Day Time Free College Football Picks (10/16/10)

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Matchup: Missouri Tigers @ Texas A&M Aggies
Date: Saturday, October 16th, 12:00 ET
Location: Kyle Field, College Station, TX
Game Line: Texas A&M -3.5
Over/Under 57.5

There are plenty of cases this week where a ranked team is an underdog to an unranked team while playing on the road. This is perhaps the most dangerous of all of the spots, though. We continually talk about perception here at Cappers Info, and perception is key in this one as well. A&M is just a few plays away from being a 5-0 team, and if that were the case, the Aggies would have an even better ranking than the Tigers. There's a reason for that. Missouri might be fool's gold right now, especially since the toughest tasks on this schedule were both nearly failed against the Illinois Fighting Illini and the San Diego State Aztecs. This is clearly the toughest challenge. We love QB Blaine Gabbert, and we know that this offense could be good for 50 points against almost anyone in the nation, but we also know that there is a big problem on the horizon. HC Gary Pinkel's team might be looking forward to games against the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Oklahoma Sooners. Gabbert might be great, but the star in this game is QB Jerrod Johnson. His legs are only good for 113 yards so far this year, but that doesn't mean that he isn't able to put together a 100+ yard performance against anyone in the nation. He has also thrown for 1,486 yards and 13 TDs. The problem is nine picks and the fact that the offensive line has struggled. When push comes to shove though, this is a game that will belong to the hosts, as the 12th Man is going to be incredibly loud at Kyle Field.

Free College Football Picks: Texas A&M -3.5
Prediction: Texas A&M 31 -Missouri 24

Matchup: North Carolina State Wolfpack @ East Carolina Pirates
Date: Saturday, October 16th, 12:00 ET
Location: Dowdy Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC
Game Line: East Carolina +7.5
Over/Under 67.5

This one has the real potential to be a shootout. The Pirates don't have a chance of stopping QB Russell Wilson and the Wolfpack offense, but they do have the abilities to run up and down the field themselves. NC State knows that it can put the pill wherever he wants to against a secondary that ranks No. 114 in the nation in total defense at 457.6 yards per game. ECU has only kept one foe under 42 points this year, and that was a very lowly Memphis Tigers team that put up a whopping 27 with no semblance of an offense. The Wolfpack rank No. 8 in passing in the country at 311.0 yards per game, and Saturday should be no exception. On the other side of the ball, QB Dominique Davis is going to have his work cut out for him. Davis is up against a defense that is holding foes to 326.2 yards per game this season. NC State has only given up more than 28 points once this year, which is very bad news for the hosts. The Wolfpack have already won games against the Conference USA favorites (Central Florida) and one of the better teams in the ACC (Georgia Tech) on the road this year by at least a touchdown. This should be no exception.

Free College Football Picks: East Carolina +7.5
Prediction: NC State 45 – East Carolina 27

Matchup: Illinois Fighting Illini @ Michigan State Spartans
Date: Saturday, October 16th, 12:00 ET
Location: Spartans Stadium, East Lansing, MI
Game Line: Michigan State -7
Over/Under 50.5

The Illini and Spartans are both coming off of tremendous road wins that might make the difference in their seasons last week. For Illinois, it picked up a big 'W' against the Penn State Nittany Lions in what might have been one of the biggest games in the coaching career of HC Ron Zook. The Illini are still a young team, especially at the quarterback position with QB Nathan Scheelhaase. The good news is that he is holding on to the football, which is going to be vital this week against the Spartans as well. Michigan State is going to try to pick up a lot of yards on the ground in this one with RBs Le'Veon Bell and Edwin Baker. The two have just gone bananas this year, combining for over 1,200 total yards. They are the reason that the Spartans are 6-0 on the year and are right on the cusp of being ranked in the Top 10 in the country. This line is rather fishy, though. We know that Illinois has some potential, but what we don't know is whether it was a flash in the pan or not. We tend to believe that the Spartans are going to fall off the face of the earth eventually. They'll figure out how to win this game, but laying seven seems just too tempting. Don't fall into this trap on the NCAA football odds.

Free College Football Picks: Illinois +7
Prediction: Michigan State 28 – Illinois 24

Matchup: Boston College Eagles @ Florida State Seminoles
Date: Saturday, October 16th, 12:00 ET
Location: Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Game Line: Florida State -21.5
Over/Under 46.5

The Seminoles have absolutely dominated NCAA football betting action in the ACC this year, crippling all three teams that they have run into in the conference. The biggest game came last week against the Miami Hurricanes, a 45-17 thrashing in South Beach. The rushing game for the Noles is working well with the Pistol attack, though none of the three major backs, RB Ty Jones, RB Jermaine Thomas, and RB Chris Thompson have accounted for 500+ yards on the season. QB Christian Ponder is a warrior and has played well this year. The difference has been the defense, which is holding teams to half the points per game that it allowed last year and over 100 fewer yards per game. Rushing the passer is the key. QB Chase Rettig made his first career start against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish two weeks ago. He threw for 72 yards and a TD before getting injured, but he left that game down 21-7 and never really felt comfortable. With RB Montel Harris struggling, there really aren't any options for the Eagles to turn to offensively. This is the only team that has never lost a game at the Doak, and the Seminoles are going to want to make sure that their first 'L' comes in emphatic fashion. This is going to be one of the ugliest games of the weekend. There's a reason that Boston College is one of two winless ATS teams in the land.

