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I had an awesome time Tuesday night with my kids at the Bills-Titans game. It was fantastic to be back in a football stadium. Even if it was an absurdly strange experience for there to be sixty thousand unoccupied seats with fasteners on them to keep them from being used.
The Titans put together the best performance they’ve had in years.
Thanks to everyone who said hi. We had, as always, a ton of OutKick fans in the stadium last night.
Time for some Tuesday night football with the two oldest Travis boys. pic.twitter.com/NoReeEQIX7
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) October 13, 2020
As much fun as Tuesday night was, there’s no way to sugarcoat it, our college football picks through three weeks have not been good.
Last week we went 4-8, running our season record to 14-19.
This level of gambling futility is unacceptable. It’s all the more troubling because my NFL picks, including the Titans +3.5 and the over last night, have been on fire.
So it’s past time for us to catch fire in college football.
But while my college football gambling picks haven’t started off the year well, there is one big positive for many of you reading right now: the state of Tennessee will allow legalized sports gambling starting very soon, potentially in the next several days. Right now you can sign up for sports gambling in Tennessee and FanDuel will give you a free $50 in your account. There are more offers you’ll be able to take advantage of in the near future, but all you have to do is click this link and you get $50 to gamble with. That feels like a good deal. Go sign up here.
Okay, here we go with the picks for the weekend.
We’re going 10-0!
As always, go sign up for the Outkick VIP and you can see these picks on Monday or Tuesday on our VIP message board. You can also hang out with what is rapidly becoming an fantastic community, and we will be debuting more and more events in the near future.
Auburn at South Carolina +3
Auburn absolutely stole a victory from Arkansas last weekend. The Tigers should have the exact same record as South Carolina right now, 1-2. So let’s unpack the seasons from the Tigers and the Gamecocks so far.
We’ve got South Carolina, who played fairly competitive games against Tennessee and Florida and then absolutely dominated Vanderbilt last weekend.
Meanwhile Auburn has been consistently mediocre against all three opponents so far this year: they got the benefit of a missed touchdown call against Kentucky en route to holding off the Wildcats, they were absolutely trounced by Georgia, and they stole a win from Arkansas.
What in these three performances makes you think Auburn deserves to be a road favorite against South Carolina?
The value here is all on Will Muschamp’s Gamecocks.
I just don’t believe in Bo Nix, and as a result I can’t take Auburn here as a road favorite.
Give me the Gamecocks to cover.
North Carolina -13.5 at Florida State
The Seminoles covered last week as a huge underdog at Notre Dame, which is their first cover all season. Now they are back home against North Carolina, who got into a huge offensive battle with Virginia Tech.
The Tar Heels football program only seems capable of winning with Mack Brown as their coach, and Daddy Mack has them back winning at a high level and recruiting at an even higher level.
So what do we make of this game?
Well, these two teams played every year from 1992 to 2004, and UNC won just one time. But UNC won in both 2010 and 2016, reflecting the recent slippage of the FSU program.
Ultimately I think Florida State is still a mess and the cover against Notre Dame was fool’s gold.
UNC rolls into Tallahassee, and Mack Brown finally gets a win — and cover — over Florida State.
Clemson -27 at Georgia Tech
Last weekend, Clemson delivered a beatdown to Miami, further solidifying their iron-fisted control of the ACC.
Meanwhile Georgia Tech has been totally erratic — losing to Syracuse by 17, beating Louisville by 19 — in the past two weeks.
Playing in an erratic fashion is not a good recipe for competing at a high level with Clemson.
Especially not given the recent history between these two programs.
I know the offensive philosophy at Georgia Tech is now different, but Clemson has won the past two games 52-14 and 49-21.
I think we see more of the same on Saturday.
Give me the Tigers, big.
Kentucky at Tennessee -5.5 and the under 46
Jeremy Pruitt is 2-0 against Mark Stoops, and both of these games have been defensive struggles. The Vols have won 17-13 and 24-7 in the past two years.
Now Kentucky is rolling into Neyland Stadium, and I think we’re going to see more of the same.
Tennessee is coming off an awful second half against Georgia, and Kentucky is trying to right the ship after beginning the season 0-2.
Last weekend, Kentucky pitched a shutout against Mississippi State, but their offense was virtually nonexistent.
This is a big swing game for both teams. If the Vols win, they’ll be sitting at 3-1 with Bama coming to town. If Kentucky wins, they’ll have fought themselves back to 2-2 with a game against Georgia.
So what happens?
I just don’t think this Kentucky offense can score enough to win or cover against Tennessee. Now, it’s always possible that bad Jarrett Guarantano shows up and turns the ball over multiple times. And if that happens, I think Kentucky would have a chance to win the game.
But Guarantano tends to play well against the more mediocre SEC teams and struggle mightily against the good ones. The talent difference has grown over the past three years, and Tennessee has still found a way to win the past two years as well.
Which is why I think the Vol defense plays very well and shuts down Kentucky for most of this game. I also think the Kentucky defense has some good success slowing down Tennessee too.
A double win if you hop on the Vols and the under!
Ole Miss at Arkansas, the under 77
At some point, Lane Kiffin’s offensive pyrotechnics have to hit a roadblock.
And believe it or not, I think that roadblock may well be in Fayetteville.
We’ve already seen Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom slow down the Mississippi State offense. I think the same thing can happen, at least a little bit, in Fayetteville.
Plus, both these teams are coming off emotionally draining, physical performances against Alabama and Auburn, respectively.
I just think the proverbial air is going to be out of the offensive tires.
And that favors the defenses and the unders, especially when the number is this insanely high.
LSU +13 at Florida and the over 71
This game may not happen as scheduled on Saturday, but I’m going to go ahead and make my bets in the event it is played.
LSU’s defense is absolutely atrocious, and I don’t see it suddenly getting better going up against Kyle Trask in the Swamp. In fact, if anything, I think Florida is going to be furious about how things went down in College Station and seeking to take out their frustration on LSU.
Which means even more points and aggressiveness than usual.
Meanwhile the Gator defense can’t stop anyone, not even LSU. Which is why I don’t want to hop on the Gators as nearly two touchdown favorites.
Especially not in a series that tends to be fairly close.
Only one of the last eight games between these two teams has been decided by 14 or more and that was last year’s game, which was decided by 14 and was actually much closer than that.
Take the over and LSU with the points.
Georgia +6 at Alabama and the under 57
In the biggest game of the college football weekend, the Georgia Bulldogs travel to Tuscaloosa to take on Nick Saban and Alabama.
With Kirby Smart coming to town, Nick Saban will be attempting to run his record against former assistants to 22-0.
It’s a delectable feast of a battle that I can’t wait to sit down and enjoy.
Here’s why I like Georgia and the points: their defense is truly elite and I’m not sure anyone else in the SEC has an elite defense.
Meanwhile Alabama’s defense is the worst, statistically, that Nick Saban has had at Alabama through three games. I know the Alabama offense is phenomenal, but I think what we’re going to see on Saturday night is an old fashioned line of scrimmage battle between, with a nod to the legendary Keith Jackson, the big uglies.
And these two teams have the best lines on both offense and defense of anyone in the conference.
I don’t think Stetson Bennett has the juice to go on the road and pull off an upset like this, which is why I think the Tide wins late, but the under hits and Georgia covers.
Call it 27-24, Bama.
There you have it, we’re going 10-0!