Cover 4: Country Roads, Take Us Home

For the past several weeks, we’ve been flirting with getting this thing above .500. Picks like Arkansas (+1.5) against Vanderbilt haven’t helped, but, alas, still flirting.

This week is the week. We’re hitting the road—Country Roads, to be exact—with four stone-cold, super duper locks of the century.

Buckle up.

West Virginia (+2.5) at Texas

Saturday, Nov. 3 at 2:30 PM CT | Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, Texas

Whatever your position on Texas, there’s no denying that this secondary has a propensity to give up the big play, and this is a West Virginia offense that will be happy to take advantage.

Assuming Will Grier can avoid turning the football over, the Mountaineers should be able to replicate the success of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, thus, silencing what has proven over the years to be a bit of a wine and cheese crowd at DKR.

The question, then, becomes, “Can Texas score with West Virginia?” And, the answer, believe it or not, is likely, “No.”

The Mountaineers are good on the defensive side of the ball this season—even if no one seems to notice—ranking 23rd in scoring defense (19.6 PPG) entering the week. That’s one spot ahead of vaunted San Diego State.

The Texas offense, by comparison, ranks 55th nationally at just over 30 points per game—special thanks to former Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops—and has struggled for considerable stretches of time this season.

The Pick: West Virginia (+2.5)

Texas A&M (+3.5) at Auburn

Saturday, Nov. 3 at 11 AM CT | Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Ala.

Texas A&M is one of the best teams in the nation at controlling time of possession. Auburn is one of the worst teams in the nation in time of possession.

The Auburn offense is bad on third down. Excluding whatever that was at Mississippi State last week, the Texas A&M defense has been decidedly good on third down.

It goes something like this: A&M dominates time of possession and forces a willfully sputtering Auburn offense to sputter some more en route to victory. The only thing skewing this one in favor of the Tigers is the fact that they’re playing at Jordan-Hare, but, at this point, head coach Gus Malzahn would probably find more supportive spectators on the road.

The Pick: Texas A&M (+6.5)

Georgia Tech (-6.5) at North Carolina

Saturday, Nov. 3 at 11:15 CT | Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Kelly Bryant will be in Chapel Hill on Saturday for his official visit to North Carolina—and that’s bad news for North Carolina.

TaQuon Marshall will be back under center for the Yellow Jackets and Paul Johnson’s squad will be set to run wild against a Tar Heel run defense that will be fortunate to hold it to fewer than 400 rushing yards.

Couple that with the whole North Carolina Is Bad At Football thing and this one could get away from the Heels in a hurry.

The Pick: Georgia Tech (-6.5)

Louisiana Tech (+23) at Mississippi State

Saturday, Nov. 3 at 6:30 PM CT | Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, Miss.

That’s a whole bunch of points to give a Mississippi State team that has exceeded 23 total points exactly once in their past four games—and, three times, scored seven-or-fewer.

This is a game Louisiana Tech squad that, among other things, hung with LSU into the fourth quarter of a 17-point loss and held North Texas to just six points through the final three quarters of a 29-27 win.

Also, consider that this is essentially the same spot UMass caught State in last season, sandwiched between Texas A&M and Alabama. That one got extremely weird for a while. If your memory’s rusty, by weird, I mean UMass led by a touchdown in Starkville at the half.

The Pick: Louisiana Tech (+23)

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