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Thursday, 31 October 2019

College Football Week 10 Picks 2019 (October 31-November 2)

I have to say I have been very frustrated with the way my College Football Picks have gone in the last few weeks with some big leads being blown and backdoor covers really going against me.

Last week was more of the same after Navy became the latest to throw away a 24 point lead and then win by a Field Goal in a game I had been looking for them to win by at least four points.

Other Picks were disappointing in what has become four losing weeks in a row and I have to find a way to be better over the remaining month of the regular season.

Next week we are going to get the first of the College Football PlayOff Rankings and it is going to be one that highlights the issues Conferences like the Big 12 and Pac-12 are going to have to get a team invited into the final four.

While I don't anticipate their first four teams selected to be the same as how it will break down by the end of the season, I do think it is going to give us a good indication of what they are thinking.

For me if the College Football PlayOff list had been released this week I would have Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and LSU as my top four teams. There are other unbeaten teams in the Power 5 Conferences who might argue against that, while in Week 11 we are going to have some separation of the SEC teams when the Crimson Tide play the Tigers, but I would be stunned in three of those I have picked do not end up making the PlayOffs.

In saying that we have seen enough upsets to know nothing can be taken for granted and teams like the Baylor Bears and Penn State Nittany Lions will have a real chance to push into those spots. Both are unbeaten and will know running the table gives them every chance of being selected in the top four spots, although the schedules make it difficult to believe they can do that.

Other one loss teams will also still be playing with belief that their outlook could change in the weeks ahead, but the four teams I have mentioned control their own destiny and I think they would be deserving of making the PlayOffs... At least at this moment anyway.

2019 might be proving to be a difficult season for the College Football Picks, but there is time to get things turned back around. The regular season and Championship Games are going to be played over the next five weeks and then we will head into Bowl Season.

I do want to begin the turnaround this week though and my selections begin on Thursday night.

I have also updated the Season Totals and will add any Picks to this thread for Week 10 of the 2019 season.

West Virginia Mountaineers @ Baylor Bears Pick: After losing three straight times to the West Virginia Mountaineers, revenge should be in the air on Thursday evening when the Baylor Bears host this Big 12 Conference game. It is no surprise that Baylor, who are the only unbeaten team in the Big 12, are big favourites to put a win on the board in Week 10 and especially as they are facing a Mountaineers team who are 3-4 for the season and coming off three straight Conference losses.

At this moment of the season, Matt Rhule's Baylor team control their own destiny and the feeling is if they can win their remaining games they are very likely to be invited into the College Football PlayOffs. It will be dangerous for Baylor to look too far ahead considering they have to play both Oklahoma and Texas before a Big 12 Championship Game, but the Bears will be encouraged as they are almost certainly going to make another improvement under a Head Coach whose reputation is increasing by the day.

Both teams should be well prepared for this game coming off a Bye Week and it is a big one for Neal Brown and his Mountaineers team too. They need three more wins to become Bowl eligible and they should be looking at this as a winnable contest even though West Virginia have suffered some blow out defeats already this season.

It was always looking like it could be a difficult year for West Virginia considering long-time Head Coach Dana Holgerson had moved on and starting Quarter Back Will Grier also completed his time here. Austin Kendall hasn't played badly in that position for the Mountaineers, but there has been a lot of pressure on him with West Virginia struggling to run the ball.

West Virginia have been averaging just 2.9 yards per carry for the season, but that has dropped to 2.3 yards per carry in their three game losing run to Texas, Iowa State and Oklahoma. They are unlikely to have a lot of success against this Baylor Defensive Line and that leaves Kendall having to throw from third and long spots.

It won't be an easy game for Kendall because Baylor have not only been strong at controlling the run, but they have a fierce pass rush which are likely going to put him under immense pressure. That has led to Quarter Backs making mistakes when throwing into this Secondary, and Kendall has not been too far away from pitching an Interception or two.

Extra possessions are key for Baylor if they are going to cover this big number, but I do like their chances of scoring enough points to be in a position to do so. Charlie Brewer may receive a lot of the plaudits for the way the Bears have played, but he has been backed up by the Offensive Line which has paved the way for big plays on the ground and I fully expect Baylor to be able to manage their drives with plenty of balance between throwing and rushing the ball.

