Welcome to the second season of The Old College Try. I’ll be here each week, trying to beat the book by betting on college football. All lines accurate as of Wednesday, December 2nd.  Picks appear in bold.

What a week! Our locks went 4-0 last week for a $400 profit. In the words of Leo pretending to be Jordan Belfort, when you have a week like that your only problem is that you didn’t bet more. The column is 30-22-2 on the year for a very solid 57.6% on the year and $490 in the green.

With no losses to complain about, we’ll make the intro short this week. Let’s keep the positive momentum going with our Week 14 locks.

The Friday Night Fun Belt Favorite of the Week

UL Lafayette at Appalachian State -2.5 (-110)

Bet: $110 to win $100

App state came through for us last week, and we’re going right back to them this time. Now, this one doesn’t line up quite as prettily for the Mountaineers. As we noted last week, App’s greatest strength is their pass defense. Unlike Troy, The Ragin’ Cajuns have an extremely effective ground game and run the ball more often than they pass (although the discrepancy is not as big as you might think).

Louisiana Lafayette has the same defensive splits though, as they are also much more effective against the pass than the running game. App State’s offense is even more run-focused than ULL’s (although not quite as effective on the ground), and I expect that trend to continue against the Cajuns.

App State has been the class of the Fun Belt for a while. Now, they’ve gone through multiple coaching changes during that run, but they haven’t dropped off much despite losing the 2020 division crown to Coastal. Sure, Louisiana beat in-state foes ULM by half a hundred last week, but what can we really take out of that game? You’re telling me I get the Mountaineers at home, as a favorite by less than a field goal?

I’ll take the Mountaineers, but beware — the column has had some terrible luck on Friday night games this year.

The Aggro Aggie Assault of the Week

Texas A&M –6.5 at Auburn (-110)

Bet: $110 to win $100

I’m not the biggest Kellen Mond fan. The guy is extremely inconsistent, and A&M’s offense looked pretty atrocious on Saturday against LSU. Plus, Bo Nix has been much better at home than on the road since… well, since he started playing college football. And… yeah, I’m still taking A&M here because 6.5 points is not enough.


The Aggies have a solid defense, currently 3rd in the SEC in points per drive allowed despite playing the two best offenses in the conference. They’ve been especially stout against the run, allowing only 3.0 yards per play. Auburn’s defense is fine, but they have struggled mightily against the run recently, allowing over 5 yards per rush over their last two games, including 222 yards on 41 carries by Tennessee. Tennessee is ranked 86th in the country in yards per rush attempt. A&M? 21st. If Tennessee can run on you, Texas A&M sure as heck should be able to.

So yeah, Mond’s inconsistency is a bit concerning to me. But I don’t think he will have to do all that much, and I’m not sure how effective Auburn will be against the Aggie defense. I’d have to bet on A&M here anywhere under 10 points.

The West Coast Rebound of the Week

Oregon -9 at Cal (-110)

Bet: $110 to win $100

Oregon’s coming off of two straight close games, including a tough loss (in an awesome game) to the little brother from Corvallis. They’ll either come out this week swinging, furious about that result, or they’ll fail to show up after seeing their hopes for an undefeated season come to a close. I’m betting on the former. This team is not Alabama or Clemson, and I don’t believe these kids came into the season saying it was championship or bust.

The Ducks have a lot more talent than Cal does, and this should be a good opportunity to fix the defensive miscues that plagued them against Oregon State.If Oregon shows up, 10 points should be the absolute minimum for their margin of victory. Cal just isn’t all that good.


The Benny Beaver Backdoor Cover of the Week

Oregon State +11 at Utah (-110)

Bet: $110 to win $100

Speaking of that little brother, how fun are the Beavers this year? Jermar Jefferson is an absolute monster at running back, and Oregon State head coach Captain John Smith (ok, I added the captain part) is happy to get their star offensive player the ball early and often. He started off the game against Oregon with a 75-yard touchdown run, and that wasn’t even his longest of the day as he ripped off an 82-yard run to tie it up later in the contest.

What do we really know about Utah? This team is 0-2 after being badly beat by USC and falling apart against Washington after taking an early lead. Will they beat Oregon State this weekend? Probably. But will they beat the Beavers by 12 points or more? I doubt it.

Can We Bet on the Dawgs?

I… just… is that even any fun? Having to cover 36 with an offense that you know wants to run the ball on 70% of their plays once they are winning by a few scores? No, I’m laying off. I do feel a lot better about the Georgia offense right now, though. I had almost forgotten what it’s like expecting a drop back to end in a positive result, but it’s a wonderful feeling. Let’s just enjoy watching the Dawgs run up the score in this one without stressing over whether they win by 31 or 38.

**Editor’s Note** This game has now been cancelled. So now we really can’t bet on it.

Thanks for reading again this week and throughout this strange season. We’re almost done with the regular season for most teams, and who knows what bowl games will even be played once we get past conference championships. As long as there are games to pick, though, this column should keep popping up. Let me know what picks you are fading or following here in the comments or on twitter (@slapnslide), and have a great (and profitable) weekend.