Welcome to week four 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 Virginia and ECU even though our panel thought those could be close games. Reed led the way at 4-2 last week (thanks, South Carolina), Daniel was a respectable 3-3 while Houston brought up the rear with a miserable 2-4 performance. Guest picker Richard Daugherty tied Daniel at 3-3. For the year, Reed is 12-6, Daniel is 11-7, Houston is 10-8, our guest pickers are 10-8 and Vegas favorites are 11-7.
This week’s guest picker is Patrick Schmidt. He’s a popular columnist and news desk writer for Fansided.com and host of The Patrick Schmidt Show on Sports Town Chicago. Give him a listen and a follow Vol fans.
No. 5 Auburn (-9) @ No. 20 Kansas State TV:ESPN 7:30pm Thursday
Daniel: Maybe I’m being too SEC biased here, but I just don’t think this one will be much of a contest. Kansas State has some nice pieces on offense such as quarterback Jake Waters and receiver Tyler Lockett, so I think the Wildcats will put some points on the board. But KSU, which barely knocked off Iowa State in its last game (a Cyclones team that was thumped by North Dakota State to start the season by the way), won’t be able to stop Auburn’s offense. It just has too many weapons – Nick Marshall, Cameron Artis-Payne, Duke Williams, Corey Grant and the likely return of receiver Sammie Coates will be too much for the Wildcats to handle at home. Winner: Auburn 45-21
Houston: Auburn has looked very strong so far this season and I have little doubt that they carry that momentum out of Manhattan when this one is said and done. Nick Marshall and the Auburn rushing attack will simply be too much for a Kansas State team that features, get this, 58 current or former walk ons. Kansas State should be able to keep this one relatively competitive for a while, but ultimately Auburn’s ground game and big play ability through the air should help them pull away from a pesy KSU squad by midway through the third quarter. Winner: Auburn 38-20
Reed: Credit Auburn for scheduling a tough non-conference opponent on the road, something rival Alabama rarely does. The Tigers have a brutal schedule with seven of their 10 remaining games coming against currently ranked teams plus a tough road trip to dangerous Mississippi State. Auburn needs to find a way to get Nick Marshall, considered by many to be a Heisman favorite, going if they want to keep their top-5 ranking. This should be his breakout game in front of a national audience and the Tiger rushing attack won’t be slowed by Kansas State’s defense. Auburn has top-10 talent and while K-State comes in at 60th nationally in talent level per cfbmatrix.com. Snyder is a great coach, but his boys are just too outmatched to have a shot in this one. Winner: Auburn 42-20
Patrick: This is a sneaky good game between two well-coached teams on a Thursday night where all eyes on the college football world will be watching and I think Bill Snyder will devise a great gameplan to play keep away and keep Nick Marshall, Cameron-Artis Payne, D’haquille Williams and the high-octane Auburn offense on the sidelines as long as possible.