Each week, The Firelion uses his eyes and heart to pick college football winners against the spread. But he doesn’t make you follow Florida International on ESPN+. The Firelion wants to add even more enjoyment to your college football watching by only picking nationally televised games. Read on down to see which teams you should rent to be your favorite team this weekend!
What We Learned
2019 Season Record: 41-36
What can you do? Sometimes Lebron is going to tell you what the play is and you can’t stop it. Every once in a while, Tom Brady can guarantee a win and follow through. I’m sure baseball players do stuff too, but who cares? I’m telling you each week that I’m going to make you money and what have I done? 19-10 (65% in nationally televised games? C’mon!) over the past four weeks of picks. Let’s review my greatness once more to convince you.
- Win – (Penn St. +19) – Ohio State 28 – Penn State 17: The Buckeyes are clearly the better team, but the Nittany Lions’ early season, high-profile matchups allowed them to fight back with 17 third quarter points after an early shutout.
- Win – (Minnesota -14) – Minnesota 38 – Northwestern 22: The boat started strong and never lost momentum. The Gophers moved the ball at will in their tune-up for the Badgers.
- Loss – (Over 43.5) – Texas A&M 13 – Georgia 19: Georgia is fourth in the playoff standings? That’s a good one! The Bulldog defense is very good, but their offense put up less points on the Aggies than Mississippi State or Ole Miss did.
- Win – (Baylor -6) – Texas 10 – Baylor 24: Poor Texas, between Ehlinger’s claim of being “baaaaack” and those DBU shirts, this season has been a disaster.
- Win – (Tennessee +4) – Tennessee 24 – Missouri 20: Thanks for your trust; the Vols covered by eight without a single turnover going their way. Pruitt’s got them boys on a roll… AIGHT!?
- Win – (TCU +18) – TCU 25 – Oklahoma 28: Definitely the most fun game of the night. While the Sooners nearly doubled the offensive yards of TCU, they – as I called it – had six times more penalty yards. That’s a recipe for disaster.
- Win – (Utah -23) – Utah 35 – Arizona 7: The Utes are doing their part to woo the playoff committee. They’re not on my slate this week, but I’ll likely be taking them -28.5 at home against Colorado.
Thanks for joining me on this magical month of getting back to, and soaring past, .500, y’all! Have no fear, I’ll be continuing my in-depth study through the conference championship games and some of the bigger bowls. Keep your eyes peeled and your pockets fat!
The Week Ahead
All lines courtesy of MyBookie.ag
What would Thanksgiving week be without yet another low-rent blogger tying in the greatest holiday to their content? Am I more clever than the tired old angle? Yes, but not as much as I am still hungover from my first night back with my cooler-filling family. So let’s consider each of these seven games a different piece of the hallowed Thanksgiving meal. We’ll lightning round through them all so you can get back to partying or, unfortunately for some, avoiding your family. Much like pretending to be busy at work, just keep moving and looking busy. Good luck.
Ole Miss at Mississippi State
- Thursday @ 7:30pm ET on ESPN
- Line: Mississippi St. -1.5
- O/U: 58
The Egg Bowl is the stuffing of our gambling meal this week. Everyone pretends their all excited about it but there’s a reason you would never eat it outside of Thanksgiving. This game on a Saturday would garner less interest than a Mitch McConnel appearance on Empire. But the Bulldogs and Rebels will indeed square off today and, if you’re reading this, you’ll be tuning in.
Both teams from the top-ranked state in all things awful are going to pound the ball on the ground. Neither completes more than 60% of passes and both average more than 200 yards per game on the ground (MSU at 228 and Ole Miss at 261). Neither team is ranked in the Top 50 in much of anything and this seems to be a rivalry game in the truest sense. The only stat of interest I found was that Mississippi State ranks 19th nationally in time of possession, while Ole Miss ranks way down at 118. Take the Bulldogs at home to cover the -2.
Texas Tech at Texas
- Friday @ Noon ET on ABC
- Line: Texas -10
- O/U: 63.5
This one is all about pride. It’s the uncle that swears they can cook the perfect chocolate gravy. Sure, it’s inconsequential if it’s a dud, but it’s a win for the party when it’s good. Texas has accepted their fate of a failed season but are at least bowl eligible. Texas Tech strolls in at four wins on the outside looking in at the warm, cozy, bowl-eligible teams.
This one’s easy. Texas (seven) and Texas Tech (eight) have combined for 15 games giving up more than 400 yards total offense. Their offenses combined for 12 games with more than 450 yards of total offense. Both teams march up and down the field with relative ease and cover the Over 63.5
(19) Cincinnati at (18) Memphis
- Friday @ 3:30pm ET on ABC
- Line: Memphis -11.5
- O/U: 57.5
Damn! Somebody done showed up with sweet potato casserole! It’s got the butter and sour cream and cinnamon sugar and you totally forgot this was a thing. The American Athletic Conference has some sneaky entertaining teams if you haven’t been paying attention.
