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Duck the Odds, Week 10: The Cardinal Rolls Into Autzen

This is a big one.

More of this. Less of Kevin Hogan (THE GOD) unathletically making super athletic plays.
More of this. Less of Kevin Hogan (THE GOD) unathletically making super athletic plays.
Steve Dykes

Rusty: 8-6 (Last Week); 55-61-2 (Overall)

Rusty's Hits: Cal +19, Boise State -6.5, TCU -22.5, Michigan State -17, Arizona -2.5, Utah pick, West Virginia +1, Arizona State -3

Rusty's Misses: Virginia Tech +3, Auburn -17.5, UCLA -13, Oregon State +13, Ole Miss -3.5, Ohio State -13

Sean: 10-4 (Last Week); 64-52-2 (Overall)

Sean's Hits: Cal +19, Miami -3, Boise State -6.5, Colorado +13, TCU -22.5, Michigan State -17, LSU +3.5, Arizona -2.5, West Virginia +1, Arizona State -3

Sean's Misses: Auburn -17.5, Oregon State +13, USC pick, Ohio State -13

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Some takeaways:

(i) TCU is scary good right now.

(ii) Still not sure what to make of the SEC. Ole Miss going down plus Auburn almost getting beat by the 'Cocks shakes things up a bit.

(iii) WVU is on a tear.

(iv) What is a B1G?

This Week's Picks

No more talking. Let's get after Week 10.

Home Teams in CAPS

Sean Says: Stanford (+9.5) over OREGON

I have an ulcer already. Ducks in a nailbiter.

[And lordy do I hope I'm wrong and this turns into a shootout a la 2010-2011.]

Rusty Says: Stanford (+9.5) over OREGON

We’ve had this game marked on the calendar for a long time.  Losing three games in a row would just be too much especially when considering that as long as the Ducks win out they are in the first playoffs.

Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan has had the games of his life the last two years against Oregon and could etch himself in history by beating Oregon three times in a row.  Stanford also played perfect in last years win and the odds are against that happening twice.

Marcus Mariota comes into this game fully healthy, as far as we know, which is a huge improvement upon last year where he had extremely limited mobility.  With the weapons Oregon has on offense and the way the line has played thus far since getting Jake Fisher back it is hard to imagine the Cardinal shutting down Oregon’s offense.

The look to watch coming in is the formations that Stanford uses.  Stanford spread out the Oregon State defense for the best offensive performance of their season.  Will they stay with the ground and pound look that has hurt Oregon in the past or stay spread because it worked well?  I think the Cardinal spread plays much better towards Oregon’s defense because the fight then moves from a phone booth to the full field where Oregon can use their speed to make plays.

Sean Says: LOUISVILLE (+4.5) over Florida State

Listen, gents and ladies. You do not just waltz into Papa John's Stadium on a Thursday night and get a win. Since this summer, I've been telling everyone who will listen (mostly frightened strangers on the sidewalk) that Louisville is taking down FSU. So I'm holding to that. Louisville's defense is plain scary, and FSU has been living on the edge all year. With their star quarterback and now star running back under massive scrutiny, FSU's grip on the situation finally slips.  Louisville in a shocker.

Rusty Says: LOUISVILLE (+4.5) over Florida State

Thursday Night football is a doozy this week.  Florida State has a total “us against the world” mentality after everything they’ve been through.  That mentality only increased when running back Karlos Williams was investigated for an alleged domestic battery incident that the FSU brass is calling completely false.

Louisville has one of the best defenses in the country and will look to put pressure on Jameis Winston.  One of their biggest strengths is creating turnovers, which is huge with Winston making some uncharacteristically poor mistakes throwing the football.

I think the play of Cardinal wide receiver DeVante Parker and a few turnovers will keep it close and let the Cardinals cover.

Sean Says: Auburn (+2.5) over OLE MISS

I think the momentum for Ole Miss is running out. Ole Miss is beat up on defense, and is emotionally tired from having to play tough teams week after week.

In the end, I'm betting on coaching, and I trust Gus Malzahn more in this one. Auburn just has too many ways to win on offense, and is facing a tired defense.

Rusty Says: Auburn (+2.5) over OLE MISS

It’s an elimination game for one of these teams.  Both teams are ranked in the top four but both teams already have a loss on the record.

Ole Miss was dominated by LSU’s offensive line and even though the Tiger offensive line is one of the best in the country I think the Tigers will be able to run over and through the Rebel defense that is at its best against the pass.

Bo Wallace might have lost some confidence after his last game.  I think this is a big letdown spot for him and the Rebels.

Sean Says: Arkansas (+10.5) over MISSISSIPPI STATE

I've liked Arkansas all years. They are a surprising 6-2 against the spread this year and have been able to run on almost every defense. I don't think MSU's defense is that good, and I think they'll have a tough time getting off the field on 3rd downs. A 10-point game feels about right here. MSU wins, but Arkansas keeps it close.

Rusty Says: MISSISSIPPI STATE (-10.5) over Arkansas

The top team in the country is led by running back Robinson even though quarterback Dak Prescott was getting all the Heisman love.  Robinson makes so many plays and breaks so many tackles.

