by Tony Johnson
We’re back! I’m very excited to bring another edition of FEPF to you. We had a very solid 3-2 record last week with a great shot at one more victory that was thwarted by a late Ole Miss comeback. There are a lot of tough games on the slate this weekend but we managed to find some gems in the Power Five that I’m very confident about. There is surge of bad weather moving through the Midwest down to the Southeast on Saturday. High winds and some rain will make scoring difficult for many teams and we are going to use that to our advantage. Here we go!
ACC: Virginia at Duke (Under 45.5 at MGM)
As always we begin in the ACC and have Duke involved in the pick for the 3rd time in five weeks. Duke continues to impress this season and are lead by a stout defense littered with seniors. They allow only 3.41 yards per attempt on the ground and I expect them to play well again this week. Virginia surprised many last week with a win over Miami at home that finally gave them some national exposure they have deserved for a while now. Head coach Mendenhall finally has the right pieces in place on both sides of the ball and they will remain a tough out in the ACC for the rest of the season. High winds are expected in this tilt so it will likely be a run heavy attack by both teams. This plays right into the hands of both defenses and I’m expecting a low scoring slugfest with the outcome possibly decided by the final possession. Final score here will be 17-14 Duke.
Big 10: Maryland at Iowa (Under 44 at Stratosphere)
Tail us or fade us right? That’s our slogan here at vegassquares.com for good reason. We have been a laughable 0-4 in Big 10 picks in the FEPF so far this year. While I certainly don’t want you to fade us here, I believe a win is needed to get back on the right track. Here’s our shot! Maryland and Iowa both have elite rush defenses and pose very little threat through the air on offense. It’s a classic strength vs strength affair and I like the defenses holding strong in this one. This game will be punctuated by those heavy winds referenced earlier and it looks like a classic Big 10 slugfest of years past. Another important point to make is interim coach Matt Canada for Maryland has utilized a very conservative play schedule on offense all year long. They are near the bottom in the conference in chunk plays and he’s done a nice job of playing to his team’s strengths which is the defense. Expect Iowa to pull away late and win a low scoring affair 27-13.
Big 12: Kansas at Texas Tech (Kansas +18 at Stations)
Rock chalk! KU comes into Lubbock fresh off a bye week with a renewed enthusiasm. They decided on a quarterback in Peyton Bender which should relieve some of the tension we have seen at that position in recent weeks. KU possesses two of the better corners in the Big 12 in Defense (really that’s his name!) and standout freshman Harris who both excel in man coverage. KU has looked better in all facets of football this year and will be a problem for Tech on Saturday. Texas Tech looks like they will be starting Jett Duffey again this week. He was abysmal last week against TCU and KU has had 2 weeks to prepare for him. Duffey struggles to read coverage and looks to run the instant things break down in the pocket. This is a recipe for disaster in the Air Raid system employed by coach Kingsbury There are only two games to choose from in the Big 12 this week but I’m happy we found a good spot in one of them. I’m giving KU a realistic chance to win this game outright and it will take a big fourth quarter for Tech to hold on. Final score 34-27 Texas Tech.
Pac 12: California at Oregon State (Over 58 at Westgate)
We move to the Pac 12 and find two teams both reeling after consecutive losses. California looked promising earlier this season starting 3-0 but have since lost three straight and will look to get back over .500 with a win against the worst team in the conference. Cal has excelled this year when playing at a fast pace on offense utilizing their athletic offensive line to move people out of the way. I expect them to get back to that this week against the #127 ranked rushing defense in the country. On the flip side, new head coach Smith has inherited a disaster in Corvallis and is trying to do anything he can to keep his head above water. To his credit, the offense has played very well despite injuries to two QBs, the starting RB, and two WRs throughout the season. They will be getting nearly everyone back after the bye week and this offense should sizzle with new life against an underachieving Cal unit. This game looks like it will go back and forth all afternoon ending in a final 38-35 Cal.
SEC: Auburn at Mississippi (Auburn -3.5 at MGM)
I admit this is an ugly one. Many sports pundits have left Auburn for dead. It’s totally understandable. They got beat handily by Tennessee last week in a game that was not as close as the final score would indicate. Despite signing a lucrative seven year extension in the offseason, head coach Malzahn appears to be firmly planted on the hot seat. While that may be a bit overblown, I expect Auburn to come out hot Saturday and play with a sense of urgency and fire that we have not seen in weeks from these guys. Does that translate into a win against Ole Miss? I think it does. Ole Miss will be the weakest defense they have faced since September 8th and will allow the offense to get its footing and control the game. Ole Miss possesses a fantastic offense of their own and are lead by dynamic dual threat powerhouse Jordan Ta’amu. They lost wideout Metcalf for the season last week and this will prove to be a bigger blow than the public believes. He stretched the field beautifully and may even have better hands than upcoming 1st round pick A.J. Brown. This is an unlucky spot for Ole Miss in the sense that they are going to be up against a hungry team that desperately needs a win. I would not be shocked if Auburn rolls here. Final score 35-20 Auburn.
We have a 10-10 record so far in FEPF this season but I feel great about it. We have had two or three very tough breaks along the way and I like how the season is shaping up down the stretch. Here’s to a good week!
Big 10 0-4
Big 12 2-2
Pac 12 3-1