Dragon's College Football Picks Week 12 (Season 4)

Last Week 7-2
Overall 60-46-2

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We are working our way to the conclusion of the season and looking for finish strong. I’d also like to take a moment to thank my sponsor The Graduate Hotel for the luxurious accommodations as I bring this week’s picks to you live from Charlottesville Va.

Arizona St +24.5 vs. Oregon
The Ducks cost me a perfect week last week and now I’m out for revenge. For those keeping score, I am 0-2 on revenge bets this season. This one comes down to a couple factors for me, the state of Arizona has not treated the Ducks well over the years and has typically been a tricky spot. I don’t think the Sun Devils win this one outright, but I do think the number is too big for this late in the season. The Ducks have what is likely the most difficult Civil War game in my memory next week and if they win that a possible Pac12 Championship appearance after that. I think that’s enough on their mind to open the back door ASU.
Arizona State +24.5

Iowa vs. Illinois Under 32
I’m going to ride this one into the ground. On consecutive weeks I took Iowa and the under and they delivered. You have to go back to September 30th for the last time the Hawkeyes hit the over. I also like that Iowa has only scored more than 20 points in a game twice since September. Illinois has did not make the leap many expected this season, but they keep things close. They last four games were decided by an average of 2.75 points.
Under 32

USC vs UCLA Under 65.5
Not often I opt for the under on a Pac12 game but this is the rare exception. The rumor mill has this being Chip Kelly’s last cross town rivalry and given his performance that might be the right call. The Bruins have a combine total of 39.7ppg in seven conference games this year. What happened to the offensive guru that was Chip Kelly? Now UCLA is best known for grinding games to a stand still and boring us all out of the Rose Bowl. Caleb Williams has poured his heart out for the Trojans but he joins the long list of QB’s who were let down by a Lincoln Riley defense. The Trojans can lay the smack down and keep this one relatively low scoring due to lack of possessions.
Under 65.5

Michigan vs. Maryland Under 50
You’re going to need to hold on to your butts for this one. I expect the Terps to come out fired up and put up some points early on. But much like last week in Happy Valley, I think Michigan chokes the life out of this game. Last week they ran the ball 27 times in the second half and threw it once. The Wolverines grind teams into the dirty with the ground attack. I don’t expect many points once we get out of the first half.
Under 50

Washington vs. Oregon St. Over 62.5
The spread has been all over the place here. I’ve seen the Huskies as much as a 2pt dog and as of today (Friday afternoon) they are settling around 1.5. The reason? the Beavers are great at home and are the best 2 loss team n the country currently. I’m too scared to touch the spread because I don’t want to bet against Penix Jr. and the Huskies but at some point their string of crazy wins has to end. What I do expect is for this to be a classic Pac12 affair with lots of points.
Over 62.5

Virginia +3.5 vs Duke Over 46
For the first time in 7 years almost to the date the Dragon will grace Scott Stadium and it will be a glorious experience. The Hoos may be the unluckiest team in college football going 1-5 in one score games this season. The real kicker for me is it looks like Riley Leonard is out again and with him goes the Duke offense. I think the Blue Devils wills core enough points to hold up their end of the bargin for an over, but with some home cooking the Hoos punch through.
Virginia +3.5 Over 46


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I went 5-3 last week, leaving me at 28-38-3 for the year. I’m on life support, but I’m not dead yet.

Wow, Dragon - you’re hitting the totals hard this week and not the spreads. I like your thinking with Arizona State although the score from their game against Utah would have me scared. I like the Virginia over, but Duke was so solid for the first 4-5 weeks of the season. I think they out-class us regardless of Riley Leonard. I like the Pac-12 over, but not sure what to think about the UCLA game. Caleb Williams is probably going to be sacked 6-8 times on Saturday which may serve you well in hitting the under.

I thought long and hard about New Mexico State +24 against Auburn. The Tigers won a laugher last week and have the Iron Bowl on Thanksgiving weekend. In between, the seemingly innocuous Aggies from New Mexico State come to town. But these Aggies have won (and covered) six straight games. I love it! Alas, their QB got injured last week and they have already qualified for their conference championship game and thus have nothing to play for. I have to pass.

Here are the picks:

Jacksonville St. -8.5 vs. La Tech Louisiana Tech are losers of 7 out of their last 8. This is their final game of the season and its on the road. Most of their losses have been inside of 8 points, which is a concern, but there is a decent chance that if they fall behind they just pack it in for the season. Meanwhile, Jacksonville State has won 5 of their last 7, losing only respectable games to Liberty and South Carolina. Each team’s strength plays against their opponent’s weakness. Jacksonville has the number 15 rushing offense in the nation going up against La Tech’s 127th rated rush defense. On the other side of the ball, La Tech has a top 30 passing offense against Jacksonville’s 112th rated pass defense. Turnover margin is strongly in favor of the Gamecocks. Jacksonville is +6 on the season while Louisiana Tech is -8. Give me the favorite.