Free College Football Picks: Florida State -21.5
Prediction: Florida State 51 – Boston College 7

Matchup: Western Michigan Broncos @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Date: Saturday, October 16th, 2:30 ET
Location: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, IN
Game Line: Notre Dame -24
Over/Under 53

The Broncos seem like they're overmatched heading into South Bend, but the oddsmakers have been generous and given us a whole bunch of points to work with. QB Alex Carder is a warrior, and he has the ability to throw for over 300 yards in every single game. The Notre Dame defense hasn't been good enough to stop this attack to the fullest extent. The only question in our minds is whether the Golden Domers are going to put enough points on the board to cover this spread. Though this is probably the easiest test of the season to date, Notre Dame will be playing without TE Kyle Rudolph for the first time. We also know that QB Nate Montana might be making just his second appearance in his freshman year if this one gets ugly, and that could leave the backdoor very, very open. QB Dayne Crist is solid, but RB Armando Allen hasn't proven that he can really salt a game away quite yet and there are no other viable options ready to take the ball behind him. There's no doubt that Notre Dame will win, but winning by at least four scores seems like a bit of a stretch.

Free College Football Picks: Western Michigan +24
Prediction: Notre Dame 40 – Western Michigan 20

Matchup: Iowa Hawkeyes @ Michigan Wolverines
Date: Saturday, October 16th, 3:30 ET
Location: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
Game Line: Michigan +3
Over/Under 53.5

After an iffy game against the Michigan State Spartans, there is a lot on the line this week for QB Denard Robinson and the Wolverines. A loss would send Michigan to 5-2, take it out of the Big Ten title race, and potentially continue a tailspin very similar to what happened last year when the team came out of the blocks at 4-0 before failing to make a bowl game. Odds have it, the Heisman Trophy campaign for QB Denard Robinson would taper out as well in spite of the fact that he was the favorite last week at this time. Iowa presents a foe that Big Blue is familiar with and nearly beat last year before we really knew that the Hawkeyes were going to be one of the best 5-10 teams in the country. Now, there is no doubt, and even though Iowa has a ranking at No. 15, we know that it is significantly better than a 4-1 record would indicate. We still have to remember that QB Ricky Stanzi just refuses to lose. He has only been defeated once, and whether it's pretty or not, he always seems to get the job done. The Hawkeyes are a whopping 12-2 ATS in their L/14 road games. Unlike Michigan, which really doesn't have a super quality win this year, the Hawkeyes have proven that they can play with some of the best in the land, especially after absolutely crippling the Penn State Nittany Lions last week. There's a reason that they are road favorites in this game. Iowa will roll in the Big House for the first time since 2002.

Free College Football Picks: Iowa -3
Prediction: Iowa 31 – Michigan 16

Matchup: California Golden Bears @ USC Trojans
Date: Saturday, October 16th, 3:30 ET
Location: Los Angeles Coliseum, Los Angeles California
Game Line: USC -2.5
Over/Under 54

This is quite the interesting instate battle between two teams that really don't like each other. The problem is that neither the Trojans nor Bears are playing well enough for us to be thrilled about supporting them. The implication here is that Cal is a slightly better team than USC on a neutral field, something that we're not so sure is the case. What we are sure of is the fact that the Trojans could be on the verge of a collapse. They were tripped up right at the end of the game by the Stanford Cardinal last week, a game that proved to be very winnable. QB Matt Barkley has played his heart out, throwing for 1,517 yards and 15 scores against just four picks on the year. We like QB Kevin Riley as well, but his 931 yards and nine TDs aren't numbers that are as strong. Here's the biggest issue we have: Cal hasn't scored a touchdown on this defense in three games and hasn't scored more than two TDs in a game against the Men of Troy since 2003. HC Jeff Tedford has never had luck, whether it be as a head coach or as an offensive coordinator against USC. We're reluctant about it, but we'll take the Trojans in a very tightly run contest.

