Sep 28, 2017
by Chase Gage
I have to admit, I’ve been a bit sporadic with my picks this year.
I’ve been making them based on a mixture of my ‘gut feeling’ and trying to be bold. Some picks were just for fun. Now that Week 5 of college football is upon us, I guess it’s time I start taking this a little bit more seriously.
From now on, I will take the point-spread into account for my picks. I’ll make serious picks based on the spread and keep up with my record. Sound like fun? Well, let’s get to it then.
SlingShot Sports Game of the Week
24 Mississippi State (+9.0) at 13 Auburn
- Preview: Mississippi State came back down to earth last week when they were beaten by Georgia 31-3. Where do the Bulldogs go from here? How do you bounce back from a lopsided loss like that? You play an overrated Auburn team, that’s how. The Tigers have still yet to prove anything this season, yet they are ranked in the top-15. Their most impressive win came last week against Missouri. Yeah, the Mizzou team that has been outscored 117-30 in the span of three games. When that is your biggest win of the season so far, you haven’t done much.
- Prediction: Hail State. The Bulldogs will expose Auburn (finally) and show the world that they aren’t nearly as good as people think they are. Mississippi State is still a solid team. Last week just showed us how good Georgia really is.
- Pick: Against the spread. Mississippi State wins.
Top 25 Matchups
5 USC (-3.5) at 16 Washington State
- Preview: Here are two teams that are tough to make predictions about. USC has struggled in games they were supposed to dominate, and dominated in games that are supposed to be close. They’ve yet to establish the dominance that they are portrayed as having, but this is their best chance to do just that. Washington State is no pushover, though they’ve yet to prove that they are legitimate contenders in the Pac-12, or even the best team in their state. Their most impressive win thus far was a triple-overtime thriller with Boise State in which they won 47-44 despite only rushing for 22 (22! With three overtime periods!) yards.This is their chance to assert themselves into the contender conversation.
- Prediction: As much as I want to pick the Cougars, I can’t. I’m taking the Trojans on the road in their toughest battle yet.
- Pick: Take the spread, but not by much. I see USC winning this game by a touchdown.
2 Clemson (-7.5) at 12 Virginia Tech
- Preview: To be completely honest, I don’t know much about Virginia Tech. They’re one of only two teams in this article that I haven’t watched this year (the other being New Mexico State, more on them later). That makes this prediction a little bit harder. Based on their stats, they are a solid team, but their only competition so far this year was a win over West Virginia in the opener. That’s a good win, but not much to go off of here. We will all find out who they are this week when they face their toughest opponent of the season in the Clemson Tigers. Clemson hasn’t missed a beat since their 2016 National Championship. They look like they’re on track to make a third-consecutive playoff appearance and, potentially, championship game. I slept on them once this year, but now I’m, as the kids would say, ‘woke’.
- Prediction: Though I don’t know much about Virginia Tech, I do know that I’m not picking against Clemson anymore. I’ve done that twice. Once was last year’s championship game, the other was against Louisville. Maybe I’ve learned my lesson.
- Pick: Take the spread. The Tigers cover that 7.5 points and then some.
Other Interesting Matchups (Yeah, they’re all SEC games. So what?)
Vanderbilt (+9.5) at 21 Florida
- Preview: How on earth do you bounce back from a 59-0 loss? That’s the kind of demoralizing loss that can drag a team down for weeks to come. In a perfect world, you watch film, fix your mistakes and use that loss as motivation moving forward. But from a human perspective, it’s not that simple. Is Vanderbilt’s season over? Far from it. This is still a solid team. They just ran into the biggest bully on the block. But will they have a hangover from that beatdown? It’s very likely. Florida is one of the hardest teams to pin down. They lack an identity outside of “hey their defense scores touchdowns sometimes” and “hey they came back and won at the last second.” The Gators were down 27-14 in the fourth quarter last week before mounting a 14-point comeback to win the game. They put together a 13-play, 58-yard drive that lasted almost six minutes en route to the go-ahead touchdown with 43 seconds left. Kentucky missed a field goal that would have won the game and the Gators were victorious. That’s after their Hail Mary with literally no time left on the clock beat Tennessee the week before. What’s up with this team?
- Prediction: I like Vanderbilt, and honestly I don’t think Florida is that good of a team. However, I will take the Gators in this one. They have tons of momentum after their last two wins and Vanderbilt has none. The Commodores are going to put up a fight, but it won’t be enough to get a win in the Swamp.
- Pick: This is pretty tough, but I’ll take the spread. Florida by 9.5+
7 Georgia (-7.5) at Tennessee
- Preview: Georgia showed us what they were really made of when they slaughtered Mississippi State last weekend. This is a team that may pose a legitimate threat to Alabama in the SEC Championship (spoiler alert, Georgia will win the East and Alabama will win the West). This is a potential CFP team that is amongst the ranks of Michigan, Penn State, USC and Washington. They are all either borderline playoff teams or just on the outside looking in and Georgia is now officially in that same conversation. Then we have Tennessee. They couldn’t even beat Florida (who isn’t that good). It took a huge comeback and overtime to beat Georgia Tech (who isn’t that good). It’s going to be a rough stretch for Volunteer fans for the next few weeks as they face real competition in Georgia, South Carolina (not that good, but in-between good teams on the schedule), Alabama and Kentucky. That 3-1 record might turn to 4-4 or 3-5 in a hurry.
- Prediction: Georgia’s biggest challenge Saturday will be listening to Rocky Top every four seconds. The Tennessee football team poses no legitimate threat at all. The band and drunk fans, however, may give them a run for their money.
- Pick: Take the spread. Georgia wins this game by double-digits.
Ole Miss (+27.5) at 1 Alabama
- Preview: I had to bring this one up for one reason. Ole Miss is Alabama’s kryptonite. Well, Hugh Freeze was, but look at where that went. Ole Miss upset #3 Alabama in Oxford in 2014, then turned around and beat #2 Alabama on the road in 2015. Last year, the Rebels led 24-3 in the second quarter and were staring at a third-straight win over the Crimson Tide. That wasn’t in the cards, though, as Alabama won the game 48-43. Will this year yield more of the same?
- Prediction: No.
- Pick: Alabama covers this huge spread. Usually, when you’re given nearly 28 points you take it, but not in this case.
Pigs in a Blanket
New Mexico State (+17.0) at Arkansas
- Preview: Arkansas lost in overtime to Texas A&M last week. It was ugly. Both teams were atrocious. New Mexico State is fresh off of a 41-14 win over UTEP. What else do you want me to say here? Seriously though.
- Prediction: As bad as Arkansas is this year, a bad Razorback team is still going to beat a good Aggie team (as long as they’re not the Texas A&M kind).
- Pick: I hope I’m right in saying take the spread. I (really, really, really) hope this game is not closer than 17 points.