingy Utah defense. Tough week to say the least, but I know I’ll bounce back. Hopefully it’s this week for all of our sakes. Now let’s dig into my favorite Surefire CFB picks for Week 9!
Spread: Over/Under 43.5 Penn State and Michigan State
This one is dangerously low, but I’ll still take it because frankly, I’m not sure how many points this Michigan State offense can put up against this Penn State defense. The same is sort of true on the other side as well, MSU’s excellent defense should be able to put pressure on Sean Clifford and force him into a mistake or two and, outside of KJ Hamler and Pat Freiermuth, there’s really no one else on this offense who is a huge difference maker. I like Penn State to pull out a tough, hard-fought victory in the end, but I like the under play even more due to the combination of two excellent defenses and one poor offense likely limiting the overall scoring in this game.
The Pick: Under 43.5
Spread: Over/Under 55.5 Arkansas and Alabama
I just want to start by saying that I do know Tua is out for this game. However, Mac Jones is no slouch himself. Lane Kiffin spoke very highly of him last week and, with the plethora of talented wide receivers and running backs around him, the Crimson Tide should be able to put up at least 40 points on this Razorback defense currently tied for 87th in total defense. This Arkansas offense is averaging about 25 points per game and while I don’t think they hit that number, I do think they can get around 14-17 points against this banged up Alabama defense. With my projections having this game by about a score of 45-14, I feel pretty comfortable with the Over 55 here.
The Pick: Over 55.5
Spread: Arizona State (-3) at UCLA
I’ve been impressed by Arizona State’s true freshman Jayden Daniels so far this season. He’s a very talented, dual-threat quarterback who will only get better with time. I know their offense has struggled this season a little bit, but against a UCLA defense currently ranked 114th in total defense, I think it’s a big bounce-back day for Jayden Daniels and this ASU offense. The Sun Devils defense shouldn’t have too many issues with the UCLA offense either as they currently rank 70th in total offense, which includes a 67-point outburst against Washington State to artificially boost their numbers. I just think the Sun Devils are the much better team in this game and should definitely be able to beat UCLA by more than the three points that this spread is indicating.
The Pick: Arizona State (-3)
Spread: Clemson (-34) vs. Boston College
Clemson’s defense is very, very good, but so is Boston College running back AJ Dillon. This BC offense can score quite a bit as they put up 39 and 45 points in their last two games. I know the defenses of Louisville and NC State are nothing compared to this Clemson unit, but I can easily see AJ Dillon breaking loose once or twice in this game – as he finally looks healthy for maybe the first time all season. Last week, he rushed for 223 yards and 3 touchdowns on 34 carries. This Clemson offense is putting up high totals, but Trevor Lawrence is still having issues turning the football over. I think BC creates a couple of turnovers in this game, AJ Dillon has a good day against this Tiger defense and the BC Eagles do enough to cover this ginormous spread of 33.5.
The Pick: Boston College (+34)
Spread: Utah (-21) vs. Cal
Cal and Utah are both built and anchored by their defense and toughness. I see this game being a low-scoring affair, probably in the teens to low 20s. At 39.5, the total is just too low for me to take either side of it, but – in what I expect to be a very low-scoring game – I’ll take the 21.5 points here for Cal. Utah has its fair share of offensive struggles and, against this Cal defense that only gives up about 18 points per game, I don’t think they can outscore the Cal Bears by as many as three touchdowns.
The Pick: Cal (+21)
Spread: Over/Under 65 Washington State and Oregon
After torching Washington’s typically-stout defense last week, I’m buying the Oregon offense being really good. This offensive line may have finally hit its stride and Justin Herbert looked as comfortable as he has all year. Now the Ducks go from playing one of the Pac-12’s best defenses to one of its worst and I predict this Oregon offense will be able to put up at least 40 points. At the same time, Washington State once again has the nation’s passing leader in quarterback Anthony Gordon – who has already thrown for 2,981 yards and 29 touchdowns. Oregon’s defense was exposed a little bit last week against Jacob Eason and they now face an even more prolific passing attack in the form of the Washington State Cougars. I expect lots of scoring to come in this game and I like the over 64 a lot here.
The Pick: Over 65
- Under 43.5 PSU/MSU
- Over 55.5 Alabama/Arkansas
- Arizona State (-3)
- Boston College (+34)
- Cal (+21)
- Over 65 Washington State/Oregon