Free College Football Picks: USC -2.5
Prediction: USC 27 – Cal 21

Matchup: Oklahoma State Cowboys @ Texas Tech Red Raiders
Date: Saturday, October 16th, 3:30 ET
Location: Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX
Game Line: Texas Tech -3
Over/Under 69

Fireworks could be flying when the Pokes and Red Raiders duke it out in Lubbock on Saturday afternoon. This is a dangerous spot for an Oklahoma State team that has yet to play a road game of any concern this year. There is no doubt that QB Brandon Weeden, RB Kendall Hunter, and WR Justin Blackmon are all superstars that can put up gaudy numbers, but numbers in the Big XII don't necessarily win you ball games. At some point, you have to play some defense. The 'D' did come up with four picks against QB Jerrod Johnson and the Texas A&M Aggies in the one real test this year, but that doesn't mean that the Okies can stop the Air Raid. QB Taylor Potts has tossed 17 TD passes this year and has thrown for 1,649 yards. HC Tommy Tuberville is getting more and more comfortable here as the weeks are going by, and a 45-38 win over the Baylor Bears last week was a good response to a 52-38 loss to the Iowa State Cyclones the week before. If this game were in Stillwater, we wouldn't bat an eyelash about taking the Pokes. However, in Lubbock, this Tech team gives it everything it has, and we don't want to get in the way of that one bit.

Free College Football Picks: Texas Tech -3
Prediction: Texas Tech 41 – Oklahoma State 34

Matchup: Texas Longhorns @ Nebraska Cornhuskers
Date: Saturday, October 16th, 3:30 ET
Location: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
Game Line: Nebraska -10
Over/Under 46.5

If you like defense, this is the game for you… at least if the Longhorns have any hope of survival in this one. Texas just doesn't have the offense to be able to compete with the Black Shirts defense. HC Bo Pelini has given this team a real shot in the arm, and there is a legitimate chance to win the National Championship on the back of this 'D'. Don't forget about QB Taylor Martinez either, as he is built very much so in the QB Denard Robinson mold. Martinez is No. 4 in the country in rushing on the year, and he can get the ball up the field if need be just like Robinson can as well. Heisman hopeful? Don't count out the possibility. Texas does rank No. 7 in the land in pass defense, but after letting both RB DeMarco Murray and RB Johnathan Franklin run all over it in recent weeks, we are pessimistic about how strong this rush 'D' really is. At the outset of the season, there's no doubt that the Longhorns would probably be right around +3 or so in this game, but they haven't proven that they are worthy of sticking within double digits. It might only take 17-20 points for the 'Huskers to cover the college football odds in this one.

Free College Football Picks: Nebraska -10
Prediction: Nebraska 23 – Texas 9

Matchup: Arkansas Razorbacks @ Auburn Tigers
Date: Saturday, October 16th, 3:30 ET
Location: Jordan Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL
Game Line: Auburn -3.5
Over/Under 60

One of the many crucial SEC West affairs on the season will be kicking off on Saturday at Jordan Hare Stadium, as the No. 7 Tigers and No. 13 Razorbacks duke it out. Arkansas knows that this is a do or die game if it has any chance of winning the SEC West, while Auburn probably knows the same thing with the Iron Bowl being played in Tuscaloosa this season. The Hogs had the Alabama Crimson Tide dead to rights three weeks ago, but they fired back last week with a solid outing against the Texas A&M Aggies to restore their Top 15 ranking in the country. QB Ryan Mallett is probably in his last chance right now to become a Heisman Trophy candidate. Once again though, Auburn's QB Cam Newton is thinking the same thing. Newton is a great dual threat, and he can always turn around and hand the ball to either RB Michael Dyer or RB Onterio McCalebb. Either man has the ability to rush for 100 yards on any given Saturday. The Tigers just barely survived against the Clemson Tigers, South Carolina Gamecocks, and the Kentucky Wildcats this year, and they are just about running out of lives. It's high time that someone gives this team a run for its money that it cannot overcome. Arkansas might have the best defense in the SEC, and that's certainly saying something considering the fact that Alabama, LSU, and Florida all have premier 'D's. To us, it's an insult that the Razorbacks are underdogs here, and they'll prove it with a big "upset" on Saturday.

Free College Football Picks: Arkansas +3.5
Prediction: Arkansas 28 – Auburn 17

Matchup: BYU Cougars @ TCU Horned Frogs
Date: Saturday, October 16th, 4:00 ET
Location: Amon Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX
Game Line: TCU -29
Over/Under 48.5

If BYU's offense weren't terrible, we'd still think that the unit would have a hard time putting any points up against this defense. The Horned Frogs have just been untouchable of late, as they have pitched back to back shutouts and haven't allowed a single point in over 130 minutes of NCAA football betting action. The offense behind QB Andy Dalton, RB Ed Wesley, and RB Matthew Tucker is absolutely one of the best in the Mountain West as well. QB Jake Heaps is going to try to do something that his predecessor, QB Max Hall, couldn't do: Beat the Horned Frogs. Good luck, kid. TCU might have the best team it has ever had, while BYU has one of its worst in years. The Horned Frogs won 39-7 last year in Provo and 32-7 in Fort Worth the year before. What do you think is going to happen this time around???

Free College Football Picks: TCU -29
Prediction: TCU 41 – BYU 3

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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