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Ryan’s Ramble: The Home Stretch

With just a couple games left in the regular season, each pick becomes even more important than before. Here is a look into my card for week 13 in college football.

NCAA Football: Florida vs Georgia Gainesville Sun-USA TODAY NETWORK

Last week wasn’t the best, but thanks to the Paradise City parlay of the week hitting at +500 odds, for the second week in a row I might add, things weren’t all too bad. Even though it’s never a good feeling going 0-2 on the hammer picks of the week, we keep on keeping on.

We finished with a 8-10 overall record last week including the parlay win. I like to view this as a minor setback for a major comeback. Though one of those losses was completely bogus.

Let’s paint the picture, shall we? Cincinnati is up by 11 with around 2 minutes left in the game, covering the spread of -5. First they gave up a touchdown to go up by 5 exactly, and then the 2-point conversion so they were only up 3. At this point, I had lost all hope until the Bearcats drove down the field in just a few plays, reaching the 1 yard line with about a minute left. They run FOUR, yes FOUR plays from the 1 yard line yet couldn’t score to cover the spread.

Talk about a bad beat. Sheesh.

This week’s card will be a bit smaller than normal considering a decent chunk of the games were played on Friday. On top of that, six more games have been postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19 complications. This might be the smallest board since week 1 which means each pick is even more important as before.

Without further adieu, here is my card for week 13 in college football:

All odds are taken from Friday, 2:00 p.m. CST based on DraftKings sportsbook

Game 1: NC State @ Syracuse

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: NC State -14.5, Syracuse +14.5
  • O/U: 50.5
  • Money Line: NC State -670, Syracuse +450

Pick: NC State -14.5

Why: With just two games left on the schedule, the Wolfpack are sitting at a 6-3 record and looking strong to finish the year. On the other hand, Syracuse is a measly 1-8 and has absolutely nothing to play for, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw the Orange come out looking defeated from the get go. Last week NC State handed Liberty their first loss of the year in a 15-14 nail biter, the same team Syracuse lost to by 17. I’m no rocket scientist, but I’m pretty sure Syracuse stinks at football. Back the Wolfpack to win big at the Carrier Dome.

Game 2: SMU @ East Carolina

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: SMU -12, ECU +12
  • O/U: 67.5
  • Money Line: SMU -420, ECU +295

Pick: SMU -12

Why: SMU’s Shane Buechele has been one of the more productive quarterbacks in the country this year. Through nine games, Buechele has 2,781 yards, which is 2nd in the country, 21 touchdowns, and averages 309 yards per game through the air. The last time ECU played an above average QB didn’t go too well for the Pirates, as they lost to Cincinnati 55-17 behind Desmond Ridder’s 327 yards and three touchdowns. I’m expecting Buechele to tear up the ECU secondary that currently ranks 91st for passing yards allowed per game. Last time the Mustangs lost, they bounced back with two wins by an average margin of 19 points. After losing a tough one last week to Tulsa, a bounce back game is exactly what this team needs. Take the Ponies.

Game 3: Kentucky @ Florida

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: Florida -24.5, UK +24.5
  • O/U: 61
  • Money Line: Florida -5000, UK +1300

Pick: Over 61, Florida (1Q) -6.5

Why: Last week against Vanderbilt felt like one the lesser offensive performances we’ve seen from the Gators all year, yet they still put up 38 points and 586 yards. Kyle Trask is like a video game character, his stats are ridiculously high and ridiculously consistent. Kentucky’s offense on the other hand has been up and down all season, but this is a favorable matchup vs. the Florida defense. The Gator defense is ranked 62nd overall in the country giving up 6.06 yards per play and 411.3 yards per game. Other than a few defensive woes, Florida’s got tunnel vision set on the College Football Playoffs, and if anyone is going to get in their way it’s sure not Kentucky. Based on the Wildcats defensive performance last week, giving up 63 points to Bama, I’m ready to see Trask put on a show in The Swamp.

Game 4: UTEP @ Rice

  • Kickoff: 12:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Rice -12, UTEP +12
  • O/U: 44.5
  • Money Line: Rice -530, UTEP +390

Pick: Over 44.5

Why: Towards the beginning of the year, I was a big fan of any UTEP under thanks to their run-first offense and frankly their lack of scoring ability, but recently they have been putting up bigger numbers. In their last two games, the combined scores have been 73 and 66. This matchup could call for a change in strategy for the Miners as both teams will likely look to exploit the weak secondaries by passing more often. UTEP is currently 58th and Rice is 83rd in the FBS for passing yards allowed per game. Not to mention that all 10 of Rice’s touchdowns this year have come through the air. 44.5 really isn’t all that high of a number, and I think these teams can get at least six TDs and a field goal between the two of them.

Game 5: LA-Lafayette @ LA-Monroe

  • Kickoff: 2:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: ULL -28.5, ULM +28.5
  • O/U: 54
  • Money Line: N/A

Pick: LA-Lafayette (1Q) -7

Why: Louisiana Monroe is currently in contention for becoming the unofficial worst FBS team in the country, what an accomplishment that would be. The Ragin’ Cajuns should make light work of the Warhawks, and I’m expecting them to come out firing early.

Game 6: Coastal Carolina @ Texas State

  • Kickoff: 2:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: CCU -17.5, TX State +17.5
  • O/U: 58
  • Money Line: CCU -770, TX State +525

Pick: Over 58

Why: It seems like no matter who Texas State plays, they can put up 30+ points and still lose thanks to that horrific defense of theirs, which is perfect for the over. In the Bobcat’s last five games, the average combined score has been 73.8, and Coastal Carolina should have no problems scoring against the 109th ranked defense. The Chanticleers are currently 12th in FBS for passing success and explosiveness thanks to quarterback Grayson McCall, who is averaging a mesmerizing 10.2 yards per attempt this year.

