Primetime Free College Football Picks (9/18/10)

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Baylor Bears @ TCU Horned Frogs (-21.5)
Saturday, September 18th
4:30 ET, Amon Carter Stadium, Waco, TX

The Horned Frogs have absolutely beat the living heck out of the Bears, winning 27-0 at home in 2007 and 17-7 in Waco in 2006. TCU has won three straight in this series ATS dating back to 1995. On the field itself, the winningest QB in the history of the program, QB Andy Dalton is going to hopefully have a showcase game, which would be his first big outing of the year. However, Dalton has a pair of fantastic running backs in Matthew Tucker and Ed Wesley, both of which have the ability of going for 100+ yards against anyone in the nation. The Bears really only have one man that can take over a game. The good news is that he plays the quarterback position. QB Robert Griffin is absolutely going to have to have one of those games where he throws for 300+ yards and probably runs for near another 100 and accounts for four scores. The bad news? TCU hasn't given up more than 28 points in a game at home since 2006. Without scoring at least 24 or so, the Bears don't have a chance of sticking in front of this number.

Prediction: TCU 41 – Baylor 17

Mississippi State Bulldogs (+7.5) @ LSU Tigers
Saturday, September 18th
7:00 ET, Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA

Could the Bulldogs be ready to pull off a big time upset of the Tigers in the Bayou? Mississippi State has played the role of a very strong side so far this year, and the 17-14 loss to Auburn last week really could have gone either way. The play of QB Chris Relf is improving, the QB Tyler Russell could get into the act as well after playing a strong game against Memphis in Week 1. As for the Tigers… We're not sold yet. The Bayou Bengals barely hung on against a depleted North Carolina side in Week 1 and really hasn't done anything even remotely impressive since that point. LSU might not even win this game, let alone beat the TD+ spread. However, this is LSU, and this is a team that just keeps finding ways to win games. And just as we said last week when it was Vanderbilt playing against the Bayou Bengals, Mississippi State usually just finds ways to lose.

Prediction: LSU 20 – Mississippi State 17

Clemson Tigers @ Auburn Tigers (-7)
Saturday, September 18th
7:00 ET, Jordan Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL

This tussle of the Tigers is going to be a rematch of bowl games of the past. However, just as always seems to be the case when these two teams lock horns, there is a little twist in the plot. QB Cameron Newton has played like a Heisman Trophy candidate so far this season, and his brother, Syvelle already spent a number of years tearing apart Clemson when he was at South Carolina. As for the purple and orange Tigers, head coach Dabo Swinney has his work cut out for him. QB Kyle Parker seems to be the only real offensive threat, as guys like Ford, Spiller, etc. are all gone from the program. Clemson's offense doesn't seem to be able to quite keep up with Auburn's. Both of these teams have played relatively well this year, but we think that we'll be yelling "War Eagle!" at the end of the night.

Prediction: Auburn 28 – Clemson 17

Texas Longhorns @ Texas Tech Red Raiders (+3.5)
Saturday, September 18th
8:00 ET, Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX

The Longhorns return to the scene of the crime where their 2008 National Championship hopes were dashed by the Red Raiders the night after Halloween on an absolutely amazing play by WR Michael Crabtree. It was one of the games of the year, if not one of the games of the decade, as HC Mack Brown's team narrowly fell short to a Texas Tech squad that nearly found itself playing for the National Championship as well. Now, both of these teams have new looks. The Red Raiders are at least running the ball a tad more with new HC Tommy Tuberville in charge, while Texas appears to have some problems both at the running back position and at quarterback. The starting running back job has changed hands already, while QB Garrett Gilbert, who many thought was a Heisman Trophy candidate at the start of the season, just hasn't played up to his expectations thus far. Texas is ripe for the picking in this one if it isn't careful. Don't be shocked if the guns are up once again in this NCAA football betting affair in the Lone Star State.

Prediction: Texas Tech 37 – Texas 34

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (+3.5) @ Michigan State Spartans
Saturday, September 18th
8:00 ET, Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI

Very simply put, the Fighting Irish seem like a team that is going to fight through the entire season, and it only seems like a matter of time until the Spartans collapse. HC Mark Dantonio just doesn't have a good history, and that history seems to kick in right around this time every single season. QB Dayne Crist and the Irish are on their way to something special, as they put up a great fight last week against a Michigan team that might be contending for the Rose Bowl this year. Sparty has covered three straight in this series, but the road team had won seven straight outright from 2001 to 2007. These games are always close, as eight of the L/10 clashes have been decided by a TD or less. This one won't be an exception.

