JACKSON’S PICK: Colorado 31-17… Picked the winner, not the score so I guess it’s a close loss.
Navy 42, Memphis 28
JACKSON’S PICK: Navy 24-17… Another Win.
Washington State 37, Arizona State 32
JACKSON’S PICK: Washington State 45-27… I’ll take a close Win here.
Overall through 6 total weeks of picks: 11-13, one more good week and we’ll be back on the plus side of things! It’s all looking up folks. We’ll keep up our winning ways after an extended “bye week”.
Iowa State (1-8) @ Kansas (1-8), 11:00AM FSN
This may be the most intriguing matchup of 1-8 teams there has been in quite a while. Sure, part of that is because I have a large interest in Kansas athletics, but other than that, it’s because Iowa State is a 1-8 team with games in their past where they held leads in the second half and blew them. Kansas hasn’t been that competitive, and on paper, Iowa State is better. They don’t get to say that often, but they are in this case. Iowa State should beat Kansas in this game, but I’m not so sure they will. Kansas has played some of its best ball at home this year, nearly upsetting TCU, and it’ll be a tough contest.
Iowa State has a dual quarterback system, much like Kansas, but it appears to me at least that Joel Lanning is the guy for ISU. Lanning has thrown for 1200 yards and 9 scores, but combos that with 338 on the ground, and 5 more scores. The junior QB, an Iowa native, provides a little spark for the Cyclones that they’ve really needed this year. The only problem is that the inconsisntency of the offense has been the thorn in their side in the 4th quarter multiple times. Iowa State had leads against Baylor, and on the road at Oklahoma State in the 4th, but were unable to escape with victories. Their inability to close out games leads me to believe that if Kansas can hang around in this one, a late score could determine the game.
Kansas’ QB controversy may have been answered, for now. Carter Stanley, a redshirt freshman, will get the start for the Jayhawks. After 9 games of inconsistent and flat out bad play from Montell Cozart and Ryan Willis, head coach David Beaty has finally had enough. Stanley is an athetic play maker type, and his style has been loosely compared to Johnny Manziel. In my opinion, Stanley’s style fits Kansas better than the other two quarterbacks in Willis and Cozart. With a struggling offensive line, a QB that can scramble is that much more valuable. He can escape the pocket, and make plays down field with his legs, and that takes pressure off of the KU receivers to get open down field. It’s beyond me why it took Beaty so long to make this switch, when clearly they had nothing to lose a while ago, but they finally made the switch, and if I had to predict how it goes, I’ll say it may be shaky at first, but as the game goes on, Stanley will increase in confidence, and ultimately lead KU to its first Big 12 win in the David Beaty era.
JACKSON’S PICK: KANSAS 27-24
Kentucky (5-4) @ Tennessee (6-3), 11:00AM SECN
Tennessee began the season with an unimpressive win over a team you’ll read about shortly. Then, the Vols followed that up with a 5-0 start and were called “the team of destiny”. Tennessee overcame large deficits created by poor first half play. Their second halves were a thing of beauty, mystery, and miracles. Suddenly though, it came crashing down, and the Vols have lost 3 of their last 4 contests. Kentucky is a team of different origin this year. Performing in streaks, the Wildcats are just a win away from bowl elligibility.
Josh Dobbs has led Tennessee under center. Dobbs has put up nearly 1900 yards and 18 scores, but his interceptions have really been a thorn in the side of head coach Butch Jones. Dobbs has handed away the possession 11 times. I’m not sure if you guys know this, but that’s bad. More bad news surrounding Tennessee is the fact that Jalen Hurd has elected to transfer away from the program mid season. Hurd has cited repeated injury, and finding a better offensive fit, as reasons for his transfer. This up and down season has been quite the story in Knoxville. One positive to look at is that Tennessee has 6 wins, with 3 very winnable games to go against Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt. But how will the Vols show up on Saturday?
