As I was doing my prep for this weekend's Best Bets, my prevailing thought was not about any specific team, coach or player. It wasn't about how I went 5-1 last week to get my groove back in a huge way (although that was pretty sweet by me). My prevailing thought was "Damn, I can't believe it's already Week NINE of the college football season."
College football is, by far, the season with the fastest pace, in which it seems to come and go in the blink of an eye. So let's enjoy these last few weeks of the upcoming season together by — CHA-CHING — cashing in! Shall we?
Here are this weekend's college and NFL picks to make us rich...
WEST VIRGINIA +7.5 over Oklahoma State
These are two teams that have one thing in common — their one Big XII loss is to TCU! Oklahoma State is coming off an ugly 13-10 win over Texas in Austin, and the Mountaineers are coming off a crazy 38-36 win in Waco over Baylor. West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen was once OSU's offensive coordinator under Mike Gundy, so there's a little extra oomph in that matchup. This is a clash of two of the better signal callers in the country, Mason Rudolph of OSU and Will Grier of WVU, and there will be fireworks. Give me the home team at more than one score in a probable shootout.
Iowa State +6.5 over TCU
Over the past few weeks, we have seen a slew of undefeated Top 10 teams get knocked off, many by unranked teams. Iowa State, in fact, was one of those teams when they beat Oklahoma in Norman three weeks ago. The Cyclones no longer qualify as unranked (No. 25 in the AP poll), but this is a super-dangerous spot for the Horned Frogs, with Texas and Oklahoma coming up the next two weeks. Human nature may have them looking ahead, the effects of which get exacerbated on the road. Toads win a close one and stay unbeaten, but we cash our ticket!
NOTRE DAME -7 over N.C. State
This is a matchup of two of the hottest teams in the country. The Wolfpack have won every game since a season-opening loss to South Carolina, and Notre Dame has reeled off five straight wins by 20 points or more, and covered in all five games, the latest of which was a 35-point pasting of archrival USC last weekend. Notre Dame's running game is practically unstoppable right now, behind a gigantic, senior-laden offensive line. The Irish have high hopes of sneaking into the College Football Playoff, and will need not just wins, but IMPRESSIVE wins, to make the committee notice. They will be relentless this Saturday.
SAINTS -8 over Bears
I think it's time we start taking the Saints seriously as a contender in the NFC South, especially with Atlanta regressing badly on offense, Tampa Bay being a freaking carnival of errors and Carolina's issues with inconsistency. The Saints are 4-2 after a workmanlike win over an Aaron Rodgers-less Packer team in Green Bay, and now they get to play a Bears team that trusted its rookie QB enough to allow him to throw the ball a paltry seven times last weekend, and they get them in the Superdome. Love the Saints here.
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SEAHAWKS -5.5 over Texans
I'll have a lot more on this game tomorrow, but I told myself if the spread was under a touchdown, I would bet the Seahawks (for investment purposes, and root for the Texans with my heart!)
Chargers/PATRIOTS OVER 49
This feels like the Texans and Panthers games that the Patriots played a month or so ago, where the final score had both teams in the 30s. Lots of points here.
LAST WEEK: 5-1
SEASON RECORD: 29-18-1 (61.7 percent)
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.