Injuries have been hurting West Virginia too and Hakeem Bailey is suspended for the first half of this one which should leave holes for Brewer to exploit through the air. The Quarter Back has helped Baylor average over 300 passing yards per game and I do think he should find the time to make his plays with the team likely to be in third and manageable spots throughout the sixty minutes played.

The home team has a 5-1 record against the spread in the last six between these teams while West Virginia are 1-9 against the spread as road underdogs of more than 4 points when facing an opponent who will want revenge. There is no doubt this is a very big number, but the Mountaineers have lost by margins of 31, 9, 24 and 38 this season and Baylor can win this one by around 20 points.

Navy Midshipmen @ Connecticut Huskies Pick: Last week I backed the Navy Midshipmen to win and cover in a big Conference game against the Tulane Green Wave and was disappointed to see them blow a 24 point lead and only just come away with a win. They won't care about whether they covered or not as Navy improved to 6-1 to become Bowl eligible just a season after finishing 3-10 while they remain in contention in the American Athletic West Division.

The game with the SMU Mustangs might be the key one in determining which way this Division goes, but Navy will also be aware that it will mean nothing if they are upset by the Connecticut Huskies in Week 10. The Huskies will be heading into the game with a little bit of confidence having knocked off an FBS opponent for the first time in twenty-two tries in Week 9 and they also played the Houston Cougars very close in Week 8.

However it has been a long time since the Huskies were able to win a Conference game and that is going to be a big challenge for them against what looks to be one of the stronger teams in the American Athletic.

Kevin Mensah is going to be key for Connecticut if they are going to make this a close contest and he comes off a very big outing when securing over 160 yards on the ground and also earning five Touchdowns. He has been part of a Running Back committee that have gotten something going in their last three games which has seen the Huskies being more competitive, but establishing the run against the Navy Defensive Line has been far from straight-forward.

If they can run the ball the Huskies will be in a very good position to move the ball and keep drives from stalling. Anything else will mean having to protect the Quarter Back from a powerful Navy pass rush which has found a way to get into the backfield and force mistakes from opponents all season. It has been a fluid situation for Connecticut as far as the Quarter Back has gone, but much of the foundation for their success will be down to winning the fight in the trenches with the Navy Defensive Line.

Much of the same can be said for when Navy have the ball, but it is much more difficult to believe that the Huskies can slow down the run as much as the Midshipmen should be able to do. In recent games the Midshipmen have been even better and I do think it is going to be difficult to stop them on the ground despite Connecticut and everyone else knowing what Navy want to do.

This is a huge number in all honesty, but the favourite has covered in the last four in the series between these teams. The game will be shortened with both teams looking to run the ball, but I think the Navy Defensive unit can make the bigger plays and the more consistent rushing Offense can lead the Midshipmen to a big win.

TCU Horned Frogs @ Oklahoma State Cowboys Pick: Two teams off unexpected wins in Week 9 will be looking to back that up when they face one another in Stillwater on Saturday. The Oklahoma State Cowboys are one game away from being Bowl eligible yet again under Mike Gundy, but they are only 2-3 in the Big 12 and that is thanks to an upset win on the road at the Iowa State Cyclones.

They will be hosting the TCU Horned Frogs who are now at 4-3 thanks to a win over the Texas Longhorns. They do look in a stronger position than the Cowboys as far as competing for a Championship is concerned in the Big 12, but at 2-2 the Horned Frogs have very little room for error.

The Horned Frogs will feel they do have control of their own destiny with games against the Oklahoma Sooners and Baylor Bears to come before they end the regulation season too. However TCU will be well aware that they need to make sure they keep their eye on the ball on Saturday and not allow themselves to look too far ahead.

It should not be the case with the Horned Frogs a slight underdog on the day, and Max Duggan is likely going to be needed to have another big game for the team if they are going to upset the odds here. Duggan is proving to be a dual-threat Quarter Back which teams have struggled to deal with and it might be more of the same for the Cowboys despite their big performance at the Cyclones last week.

Duggan should be able to help establish the run against a Cowboys Defensive Line which has allowed 4.9 yards per carry in their last three games. The TCU Offensive Line has felt very comfortable when it comes to trying to pave the way for their Quarter Back or Runnings Backs given a chance to run the ball and I do think they will be able to do that in this game.

