Week 7 college football picks against the spread recap with Jason McIntyre | WHAT DID YOU LEARN?
Let's hear it for the defenses! An absolutely mammoth game by Wisconsin on that side of the ball and a heroic stand by LSU helped us go 4-2 on our picks against the spread in Week 7 of the college football season.
In fact, defenses were once again the story of the weekend, from Georgia's inability to find a big play against South Carolina to the kind of stifling beatdown you appreciate in real time but don't feel any need to rewatch ever again at Camp Randall Stadium.
So what did we learn this week? I'm glad you asked...
1. If you don't have a game-changer, you're going to have a bad time
When Georgia sneaked by Notre Dame a couple weeks ago, one thing stood out — the Bulldogs can’t win on the outside at receiver. Unlike Alabama, which has four very good receivers, or Oklahoma, which has CeeDee Lamb, or LSU, which has Justin Jefferson, or Clemson, which has Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross … Georgia is devoid of a game-breaking receiver.
And it showed badly against a mediocre South Carolina team that had lost by 20 to Missouri and 24 to Alabama, resulting in the most shocking result of the college football season so far. The Gamecocks were 3-touchdown underdogs in Athens, and intercepting Jake Fromm three times. If you’re thinking about an automatic fade of surely-deflated Georgia next week vs Kentucky, the Bulldogs do still control their own destiny. They’ve still got a brutal 3-game stretch vs Florida, vs Missouri, at Auburn, and a 3-game sweep gets them to the SEC title game and a shot at the playoff.
2. Texas' defense foreshadowed a potential world of hurt for Oklahoma
Texas was pretty much dominated by Oklahoma all game long — 511 yards of offense, 9 sacks of Sam Ehlinger — but still was able to cover the spread thanks to a late touchdown run. The star of the game had to be Sooners defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. The Longhorns came in averaging 6.3 yards per play and 483 yards per game; they were held to 4.2 and 305, respectively.
Jalen Hurts did have 366 yards of total offense, but also two turnovers in the red zone. Against significantly better defenses next month like Iowa State and Baylor on the road - both are Top 30 in yards per play allowed — it won’t be as easy for Hurts.
3. Winning ugly will get you to the window, but it's still U-G-L-Y.
Have you seen the new ‘Joker’ movie? It’s phenomenal. The acting, the soundtrack, the storyline — all of it. But here’s the thing — it’s such a dark movie. I can’t fathom watching the entire thing again, because it’s such a dark and draining movie. That’s also how I would sum up Wisconsin/Michigan State: Amazing performance by Wisconsin, which looked like a playoff-caliber team, but I never want to watch anything like this again. Sparty is unwatchable; it had 149 total yards and a paltry 2.9 ypp. Wisconsin has now beaten Central Michigan, Michigan, and Michigan State by a combined 134-14. The Badgers are 6-1 ATS.
4. DB University could be in for a letdown after a thrilling cover
We’ll skip over the excitement in the McIntyre household when the Tigers held on 4th down inside their own five yard line — after a questionable-at-best 4th down penalty kept Florida alive — to secure the cover, but I walked away from this thriller very impressed with Florida and having concerns about LSU’s defense.
Sure, Florida QB Kyle Trask threw an interception in the end zone in the 4th quarter, but he moved the ball at will (7.1 yards per attempt vs a secondary with three future NFL players) against LSU in Baton Rouge on a Saturday night, which is no easy task. LSU’s Joe Burrow was just a bit better (21-of-24, 293 yards, 3 TDs) and staked his October claim to the Heisman. Florida came in with 26 sacks, but had none on Burrow; the Gators had the #1 red zone defense (15 percent); the Gators were 3-for-3.
I’m confident LSU will be able to shred Auburn’s defense and Alabama’s in back-to-back weeks next month. LSU is now 5-1 ATS, but if ever there was a letdown spot, it’s in the first half next week in Starkvegas. Mississippi State will be massive underdogs, and LSU will win the game, but I can see a sluggish 1st half off of the impressive victory over Florida.