Mid-October could be my favorite time of the year. Crisp fall weather, the leaves changing, and a ridiculous amount of great college football on my television box. Sure, the picks get a little harder, but I think that's why they call in gambling.
You've had to wait an extra day for this week's picks, you do not have to wait any longer.
Kansas State at Oklahoma (-7)
This is one of those sneaky good games that you find this time of year. Neither team sits in the top 10, but a win keeps Big 12, and faint playoff hopes, alive for both schools, while a loss certainly ends the latter, and seriously wounds the former. In K-State's case, they are a rough kicking night versus Auburn away from siting at 5-0, and a likely top 5 spot. Oklahoma is again one of the most talented teams in the country, but the loss in Fort Worth against TCU obviously looms larger.
The spread opened at a monster 12 points, which I think any rational human would have taken the Wildcats. Even with just a touchdown between them, I still like the visitors. The K-State defense keeps this one close, and I would not be shocked if they pull off the outright win.
Texas A&M at Alabama (-13.5)
Allow me a slight moment to talk about SEC poll bias. Mostly, the part where A&M is still ranked. As best as I can tell, they are benefiting from a big win against fellow SEC poll bias benefactor South Carolina. The two best teams A&M has faced have won handily. As for the game, Alabama will look to avenge the last team to beat the Tide in Tuscaloosa, when Jonathan Pigskin starred in one of the better games in recent memory.
Alabama has been rather underwhelming, as the Kiffin-ing of the offense continues. Fortunately for Saban, his defense is as strong as ever. As the state of Mississippi has shown, you can get Kenny Hill to make mistakes, and the Aggie defense is not capable of doing much to stop anyone. The Tide's offense is hardly potent, but that won't be much of an issue as the Tide rolls (pun entirely intended).
Oklahoma State at TCU (-10)
Part of me just wants to copy and paste the description for the Oklahoma-Kansas State game, change the names, and see if anyone notices. The Frogs are playing the roll of K-State, with just a remarkable final 11 minutes versus Baylor keeping them from a top 5 spot, and a probable playoff spot. On the other side, Oklahoma State will unfortunately be matched up with their Intrastate "Bedlam" rivals.
OK State hung with Florida State to start the season, but have hardly been impressive since. Going on the road, against what I expect to be an angry TCU squad, will be too much. I like the Frogs big.
Stanford (-3.5) at Arizona State
This might be the most fascinating game of the weekend to me. Two teams that had high hopes entering the season come to Tempe with faint championship hopes riding on the outcome. The Sun Devils have had two weeks to enjoy the crazy win at USC, while Stanford recovered from the heartbreak in South Bend with a 34-17 win against Washington State. Oh, and you've got the biggest contrast in style of the week.
I really like ASU getting 3 points at home. Sun Devil Stadium is hardly a fortress (just ask UCLA), but it is hard to have a ton of faith in the Stanford offense to do much. The Cardinal D is strong, but the Sun Devil's offense will be able to find a few openings.
Notre Dame at Florida State (11.5)
This one has actually gone off the board in a few places this week, as the ongoing Jameis Winston saga continues to be a thing. As of this second, Winston appears to be playing, but at this point, who really knows what else might come out. Heck, they suspended him for the game against Clemson less than 24 hours before kickoff. Somehow, an undefeated Notre Dame visiting Doak Campbell is not the main story of this game, at least not yet.
It's hard for me to get too excited about this Irish team. Sure, Everett Golson is having a monster year, but it's not a huge step to say the Irish should be just another 4-2 team after back to back nail biters. The Seminoles have not come close to being as impressive as they were a year ago, including Winston's play at QB, but raw talent wins out here. I don't think this is a rehash of the thrashing Notre Dame had last time they visited Florida (2012 title game), but I do think FSU covers.
AROUND THE B1G
Iowa at Maryland (-5)
Purdue at Minnesota (-14)
Michigan State (-15.5) at Indiana
BTPR (+21.5) at Ohio State
Nebraska (-6.5) at Northwestern