Top Week 9 College Football Picks for Big Ten, SEC & Pac-12

Willie Bee

Friday, October 24, 2014 1:03 PM UTC

Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 1:03 PM UTC

This week's edition of our top College Football picks will start up north in the Big Ten, then go south to the SEC before heading west to the Pac-12: Michigan/Michigan State, Ole Miss/LSU & USC/Utah.

Michigan Wolverines vs. Michigan State Spartans
Jim Delany, the longtime commissioner of the Big Ten will never publicly root for one team in the conference over another, but you can bet he's privately pulling for the Michigan State Spartans this Saturday when they host the Michigan Wolverines.

That's because a Michigan upset could really damage the Big Ten's hopes of putting a team into this year's playoff, and as much as Delany opposed the playoff system, he sure doesn't want his conference shut out of the first 4-team bracket. ABC will carry the contest starting at 3:30 PM (ET), and Michigan State is significant 17 point chalk, that spread opening a point lower, while SBR's live College Football odds show 48½ for the total.

This has been a lost season for Brady Hoke and the Wolverines, and it's likely to cost Hoke his job in Ann Arbor unless the Maize & Blue win out. Making that task even more difficult than it already was are several key injuries, starting with top tailback Derrick Greene lost for the season with a busted collarbone earlier this month. The Wolverines may also have to play this one without freshman DB Jabrill Peppers (leg) and starting WR Jehu Chesson who is questionable for an undisclosed reason.

Michigan State, meanwhile, comes into the matchup in great shape as far as injuries go, and with a 5-game win streak since a tough loss at Oregon earlier this season. Mark Dantonio's charges enjoyed a great all-around effort last week at Indiana, rolling up 662 yards with a very well-balanced offensive showing and limiting the Hoosiers to just 11 yards passing.

Dantonio and the Spartans will get a week off after this tilt to prepare for Ohio State, so there really shouldn't be any looking ahead by State. I'm biting the bullet and laying the points with my College Football pick.

Free College Football Pick: Michigan State -17

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Mississippi Rebels vs. LSU Tigers
From East Lansing to Baton Rouge we go, and it's a huge contest in the SEC as the Mississippi Rebels take on the LSU Tigers. This clash gets prime-time treatment from ESPN (7:15 PM ET), and Mississippi has been anointed 3½ point chalk, a 45 point total also showing up on the college football betting board.

Ole Miss has enjoyed just about as perfect of a season as any bettor could hope for, not only sitting undefeated on the field but also a perfect 7-0 against the spread. Add in a strong 1-6 O/U mark, and the Rebels have been a nice cash cow. There are a few key injuries, including offensive linemen Aaron Morris (ankle) and Justin Bell (ankle), along with leading wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (shoulder); Bell, who is questionable, is the only one of the three who might miss the LSU game.

Losses to Mississippi State and Auburn have pretty much taken the Tigers out of the SEC picture, but they can still have a say in who does represent the West Division in the conference championship. My gut says take LSU and the points, but my brain says to play this one 'under' the total.

Free College Football Pick: Ole Miss/LSU Under 45

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USC Trojans vs. Utah Utes
Are the Utah Utes for real? That question should be answered over the next three weeks and the Utes tackle three ranked Pac-12 squads in succession, starting with a visit from the USC Trojans this Saturday (10 PM ET, FOX Sports 1). Southern Cal opened the college football betting proceedings as 1 point road chalk, and that spread has stuck.

The Trojans have been a tough nut to crack this season, losing a couple to teams they should've beaten (Boston College, Arizona State) but winning a pair of contests as road underdogs against Stanford and Arizona. Utah also had an inexplicable loss to Washington State at the end of September, the Utes' only setback of 2014, but has since bounced back with wins and covers on the road at UCLA and Oregon State.

The only issue with the weather for this one is the wind. Clear skies and a kickoff temp in the mid-60s is expected, but will be accompanied by a 15-20 mph SSE blow according to the latest forecast, which could lead to some field goal trouble for teams headed North-to-South.

I like the idea of taking the Utes and a point, but once again my free pick will be on the total, which has fallen to 53. And once again, I'm not expecting it to be hurdled.

Free College Football Pick: USC/Utah Under 53 at The Greek

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Willie Bee's College Football Handicapping Season: 35-26-1 (+6.40)

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