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Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford (14) fires up teammates before an NCAA college football game against Michigan in State College, Pa., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford (14) fires up teammates before an NCAA college football game against Michigan in State College, Pa., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)|Associated Press
NCAAF

Mike Kern's College Football picks: Temple vs UCF, Texas vs TCU, Nebraska vs Indiana, Michigan St. vs Penn St., Northwestern vs Iowa, more

Mike Kern

Mike Kern

Last week, we didn’t do very well with our college picks. It happens. Time to try and change that.

Texas (-1.5) over TCU

Last week the Longhorns, coming off a close loss to Oklahoma, gave up 48 points to Kansas at home and needed a late field goal to avoid a major embarrassment. Coach Tom Herman supposedly wasn’t thrilled, and let his guys know about it. TCU, which beat Kansas by 37 at home, is 3-3 after losing its last two, both on the road. The Horned Frogs owned this series recently before losing last year at UT, 31-16. I just think Texas is the better team, maybe not by much, and will play like it, especially after that near-catastrophe against Kansas. The Horns can score, more so than the hosts. Their only other loss was to LSU, on a neutral field, also by seven.

Nebraska (-2.5) over Indiana

The Cornhuskers have been a bit of a disappointment in their second season under Scott Frost, the ex-Nebraska quarterback. Maybe it was simply asking too much for him to make it happen so soon. They’re 4-3, and had last week off after losing by 27 at Minnesota. The Hoosiers are 5-2, but most of that has come against pedestrian teams. I just think this is almost a must spot for the Huskers. And quarterback Adrian Martinez, who was being mentioned as a preseason Heisman possibility, is supposedly healthier than he’s been. Let’s hope the sense of urgency is enough to get this one done.

Temple (+10.5) over Central Florida

I got burned with the Owls last week on the road at SMU, and I probably should have seen it coming. But they’ve been very good at home, especially on defense. They’ve mostly played UCF pretty tough in the last several years. And this seems like a bigger number than it should be, probably because they looked so bad in Dallas. I don’t know if the Owls will win outright, but I think it’ll at least be close. The Knights have lost their last two on the road, at Pitt and at Cincinnati, and might be without their top running back.

Michigan State (+6.5) over Penn State

Spartans are 4-3, having lost their last two by a lot on the road at Ohio State and Wisconsin. They had last week off. I just think this is a bad spot for Penn State, which has overachieved so far. And the Nits might keep doing so right up until they play Ohio State on Nov. 23. Or is that at Minnesota on Nov. 9? Whatever. You have to give them a lot of credit. I just feel like coming off the Michigan game, where they held on at the end at home, this might be one of those days that’s going to be more of a challenge than first meets the eye. I’m not saying they’ll lose, but it could come down to the end. So I’ll take the points in East Lansing, in what could turn into a somewhat ugly, low-scoring scuffle.

Washington State (+14) over Oregon

Oregon and Utah are probably the two best teams in the Pac-12. And the Ducks just won at Washington. WSU is a tough team to figure out. But the one thing it can usually do is score some. And Oregon might be a little whatever coming off last week, with a trip to Southern Cal up next. So I’ll take a chance that it could be high-scoring. And if that’s the case I’ll take the points. But of course you never know with Mike Leach.

Northwestern (+9) over Iowa

The Wildcats got whacked at home by Ohio State a week ago. They’re 1-5. Iowa is 5-2, with losses to Michigan and Penn State. There’s no way this line should be so low. So call me an idiot but that’s why I’m taking Northwestern at home. The line has to be telling me something, no? And it’s actually come down. The Cats have won the last three meetings. I’m just hoping for a low-scoring game, where the nine makes the difference. If Iowa wins by 20-some, well, then I’ll have to blame it on someone else.

There you have it. Be back soon with the pro stuff.

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