We’ve reached the point in the season where we have reliable data on most teams in college football. Through six weeks of the season, tendencies are starting to be confirmed while many of our speculative, preseason assumptions are going out the window. Such is the nature of the college football beast. This is our 15th season of riding the waves of a season; sometimes the added knowledge makes your picks better, sometimes it makes them worse.
What the data doesn’t tell us is how a team will respond to sudden events, such as injuries or coaching changes. The finest models in the world can only average out the effects over time. This week, I’m pressing my luck, focusing on a quarterback returning from injury, a team whose coach was fired midseason, and a team that is playing better under a new coach, albeit against unproven competition.
Let’s go undefeated for the third straight week!
Arkansas -1.5 @ BYU
Thankfully, KJ Jefferson is back healthy for the Hogs after a brutal stretch of three losses against Texas A&M, Alabama and Missisippi State. It’d be significant to end the slide and bag a win on the road going into the bye week.
To be clear, I am not crazy about the Arkansas defense. But, this sets up as a game where the Hogs can control the line of scrimmage and control the flow of the game with some combination of Jefferson and Raheim Sanders on the ground.
Bet Arkansas -1.5
Listen to our Week 7 Picks Episode
Wisconsin -7.5 @ Michigan State
This game features two teams moving in opposite directions. Though both have had a rough go in 2022, the Badgers are riding a new wave of optimism after ditching Paul Chryst and winning big in Jim Leonhard’s first game. Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz had a career day against Northwestern, throwing for a career-high 299 yards and tying his own school record with five TD passes. What a difference a week makes.
Meanwhile, this iteration of Michigan State seems to get worse with each passing week. I saw one set of projections that thinks the Spartans will finish 4-8, and even that doesn’t seem like a given. In the follow-up to last season’s breakout campaign, Mel Tucker is still dealing with the same defensive issues that plagued his squad and hasn’t seen the same lightning-in-a-bottle effects that he got from last year’s batch of transfers. It may only get worse before it gets better in East Lansing.
Bet Wisconsin -7.5
North Carolina -7 @ Duke
My sense is that Duke is a better story than team through the first half of the 2022 college football season. I hate to play the “ain’t played nobody” card, but the Blue Devils haven’t beaten anyone of North Carolina’s caliber, though they were within one score of Kansas back in Week 4. For what it’s worth, when all is said and done, we may be talking about this Carolina team as a much better version of the Jayhawks.
I don’t think this one is particularly close and expect the Tar Heels to win going away, even in a rivalry spot with the game in Durham. Take note: this line may dip to 6.5 at some point before kickoff.
Bet North Carolina -7