Coastal Carolina -3 vs. Army Why is this line going down? Coastal is the better team and opened as a five point favorite. The line is now down to 3, maybe because Grayson McCall still hasn’t clear concussion protocol from his injury against Arkansas St. nearly 4 weeks ago. Ethan Vasko has only been ok in relief, but the running game has stepped up and kept things easy for him. Fortunately, Army has a poor running defense, surrendering nearly 200 yards per game. Coastal is 8-2 against the spread this year. I like them to cover the small number here.

Texas vs. Iowa St. under 46.5 The concern here is that Texas plays up to its potential and runs up the score, but Ames has not been kind to the Longhorns in recent years. They have lost 3 out of 4 there. In addition, the last 8 games between these teams regardless of site have been under 46. Texas has been under the total 6 of their last 8. I’ll roll with the trends.

NC State vs. Virginia Tech under 42.5 NC State has hit the under in eight out of 10 games this year including each of the last four. Their run defense is top 20 and pass defense is top 50. They average 2 takeaways per game (one more than the Hokies average). Virginia Tech has been unimpressive on offense against the better defenses this year (Louisville, FSU, Rutgers), but has a top 25 defense of its own, being particularly stout against the pass. Earlier this season, the Hokies were getting pounded by the run game, but they have improved greatly over the last four games. Only Louisville gashed them on the ground, and NC State is not Louisville – Brennan Armstrong is still the leading rusher for the Wolfpack with 430 yards. The Hokies, of course, are very familiar with Brennan and have held him to under 25 yards rushing in each of the last two games. Both teams are converting 3rd downs at about 33% for the year. Give me the under.

Kansas State -9.5 vs. Kansas Statistically, these are two pretty evenly-matched teams. K State is slightly better defensively, but there is very little difference in rushing yards, passing yards, 3rd down conversion percentage, turnovers and so on down the list. The big difference here is that Kansas State has owned this rivalry having won 14 straight and the last four by an average of 28.5 points. Kansas has been playing their back-up QB for weeks and he has done well. He suffered a head injury last week against Texas Tech, but is expected to play on Saturday. Even so, in Kansas’s big win against Oklahoma earlier this year he was 15-32 with 0 TDs and 2 INTs. This isn’t the year and that isn’t the quarterback to break a 14 year losing streak. Wildcats…big.

South Carolina -1.5 vs. Kentucky South Carolina is coming off of a confidence-building game against Vanderbilt. They need wins in their last two games to become bowl eligible. Playing at home, I expect them to come out firing against Kentucky and its middling pass defense. I don’t have any trust in Devin Leary. I like South Carolina to win a close game or possibly have a breakout win.

Nebraska vs. Wisconsin under 37. Night game in Wisconsin between two teams that are averaging 18 points per game and 11 points per game over their last three. 'Nuff said.

Georgia Tech vs. Syracuse over 53. Syracuse’s QB situation is a mess. Their QBs are mediocre when healthy, and apparently they are all half-injured. As a result, the Cuse passed the ball all of 8 times on Saturday and ran a full wildcat system in a 28-13 win over Pitt. That doesn’t sound super-hopeful, but this week they are facing Georgia Tech and their 132nd ranked rushing defense. Did I mention that the Orange’s makeshift offense rushed for 392 yards? Nevertheless Syracuse has lost its last three road games by a combined score of 20-119. Georgia Tech’s offensive production is comparable to those three teams that averaged 40 per game against Syracuse. The over is 8-2 in Georgia Tech games this year. If Syracuse can score their share of points, and I think they can, the over at 53 is totally reachable.

UNLV +3 vs. Air Force Pure momentum play here. Air Force wet the bed against Army and then followed that up with a humiliating loss to Hawaii. Their starting QB is dinged up but will probably play. Meanwhile, UNLV has won, and covered, seven of its last eight. They are 27th in the nation in stopping the run. It’s true, Air Force has thumped them pretty hard over the past couple of years, but those were losing UNLV teams. I think this is a pretty good spot for the Rebels to turn things around.


Love it.

Maybe it was the travel but I was feeling wobbly about too many spreads.

The Kansas KSU game is one I was struggling with. I held off because of the QB situation and I saw the line moving. I saw it at 8.5 and given the questions around the KU qb i was intrigued but i got gun shy when the line moved. But i still really like the pick and wish I pulled the trigger on it.


well, I was sweating out the endings of the Wisconsin, Texas, and Georgia Tech games as I was teetering on the total for each of them. Turns out I won one, lost one, and got a push in the third.

I’m back to results like I got in the early part of the season: 4-4-1 on the week. Fourth push of the season.

I hate Army.
And Virginia Tech.


Finally catching up on everything oddly watched the least amount of football yesterday whilw attending a game. 4-4 on what was an awkard week. The Hoos saved my a$$ yet again