Mr. CFB Pick Six: Week 8

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones can set a school record by throwing for 400 yards against Tennessee in Knoxville.Gary Crosby, Jr./USA Today

Tony Barnhart

We were 4-2 against the spread last week thanks to a couple of underdogs that we picked to win straight up.

South Carolina didn’t need the 3.5 points as the Gamecocks beat Auburn 30-22 for their first win over the Tigers since 1933.

I picked Kentucky, a 6.5 point underdog, to beat Tennessee straight up because I liked the Wildcats’ defense and questioned if UT quarterback Jarrett Guarantano could take care of the ball. Kentucky had three interceptions in the first half, two returned for touchdowns, in a 34-7 bashing of the Volunteers. It was Kentucky's first win in Knoxville since 1984.

I missed on Georgia, which was dominated in the second half by Alabama. And I didn’t think Arkansas could hang with the Ole Miss offense. Well, the Hogs had six interceptions in a 33-21 win over the Rebels.

So after six weeks we are 19-17 ATS. This week we have only four SEC games so we’ll dip into the ACC and Big Ten, who officially joins the party this week.

Here we go:

The Game: Auburn (2-2) at Ole Miss (1-3) (plus 3), Noon, SEC Network.

The winner: Auburn.

The score: Auburn 35, Ole Miss 31.

The skinny: Look for Auburn to try to slow down the Ole Miss offense (36 points per game) by going back to the power running game. Freshman running back Tank Bigsby had his second straight 100-yard game last week but he only got 16 carries. Expect him to get more against the Rebels and don’t expect quarterback Bo Nix to throw it 47 times, which he did (with three picks) in a 30-22 loss to South Carolina. Late reports indicate that the Ole Miss defense is thin on numbers because of the virus.

The Game: Alabama (4-0) at Tennessee (2-2) (plus 21.5), 3:30 p.m., CBS

The winner: Alabama.

The score: Alabama 45, Tennessee 21.

The skinny: Not a lot of mystery here. Alabama will win and cover the 21.5.

But here are a couple of items that could keep the game interesting.

Tennessee’s quarterback situation: Jarrett Guarantano had just a dreadful game last week against Kentucky with a couple of pick sixes. He was benched, came back for a little bit, and was benched again.

Still, you have to believe he’ll start against the Crimson Tide because of his experience. Let’s see who finishes the game for Tennessee.

Mac Jones has a chance to make history. The Alabama quarterback has played his way into the Heisman Trophy conversation by posting three straight games of over 400 yards passing. That ties him with Tua Tagovailoa for the most 400-yard games in a career. Jones will hold that record alone if he hangs 400 yards against the Volunteers.

The Game: Kentucky (2-2) at Missouri (1-2) (plus 5.5), 4 p.m., SEC Network.

The winner: Kentucky.

The score: Kentucky 27, Missouri 20.

The skinny: The first thing Missouri quarterback Connor Bazelak must do in this game is protect the football. Kentucky’s defense has recorded nine interceptions (six vs. Mississippi State and three vs. Tennessee) in its last  two games.

Missouri is minus five in turnovers but has thrown only one pass interception this season.

The Game: South Carolina (2-2) (plus 6.5) at LSU (1-2), 7 p.m., ESPN

The winner: South Carolina.

The score: LSU 28, South Carolina 24.

The skinny: On Thursday LSU coach Ed Orgeron announced that starting quarterback Myles Brennan will not be able to play because of an abdominal injurry suffered two weeks ago against Missouri.

Orgeron said true freshman TJ Finley will get the start with another true freshman, Max Johnson, as the backup. Neither has attempted a pass in college.

It is really tempting to pick South Carolina, which beat Auburn last week, straight up because of the LSU quarterback situation. I just have a feeling that LSU wins the game but can’t cover the 6.5

The Game: Notre Dame (4-0) at Pittsburgh (3-3) (plus 10.5), 3:30 p.m., ABC.

The winner: Pittsburgh.

The score: Notre Dame 24, Pittsburgh 17.

The skinny: Notre Dame was less than impressive last week in beating Louisville 12-7. Chances are that won’t happen again.

It has been a strange year for the Panthers as two of their three losses have come by one point to N.C. State (30-29) and Boston College (31-30).

The issue for Pittsburgh last week against Miami (31-19 loss) was the health of quarterback Kenny Pickett (ankle). If Pickett is not ready to go against the Irish it will not go well. But keep this in mind: Pittsburgh leads the nation in rushing defense (61.5 ypg).

Notre Dame wins, but the Irish don’t cover the 10.5 points.

The Game: Michigan (0-0) at Minnesota (0-0) (Plus 3.5), 7:30 p.m., ABC.

The winner: Minnesota.

The score: Minnesota 24, Michigan 21.

The skinny: The Big Ten party starts with a nationally-televised bang. Minnesota beat Auburn in the Outback Bowl to finish 11-2 last season. The Gophers return one of the best passing combinations in the country in quarterback Tanner Morgan and wide receiver Rashod Bateman, who was going to turn pro but opted back in once the Big Ten decided to come back. The Gophers are not as strong up front as the Wolverines, but they are better on offense and are playing at home. Minnesota kicks a late field goal to win.


Tony Barnhart