Greetings all! We had another solid week in FEPF going 3-2 in last Saturday’s slate. We finally got a long overdue victory in the Big 10! I was bothered immensely by this and now happy that the streak is over. As the conference season moves along, the lines tend to get tighter which can make finding value more difficult. To combat this, I am going deeper into play-by-play analysis and really focusing on how the games will play out. Coaching tendencies and determining player utilization go a long way into understanding the game flow of these conference games. I’m excited to get into this part of the season so let’s go!
ACC: Duke at Pittsburgh (Under 46 at W Hill)
Here’s a shocker! Duke is involved in another ACC pick for us. We have had a good read on this team so far and this week is no different. Duke was humbled at home last week by the upstart Virginia Cavaliers and I expect them to come back strong on the road this Saturday against Pittsburgh. The Duke defense remains stout up front and should be the perfect antidote to Pittsburgh’s two headed rushing attack lead by Qadree Ollison. On the flip side, Pittsburgh is no slouch on defense either and gave Notre Dame all they could handle before their bye. Both QBs have struggled with consistency through the air the last few games and with the added chance of showers this should continue. I’m not sure which team will be victorious but I’m going with a final score of 24-17.
Big 10: Purdue at Michigan State (Under 48 at W Hill)
We finally got off the schnide with a win last week and look to make it two in a row with another under. Purdue is coming off their biggest win in many years trouncing Ohio State at home last week. There is no doubt a letdown is expected from them. On the other side, Michigan State looks to avenge a tough loss to Michigan last week and keep their hopes alive for a shot at a Big 10 title berth. Injured MSU quarterback Lewerke will likely be a game time decision on Saturday. If backup QB Rocky Lombardi does play, we can expect MSU’s offense to struggle even more than they have. Fortunately for MSU, the hallmark of their team remains a subliminal defense. They have one of the best rush defenses in the country, limiting backs to less than three yards per carry on the season. I’m expecting MSU to put lots of pressure on Purdue QB Blough in obvious passing situations and this game sets up for a back and forth grind it out affair. I believe Michigan State will win late and I have the final 20-17.
Big 12: Texas Tech at Iowa State (Iowa State -4.5 at MGM)
This is the one game in FEPF this week where I’m using the “eye test” more than anything else for a pick. I’ve watched nearly all of the Big 12 conference games this year and a few things have stuck out in my mind. First, Oklahoma is the scariest one loss team in the country and they are the best team in the conference despite the loss to Texas. Second, Matt Campbell is an incredibly underrated coach for Iowa State. Coach Campbell has completely revitalized this program the last few years. His teams play very solid fundamental football. They tend to commit very few penalties and have a great ‘next man up’ mentality. We have seen that mentality in action this year with QB Brock Purdy who came in because of an injury and has lit it up in every game. He’s already thrown for 7 touchdowns in less than three games. He’s limited turnovers and knows exactly when to tuck and run for first downs. His presence along with the great RB Montgomery give Iowa State a chance to beat anyone in this conference. Texas Tech is a solid team and a much improved defense but they won’t be able to hang with the Cyclones on either side of the ball. I believe Iowa State pulls away late winning by a final of 40-27.
Pac 12: Washington at California (Washington -11.5 at W Hill)
We’ve entered the time of the season when certain teams wear down and other teams rise strongly in conference play. Chris Pedersen has always gotten his teams to rise at this time of the year stemming all the way back to his days at Boise State. This week they take on a mediocre Cal team that has sputtered on offense trying to myriad through a field of injuries. Cal thrives on running the ball effectively but that is nearly impossible to do against the best rush defense in the Pac 12. I don’t think QB McElwain is capable of beating the Huskies through the air and this looks like a long day ahead for Cal at home. Washington QB Browning has been more efficient as a passer the last few weeks and Washington appears to be rounding into form as they try to make their way to another Pac 12 Championship game. This one may be a dozefest in the second half with Washington winning going away 31-10.
SEC: Kentucky at Missouri (Under 56.5 at Westgate)
We finish as always in the SEC with a fun game this week. Missouri is winless in conference and host a very good Kentucky team that continues to eek out close games every week it seems. Missouri is an offensive juggernaut led by NFL caliber QB Lock and a host of other talented players. They have had some injuries at the WR position this year but it appeared everything came together last week against Memphis. Unfortunately, this Kentucky defense does not resemble Memphis at all. It all starts up front with defensive lineman Josh Allen and company that routinely obliterate opposing offensive lines. These guys are great against the run and getting pressure on the quarterback. I believe this is the second toughest defense Missouri has faced this season (They really are better than Georgia but not Alabama. Come on I’m not totally crazy). On the flip side, Kentucky is too one dimensional on offense to have much success against Missouri and this game screams of a low scoring affair where late points will determine the outcome. I believe Drew Lock does enough late and Missouri wins a squeaker 28-24.
After a solid 6-4 record the last two weeks, we are now over .500 in the first year of FEPF. This has been a really fun experiment picking a game in each conference and I hope you are having as much fun following along as I am. Here’s to another great week at the window!
Big 10 1-4
Big 12 2-3
Pac 12 3-2