The Six Pack got off to a mediocre start last week, going 3-3. I nailed both the biggest games of the week as Alabama blasted Miami, and Georgia beat Clemson outright like I said it would (though there were far fewer points scored than I expected), but I was way off with my Lock of the Week on Illinois. Not only did the Fighting Illini fail to cover, they lost outright, so that's a bad look for me.
Still, it was the first week of the season, and The Process is still feeling things out. I'm back with six more picks for this weekend I like, and I'm expecting this weekend to be the one where we turn a profit.
All lines are via Caesars Sportsbook.
Games of the Week
No. 12 Oregon at No. 3 Ohio State: I expect Oregon to take a similar approach to this game that Minnesota did when facing Ohio State last week. The Gophers ran the ball 50 times to burn clock and keep the Ohio State offense off the field. It was effective, as Minnesota dominated time of possession, but like many teams have learned, Ohio State doesn't need a lot of time to score.
Still, the approach makes sense for Oregon as it'll be on the road in a hostile environment and is better built to control the ball with Anthony Brown at quarterback. While there's some doubt about Kayvon Thibodeaux's availability with a sprained ankle, I expect him to play, and I think Oregon has a better defense than Minnesota. A defense that will do a better job of keeping guys like Chris Olave from running free through the defense after the catch. I think Ohio State will win rather comfortably, but Oregon will make it more difficult for the Buckeyes, and it'll keep this game from blowing a fuse in the scoreboard. Ohio State 37, Oregon 24 | Under 63.5
No. 10 Iowa at No. 9 Iowa State: Matt Campbell has achieved so much in a short time at Iowa State. Last year he led the Cyclones to a top 10 spot in the final AP Poll, the first time it's ever happened in the program's history. He's also posted four straight winning seasons at Iowa State, which hadn't been achieved since five straight winning seasons from 1923 to 1927. But you know what Campbell hasn't done at Iowa State? He hasn't beaten Iowa.
I'm not convinced this will be the season it happens, either. Iowa was ignored for the most part last season but was a solid team and was playing better than anybody else in the Big Ten West at the end of the season. Last week the Hawkeyes pasted an Indiana team that was ranked in the top 20. Meanwhile, Iowa State struggled with Northern Iowa, and while I think some of that was due to Charlie Kolar missing the game and a vanilla gameplan (they didn't want to put anything worthwhile on tape), it's still a concern. I'm picking the Iowa upset here, but I expect it to be a close game no matter who wins, so the points are valuable. Iowa 27, Iowa State 24 | Iowa +4.5
Lock of the Week
Air Force at Navy: This total opened at 45.5, and I jumped on it then. It's fallen four points since, but it's fallen for a reason. Long-time readers of The Six Pack already knew this would be the Lock of the Week. Why? Well, because since 2005, when Service Academies play, the under has gone 38-9-1. Yes, you read that right.
The explanation is simple. The academies run option offenses, which are very run-heavy. That means the clock rarely stops, and there's a limited number of possessions overall. A lot of times, we see teams getting only one possession per quarter. It's hard to score a lot of points in those situations without being perfect on offense. Air Force 21, Navy 14 | Under 40.5
Livestock Matchup of the Week
No. 15 Texas at Arkansas: I keep telling myself not to get too excited about Texas, but I'm struggling to follow my advice. Long story short, I think that while the Longhorns have been talented the last few years, they haven't had as good a play-caller in charge as they now do with Steve Sarkisian. For all the problems Sark has dealt with in previous stops, calling plays was never the problem, and I loved what I saw from Texas last week.
This week Texas is on the road against a tough Arkansas team, but I think they're better than at most spots on the field. I'm expecting this game to be ugly and close in the first half, but for the Longhorns to settle in and make adjustments in the second half before the difference in class starts to show and they pull away late. Texas 37, Arkansas 24 | Texas -7
Rock Fight of the Week
Washington at Michigan: I'm not overreacting to Washington's loss to Montana. First of all, strange things happen in the first game of the season. Second, I never had high hopes for the Washington offense to begin with. Washington's a team that's more than happy to try to smother you with its defense while scoring just as many points as it needs to, and no more.
And I think Washington will be successful on defense against Michigan. The Wolverines looked great against Western Michigan, but it will be difficult to replace Ronnie Bell after his season-ending injury. The Wolverines also have two inexperienced QBs who will be going against a Washington defense that does an excellent job of disguising looks and coverages. I think Michigan wins more often than not, but I see the under hitting far more often than anything else. Michigan 27, Washington 20 | Under 48.5
Late-Night Dog of the Week
San Diego State at Arizona: I don't think Arizona is a good football team. It's not a statement about new coach Jedd Fisch or anybody on the staff. I think they came into a difficult situation, and it's going to take some time to turn it around. That belief was only driven home when I saw the Wildcats struggle to move the ball against a BYU team that I don't rate very highly this season, either.
Meanwhile, San Diego State got off to a slow start last week and cost me one of my picks, but it figured things out in the second half of the game, and I think this Aztecs team has an offensive line they can use to just lean on the Wildcats defense and control the game. San Diego State 24, Arizona 21 | San Diego State +2
SportsLine Pick of the Week
Ball State at No. 11 Penn State: Whoops! I ran out of room in The Six Pack, and there's another bet this weekend I love. If you want to know what it is, you can find it on my SportsLine page.
Games of the Week
Lock of the Week
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