Game 7: Auburn @ Alabama

  • Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Bama -24.5, Auburn +24.5
  • O/U: 62.5
  • Money Line: Bama -2500, Auburn +1100

Pick: Over 62.5

Why: At this point in the season, if you haven’t heard of Mac Jones and the explosive Crimson Tide offense, you must be living under a rock. Alabama’s offense ranks in the top five in numerous categories, including success rate, explosiveness, and finishing drives. On the contrary, Auburn’s defense ranks 106th in defensive passing success rate. 24.5 is a lot of points for a top-25 matchup, even though this is Alabama we’re talking about, it’s too big a spread for my liking. As long as Auburn can squeeze out at least a couple of touchdowns, this should be smooth sailing to hit the over.

Game 8: Louisville @ Boston College

  • Kickoff: 3:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: BC -1.5, Louisville +1.5
  • O/U: 54.5
  • Money Line: BC -118, Louisville -103

Pick: Boston College -118, Boston College team total over 27.5

Why: Boston College is a solid team, though they have had issues with consistency all year long. After the Eagles nearly upset #1 Clemson on the road, they followed it up with a 16-13 scare against Syracuse only to then go and compete with the #2 team for all four quarters, losing only 45-31 against Notre Dame. Both of these teams have been terrible defending big plays, which is why I’m expecting some random sparks of explosive offense. Boston College has given up 32 passing completions of more than 20 yards, while Louisville has given up 23; both teams rank below the national average. Even when BC played top-quality defenses such as Clemson and Notre Dame, they managed to put up 28 and 31 points against the playoff contenders. If the Eagles can put up over 27.5 against two of the top three teams in the nation, they can do it against a 3-6 Louisville squad.

Game 9: Mississippi State @ Ole Miss

  • Kickoff: 3:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Ole Miss -9.5, Miss. State +9.5
  • O/U: 69.5
  • Money Line: Ole Miss -315, Miss. State +245

Pick: Ole Miss -9.5

Why: Lane Kiffin vs. Mike Leach. Two of the most iconic coaches in all of college football will be lining up on opposite sidelines this Saturday in what is a must-watch Egg Bowl. Ever since a dominant week 1 outing against LSU, Mississippi State has been trending in a downward direction. The Bulldogs currently rank 110th in total offense, 125th in explosiveness, and 116th in points per opportunity. I don’t think anyone expected this regression from a Mike Leach air raid, but 2020 is weird. Ironically, Mississippi State ranks 39th in total defense, who would have thought defense would be Leach’s strong suit? Even though the Bulldog defense has been playing relatively well, the Ole Miss offense will be too much for them to handle. The Rebels are averaging 41 points per game, have the 4th ranked total offense, and rank 14th in offensive success rate. Seems to me like Kiffin’s crew has a slight edge in this one. I’m taking the Rebel’s and their high powered offense to scramble Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl.

Game 10: Duke @ Georgia Tech

  • Kickoff: 6:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Duke PK, GT PK
  • O/U: 58
  • Money Line: Duke -110, GT -110

Pick: Georgia Tech -110

Why: I like to compare both of these teams to big ol’ dumpsters, only in Duke’s case, that dumpster has bursted into flames and won’t be extinguished until next season at the earliest. This game is a pick ‘em for a reason, it’s a great example of the “pick your poison” expression considering no one in their right mind would bet on either one of these teams at this point in the year. As I said, no one in their right mind would pick them, which is exactly why I’m taking the Yellow Jackets to come away with their first win since Oct. 9. #404theCULTURE.

Game 11: Nevada @ Hawaii

  • Kickoff: 10:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Nevada -7.5, Hawaii +7.5
  • O/U: 60.5
  • Money Line: Nevada -265, Hawaii +200

Pick: Under 60.5

Why: This wouldn’t be a Ryan’s Ramble without finishing the card with some late night Mountain West action. Out of the combined 10 games these teams have played, only three of them have reached a combined score of 61 or higher. Nevada is currently ranked 17th in FBS total defense, giving up only 20.6 points per game. On the other end, Hawaii has the 77th ranked total offense so they might have some difficulties moving the ball against the Wolf Pack. Another small factor that could affect the offenses is the 12 mph wind that will be present. 12 mph may not be that much, but it could certainly affect field goal kicks from distance.

Hammer time pick of the week: Kentucky @ Florida o61

  • I’m a sucker for Kyle Trask and this Gator offense, HAMMER this over. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a plethora of touchdowns.

Why not pick(s) of the week: SJSU @ Boise St. o58, Virginia -9.5

  • Boise State games seem to always have a ridiculous amount of points, so why not? Florida State hasn’t covered the spread in their last three games, so Virginia seems like the better play.

Paradise City parlay of the week: Kent State +220, Colorado -175, Utah @ Washington o47.5 (+890 odds)

  • The parlay has hit two weeks in a row, and we’re going for a third, this time with some juicy odds.
  • Risk 1 unit to win 8.9

List view:

  • NC State -14.5
  • SMU -12
  • UK @ Florida o61, hammer time pick of the week
  • Florida (1Q) -6.5
  • UTEP @ Rice o44.5
  • LA-Lafayette (1Q) -7
  • Coastal Carolina @ Texas State o58
  • Auburn @ Alabama o62.5
  • BC -118
  • BC (tt) o27.5
  • Ole Miss -9.5
  • Georgia Tech -110
  • Nevada @ Hawaii u60.5
  • SJSU @ Boise State o58, why not pick of the week
  • Virginia -9.5, why not pick of the week
  • Parlay: Kent State +220, Colorado -175, Utah @ Washington o47.5 (+890 odds)