Cincinnati comes in at 10-1 with their only loss to Ohio State. Their position in the AAC championship game is locked in and now they even control who they play. A loss to 10-1 Memphis (their lone loss is a bad slipup at Temple in early October due to turnovers) sets up a rematch between the two and that game would be held in Memphis, as the overall best conference record (including a tiebreaker) hosts their conference title game. A win sets up a home game against Navy. The stakes are as high as anything outside of the state of Alabama.
Both teams hold opponents to a sub-55% completion percentage. Memphis comes in on offense with six games of 300+ yards passing. Cincinnati has none. The Bearcats are content with keeping it on the ground, having five 200+ yard rushing games. This mismatch of styles could go either way, but the tell tale of this one will be the turnover battle. Cincinnati ranks 17th in the country in turnover margin (+8 for the year) and Memphis is in the red. The Bearcats control the clock on the ground, gather a few turnovers, and lose closely to set up a rematch. Take Cincinnati at +11.5.
(1) Ohio State at Michigan
- Saturday @ Noon ET on FOX
- Line: Michigan +9.5
While the Big Tenners out there will claim this is the turkey, but it’s definitely the cornbread. Like the moist carb, when done right, it will be a highlight of the meal. But there’s definitely a chance the Buckeyes come out and dry out the Wolverines. We’ve all seen what the Buckeyes can do. What about Harbaugh’s resurgent squad, which have rolled over three conference opponents and Notre Dame by an average of 30 points in their last four contests?
While this offense is averaging 34 points per game, they have been held to an average of 15 points per game when playing a team with a top 10 scoring defense (Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn St). And the stain on the khakis will become mightily visible when Chase Young leads the third-ranked scoring defense into Ann Arbor. The Buckeyes roll in this rivalry game at -9.5, spurring another Fire Harbaugh Facebook moment.
(5) Alabama at (15) Auburn
- Saturday @ 3:30pm ET on CBS
- Line: Auburn +4
- O/U: 49.5
This one is the turkey, baby! The crown jewel of the weekend! Alabama is trying to fight off committee fatigue and keep Utah and the Pac 12 out another playoff season. Auburn’s defense ranks between 15th and 20th in most defensive categories, except for being 36th in passing yards allowed, and do not want to see Mac Jones become yet another Alabama backup hero.
This is the toughest defense the Tide has played all year that, when combined with a backup signal caller playing, makes their stats essentially irrelevant. And while this Alabama defense isn’t your slightly older brother’s Tide squad, they won’t be particularly scared of Bo Nix, who currently ranks 96th in the nation in completion percentage.
If any stat matters, it may be turnover margin. The Tide sits at +17 while Auburn, who is currently at +5 on the year, was a mere +1 before rolling Samford last week. As much as I’m in the camp of Bama fatigue, I see more “pay Gus the $28 million to get his ass out of here” Facebook memes. Oh how a Michigan-Auburn bowl would be fun. Begrudgingly take the Tide at -4.
(12) Wisconsin at (8) Minnesota
- Saturday @ 3:30 pm ET on ABC
- Line: Minnesota +2.5
- O/U: 46
There ain’t no frills to this one! A smash mouth Big 10 matchup that will consistently entertain. It’s the mashed potatoes and gravy at our table. This one is for the chance to take on the mighty Buckeyes next week in the title game.
Both squads are going to try and run the ball as they both rank in the top 20 in rushing attempts per game. Neither turn the ball over very often and both average exactly 6.3 yards per play. Picking this game is a tossup (although I’d lean toward the momentum in PJ Fleck’s rowboat) and they can’t make the over/under low enough for me. Have you checked the weather? 37 degrees and a 90% chance of a rain-sleet mix? This is some good-ole fashioned football that most of us Southerners will miss. Bet the Under 46 and focus on the turkey.
(7) Oklahoma at (21) Oklahoma State
- Saturday Night @ 10:00pm ET on FS1
- Line: Oklahoma State +13.5
- O/U: 69
Now it’s time for desert! That pecan pie is fresh out the oven and ready for you to sit back and try to keep your eyes open after ten hours of eating and gambling wins. There will be more offense in this game than there will be defense in Minneapolis. The Longhorns rank 98th in the country in total yards allowed. Texas Tech? 122nd! It gets better! Texas is 17th in total yards on offense and Texas Tech is 21st! Just 69 points? I’m taking it even if it’s 79. It’s the Over all night.