Connor Cape, voice of the Colorado Rapids and host of “The Connor Cape Show” on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7, makes his favorite NCAA football picks every week. Feel free to reach him on Twitter at @MileHighCape to tell him how great he’s doing… or if he missed by a country mile. Again.
The clock ticks on. Week Four is here, and the amateur football season has given us large enough of a sample size to feel confident in our bets — but the youth and inconsistency of the contestants takes a sure thing and starts giving us major upsets. Let’s get to it… It’s picking time!
Ranked vs. Ranked
No. 22 Texas A&M (+26) at No. 1 Alabama – 1:30 PM MT – CBS – Bryant-Denny Stadium
Alabama has the ability to pummel every team on their schedule. Their overall talent, a real quarterback, and Nick Saban’s tactics have turned the Tide into a Death Star. What we’re betting on is that Saban gets up by 35 or so and calls off the dogs, allowing the Aggies to cover in garbage time. Don’t expect it to be close; just hope that it’s close enough.
PICK: Texas A&M (+26)
No. 20 Oregon (+2.5) vs No. 7 Stanford – 6:00 PM MT – ABC – Autzen Stadium
The Ducks opened as favorites, and the line has swung back the other direction. I like a few things about that — one of which is fading the public — the other is that I was already going to take the Ducks. This is insurance. Oregon covers and outright wins, in my opinion. The Cardinal have struggled to get their star running back Bryce Love going, at least to the Heisman-level he played at last year. Should that trend continue, and I think it will, the Cardinal become one-dimensional and the Ducks will do just enough to scrape out the victory.
PICK: Oregon (+2.5)
Mizzou (+14.5) vs No. 2 Georgia – 10:00 AM MT – ESPN – Memorial Stadium
The Tigers didn’t cover the six-point spread at Purdue last weekend, but they should have. That’s the inconsistency of amateurs. Now, in front of a home crowd that may be a little sleepy for an 11:00 AM local-time kickoff, look for quarterback Drew Lock and Missouri to continue to put up points. Even if the Bulldogs win, which I fully expect them to, Mizzou will be able to keep it close with an offense that has yet to be stopped. And if you’re saying, “Yeah, but they haven’t played Georgia yet,” I get it. But last year, Lock threw four touchdowns against UGA on the road. At home, I think he throws just as many, and maybe more, and keeps the Tigers within two touchdowns.
PICK: Mizzou (+14.5)
Nebraska (+18.5) at No. 19 Michigan – 10:00 AM MT – FS1 – Michigan Stadium
Scott Frost is about to start 0-3 at Nebraska, and people are going to start wondering whether or not the Husker legend is really up to the task. Nebraska isn’t UCF. I’ve no idea if Frost is the man for the job ,but if he is, this is the game where you’d see signs of improvement. If he’s going to bring the Huskers back to their former glory, he’s going to need building blocks in Year One. Covering the spread on the road against an overrated Wolverines team is the perfect starter.
PICK: Nebraska (+18.5)
No. 3 Clemson (-15.5) at Georgia Tech – 1:30 PM MT – ABC – Bobby Dodd Stadium
This will be the second week in a row that Clemson will play an option team. When you know you’re going to face the option twice in a row, you prepare for it. You devote extra practice to assignments and getting your scheme right. Then you go out and obliterate the opponent, because you’re more talented. Clemson’s offense will have no issue finding the end zone, and the defense — thanks to extra work against the option — will slow down the Yellow Jackets… and that’ll be that.
PICK: Clemson (-15.5)
Texas (+3) vs No. 17 TCU – 2:30 PM MT – FOX – DKR Stadium
After losing to Ohio State last weekend, TCU needs to forget about it, get in the cold tub, and get back to work. I’ve no doubt Gary Patterson had his boys doing all of these things, but Tom Herman is a home underdog and working with his own psychological motivation after drubbing USC. I don’t think Texas is as good as TCU, but I think the body-blow theory affects the Frogs. Texas, at home, takes advantage of this and covers.
PICK: Texas (+3)
Army (+31) at No. 5 Oklahoma – 5:00 PM MT – Memorial Stadium
Service academies as huge underdogs is a truism similar to home underdogs at night. The combination of every play using clock, long drives and a physical style of play makes it legitimately difficult to run up the score on our nation’s finest amateurs. Beyond that, Army is just plain old good at football. At 2-1 and with their the only loss in the opener to Duke, they were able to stymie a red-hot Hawaii team last weekend. Not sure they can slow down the Sooners enough to win, but crazier things have happened.
PICK: Army (+31)
Louisiana Tech (+20.5) at LSU – 5:00 PM MT – ESPNU – Tiger Stadium
LSU has the most impressive resume of any team playing, including an opening-weekend win against Miami and a road win against Auburn. Here’s the thing about the Tigers, though: stats say they’re due for a regression. There’s some sort of Bayou voodoo propelling this team right now, and quarteback Joe Burrow is due for a howler of a performance. Maybe the magic rolls on through this weekend and they get the victory, but I’m banking on enough of a regression to the mean to keep Tech within the spread.
PICK: La. Tech (+20.5)
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