Prediction: Notre Dame 27 – Michigan State 24

Fresno State Bulldogs @ Utah State Aggies (+4)
Saturday, September 18th
8:00 ET, Romney Stadium, Logan, UT

The Aggies are really on the verge of something special in the WAC. No, they're not going to be contending with Boise State, and no, they probably aren't going to be able to score with Nevada, but this is a winnable fixture that could ultimately end up sending them to a bowl game if they can pull it off. Utah State has done just about as well this year as it ever could have imagined, as it nearly pulled off the upset in Norman and took care of Idaho State without any real hassles. The Bulldogs have only played one game this year, and though we tend to believe that a 28-14 win over the Cincinnati Bearcats was relatively impressive, the more win watch the U of C, we aren't so sure that's the case. This is going to be a great test for both of these teams, but we think that USU is being severely underrated. This game should be a heck of a lot closer to a pick 'em, and if that's the case, we'll take the points in hopes for the Aggies to, at bare minimum, keep this one close.

Prediction: Utah State 34 – Fresno State 33

Iowa Hawkeyes (+1.5) @ Arizona Wildcats
Saturday, September 18th
10:30 ET, Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ

This is the game of the day without a doubt. College football betting fans have gone back and forth with this one throughout the week, and with good reason. This is the same Arizona squad that nearly beat the mighty Oregon Ducks last year at home that would've won the Pac-10 and sent the Wildcats to the Rose Bowl. Unfortunately, this is also the same Arizona team that marched into Kinnick Stadium last year and left with its tails tucked between its legs in a bad defeat. What tends to be forgotten is that this Iowa bunch hasn't lost a game that QB Ricky Stanzi has both started and finished in his career. The Hawkeyes found ways to win last year at Penn State and at Wisconsin. This is a long, long roadie, but there aren't many coaches that we'd rather have in our corner in this situation than HC Kirk Ferentz. Iowa has always been good. This is a chance to make it great. Go with the Hawkeyes in what should be a very, very tough game.

Prediction: Iowa 16 – Arizona 14

Houston Cougars @ UCLA Bruins (+3.5)
Saturday, September 18th
10:30 ET, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA

Be very, very careful, oddsmakers. We were taught a long, long time ago that NCAA football betting and NCAA basketball betting both have one thing in common. If it looks like a fish and it smells like a fish, something is probably really, really fishy. The Bruins were shutout last week by Stanford at home in one of the most embarrassing losses the team has suffered this year. The Cougs avenged last year's loss to UTEP in a big way, crushing the Miners to improve to 2-0. However, this is the first time that QB Kevin Prince and the UCLA offense has seen a beatable defense. Houston flat out stinks defensively. We think that this is also the first time that QB Case Keenum is going to be facing a defense with a ton of great athletes on it. Regardless of how banged up the Bruins are on that side of the ball, these are still great recruits, largely from a very talented base in California. This looks to be a very, very sharp play for us, as UCLA could be the team to end the Heisman Trophy dreams of Keenum and the BCS busting dreams of these Cougs.

Prediction: UCLA 31 – Houston 26

Wake Forest Demon Deacons @ Stanford Cardinal (-17.5)
Saturday, September 18th
11:15 ET, Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA

Last season, the Cardinal flew all the way East to tango with the Demon Deacons and left town with their heads held high in spite of the fact that they lost 24-17. In short: It's payback time. Basically that entire Wake Forest team has turned over, and it is clear that the defense, which allows a whopping 325.0 yards per game this year through the air, doesn't have the goods to keep up with the Stanford offense. With QB Ted Stachitas already not that great, his injured thumb is going to force HC Jim Grobe's hand. Needless to say, this isn't Presbyterian or Duke anymore that the Demon Deacons are going up against, and this is one heck of a road trip to get to Stanford. The Cardinal should be able to get a ton of yards from QB Andrew Luck in a game that should be all one way traffic. Wake Forest will get exposed as a fraud on Saturday night in the final game of the day.

Prediction: Stanford 48 – Wake Forest 13

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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