They say every game matters in the world of college football. That's not entirely true. In the era of the College Football Playoff, every game matters except for the ones that don't. Just ask Michigan State. The Spartans beat Michigan two weeks ago ... but find themselves behind the Wolverines in this week's playoff rankings because they lost to a Purdue team deemed worthy enough for the top 20 ... but not good enough to save the Spartans from falling behind a team they just beat.
It's the kind of logic that twists your mind into a pretzel.
Fortunately, every pick in The Six Pack does matter. We count the wins and the losses, and after last week, we continue to pile up a lot more wins than losses. After a 4-2 week, the column improved to 37-23 on the season. Frankly, this column is building a résumé that is one or two respectable losses away from the playoff's top 25.
All odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.
Games of the Week
No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 13 Baylor: I have a feeling we're going to see a strong performance from the Sooners. They're coming off a bye, which allowed them some extra time to not only further cement quarterback Caleb Williams into the offense, but also work on all the problems they had defensively. Still, this is a team that doesn't quite have that extra gear we've seen in recent seasons -- the gear that allows it to blow out quality opponents like the one it'll face this weekend.
Fortunately, we don't need Oklahoma to blow out Baylor. Winning by a touchdown will do just fine and it can do that. While Oklahoma has serious problems in the secondary, Baylor does too. We saw TCU expose some of those flaws last week, and while Baylor's offense has been better than most people realize, Oklahoma is better equipped to take advantage of the situation. Also, while Baylor has had success with its vertical passing game, it's largely due to its ability to run the ball. Oklahoma's defense has been solid against the run, ranking 54th in success rate. That could hinder Baylor's ability to hurt it deep. Oklahoma 34, Baylor 27 | Oklahoma -5.5
No. 19 Purdue at No. 4 Ohio State: I don't doubt that Ohio State is one of the four best teams in the country, but we must consider the context of the situation. This is a very good Buckeyes squad, but it's far from dominant. Because of this, it's difficult for me to trust it to cover spreads this large against competent teams -- particularly strong defensive teams like Purdue. The Boilermakers rank 12th nationally in defensive success rate and 25th in defensive EPA. Granted, they haven't faced many offenses like Ohio State's, but their results have not been opponent-based. Just last week, they held an explosive Michigan State offense in check.
What's most interesting about this game is the red zone matchup. There's no reason for a team as talented as the Buckeyes to rank 42nd nationally in red zone efficiency, but they do, and Purdue's defense ranks 15th in red zone efficiency. Purdue's defense also ranks ninth in pressure rate and Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud has looked shaky when pressured. Don't get me wrong, Ohio State is the better team, but it isn't blowing the doors off this Boilermakers squad often enough to lay the points. Ohio State 38, Purdue 20 | Purdue +20
Lock of the Week
Boston College at Georgia Tech: When QB Phil Jurkovec returned to action last week, he changed the outlook of this Boston College team. While I'm not going to tell you the Eagles are a powerhouse with Jurkovec, they're much stronger offensively with him, which helps the entire team. So when I see Boston College as an underdog against a team I think it's better than, it's hard for me to pass up the opportunity to bet on it.
Georgia Tech doesn't do anything particularly well. Offensively, the Yellow Jackets rank 98th nationally in success rate, 74th in points per possession and 118th in red zone touchdown rate. Defensively, they rank 86th in success rate, 88th in points per possession, and 63rd in red zone efficiency. That's not the makings of a team I'm looking to rely on as a favorite. Boston College has been the much better team defensively and now it's better offensively with Jurkovec back. This almost feels like stealing. Boston College 27, Georgia Tech 24 | Boston College +2
Under of the Week
Tulsa at Tulane: These aren't two great offenses we're dealing with here. Tulsa ranks 89th in offensive success rate, which puts it ahead of Tulane in 106th. Despite the inefficiency, Tulane is actually ahead of Tulsa when it comes to points per possession, ranking 78th at 2.07 while Tulsa is 102nd at 1.76. The biggest difference is how these teams perform in the red zone. Tulane has scored touchdowns on 66.7% (37th nationally) of its red zone possessions, while Tulsa is only at 43.8% (124th). Those red zone struggles were very much on display in the final minutes of Tulsa's 28-20 loss to No. 5 Cincinnati.
It's those struggles that make me more confident to take the under even though these are two bad defenses, too. When I look at how these two teams struggle to finish drives, I have a hard time seeing them creep past this total. As a cherry on top, the current forecast for the game is calling for some strong winds, which will impact both offenses negatively as well. Tulane 27, Tulsa 24 | Under 55.5
Nice Guy of the Week
South Carolina at Missouri: Coach Shane Beamer is very much exceeding my expectations for his first season at South Carolina. Yes, the Gamecocks have caught a few breaks, but at the end of the day, they're 5-4 and a win away from bowl eligibility. That's pretty dang remarkable considering their preseason win total was set at 3.5.
I like their odds of getting that sixth win against Missouri. The Tigers have been an absolute mess defensively. They rank 127th in success rate, points per possession and defensive EPA. Opponents have scored points on 48.1% of their possessions against this Tigers defense, which ranks 126th nationally. Any stat you can find about defense, be it traditional or advanced, tells you Missouri can't stop anybody. A team that can't stop anybody isn't a team you want to bet on as a favorite, especially when it's paired with an inefficient offense. South Carolina 31, Missouri 28 | South Carolina +1
White Flag of the Week
Houston at Temple: This is the time of the season when you need to keep your eyes out for teams that have given up hope. Temple fits the description. The Owls have lost their last four games badly, getting outscored 180-27. In those four losses, they've allowed a horrific 3.67 points per possession and teams have scored on 57.1% of their drives. Offensively, they've managed only scored 0.61 points per drive.
This team seems to have let go of the rope and isn't interested in trying to pick it back up. Maybe it rallies this week against a Houston team still fighting for a conference title, but probably not. Houston 45, Temple 10 | Houston -24.5
SportsLine Pick of the Week
No. 6 Michigan at Penn State: Whoops! I ran out of room in The Six Pack, but there's another play this weekend that I wanted to include. If you want to find out what it is, you'll have to head over to my SportsLine page.
Games of the Week
Lock of the Week
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 11, and which top-15 team will get stunned? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $3,500 in profit over the past five-plus seasons -- and find out.