Welcome to week two of Pick Six, a weekly column published every Thursday where the RTI team plus a weekly guest picker calls their shots on six games. We’ll do our best to pick the most competitive games each week and will focus heavily on the SEC when possible. Spreads are listed and will occasionally be mentioned in the comments. We’ll keep a running tally of records (straight up, not ATS) throughout the year and compare those to how Vegas fared.
Last week we all whiffed on Texas A&M beating South Carolina. Each member of the RTI team went 4-2, Zach Ragan (our guest picker last week) went 3-3 while Vegas favorites were 5-1 (with South Carolina being the lone loss thanks to LSU’s late rally).
No. 7 Michigan State @ No. 3 Oregon (-11) TV: FOX 6:30pm Saturday
Daniel: Physical, defensive-minded teams like Michigan State have been one of the few kryptonites for Oregon’s fast-paced, spread attack in recent years. That’s why Stanford has given the Ducks so much trouble. And while Michigan State still certainly fits the bill of a physical defense, the Spartans are in the process of replacing several key pieces from the 2013 squad. They’ll make it interesting in Eugene, but Oregon, at home, is the safe pick here. Hard to bet against Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. Winner: Oregon 28-21
Houston: I’d like to start this post by saying that I have a lot of respect for what Mark Dantonio has been able to accomplish at Michigan State. He has built a strong program that plays tough defense and makes just enough plays on offense to win a lot of football games. That being said, I think Sparty struggles this weekend in Eugene. Michigan State is still trying to replace a few players from last year’s top ranked defense and Eugene, Oregon is a terrible place to have to do that. Oregon strikes early and holds off Michigan State late to win. Winner: Oregon 34-24
Reed: It’s way too early in the season for a matchup like this. Michigan State was my pick to win the Big 10 before the season and their physical defense makes them exactly the type of team that gives Oregon problems. The bad news for the Spartans? They’re replacing over 50% of the production from last season’s 4th ranked defense and starting inexperienced defenders against Oregon is not a winning formula. Michigan State has enough weapons on offense to take advantage of a decent, but not great, Duck defense and they should keep this one close. But Oregon has too much talent too lose to this MSU team at home. Winner: Oregon 31-23
Blake: In possibly the most anticipated non-conference matchup of the season, the reigning Big Ten Champions travel to Autzen Stadium to take on the Oregon Ducks. These two teams couldn’t be more opposite in terms of offensive styles. The Ducks are known for their fast-paced, spread the field offense, while the Spartans feature a more pro-style offense. Michigan State also features a defense that ranked 4th in the country in total defense last season, while Oregon finished 44th in the same category. The difference in this game is the home-field advantage that the Ducks will have. Oregon is 27-2 at home since the end of the 2009 season. Michigan State puts up a good fight and contains the Oregon offense for the first half, but Oregon is just too much to handle at home. Winner: Oregon 41-31