It will be good news for Duggan who knows his Offensive Line has not been as comfortable when it comes to pass protection, but being in third and manageable should mean the Quarter Back is able to get the ball out of his hands quick enough. That should ease the Cowboys pass rush, while Duggan is also in a position where he is going to be throwing into a Secondary which has given up some big yards on the season and the feeling is that TCU will score a fair few points in this one.

The same can be said of Oklahoma State who have a young, inexperienced Quarter Back Spencer Sanders who is showing that he is developing the more snaps he is given. Chuba Hubbard continues to churn out plenty of yards on the ground which is also hugely beneficial for Sanders and I do think the top rusher in College Football can have a big game against this Horned Frogs Defensive Line too.

Like their opponents, Oklahoma State should be able to sustain drives with Sanders able to exploit holes in the Secondary from third and manageable spots.

The key to the game might be which of the teams is going to win the turnover battle as both will believe they can move the ball throughout much of the game. The slight edge in that is with the Horned Frogs who have looked after the ball and created more takeaways than Oklahoma State, but the Cowboys had a big week last time out and playing at home might just balance that out.

Oklahoma State are 5-1 against the spread in their last six at home, while the home team is 5-2 against the spread in the last seven in this series. There really isn't much between these teams, but the home advantage could be the difference maker on the day and I will back the Cowboys to cover.

Pittsburgh Panthers @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Pick: One of the main reasons the Clemson Tigers have been dropping in the College Football Rankings is that they are playing in the ACC which is one of the weaker Power 5 Conferences. It has impacted the strength of the schedule that Clemson are playing and that whole issue is underlined by the ACC Coastal Division which is going to provide one of the teams in the Championship Game.

Every team in this Division has lost at least two Conference games already and there is little consistency from the teams within it. Two of those are facing off in Week 10 when the Pittsburgh Panthers visit the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets as the winner will be looking to stay alive in the Division while the losing team will be wondering what might have been.

In all honesty the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets always knew 2019 was going to be something of a transitional season for them as they moved from the triple option Offense into a pro style one. The win over the Miami Hurricanes two weeks ago snapped a four game losing run for the Yellow Jackets, although they still need four more wins to become Bowl eligible which will mean running the table over the next month while also upsetting at least three of the four teams they will face.

First up is the Panthers who are 5-3 overall and just half a game behind the Virginia Cavaliers and North Carolina Tar Heels in the Division. They can't afford to slip up here before heading into the Bye Week especially with games with the Tar Heels and Virginia Tech Hokies coming up and the Panthers are also trying to bounce back from a disappointing home defeat to the Miami Hurricanes in a game they had statistically dominated.

Kenny Pickett is an experienced Quarter Back, but he had a terrible game against the Hurricanes and it was the main reason the Panthers were on the wrong side of the scoreline. He is going to need some support from a rushing attack which has been struggling in recent games and leaving Pickett to make plays from third and long which has not been ideal behind this Offensive Line that has struggled both in run blocking and pass protection.

If Pickett is given some time, he should be able to make some plays through the air against the Yellow Jackets Secondary. Interceptions have been something of an issue for Pickett, but I do think he will be asked to manage this game and allow the Panthers strong Defensive unit to win the field position battle on the day.

Jordan Mason was the key player for the Yellow Jackets two weeks ago and the team are going to need the Running Back to find a way to establish the ground game in this one too. This might not be the Georgia Tech we are used to seeing, but the Offensive Line is still very happy when it comes to run blocking and they have been successful on the ground. However being able to do that against the Pittsburgh Defensive Line is a whole different challenge with the Panthers allowing just 2.2 yards per carry in their last three games and restricting teams to 2.6 yards per carry for the season.

That is going to be an issue for young Quarter Back James Graham who has managed the game but not been as efficient throwing the ball as the team would like. He will be under intense pressure from the pass rush that Pittsburgh produce whenever Graham is dropping back from third and long spots and that pressure has also helped the Panthers restrict teams to under 200 passing yards per game in their recent games.

I am looking for that Defensive unit to make some big plays for the Pittsburgh Panthers and that should see them pull away for the win in this one. The underdog has been strong in the recent games in this series, but I love the way Pittsburgh have responded to defeats with their 38-18-1 record against the spread in that situation.

The Panthers have been better on the road than at home and I will back them to win and cover in this Week 10 game and get back on track as far as it goes in challenging for the Division title.

