Kelly Nash CFB Preview & Picks

Every Friday morning I join Teddy Heffner host of "Talking Sports" on Fox Sports 1400. Teddy gives away tailgate package from Mathias Sandwich shop to someone who can beat our picks. The picks include point spreads so for example if a team is a 10 point underdog and they lose by 9 then they have won. If you'd like to text your picks to enter get them in before Saturday noon on the Talking Sports Text Line at 803-315-3292. Now here's this weeks games and my picks.

I’ve been on a roll this year hitting on about 80% of the games and had another winning week going 5-2 as you can see from last week’s predictions. I don’t even make you call the toll free line!

S Car at Mizzou -7.5

Before looking forward I want to pause to look at the last few days. Gamecocks Defense fell apart in the 4th to allow a 10 point lead to evaporate and give away a game a lot of folks believed was a must win to make a bowl this year. We had out rushed and out passed Florida through the first 51 minutes of the game. The final 9 minutes will haunt fans, players and coaches for a long time. After the game we now know from Coach Beamer’s description “I broke my foot on Saturday. After the game I was frustrated and kicked something I shouldn’t have kicked and thought I was OK but then the adrenaline wore off…. And before anyone starts the narrative that Coach has lost his poise, no I care. I was really upset that I didn’t do enough to help our guys win the game”. ESPN CFB commentator Paul Finebaum  played that clip and said; “If he had shown half that effort in trying to stop Florida from blowing them to pieces at the end of that game, I think maybe the season wouldn’t be on the brink of going straight down the toilet”. Paul Finebaum is a troll. Coaches don’t make tackles. Beamer gives 100% 365 days a year to this team. He held his emotions in check in front of media and the team. He had a private moment that no one would have ever known about had it not been for his transparency and honesty. He could have easily lied since no one saw it happen and say he broke it at the gym, or tripped on a curb, or about 50 other ways that wouldn’t have been scrutinized. But he told the truth and you want to use that to create division amongst Gamecock fans. Screw you Paul Finebaum and your crap takes.

Now on to this week’s game.

Gamecocks travel to Columbia MO to face the 20th ranked Tigers. I have little hope of the Gamecocks D being able to stop the Brady Cook to Luther Burden play which has connected 56 times this year for an average of over 14 YPC. Burden was held to only 2 catches last week against KY but Eli Drinkwitz explained part of that was how they had schemed the game. Cook is 6th in the nation for passing yards, playing at home against a South Carolina D ranked is ranked dead last in the nation (130) against the pass. Gamecock opponents average 321.7 YPG through the air. That’s worse than the top 25 Defenses allow in a total game for complete offense. Our total D is now ranked 9 spots above the bottom at 121st. I say all that to say if we’re going to win it’s all about our offense. Rattler and the boys are ranked 13th in the nation in total offense while Mizzou is 17th. If they could pull this off on the heels of last weeks emotional collapse it would go down in Gamecock history as one of the top memories ever. Up there with they did over 8 days last year beating TN and Clemson. So it’s possible. But if I’m betting then I’m taking Mizzou to win and to cover.

Clemson at Miami +3.5

Clemson is definitely down this year. But still a top tier ACC program. They have had a bye week to try and figure out what their problem is and will attempt to apply their solutions against a good Miami team in a night game in the sunshine state. For the past few years WRU (Wide Receiver University) doesn’t have an air attack. Trevor Lawrence finished top 10 every year as a passer. DJ Uiagalelei finished at #77 the next year and #66 last year. This year Cade Klubnik is 51st, but it’s worse than that due to the amount of attempts. Cade is now ranked 121st in the nation when it comes to yards per completion. That seriously screws up their run game as well with fewer attempts per game and the secondary playing closer than against a team who can stretch them. The strength of Clemson is Defense which is currently ranked 5th. Miami is ranked 7th in Offense so that’s where the fun will happen. Miami D is ranked 18th which puts them on par with Duke. Duke held Clemson to 7 points which is probably the result of some inflicted injuries but I would expect a pretty low scoring game. The over/under is 48.5 and I’d take the under. I also expect Miami to cover. In like a 23-20 type of game.

