The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Observer Roundtable College Picks: Minnesota with another upset?

| Thursday, November 14, 2019

As authors of the weekly Observer Roundtable, it is our job to find hot takes each week and pick the top games for each weekend. And as much as we celebrate our victories, we will own up to our losses. So with no further ado, we owe an apology to quarterback Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers. Not a single one of us picked LSU to take down Alabama on their home turf, and Burrow spit in our faces and proved himself every bit the Heisman contender. We aren’t picking LSU’s game this week, but fear not, we do believe they’ll beat a 4-6 Ole Miss squad. Having owned up to our mistake, we also remember our victories from last week, which included Liam Coolican picking Illinois to stun Michigan State, and David Kramer correctly calling Cal’s upset of Washington State. So we’re not all bad.

Here are this week’s current standings and college picks, and come back Friday for our NFL and upset picks!


David      – 40 pts

Dominic –     32 pts

Aidan      – 31 pts

Liam       – 30 pts 

Patrick    – 27 pts

Nate       – 25 pts 

#4 Georgia @ #12 Auburn (+3)

Wake Forest @ #3 Clemson (-32)

#8 Minnesota @ #20 Iowa (-3)

David Kramer: 

This week, Auburn hopes to protect its home turf with arguably the best defensive arsenal in the SEC. Auburn gave LSU its toughest contest thus far this season, and their other matchups against ranked teams make them a reliable underdog this week. Look for Auburn to pull off the home upset and knock Georgia out of CFP consideration. Auburn wins but doesn’t cover.

Without a doubt the line, paired with the unbreachable gap between Clemson and the rest of the ACC, offers the most uncertainty this week. Wake Forest possesses an offense with enough assets to narrow the Tigers’ margin of victory in a shootout. I look forward to seeing how Wake Forest bounces back after their abysmal performance against Virginia Tech last week. Clemson wins but doesn’t cover. 

The absolutely absurd Vegas line for this game makes for an easy pick. My hometown Gophers handedly defeated the Nittany Lions last week at home, and I see no reason to back down on the stellar defense that has truly risen to the occasion as of late. Granted, the Iowa Hawkeyes have looked strong at home thus far, despite a narrow defeat by Penn State, but expect the Gophers to remain dominant in the Big Ten West this week. Gophers win outright. 

Dominic Gibson:

Despite the bad loss to South Carolina, Georgia has started to find their stride and have returned to the top four. With Georgia’s dominant offensive line and quarterback Jake Fromm, who has looked solid as of late, I think the Bulldogs will win and cover.

This spread is a big one and it shows how dominant Clemson is. The Tigers aren’t quite as strong as they were last year, but I can’t see them losing to Wake Forest with the talent they have on their team. I expect Wake Forest to put up some points, however, with the possibility of more in garbage time. Tigers win but do not cover. 

I was skeptical of Minnesota last week but after watching a stunning performance against Penn State, I like where the Gophers are sitting. I expect Minnesota to pick up where they left off with an outright win.

Aidan Thomas:

I think this line is potentially giving Auburn a little too much credit. Their offense has simply not shown an ability to put up mass quantities of points against good defenses. Georgia has yet to give up more than 20 points, and I think their offense, however inconsistent, will surpass that total. Georgia wins and covers. 

Clemson is going to win. I say this with 99% confidence. But this spread is insanely large and hard to predict. Clemson beat UNC by just one point, but they have steamrolled opponents over their four contests since that close call, winning by an average of 42 points. My hunch is that Wake Forest’s explosive offense can do just enough to put up some points on Clemson to stay within the spread. Clemson wins but does not cover. 

The disrespect is real. The Gophers stunned the country last week with their victory over Penn State. And it wasn’t a miracle comeback, or a fluke play. Minnesota led the whole way and picked off Penn State three times. I guess the spread reflects Iowa’s stellar defense and homefield advantage, but I’m not picking against the Gophers in consecutive weeks. Minnesota wins outright. 

Liam Coolican:

Auburn is one of the most overlooked teams in the SEC. They only have two close losses, each against a top 10 team. They also have one of the better defenses in the conference, so if anyone can slow Fromm and the Georgia offense down, it is Auburn. Georgia has looked shaky on defense at times, so I expect Bo Nix and the Auburn offense to score enough points to win at home and pull off the upset

This spread is massive, but it highlights the difference between Clemson and the rest of the ACC. The Tigers, while they haven’t looked as good as they did on their way to the championship last year, are still a dominant force, and Dabo Swinney will no doubt have them fired up about their snub two weeks ago in the top four. Against a Wake team that was ranked just last week, I expect Clemson to be absolutely dominant. Clemson wins and covers the spread. 

Minnesota is one of the best Cinderella stories this year. This game will be very close, and Iowa’s defense is stout, but did allow 24 points against Wisconsin last week. Minnesota knows this is a stiff test, and they won’t overlook Iowa. Iowa’s offense has improved greatly over the last two weeks, but I think the Gophers defense can hold Iowa’s offense, and I expect Minnesota to win outright in a close game.

Nate Moller:

Georgia is back into the top four despite their early season stumble against South Carolina. I think head coach Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs have learned their lesson, and I expect them to run the table the rest of the regular season. Auburn will put up a good fight early on and keep the game close late into the third quarter, but Fromm will make some big plays late to lead the Dawgs to victory. Georgia wins and covers.

Many expected Clemson to get a chance to prove itself against a ranked Wake Forest team, but Wake Forest tripped up big time against Virginia Tech and is now unranked like the rest of the Tigers’ opponents. Nevertheless, I think Clemson will be fired up to play against a decent Wake Forest team, and I expect quarterback Trevor Lawrence to play one of his better games of the season. Clemson wins big but doesn’t cover.

The stakes are high in the battle for the Floyd of Rosedale trophy. Coming off one of the biggest wins in program history, Minnesota will face another stiff test against a ranked Iowa team at Kinnick Stadium. Based on how both teams are playing lately, I would go with Minnesota, but Kinnick Stadium is the place where top 10 teams go to die. I think the pressure will get to Minnesota, and I like the Hawkeyes to pick up their first big win of the season. Hawkeyes win and cover.

Patrick Gallagher:

Georgia seems to have regained its footing after their embarrassing loss to South Carolina. Defense is their biggest strength, as they have earned two shutouts in the past three weeks. Fromm looked formidable against Florida with 279 yards and two touchdowns, and I believe that he will perform in a big way against Auburn. It will be a close game, but the Bulldogs will win and cover.

After watching Virginia Tech expose Wake Forest last Saturday, my hopes for a competitive game against Clemson were dashed. The Tigers know that there is little room for error in the CFP race after their near loss to UNC, so I expect them to play at the peak of their potential. Dabo Swinney will still have his guys ready to go despite the diminished significance of this game. Clemson earns a massive victory but will not cover. 

Fresh off a season-defining victory over Penn State, the Golden Gophers have the chance to win their way into a Big Ten championship matchup against Ohio State. PJ Fleck and Minnesota have proven that they can compete with the nation’s elite and have put themselves in CFP playoff conversation as a Darkhorse contender. Quarterback Tanner Morgan looked phenomenal against the Nittany Lions, and the defense came up with three crucial takeaways, including a game clinching interception in the endzone. Iowa has yet to defeat a ranked opponent all year, and this trend will continue against one of the hottest teams in the country in Minnesota.  


About Aidan Thomas

A junior marketing and ACMS major at Notre Dame, I've countered the success I've enjoyed as a New England sports fan with the painful existence of a Notre Dame football fan.

Contact Aidan