Northwestern Wildcats @ Indiana Hoosiers Pick: It has now been twelve seasons since the Indiana Hoosiers last had a winning season, but Head Coach Tom Allen has felt his team have been very close having finished with 5-7 records in each of the first two seasons under his watch. An upset win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Week 9 has moved the Hoosiers to 6-2 and they will have their first winning season since 2007 if they can win one of their remaining four regular season games.

The Hoosiers are only 3-2 in the Conference and they are playing in the Big Ten East which is one of the more loaded Divisions in College Football. That does mean Indiana are unlikely to be playing in the Championship Game barring a lot of unexpected things going their way and this is arguably their best chance of getting to seven wins in the regular season with games against Michigan and Penn State coming out of their Bye Week.

They are hosting the Northwestern Wildcats this season who are 1-6 in 2019 and have already seen their run of four successive winning seasons looking like it will come to an end. It is going to take the Wildcats to sweep their remaining five games in the regular season to get back into a Bowl Game and they would have to win that too if they are going to make if five winning seasons in a row, but it looks a long shot for them and five losses in a row have put them in a very poor spot.

In 2018 Northwestern reached the Big Ten Championship Game so this is some fall from that level as they have struggled Offensively all season. The Wildcats have struggled to run the ball as teams have dared them to throw the ball against them and I don't foresee the Northwestern Offensive Line to have much consistent success on the ground in this one either.

Indiana are likely going to be stout up front and follow the blueprint of asking Aidan Smith and Hunter Johnson to try and beat them from the Quarter Back spot. Northwestern have struggled to protect the Quarter Back when they have stepped back to throw and they are averaging an awful 126 passing yards per game through 2019 which is not going to get things done against this Hoosiers Secondary who have played well.

Interceptions have hurt Smith and Johnson too and it does feel like Northwestern will struggle to score a lot of points as they average just under 11 points per game in 2019.

The Wildcats Defensive unit have played well though and that is the only reason they have been somewhat competitive in a couple of losses. However there have been one or two signs that they are wearing down as they are being asked to play too many minutes with opponents having the edge in time of possession thanks to the Offensive struggles Northwestern continue to have.

Teams are beginning to find it a little easier to establish the run against the Wildcats Defensive Line and Stevie Scott has become more and more comfortable at Running Back for Indiana. The Offensive Line have been strong in run blocking and I think Scott is going to be able to put the team in a position where either Peyton Ramsey or Michael Penix can thrive at Quarter Back.

It was Ramsey who led the Hoosiers to the road upset of Nebraska in Week 9, but Penix remains the starter at Quarter Back as long as he is healthy. That status remains uncertain, but whoever begins in that position will have time to make their plays through the air and can keep the chains moving in this one.

I think that Offensive balance will be the key for Indiana who also have the Defensive unit to at least limit the Northwestern Wildcats as most opponents have this season. The home team is 5-2 against the spread in the last seven in the series and Indiana have some very positive numbers at home.

It might not be a blow out, but I do think the Hoosiers will make the plays to eventually begin to pull away and they should be good enough to secure their first winning season since 2007 with a strong win on the day.

MY PICKS: Baylor Bears - 18.5 Points @ 1.91 William Hill (1 Unit)
Navy Midshipmen - 27 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Oklahoma State Cowboys - 2.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Pittsburgh Panthers - 7.5 Points @ 2.00 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Indiana Hoosiers - 10.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)

Week 9: 2-5, - 3.18 Units (7 Units Staked, - 45.43% Yield)
Week 8: 4-4-1, - 0.47 Units (9 Units Staked, - 5.22% Yield)
Week 7: 3-3, - 0.24 Units (6 Units Staked, - 4% Yield)
Week 6: 2-5, - 3.18 Units (7 Units Staked, - 45.42% Yield)
Week 5: 6-1, + 4.40 Units (7 Units Staked, + 62.86% Yield)
Week 4: 3-2, + 0.73 Units (5 Units Staked, + 14.60% Yield)
Week 3: 3-5, - 2.18 Units (8 Units Staked, - 27.25% Yield)
Week 2: 5-7, - 2.57 Units (12 Units Staked, - 21.42% Yield)
Week 1: 3-2, + 0.67 Units (5 Units Staked, + 13.40% Yield)

Season 2019: 31-34-1, - 6.02 Units (66 Units Staked, - 9.12% Yield)

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