Miss State at Arkansas -7

Another 48.5 over/under with a bigger point spread. Weird to see a 2-5 team listed as the favorite but they are at home. Noon kickoff does as much as possible to limit that advantage but it’s still there. Plus a few weeks ago State was housed by Bama 40-17 and last week the Razorbacks gave the Tide all they wanted finally falling 24-21. So based on that I get the point spread but there’s also the fear of an emotional letdown. They poured everything into that near upset and it’s hard to get up like that a week later. Arkansas last 3 games against SEC opponents have ended with totals of 22, 20, & 21. Based on their lack of offense the last month or so I’ll take Miss State to cover.

TN at Alabama -9.5

Last year it appeared Alabama had won the game. It was sloppy but at least they would keep their streak of wins going. The last time the Tide had lost to the Vols, George W Bush was president in 2006! With 4 minutes left and a 7 point lead Bama picked off a pass in the endzone and ran it back to the 50. That should have been it. But a highly controversial PI call brought it back to TN who converted and then went on to win the game as time expired on a field goal. It was a celebration of historical proportions with seemingly all 102,000 fans storming the field. This year several things are working against a repeat of that moment. It’s in Bama. All SEC and All American receiver Jalin Hyatt along with Hendon Hooker are in the NFL and Nick Saban. Nick Saban only has lost only lost 10 games the last 13 years. The only time he lost back to back years to the same team is Ole Miss with Hugh Freeze in 2014 and 2015. When Nick figures you out you have to reinvent your team to beat him twice. Hugh did it with ineligible players and 33 of his wins were later vacated and he was fired. Anyways TN is a shell of last years team and while Alabama isn’t as dominant as they have been in the past they should have more than enough to cover.  

Penn State at Ohio State -4

The game of the week! I’m sorry for Big 10 fans that the conference has made the decision to schedule their best games at Noon in hopes of not having to compete for ratings with SEC big games. Now your fans are punished with morning tailgates and lack of sleep because your team has been doing well. But for the casual fan it’s awesome to have this type of game kickoff the day. Undefeated #7 visits undefeated #3. Someone’s O has got to go! I can easily be persuaded that either team will win. Penn State has lost the last 6 to the Buckeyes but has blown a lead in the 4th half the games. Ohio State seems to be down to their 4th string running back and have lost their best corner. The computer model says if these teams played 50 games Penn State would win 23 of them. I agree that Ohio State, despite their key injuries, should win but I’m hesitant on the cover as I see it as a 2-3 point victory. So I’ll take the Nittany Lions and the points.

Pitt at Wake Forest -1.5

2-4 Pitt visits 3-3 Wake Forest. But Wake is on a 3 game losing streak and Pitt just upset #21 Louisville. When teams are heading in the wrong direction and meet a team that is heading in the right direction it’s hard to change courses. Wake Forest run game is now a full fledged disaster. They have been getting worse by the week and last week against VA Tech rushed 31 times for an abysmal 35 yards. Pitt held Louisville to 94 yards so I expect them to force the QB to try and win it this week. Pitt has an above average pass D currently ranked 31st while Wake has the 71st ranked passing game. The home field advantage is almost neutralized as the Wake Forest fans have given up on the season and wre looking forward to ACC basketball. I’ll take Pitt.

Coastal at Arkansas State +10.5

Even though State is coming off a bye week and is at home for homecoming, they find themselves as massive underdogs. Vegas is looking for a high scoring affair with the over/under at 60.5 I’m not sure why Coastal is such a heavy favorite losing 2 of their last 3 and if you take away the game against last place Duquesne, haven’t scored more than 30 since last November. Both teams are 3-3 but the quality wins aren’t there for the Red Devils only beating national joke Umass, winless Stony Brook and a 1 win Southern Miss. Chanticleers can boast of a win last week over 3-3 App State. I get why Coastal is favorited by the spread is too much. I’m going State to cover.

Tie breaker: SC & Mizzou total yards of offense?

They both can produce yards averaging 446 and 410 respectively.  This will be the worst D Mizzou has faced as they’re 121st in the nation. Mizzou is slightly better than UNC but way behind, TN, GA & FL. Based off that I’ll go with 900 yards.  

South Carolina v Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE - SEPTEMBER 30: Head Coach Shane Beamer of the South Carolina Gamecocks watches a replay in the second quarter during the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on September 30, 2023 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)Photo: Wesley Hitt / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

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