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Miami Toledo, Rocket Men, & Internet Access

The Canes are back. I preview Saturday’s game against Toledo and hope to keep my winning momentum going.

NCAA Football: Toledo at Brigham Young Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Miami’s preseason is finally over. Even though we haven’t learned anything about the Canes in recent weeks, Miami has climbed up to #14 in the polls. After having one game cancelled and another postponed, Miami has been practicing in Orlando to prepare to face Toledo. The real season begins now. I’m excited to see how the Canes will look on Saturday after the long layoff and disruptions caused by Hurricane Irma. I expect a great crowd to support the team, with fans in South Florida clamoring to get back to a sense of normalcy.

MIAMI -13.5 vs Toledo – 330pm

As a weeknight MAC enthusiast, I have repeatedly watched Toledo QB Logan Woodside find his star WR Cody Thompson for big plays. Woodside threw for 45 touchdowns in 2016 and has eight already this season, leading the Rocket Men to a 3-0 start. It might seem like a good idea for Miami fans to make loud blustery claims about the Canes being able to completely destroy the Rockets with ease, but Toledo should not be underestimated. Miami’s defense will need to play more aggressively on Saturday, disrupting the timing of Woodside and his receivers.

The good news for Miami is Toledo’s defense gave up 423 yards on 68 carries against Tulsa last week. Expect a huge afternoon on the ground for Mark Walton. The only benefit of the long layoff was it allowed Miami’s star WR Ahhmon Richards time to get healthy. He’s questionable to play on Saturday and if he’s able to go, Malik Rosier will have his full complement of playmakers to work with.

I won’t be surprised if the Canes start slowly, but by the second half I expect Miami’s overall talent to take over. Miami scores 3-4 touchdowns after halftime to pull away, setting up a very interesting game in Durham against Duke next Friday. If the Blue Devils win in Chapel Hill this weekend, both teams would be undefeated heading into the game.

The past two weeks, I have been putting out some very successful picks. Unfortunately, very few people saw them or noticed. Readership goes down on my articles when Miami isn't playing and it also seems like evacuations, the lack of power, and the lack of internet in most of South Florida also negatively impacts Pickens' clicks. I've basically been Skip Bayless, shouting to myself into the abyss. That all changes this week. Miami plays every week the rest of the season and hundreds of power and cable trucks have stepped up to return State of the U access to the masses. I currently have a winning record in almost every category on my Picks Scoreboard, but it doesn't matter unless the momentum continues. It's time to show I'm not just an Irma fluke. If my picks do happen to collapse this week, I'll be ready with dozens of burner Twitter accounts to defend myself KD style. I have dozens of egg avatars lined up just in case.


MISSOURI +19.5 vs Auburn - 730pm

Missouri has been embarrassed in back to back games. Auburn’s offense has sputtered so far this season, turning the ball over five times in a close win over Mercer last week. I expect Missouri to come out desperate to save their season on Saturday night. QB Drew Lock will do just enough to keep his team close heading into the fourth quarter.

IOWA +12.5 vs Penn State - 730pm

This is a tricky spot for Penn State. Iowa is 3-0 this season and has dealt with adversity and deficits in back-to-back games. Penn State has won all three games easily and will be playing away from Happy Valley for the first time this weekend. Iowa QB Nathan Stanley has played well (10TD 1INT) and RB Akrum Wadley is very talented. The Hawkeyes are good enough to make this game interesting, especially in a home night game.

NOTRE DAME -4 at Michigan State - 8pm

I’m not sold on Michigan State being a quality team. Notre Dame had a monster day on the ground last week against Boston College, led by QB Brandon Wimbush and RB Josh Adams. Michigan State is young on both sides of the ball and I expect the Irish to control the line of scrimmage.


USF -19.5 vs Temple - 730pm

South Florida finally showed up last week against Illinois. The Bulls won’t forget a disappointing loss last season at Temple. QB Quinton Flowers will dominate for USF in a blowout that will still feature more excitement than 49ers Rams on Thursday night.


