Quarterback Josh Jackson and No. 12 Virginia Tech will upset No. 2 Clemson on Saturday night. (
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Clemson beat Auburn, smoked Louisville and has looked every bit as capable of winning the national championship as the Tigers team that pulled off that feat last year.
Wasn’t this supposed to be a step-back year?
It’s not. Clemson is a contender, and it now seems foolish to ever think the Tigers wouldn’t be the this year. But someone has to knock them off once, right? Someone in he ACC will step up?
How about this weekend? No. 2 Clemson has to go into Blacksburg, Va., on Saturday night for a top-25 matchup against No. 12 Virginia Tech. The Hokies are looking to take the next step under Justin Fuente. Virginia Tech hasn’t been in the top-10 of the Associated Press college football poll since 2011. It will return next week after upsetting Clemson on Saturday.
That’s what I’m calling for in this week’s national and Big Ten picks. Let’s see if anyone else jumps on board. Our reader picker Kyle Cartwright of Alexandria, Ohio likes the Hokies with the points this week. Kyle can be found on Twitter @kcartwright77.
Our picks for this week’s games are below, but first last week’s results, where reader Chase Richardson beat us all.
Last week’s results
Reader Chase Richardson: 10-5
Tim Bielik: 9-6
Bill Landis: 6-9
Doug Lesmerises: 6-9
Tim and Bill both hit on their Big Ten best bets, but we were all looking up at Chase last week. He put the readers in the lead in the overall season standings. That was inevitable.
Year to date results
Readers: 30-26 (2-2 best bets)
Tim: 28-28 (2-2 best bets)
Bill: 27-29 (3-1 best bets)
Doug: 26-30 (0-4 best bets)
And finally, this week’s picks with 11 games on the slate:
BIG TEN GAMES
Northwestern at Wisconsin (-15.5), 12 p.m., ABC
Northwestern: Bill, Kyle, Doug
Maryland at Minnesota (-12.5), 12 p.m., FS1
Minnesota: Bill, Kyle, Tim
Indiana at Penn State (-19), 3:30 p.m., BTN
Indiana: Bill, Kyle
Penn State: Tim, Doug
Iowa at Michigan State (-4), 4 p.m., FOX
Iowa: Kyle, Tim
Michigan State: Bill, Doug
Ohio State at Rutgers (+30), 7:30 p.m., BTN
Ohio State: Everyone
Georgia at Tennessee (+8), 3:30 p.m., CBS
Georgia: Bill, Tim, Doug
Miami (Ohio) at Notre Dame (-21), 5 p.m., NBCSN
Notre Dame: Kyle, Tim, Doug
Mississippi State at Auburn (-8.5), 6 p.m., ESPN
Mississippi State: Bill, Doug
Auburn: Kyle, Tim
Clemson at Virginia Tech (+7), 8 p.m., ABC
Clemson: Tim, Doug
Virginia Tech: Bill, Kyle
Ole Miss at Alabama (-27.5), 9 p.m., ESPN
Ole Miss: Bill
Alabama: Tim, Kyle, Doug
Cal at Oregon (-15), 10:30 p.m., FS1
Cal: Bill, Kyle
Oregon: Tim, Doug
BIG TEN BEST BET
Kyle: Indiana (+19) at Penn State
Penn State will run all over Indiana, but I feel the Hoosiers will be able to throw with Richard Lagow and those big receivers. I see it as a two-touchdown game.
Bill: Minnesota (-12.5) vs. Maryland
P.J. Fleck quietly has one of the best defenses in the country, and Maryland is down to its third quarterback. Minnesota is coming off a bye, and the Terps are reeling after getting blown out at home while being handed a dose of reality against Central Florida. Row the boat to cover town.
Tim: Minnesota (-12.5) vs. Maryland
The Terrapins are down to their third-string quarterback after the injury to promising freshman Kasim Hill. Without him, they mustered just 10 points vs. UCF. Minnesota’s defense has allowed just 24 points. So offense for Maryland will be hard to come by. The Gophers will score enough to down the Terps by multiple possessions.
Doug: Ohio State (-30) vs. Rutgers
Can a man finally win a best bet? This will be pretty close to a repeat of last year’s 58-0 win for the Buckeyes.
What does Chris Ash have to do to succeed at Rutgers? Ohio State football analysis
COLUMBUS, Ohio — There is a familiar face on the opposite sideline of Urban Meyer on Saturday night in Piscataway.
Chris Ash, the former defensive coordinator on Ohio State’s 2015 national championship team, is in his second season trying to rebuild Rutgers football.
He has his work cut out for him considering Rutgers’ best football came when its coach was Greg Schiano, who is now OSU’s defensive coordinator.
So what does Ash have to do to get Rutgers turned around?
Watch us discuss in the video above. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Ohio State Football on cleveland.com channel on YouTube.