Welcome to week five 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 Mississippi State even though our panel thought they’d take LSU to the wire. Reed, Houston, and guest picker Patrick Schmidt led the way at 5-1 last week (and all called Utah to upset Michigan) and Daniel was 4-2. For the year, Reed is 17-7, Daniel is 15-9, Houston is 15-9, our guest pickers are 15-9 and Vegas favorites are 15-9.
No. 11 UCLA (-3) @ No. 15 Arizona State TV: Fox Sports 1 10:00pm Thursday
Daniel: UCLA is one of the least impressive No. 11 ranked teams I can ever remember. None of their wins have been particularly convincing and star quarterback Brett Hundley will be playing at less than 100% as he comes off of a hyperextended left elbow suffered against Texas two weeks ago. At least they have their starting QB, however, which is something Arizona State can’t say with the absence of Taylor Kelly (foot). I see this one coming down to the wire. I think the home crowd will be fired up for this one and UCLA’s flaws will finally cost them a game in Tempe. Winner: Arizona State 28-27
Houston: Tough spot for UCLA to be in with starting quarterback Brett Hundley’s arm injury heading into this one. It appears that the coaching staff and trainers will make the decision of whether or not he plays tonight mere moments before kickoff, so that makes this game extremely difficult to pick. My guess is that he plays, but with UCLA’s struggles along the offensive line it wouldn’t surprise me if he didn’t last very long. But Arizona State has quarterback issues of their own as well, starter Taylor Kelly will miss this game with a foot injury, so the Sun Devils will turn to junior Mike Bercovici in hopes of sneaking by the Bruins. Very tough game to pick given all of the uncertainty, so I’ll go with the home team pulling one out in what should be an outstanding environment in Tempe. Winner: Arizona St. 30-24
Reed: UCLA has been awful this year and if Arizona State’s starting QB Taylor Kelly was a go for this game, I’d have no problem picking against the Sun Devils. The Bruins have a talent edge in this one but might be without star QB Brett Hundley. Even with Hundley, they’ve struggled to beat bad teams. Arizona State, even without Kelly, is not a bad team. Arizona State RB D.J. Foster is one of the best backs in the nation and is averaging 170 rushing yards per game. As long as they get serviceable QB play, they should be able to pull off the upset and hand UCLA their first loss of the year. Winner: Arizona State 38-24
Zac: Three games, three questionable performances for UCLA this season. The Bruins struggled for different reasons in wins over Virginia, Memphis and Texas, and Heisman candidate Brett Hundley hyperextended his elbow against the Longhorns. While Hundley will likely play, an injured Taylor Kelly won’t for the Sun Devils. Still, Arizona State comes off a bye week for this home matchup. There are too many questions surrounding UCLA for the Bruins to stage a road win. Winner: Arizona State 42-27