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We are 4-2-1 as Winners starts the year out nicely. Trying to sustain the momentum from a year ago and prolong the inevitable regression. We’ve been doing this for years, so you know there will be weeks where the card looks like a mosaic of rubbish. This, folks, is one of those weeks. Be glad two states — that aren’t actual states — San Jose and Kent — didn’t make the final list, because it almost happened. These eight did. Eight.
South Carolina at No. 16 Arkansas (-8, 53)
12 p.m. ET on ESPN, Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville
Van Pelt’s pick: South Carolina (+8)
We have four nooners on here. Always scary — as it means for the 3:30 p.m. kicks you could be scrambling for some back up plans. We begin with South Carolina — they were in a battle with Georgia State at home last week, closer than that final score indicates. I don’t know if you all have decided what you want to call that rooster of yours, just know I have decided I am backing Cocky on the road plus the points in this one.
SVP: 5-1-2 picking against Arkansas
UTSA (-3, 53.5) at Army
12 p.m. ET, Michie Stadium, West Point, NY
Van Pelt’s pick: Army (+3)
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This next one is going to be difficult, because you all in the triangle of toughness know that we love the Roadrunners. I don’t know if anybody on TV has repped the 2-1-0 more, but you know what we love even more? America. Who defends America? Army does. So, in this spot after UTSA’s brutal home loss to Houston in 3OT, with a trip to Austin next week to play Texas, this spot screams home team plus the points.
SVP: First time picking against UTSA (4-0 when backing UTSA)
Ohio at Penn State (-25.5, 54)
12 p.m. ET on ABC, Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
Van Pelt’s pick: Ohio (+25.5)
Penn State got out of West Lafayette with a hard fought Big Ten win, and they head to the plains for Auburn next week. Will they beat — Ohio — sure. By more three then touchdowns, I’m saying, no. Maction plus in Happy Valley.
SVP: 1-5 picking MAC against Big Ten
North Carolina (-7.5, 64.5) at Georgia State
12 p.m. ET on ESPNU, Center Parc Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Van Pelt’s pick: Georgia State (+7.5)
Remember Georgia State who battled South Carolina? They play North Carolina now, who was last seen giving up 40 points in the fourth quarter to App State. I’ll take the Panthers, who have some playmakers, at home to keep this one close, which won’t be easy because UNC can score.
SVP: 6-3 picking against UNC
South Alabama at Central Michigan (-5, 59)
1 p.m. ET, on ESPN+, Kelly/Shorts Stadium, Mount Pleasant
Van Pelt’s pick: South Alabama (+5)
Is there a rule about having more than one Sun Belt team? Man, I hope not because remember how I love America? I got USA against Fire Up Chips. Right now, you’re asking — what in the hell are you doing, Van Pelt? I don’t know — giving out winners? We have South Alabama plus the points against Central Michigan. Do I know a ton about them? I do not. I just know I gave them out.
SVP: 1-0 picking South Alabama
Marshall at No. 8 Notre Dame (-20.5, 65.5)
2:30 p.m. ET, Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame
Van Pelt’s pick: Marshall (+20.5)
Is there a rule about giving out three Sun Belt teams in a row? What is even happening right now? Marshall plus the points in South Bend. You’re not going to score 55 like you did last week, Marshall, you just have to stay within, like 20, and we’re good.
SVP: 2-0 last season picking 20-plus point underdogs
No. 24 Tennessee (-6, 64.5) at No. 17 Pittsburgh
3:30 p.m. ET on ABC, Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh
Van Pelt’s pick: Pittsburgh (+6)
I hope nobody told Pat Narduzzi that Vegas has disrespected his team this week in egregious fashion. It’s true. Panthers are home underdogs to Tennessee. Do you think I am going to stand for that? Hell no, I’m not. I stand with Pat — and Pitt — hail to Pitt. Panthers at home plus the points. That should be a good one.
SVP: 18-5 last season picking ranked underdogs
No. 9 Baylor at No. 21 BYU (-3, 53.5)
10:15 p.m. ET on ESPN, LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo
Van Pelt’s pick: BYU (-3)
This should be a good one, too. Baylor versus BYU — as Steve often says, buckle up. This is a rugged matchup — BYU, the veteran group at home — and I’m laying the small number at night, so there we go.
SVP: Earliest favorite picked in Winners history (Week 2)
Service Academy, Maction, Sun Belt all over the place and I think the earliest favorite in the history of this segment. I told you, a mosaic of absolute ridiculousness. What more do you want for free on TV?