College Football Pick’em
Start or Sit (AFC Home Games)
Talking the business of sports
Picking upsets is an inexact science, and our first week trying to nail them down was a humbling experience. We swung for the fences with games involving Michigan, NC State and Oregon State, but completely whiffed on TCU eviscerating Oklahoma, Georgia Tech toppling Pitt and Oklahoma State beating Baylor.
But while we missed on some, we gave you the heads up on Georgia State’s advantage over Army, which delivered +2.4 units. We were also one unfortunate Will Levis fumble away from Kentucky beating Ole Miss, which would have added another +2.1 units.
Football can be brutal.
There are eight games involving ranked teams with single-digit lines in Week 6. That’s where we thrive. Remember, we’re taking big swings for the fences with money lines. Our final record probably won’t look impressive. But when a big line hits, there’s no better feeling. Here are five games with big money lines that could end in upsets.
Important disclaimer: “upset” is defined first and foremost by the odds, not rankings. All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
When: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET | Where: Davis Wade Stadium — Starkville, Mississippi
If not for the “ ,” Arkansas would probably still be ranked in the top 15. Instead, the oddsmakers have overreacted to a pair of results against Texas A&M to diminish Arkansas and prop up a Mississippi State team that has lost both matchups to Razorbacks coach Sam Pittman.
Arkansas is 10th nationally in rushing success rate, while Mississippi State is 103rd in that category on defense. LSU rushed for more than 200 yards against the Bulldogs, and the combination of KJ Jefferson and Raheim Sanders is more fearsome. The Razorbacks can control this game and come back to Fayetteville with a win. Pick: Arkansas (+278)
When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET | Where: Protective Stadium — Birmingham, Alabama
Heading into the season, there was no thought that the Blue Raiders could compete with UAB. After losing to Rice to move to 2-2, however, the luster of UAB in the post-Bill Clark era is starting to fade. The Blazers are one of the most penalized teams in the country, committing more than eight penalties per game. In the loss against Rice, UAB gifted the Owls 116 unnecessary penalty yards.
On the flip side, Middle Tennessee is more than its shocking upset win over Miami. The Blue Raiders kept pace with Conference USA favorite UTSA a week ago behind 368 yards passing from quarterback Chase Cunningham. While MTSU couldn’t hit on the 90-yard plays that stacked in the upset over The U, there were still explosive touchdowns of 53 and 38 yards in the loss. If UAB has really taken a step back in the post-Clark era, getting nearly 3-to-1 odds is a great way to take advantage. Pick: Middle Tennessee (+275)
When: Saturday, 4 p.m. ET | Where: Hard Rock Stadium — Miami Gardens, Florida
If Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Steele didn’t enjoy what Middle Tennessee did, North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye might send him into an early retirement. Maye has been perhaps the most impressive quarterback in the country through five games with 1,594 yards passing, 19 touchdowns and just one interception as part of a 4-1 start.
The Hurricanes had an extra week to think about their losses against Texas A&M and Middle Tennessee, but that doesn’t make answers easier to find. MTSU cleared 400 yards passing in the upset thanks to a plethora of explosive plays. Miami might not have the horses to match up defensively. We know they don’t have the juice to match up offensively after benching starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke. Pick: North Carolina (+143)
When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET | Where: Allegiant Stadium — Paradise, Nevada
Notre Dame managed to find some offense against a horrific North Carolina defense. Does that mean the unit is fixed? Unlikely. Outside of scoring 45 points against the Tar Heels, Notre Dame has averaged just 18.3 points per game. Notre Dame didn’t produce a 50-yard rusher in its two losses, either.
On the other sideline, BYU boasts a quarterback in Jaren Hall and some wide receivers that are next level-worthy, plus a few truly physical defenders. The Cougars have been inconsistent over the last two games in average performances against bad Mountain West teams. Still, this game was circled on the schedule early. Like the Baylor game, BYU will get up for this matchup. Pick: BYU (+150)
When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET | Where: LA Memorial Coliseum — Los Angeles, California
For 297 minutes, Washington State has been the best team in the Pac-12. The disastrous run when the Cougars allowed 22 unanswered points against Oregon in 2:47 counts, but the résumé is still impressive behind strong starts from quarterback Cameron Ward and running back Nakia Watson, both of which are transfers. The defense has been surprisingly impressive, allowing just 52 points in four games vs. FBS opponents … again, outside of those three minutes against Oregon.
Since knocking Jake Haener out of the Fresno State game, USC has looked shaky in wins over Oregon State and Arizona State. This is a major lookahead spot with a marquee road trip to No. 11 Utah on the schedule one week later. If the physical Wazzu defense can get pressure on USC quarterback Caleb Williams, it can cause some real issues for the projected top team in the Pac-12. Pick: Washington State (+360)
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 6, and which Top 25 favorite will go down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned more than $3,100 in profit over the past six-plus seasons — and find out.
© 2004-2022 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.
CBS Sports is a registered trademark of CBS Broadcasting Inc. Commissioner.com is a registered trademark of CBS Interactive Inc.
Images by Getty Images and US Presswire