Arkansas’ losses have all come against ranked teams, although their games have been relatively close.  Brandon Allen has also struggled throwing against good teams and could leave the Razorbacks completely dependent on the running game.

I like Mississippi State’s balance on both sides of the ball to win and the home field advantage to provide the cover.

Sean Says: GEORGIA (-13) over Florida

Georgia is good. Florida is not. End of analysis.

Rusty Says: GEORGIA (-13) over Florida

The Gators are awful and Georgia can run against anybody while not missing a beat with Todd Gurley out.  Easiest pick of the week.

Sean Says: WASHINGTON STATE (+7) over Usc

The Trojans have struggled defensively against every single marginally potent uptempo offense they have played this year: B.C., Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah.  I expect that trend to continue. Washington State cannot stop the run, but they will sling it all over the yard and force USC to score points to win. I think Wazzu comes up just short, but keeps it exciting.

Rusty Says: WASHINGTON STATE (+7) over Usc

Washington State is bowl ineligible but their coach is still Mike Leach.  I’ve said all year that the Cougars will surprise someone in a well-played game and I think that happens this week.

The Trojans are coming off a close loss to Utah and rely heavily on their rushing attack while the Cougars rely heavily on the pass as the top-ranked passing team in the nation.

I like the Trojans to win but the ‘Cougs to cover in a close and exciting game in Pullman.

Sean Says: KANSAS STATE (-14) over Oklahoma State

Okie State is in a free-fall, scoring a total of 19 points in the past two weeks. They are a combined 2-5-1 against the spread. They run into a K-State defense that is in an effing groove and has ripped off 5 straight wins against the spread. K-State looks more and more formidable every week. Give me the 'Cats at home.

Rusty Says: KANSAS STATE (-14) over Oklahoma State

I think the Cowboys might fall into the same category as the UCLA Bruins: got too much credit early on in the season and just aren’t that good.

The Wildcats’ lone loss is to top-4 ranked Auburn and they also have a win over Oklahoma.  They’ve played a tough schedule and done what they were supposed to do every game of their schedule.

Kansas State is going to force a few mistakes that will blow this game open.

Sean Says: Cal (+2.5) over OREGON STATE

I had some faith in the Beavs, but that is all gone. OSU's top offensive output is 38 points against Hawaii. If they score that many points, they'll still lose by 10. I think this is basically a lock.

Rusty Says: Cal (+2.5) over OREGON STATE

Oregon State couldn’t stop a nosebleed right now and Cal can score on anyone who doesn’t have an excellent pass rush.  Oregon State won’t be able to keep up.

Sean Says: Arizona (+4) over UCLA

Arizona plays well on the road. UCLA is in a state of disorganization. Give me the Wildcats. They're becoming a force on offense and their defense makes enough plays to keep them in every game.  Zona knows what to do with scrambling quarterbacks and will get Hundley on the ground often.

Rusty Says: Arizona (+4) over UCLA

Second easiest pick of the week.  I would take Arizona at -4 in this game.  It is safe to say that UCLA is simply not a top team.

The Wildcat offense is too good with Anu Solomon throwing the ball who has 20 touchdowns to 4 interceptions and the ‘Cat defensive line is going to sack Hundley a lot this game.

Sean Says: ARIZONA STATE (-5) over Utah

My wife and I are traveling to SLC next weekend (along with buddy Noah Dee) to see the Ducks play the Utes. Therefore, I want to be less scared of Utah when I go there so I don't have an aneurysm.

Zona State has been playing above its talent level for several weeks now, with three wins over USC, Stanford, and Washington. I think that continues here. Utah's defense is good, but has to go on the road against a Sun Devil offense that has been consistent all year. Sun Devils by a TD.

Rusty Says: Utah (+5) over ARIZONA STATE

Superb offense against superb defense.  Taylor Kelly will continue to start at quarterback for the Sun Devils and he has a backup behind him that is just as capable.

Utah is without top receiver Dres Andersen who will miss the rest of the season but the Utes strength lies in their defense.  They hold opponents to 21.6 points against.  Furthermore, they rush the ball extremely well.

I like Arizona State to win but Utah to cover.

Sean Says: Tcu (-6) over WEST VIRGINIA

Everyone around the country should be afraid of TCU right now. I realize they're going into a nutso, crazy Morgantown environment, but Gary Patterson has gone full insane commando warrior this year and TCU is ready to assert itself.

Their defense is top-5, and they have a top-5 quarterback in Travon Boykin. WVU has been a nice story, but TCU is ready for its closeup.

Rusty Says: Tcu (-6) over WEST VIRGINIA

Game of the week.  Hide yo kids, hide yo wives, hide yo couches, 'cause Gameday is in Morgantown and there will be points.

West Virginia has been unstoppable on offense with Clint Trickett at quarterback and Kelvin White at receiver.  If the refs are quick to call pass interference penalties then West Virginia has a real shot to win this game.

TCU is just too good on both offense and defense.  They broke Big-12 records last week and their only loss was a complete collapse in the waning moments of the game to Baylor.  Boykin is quickly working his way into the Heisman conversation and he’s going to need a big game to win on the road.

I like the Horned Frogs to win with a balanced attack focused on the pass while still allowing a lot of yards through the air.