HN Staff 6-Pack of College Football Picks for Week 3

September 14, 2018

Written by Rob Howe

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The staff returns for another season of college football picks against the spread. Each week we’ll select six games.


Jon Miller 7-5 overall/5-1 last week

Sean Neugent 6-6/3-3

David Schwartz 6-6/4-2

Rob Howe 5-7/3-3

Here’s the Week 2 slate:

UNI (+21) at Iowa

Rob Howe: Well, I’m 0-2 picking Iowa games with the point spread this year. There’s nowhere to go but up (I hope). This is a weird game with UNI having a bye week before it, making it tougher to evaluate. But I guess this is about Iowa and getting it’s offense going. That’s why 21 points is a lot for a team averaging only 23.0 a game. That said, I’m not sure the Hawkeye defense will give up many, if any, points. I’ll lay the points.

Jon Miller:  I think Iowa work on its passing game early and treats this as a developmental game.  In the end, I see Iowa winning by a score around 38-7…and UNI scores on Iowa’s reserves, which would mean Iowa’s starting defense will have yet to yield a touchdown.

David Schwartz: So here’s the question: Is UNI better than Northern Illinois, which lost in Kinnick to Iowa by 26 points? The answer is … probably not? On the other hand, UNI’s last three visits to Kinnick have resulted in Iowa wins by eight, 11 and one point. Iowa will win, but since we’re talking about point spreads, I’ll take the Panthers plus the 21.

Sean Neugent: Northern Iowa typically makes me nervous. And, it should with No. 6 Wisconsin looming. But, the offensive struggles give me confidence in this one. Let me explain. I think this offense is going to be good, but the lack of execution so far should focus them to put together a complete game vs. UNI. Plus, I was pleased to see Iowa make plays when they needed to against ISU. On the other side, the defense should absolutely wreck the Panthers, who are unsure of their QB situation currently after losing to Montana in week one. The Cyclones OL struggled against the Iowa pass rush and I do not see the Panthers fairing any better. UNI has two weeks to prep for Iowa, but the Hawks win in a blowout 38-6.

Rutgers (+3) at Kansas

Howe: How bad is Rutgers? It’s an underdog against Kansas. So, awful would be the answer. That said, I think the Knights win this one so I will take the points.

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Miller:  No way am I taking Kansas.

Schwartz: Rob Howe has a sick sense of humor putting this game on this week’s slate. Kansas hasn’t played anyone decent. Rutgers played Ohio State and got pounded. Let’s chalk that up to a learning experience for the Knights that the Jayhawks can’t match. Rutgers plus the points.

Neugent: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If one of these teams wins and no one is around to see it, does anyone really care? The Scarlet Knights won the lone matchup between the schools back in 2015. But, the Jayhawks are favored for the first time at home against a Power Five team in almost a decade – the last time was 2009 vs. Iowa State. The Jayhawks looked much better than the Knights a week ago even if they played a much more underwhelming opponent, so I will go with them in a stinkfest, 27-20.

Boise State (+3) at Oklahoma State

Howe: The scoreboard operator better be on high alert. He or she will be plenty busy. I think Boise is the better team but the Cowboys are tough at home. I wouldn’t touch this game other than playing the over but with my hand forced I will throw the points.

Miller:  This seems like a gift.  OSU is down from last year, but not that far.  Give me the Cowboys and I lay the points.

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Schwartz: We’re still living in the past when it comes to Boise State. Their solid, but they’re not the football equivalent of what Gonzaga is to football. It’s hard to imagine they can contain OSU’s offense. Go with the Cowboys and lay the points.

Neugent: Two of the highest-scoring teams meet in what should be a fun game for fans that love offense. The Cowboys have surprisingly semi-struggled in the red zone against bad opponents with only eight touchdowns in 13 trips, while the Broncos have only allowed three red zone trips in total. The numbers suggest Boise State wins. But, I think the Cowboys will be ready to lasso the Broncos in a close game, 44-37.

LSU (+9.5) at Auburn

Howe: Unlike Boise v. Okie State, this game features defense. I would expect to be hard to come by. With that in mind, I’ll take the points.

Miller: I think the LSU defense is legit.  It typically is.  I think 9.5 points is too big a line for a defense like theirs, so I will take LSU and the points.

Schwartz: That is a LOT of points to spot an LSU squad known for uglying up football games. I like Auburn to win straight up, but this spread is begging us to take LSU plus the points, so that’s what I’ll do.

Neugent: Auburn looked really strong in a victory over Washington in game one, while LSU blew out Miami. This should be a good game, but Auburn looks primed to go to the College Football Playoff. Five and four points have decided the last two games in this series, so signs point to another close game — but Vegas sees something different. Two scores seems like a lot and begs to pick the underdog. With that in mind, I will go with the favorite to narrowly cover 27-17.

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Missouri (-7.5) at Purdue

Howe: The Boilers have been a major disappointment after last year’s turnaround season and bowl victory. It might help if they’d just settle on a quarterback. I do think there’s potential here and I don’t think Missouri is good enough to be giving up more than a touchdown on the road against a capable opponent. I’ll take the points with the home team.

Miller: This seems like an obvious move to take Missouri…which means I should take Purdue, but I will tempt Vegas fate here and lay the points and take Mizzou.

Schwartz: The Boilermakers are 0-2 despite playing two home games. Now they have another one against a team that’s better than the two they’ve lost to (Northwestern and Eastern Michigan). They’ve got to put it together at some point, right? I’ll take Purdue to cover, but I don’t feel good about it.

Neugent: The Boilermakers are facing desperate times with the possibility of going 0-3, all of which could come in front of their home crowd. I did not expect much from Purdue after losing quite a bit from their 7-6 campaign a year ago. An already struggling defense will face a tough Missouri offense. This game is huge for the Boilermakers, who will need all the help they can at this point. This season is already boiling over, as they likely are only favored one time the rest of the year. The Tigers take this one easily, 47-28.

Ohio State (-13) at TCU

Howe: The Buckeyes have rolled two inferior opponents without much resistance. They’ll receive some this week. The biggest question for me is can the Frogs score enough to win or even cover this game? I think they can. I will take the points.

Miller:  13 points is a lot to lay, but this game will be played in Jerry World…a fast track, and I think Ohio State covers with ease.

Schwartz: It’s safe to say the Buckeyes are playing some pissed-off football after the suspension of Urban Meyer. They’re like Johnny Ringo taking over the Cowboys after the death of Curly Bill. TCU this weekend will play the role of Sherman McMasters. Ohio State and lay the points.

Neugent: So far, so good without Urban Meyer. But, this is their first real test of the season and will be one of interest. Should they cover this big spread at AT&T Stadium, interim coach Ryan Day might just be a hot coaching candidate in the offseason. Had this been the first game of the season with the offseason distractions, I think TCU would make this close. But, it appears the Buckeyes have put all that behind them and are playing very well. OSU is loaded with talent and will enjoys playing in Arlington where they won the first College Football Playoff National Championship vs. Oregon and last season’s Cotton Bowl vs. USC. The B10 is already 2-0 this year against the B12, including Maryland’s upset vs. Texas. OSU bucks the Horned Frogs 34-20.

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