The Six Pack: Alabama vs. Tennessee, Michigan vs. Penn State among the best Week 7 college football picks

Last week was an outright disaster. The only thing that kept me from going 0 for 6 on the week was getting Kansas +7 before the line moved to Kansas +6.5. That push in Kansas’ 38-31 loss to TCU was the only pick that didn’t end up in a loss.

UCLA did a great job of holding up to the Utah pass rush. Maryland forced three turnovers in a row against Purdue, but did not get a single point from them and lost by two. I don’t know what the hell happened in Pitt and Virginia Tech; the Panthers went over the game by themselves. And Army? Well, I have to make some serious adjustments to my rating of the troops.

Then there was Florida State, which couldn’t hang on to beat NC State despite an injury to Wolfpack quarterback Devin Leary and one second-half pass attempt from his backup, Jack Chambers.

It was a nightmare performance and the worst week I’ve ever had in The Six Pack. I’ve had 1-5 weeks, but I’ve never had a week without winning at least one bet. The good news? The last time I went 1-5, I followed it with a 6-0 week, so let’s see if history will repeat itself. All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

Games of the Week

Featured Game | Tennessee Volunteers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

No. 3 Alabama at No. 6 Tennessee: This is, without a doubt, Tennessee’s best chance to beat Alabama in a long time. Of course, seeing as Alabama has won 15 straight in this rivalry, most of them by roughly a billion points, that’s not saying much. But it’s true, and not just because we don’t know the status of Tide QB Bryce Young. If Young is out, Tennessee has a real shot of pulling off the upset, but even if he plays, this Vols offense is playing well enough that we can’t assume Alabama can keep up.

No matter who wins, however, I don’t expect the game to be as high-scoring as the total suggests. If Jalen Milroe starts over Young, the Tide will be more conservative on offense and run more. Even if Young plays, we haven’t seen a lot of explosive plays in the Alabama passing game with him on the field. Meanwhile, as explosive as Tennessee’s offense is, it hasn’t faced a pass rush like the one it’ll see Saturday. I won’t be surprised to see Tennessee lean more on the run game to try to slow it down. Alabama 35, Tennessee 27 | Under 65.5

Featured Game | Michigan Wolverines vs. Penn State Nittany Lions

No. 10 Penn State at No. 5 Michigan: I don’t know why the total for this game is this high. While this game went crazy in 2013 when Bill O’Brien’s Nittany Lions beat Brady Hoke’s Wolverines 43-40, the eight meetings since have averaged 46.13 points per game, and only two went north of 52 points. This game probably won’t be a lot different than those were.

Neither team has been tested, and I have more faith in the defenses than I do the offenses based on what I’ve seen. Michigan’s offense has been overly reliant on big plays from Blake Corum, and an improved Penn State offensive line hasn’t faced a front this good yet. I can’t wait to watch this game to see how good both of these teams are, but I’m not expecting a shootout. Michigan 27, Penn State 21 | Under 51.5

Lock of the Week

Featured Game | Oklahoma Sooners vs. Kansas Jayhawks

No. 19 Kansas at Oklahoma: I #BelieveInKansas, and dangit, Kansas believes in me. I have no idea what’s going on with this spread. OK, I do; Kansas QB Jalon Daniels will not be playing, and apparently, none of the oddsmakers watched backup Jason Bean last week. Bean replaced Daniels and threw for 262 yards and four touchdowns in just over a half of work. And that was without a week of preparation. I do not doubt that Kansas offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki will have something cooked up for his offense with Bean at QB.

Oh, and have you seen Oklahoma’s defense? There was a lot of attention on the Sooners not having Dillon Gabriel going into last week’s game against Texas and not nearly enough on the defensive injuries. Well, there still isn’t because there is no reason on Earth you should trust this Oklahoma team to cover a nine-point spread right now — especially against an offense capable of putting up points like Kansas. Kansas 37, Oklahoma 33 | Kansas +9

Under of the Week

Featured Game | Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Minnesota at No. 24 Illinois: Illinois held on to beat Iowa 9-6 last week to get to 5-1 and ranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time in 11 years. That’s great. The problem for the Illini is that they lost starting QB Tommy Devito to an ankle injury and could be without playmaking receiver Isaiah Williams this week. That’s two significant losses for an offense that hasn’t exactly been lighting it up.

Now, a Minnesota team that should be ranked is coming to town for a pivotal game in the Big Ten West, but the Gophers have injury issues of their own. Star running back Mohamed Ibrahim missed last week’s loss to Purdue, although he may be back Saturday. Even if he is, this Illinois defense has proven to be one of the best in the country — and Minnesota’s defense is pretty dang good itself. There’s a strong chance this game won’t look much different than last week’s Illinois-Iowa game. Minnesota 17, Illinois 10 | Under 39

Sucker Bet of the Week

Featured Game | Florida State Seminoles vs. Clemson Tigers

No. 4 Clemson at Florida State: Am I being lured into a trap here? Because I feel like I’m being lured into a trap. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why Clemson is only a 3.5-point favorite against Florida State. I understand the game is in Tallahassee, and I think the Seminoles are pretty good (remember: I did take them to beat NC State last week, remember), but Clemson is a legitimate playoff team again.

DJ Uiagalelei is playing well, and the Tigers defense should be getting some key players back this weekend. I have this being closer to a seven-point game than a 3.5-point game, and I think it’s more likely Clemson wins by double-digits than by three or fewer. Clemson 31, Florida State 23 | Clemson -3.5

Upset of the Week

Featured Game | Florida Gators vs. LSU Tigers

LSU at Florida: There’s an interesting subplot in this game seeing as LSU passed up the coach in its backyard, Billy Napier, to get Brian Kelly, while Napier ended up going to Florida. It’ll be fun to see how that plays out over the next few years, but as far as this weekend is concerned, there’s been an overreaction to LSU’s 40-13 loss to Tennessee last week.

Tennessee was the better team and deserved to win, but LSU muffed the opening kickoff and trailed 7-0 before you could blink. Then, a big punt return set Tennessee up with another short field and next thing you knew it was 14-0. The Tigers spent the entire game trying to dig out of a hole and things spiraled out of control. Maybe that happens again, or maybe the Tigers perform much better against a Florida team whose win over Utah doesn’t look nearly as impressive as it did in Week 1. The Gators have also struggled against teams like Kentucky, USF, and Missouri. LSU 26, Florida 24 | LSU (+118)

Games of the Week

0-1-1

5-7-1

-2.7

Lock of the Week

0-1

3-4

-1.4

Overall

0-5-1

18-21-1

-3.97

Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 7, and which top-15 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 almost $3,000 in profit over the past six-plus seasons — and find out.

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