Kentucky has overachieved to say the least this season. The Wildcats have 5 wins already, with 3 games left to go. The Wildcats have a two-headed beast on the ground, as Stanley Williams and Benny Snell Jr. have combined for a ridiculous 1,673 yards and 14 scores. Snell leads the charge in finding paydirt with 10 TDs. Kentucky averages 215 yards on the ground a game, and Tennessee allows just 167 per contest, so something has to give. If I had to guess, I would say Tennessee will be what gives in this one. Kentucky doesn’t necessarily pass the ball well, but their strong rushing effort will pose as a huge challenge for the Volunteers. This may open up things for an occassional shot down field for the Wildcats, and I think Kentucky will get a huge big hitter for the win.
JACKSON’S PICK: KENTUCKY 27-21
Appalachian State (7-2) @ Troy (7-1), 2:30 ESPN3
These two teams are very similar. They put up a lot of points, and don’t give up very many either. Troy’s only loss came from playing undefeated Clemson back in week two. Appalachian State’s two losses came by way of the aforementioned Tennessee and then ranked #25 Miami. This group of 5 schools have contended very well this year, and are both on a direct route towards a Sun Belt championship. The winner of this game will be in the driver’s seat with just a few weeks left.
The Mountaineers have been the posterchild for under dogs and up-and-comer teams ever since they upset Michigan in the Big House. Since then, they’ve moved up to the FBS and quietly become a Sun Belt force. Strong offense coupled with a stout defense has set the Mountaineers up for success this year. Taylor Lamb has thrown for 1500 yards and 11 scores, but he has a problem with turnovers, handing it to opposing defenses 7 times. To make up for errors in the air, Appalachian State has turned to a very run heavy offense. Jalin Moore has over 1000 yards and 7 scores on the ground, and when he needs a breather, it doesn’t get any easier for defenses. Marcus Cox has a solid 529 and 5 more scores. The ground and pound Mountaineers will be one of the toughest tests for Troy this season.
When Troy nearly upset Clemson back at the beginning of the year, people only credited the close score to Clemson being overrated. No one counted the fact that Troy was a solid team. Here we are though, late in the season, and Troy hasn’t lost a game outside of the second ranked Tigers. Brandon Silvers has slung bullets all year long, tallying over 200 yards and 18 scores. 8 receivers for the Trojans have 97 yards or more on the year. Of those, four have 246 yards plus. Getting even more specific, two more men have 457 or more, lead by Deondre Douglas’ 518 and 4 touchdowns. Clearly, Silvers has a plethora of targets to distribute the ball to through the air, and that’s incredibly valuable for Troy, as they air the ball out all game long, and it may be just too much for Appalachian State’s defense to handle.
JACKSON’S PICK: TROY 28-24
24 LSU (5-3) @ 25 Arkansas (6-3), 6:00PM ESPN
LSU played one of the most white knuckle games of football this season last week in a 10-0 loss against Alabama, who is undoubtedly the best team in America. I would expect the Tigers to come out firing this week, considering they were kept completely off the scoreboard their last time out. Arkansas, however, is fresh off of a convincing 21 point win over then #11 Florida. The Razorbacks showed something we hadn’t seen from them in a while. Defense. Don’t get too excited though, since it was against the always dormant Florida offense.
Arkansas is led by two main cogs, quarterback Austin Allen, and running back Rawleigh Williams III. Allen has thrown for nearly 2300 yards and 19 scores to 7 different receivers with over 100 yards to their credit. Williams needs just 45 yards to crack the 1000 yard barrier against LSU on Saturday. LSU gives up 214 yards on the ground per contest, so I would say his chances of hitting this mark are fairly high. The Arkansas offense will have to fight like heck to get into the end zone, because LSU gives up just a hair over 14 points a game. Gven the recent struggles with the exception of last week that we have seen from the Arkansas defense, they may need a lot of points to stay in this one.
LSU has had quite the dramatic season thus far. After the dismissal of Les Miles, and him being replaced by Ed Orgeron, it finally looks like the Tigers have some stability. Danny Etling struggled against Bama, but then again, who wouldn’t? On the season, Etling has thrown for over 1200 yards and 7 scores, but has shown some issues giving the ball away with 4 picks. Arkansas gives up 167 a game on the ground, and will have their hands more than full when they take on the two-headed monster that is Derrius Guice and the incredible Leonard Fournette. The 1-2 combo has combined for over 1300 yards and 12 touchdowns through just 8 games.