Rankman's picks: Week 9

Throw Rankman a Vine! Wait, Twitter says you better make that a rope. It was another tough week on my way to fake debtors prison. Missed the over-under on LSU-Ole Miss by a point and the cover on Oregon vs. Cal by the margin of overtime. On a sunnier front, I did win $25 and first place in my ESPN pick ‘em league and was the only person (out of 85) to pick Penn State’s upset over Ohio State. So, don’t give up on me yet. My three games this week: South Florida vs. Navy, Ohio State vs. Northwestern, Houston vs. Central Florida, plus the usual over-under bonus.

The game: Navy getting 8 at SOUTH FLORIDA (Friday night)

The pick: Navy, 31-28

The comment: Wow, the lack of respect of Navy confounds me. The Midshipmen have already defeated Houston this year, will probably beat Notre Dame, and are coming off a powerful win over Memphis. Navy’s triple-option is the toughest offense in the country to prepare for on short notice, averaging 293 rushing yards per game.

The game: Northwestern getting 27 at OHIO STATE

The pick: Northwestern (Score, Ohio State 35-20)

The comment: No one is saying Northwestern is going to go into Columbus and come away with a win. But 27 points is a lot of cover for a Northwestern team that has bounced back from stinker performances against Western Michigan (not a bad team, by the way) and Illinois State. The Wildcats have recovered to score Big Ten wins at Iowa and Michigan State and last week gutted out a nice home victory over Indiana.

The game: HOUSTON giving 9 vs. Central Florida

The pick: Houston, 35-21

The comment: If Houston Coach Tom Herman wants to land that plum job everyone says he deserves, well, he needs to stop losing. And start winning big again. The shine of Houston’s win over Oklahoma has been stripped by losses to Navy and SMU. My guess is Herman will have his team ready to play a much-improved UCF team coached by Scott Frost.

Bonus: The over-under on Clemson at Florida State is 60, which seems a bit low considering Jimbo Fisher’s defense gave up that many total points to Louisville. Florida State has tightened up its back end sense but will still be hard-pressed to hold Clemson under 40 in what should be another entertaining game in the ACC series.

Take: OVER

Last week: 1-3

Season: 14-16-3