VIRGINIA +13 at Boise State - 8pm

I actually think Virginia has a chance to win this game outright. Boise State’s offense is pedestrian, even with the likely return of QB Brett Rypien. Virginia QB Kurt Benkert has played well so far in 2017 and UVA coach Bronco Mendenhall has experience playing in Boise.

UTAH -3.5 at Arizona - 1030pm


GEORGIA TECH -7 vs Pittsburgh - 12pm

Pitt’s defense doesn't have a chance of stopping the triple-option on Saturday. Pitt still has to work out a quarterback battle while Georgia Tech has found their new star in QB TaQuon Marshall. Pitt was fortunate to beat Youngstown State and will struggle to reach a bowl this season. The Yellow Jackets win by double digits.

TEXAS A&M -2.5 at Arkansas - 12pm

This game is at AT&T Stadium in Arlington and I think the big stage will help motivate the Aggies to play for their embattled coach Kevin Sumlin. Texas A&M should be able to have success in the running game and QB Kellen Mond has played well the past two weeks as he grows into the starting role.

TEXAS TECH +7 at Houston - 12pm

SOUTH CAROLINA -8.5 vs Louisiana Tech - 330pm

South Carolina won’t be able to replace their best player Deebo Samuel who is now out for the season, but the Gamecocks still have enough talent to pull away from Louisiana Tech. USC QB Jake Bentley will bounce back from a rough night against Kentucky and lead his team to a win at home. Louisiana Tech was blown out by Mississippi State a few weeks ago in Starkville.

WAKE FOREST -4.5 at Appalachian State - 330pm

Wake Forest has been very impressive in three early season wins. QB John Wolford has been efficient and hasn’t thrown an interception. App State struggled on offense last week against Texas State and QB Taylor Lamb doesn’t seem to have enough playmakers around him to beat an ACC opponent.

MARYLAND -3.5 vs Central Florida - 3pm

CALIFORNIA +17 vs Usc - 330pm

USC heads on the road for the first time this season to face Cal. USC has played two tough games in a row, a physical win over Stanford and a thrilling overtime win over Texas. The Trojans are dealing with several key injuries. Cal has been a pleasant surprise in 2017 and the Bears’ defense has shown significant improvement under new head coach Justin Wilcox. This game will be closer than people expect.

NEBRASKA -11 vs Rutgers - 330pm

Mike Riley is under a ton of pressure after a 1-2 start in Lincoln. QB Tanner Lee threw two pick-sixes last week in the loss to Northern Illinois. The Big Ten opener gives the Huskers a chance to reset and refocus. Look for a desperate Nebraska to blowout Rutgers.

PURDUE +10 vs Michigan - 4pm

I’m 3-0 picking the Boilermakers this year so why stop now. I’m a believer in new head coach Jeff Brown and the resurgent Purdue offense. Michigan has struggled in the red zone and with the injury to WR Tarik Black, the Wolverines are still in search of reliable playmakers on offense. If Purdue can make a few big plays early, this game will be close throughout.

SAN DIEGO STATE -3.5 at Air Force - 7pm

Air Force is getting too much credit for playing Michigan close last week. San Diego State is better on both sides of the ball and the Aztecs held Stanford to just 42 plays in an upset win. SDSU RB Rashaad Penny will be the best player on the field.

GEORGIA -5 vs Miss State - 7pm

I love Mississippi State and QB Nick Fitzgerald, but this is a difficult spot for the Bulldogs coming off a huge win over LSU. UGA has the better defense and RB’s Nick Chubb and Sony Michel will combine for over 200 yards rushing on Saturday night.

KENTUCKY +3 vs Florida - 730pm

This is the year. Kentucky has lost 30 straight games against Florida. The streak ends on Saturday night. Florida’s offense isn’t good enough to win on the road in the SEC.

COLORADO +10.5 vs Washington - 10pm

WYOMING -6.5 vs Hawaii - 1015pm

Not sure why I’m punishing myself like this, but I have decided to take Wyoming until they give me a win. Josh Allen has to find a way to put together a decent performance.