We had a winning week last week with a smaller card, so we are going to take a reasonable approach again, right? Nope. What fun is that? This card is screaming at me and I’m listening.
UConn at Army (-10, 43.5)
Noon ET, Michie Stadium, West Point, New York
Van Pelt’s pick: Army (-10)
Let me ask you — if a 3-6 team is giving more points than it scored in either of the last two weeks to a team who just qualified to play in a bowl, you kind of have to take them, don’t you? The 3-6 team, I mean. Yes. By rule. Army giving double digits for some unknown reason to UConn.
SVP: 4-1-1 when picking independents this season
No. 4 TCU (-2.5, 57) at Baylor
Noon ET, McLane Stadium, Waco, Texas
Van Pelt’s pick: Baylor (+2.5)
Through the years I have loved taking TCU as an underdog. Had them this year against Oklahoma, ‘member? They crushed the Sooners. But boy am I a dummy to keep going against the Frogs now that they’re favorites. They’ve stuck it to me in this segment but I’m nothing if not stubborn. Baylor in Waco plus a tiny little helper.
SVP: 8-1 all-time when picking Baylor
Illinois at No. 3 Michigan (-18, 40.5)
Noon ET on ABC, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Van Pelt’s pick: Illinois (+18)
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I’m taking Illinois to benefit from its defense and Michigan sneaking a peek at its trip to Columbus next week. Illini plus three scores feels like a lot.
SVP: 5-1 all-time when picking unranked Big Ten teams vs. top-3 Big Ten teams
UTSA (-13, 56.5) at Rice
1 p.m. ET on ESPN+, Rice Stadium, Houston
Van Pelt’s pick: Rice (+13)
Steve tried this Week 1 and it was a fiasco — I’m taking a stab at it against one of our favorite squads. Rice plus nearly 2 TDs at home. Owls need one win to go bowling. A win might be a lot to ask for here, but if they can compete for 60, maybe we can too.
SVP: 0-3 all-time when picking Rice, 0-0-1 all-time when picking against UTSA
No. 15 Kansas State (-7.5, 55) at West Virginia
2 p.m. ET on ESPN+, Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, West Virginia
Van Pelt’s pick: West Virginia (+7.5)
West Virginia … that bad beat against TCU still stings, but our love for you remains as strong as ever. We will back you in Morgantown one more time — obligatory — let’s go Mountaineers, let’s go drink some beers.
SVP: 35-20-2 all-time when picking home teams in Big 12 conference games
Georgia State at James Madison (-9, 52)
2 p.m. ET ESPN+, Bridgeforth Stadium/Zane Showker Field, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Van Pelt’s pick: Georgia State (+9)
Who is America’s No. 1 Sun Belt Tout — you know that is me. SO, Georgia State plus the points in Harrisonburg is information you should treat like the gold it is.
SVP: 10-1 when picking Sun Belt teams this season
Western Kentucky at Auburn (-5.5, 52.5)
4 p.m. ET, Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Alabama
Van Pelt’s pick: Western Kentucky (+5.5)
Western Kentucky isn’t going to score on Auburn like they do on their Conference USA brethren. But they can score enough to take the points on the plains, so we will take the Toppers.
SVP: 2-1 all-time when picking Western Kentucky
Marshall (-4.5, 52.5) at Georgia Southern
6 p.m. ET, Allen E. Paulson Stadium, Statesboro, Georgia
Van Pelt’s pick: Georgia Southern
Remember the whole Sun Belt thing? Yeah, OK. Georgia Southern. Again. Plus the points against Marshall.
SVP: 3-1 all-time when picking Georgia Southern
No. 5 Tennessee (-21.5, 66) at South Carolina
7 p.m. ET on ESPN, Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, South Carolina
Van Pelt’s pick: South Carolina (+21.5)
Not sure who has stomped on my face more this year in this segment — TCU or Tennessee. The Vols aren’t losing to South Carolina, but 21½ points? Stand up for your boy, one time, Cocky.
SVP: 1-7 all-time when picking South Carolina
No. 14 Ole Miss (-2.5, 65.5) at Arkansas
7:30 p.m. ET on SEC Network, Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Van Pelt’s pick: Arkansas (+2.5)
Somehow Arkansas got home for us last week against LSU — no clue how. We are calling the Hogs again in this one with Ole Miss off a gutting home loss to Bama.
SVP: 8-2 all-time when picking Arkansas
No. 7 USC (-2.5, 76.0) at No. 16 UCLA
8 p.m. ET, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
Van Pelt’s pick: UCLA (+2.5)
UCLA over USC in their annual rivalry tilt. The best uniform matchup in the sport, the Rose Bowl — and UCLA scored 62 on these guys last year. Might need that many again. Should be a shootout.
SVP: 22-12-1 all-time when picking ranked vs. ranked games in November
I think that’s 11. Whatever it is — put ’em in the blender. Birdcage. This is a recipe for something good. Probably. Maybe. I don’t know. We’ll find out.