Howie Kussoy’s Saturday college football picks. Home team in CAPS:
Maryland (+11.5) over INDIANA
Michael Penix Jr. was rightfully celebrated after throwing for 491 yards and five touchdowns in the near-upset of Ohio State, but back-to-back canceled games is all that’s paused the praise of Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa, who has thrown for 676 yards with eight total touchdowns in his past two starts.
Kentucky (+24) over FLORIDA
Sure, the Wildcats haven’t scored a touchdown in two of their past three games, but the Gators are the perfect panacea for any struggling offense. The SEC’s top-ranked pass defense will also give the crowded Heisman field a chance to catch up to current front-runner Kyle Trask.
Pittsburgh (+24) over CLEMSON
I’m not sure Dabo Swinney has enough time to prepare. He’s already wasted most of the week insulting Florida State for making health and safety a priority.
Northwestern (-13.5) over MICHIGAN STATE
The most turnover-prone team in the nation takes on the Big Ten’s best defense. After four straight wins by 10 points or less, the Wildcats (5-0) will roll against the 123rd-ranked offense in the nation, responsible for just seven total points in its past two games.
ALABAMA (-24) over Auburn
Gus Malzahn’s three wins against Nick Saban is the most of any other coach in the country in the past seven seasons. In two of the past three years, Auburn pulled an Iron Bowl upset. But the series looks different in Tuscaloosa, where Alabama has won the past four matchups by an average of more than 27 points. Heisman contender Mac Jones has much to make up for after his two pick-sixes against the Tigers kept Alabama out of the playoff for the first time last season.
TEXAS A&M (-13.5) over Lsu
Revenge is a dish best served against the nation’s third-worst pass defense. After throwing for 92 yards and three interceptions in last season’s 50-7 embarrassment in Baton Rouge, Aggies senior quarterback Kellen Mond will take advantage of an unrecognizable LSU secondary and have one of the best performances of his career.
SOUTH CAROLINA (+21.5) over Georgia
Maybe JT Daniels is finally ready to live up to his potential. But the former five-star recruit still has a lot to prove entering his second game since an erratic 2018 season at USC.
Best Bets: Ohio State, Maryland, Oklahoma
This season (best bets): 85-74-1 (15-17-1)
2014-19 record: 772-756-13
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