The weekend is three days away, and the fun of NCAA Football will be upon us. Now, we really begin to see conference play in action.
As the games get played, a pattern will begin to shape up revealing those teams ranked from 5 to 15. Numbers 1 through 5 are well established and until the top SEC teams play each other, there should be no change in the Top 5.
So, onto the pics!
No. 1 Clemson (-26.5) at North Carolina
Clemson has dispatch all opponents with any chance of dethroning. Perhaps North Carolina remains as the only hope left, and not much of one at that.
Trevor Lawrence has performed well, but not to the level of last year’s title game. This is a chance to put up big numbers, but if he does not do so against the Tarheels, then one has to question if he has the talent to take the Tigers to another title.
Clemson wins easily and COVERS the spread.
Ole Miss at No. 2 Alabama (-35.5)
Well, here is another game to NOT get excited about. The Crimson Tide has just too much talent that even not trying to run up the score, they cannot help it against Ole Miss.
Tagovailoa had another good outing last week, throwing for more 5 touchdowns. He is keeping up with both Joe Burrow and Jaylen Hurts in the hunt for the Heisman.
Bama has an easy schedule with only Texas A&M on the road to be any challenge before the Nov 9 date with LSU.
Bama wins, but Saban does not run up the score. Bama DOES NOT COVER the spread.
No. 3 Georgia – Off
Georgia met Notre Dame last week, in a very tough game. The first half was a battle, until Jake Fromm and DeAndre Swift decided to take over the game. When that happened, it was game over.
The Georgia defense proved to be a key element in the Georgia March to the National Title. The defense held the Fighting Irish to just 46 rushing yards.
No. 4 LSU – Off
LSU joins Georgia in an off week after playing Vanderbilt as if they were not on the field. Joe Burrow threw for 398 yards and 6 td’s. His performance makes one wonder why LSU has not gone for a strong passing game in previous years.
No. 5 Ohio State (-17.5) at Nebraska
Ohio State goes to Nebraska as 17.5 point favorites. They go with a 76-5 drumming of Miami of Ohio the week before.
Nebraska began the year with hopes of a very successful season, but they have no wins over quality teams, even with a 3-1 record.
The Buckeye’s have not played quality opponents, but their games have been blowouts. This game gives the Buckeye’s the chance to play against a better team. If Ohio State performs as in other games, then it should show just how good this team can be.
Ohio State wins big and COVERS the spread.
Texas Tech at No. 6 Oklahoma (-27)
Jalen Hurts has so far proven himself to be all the quarterback that the Sooners thought he would be when Kyler Murray graduated last year. Now Hurts continues to show that he is definitely a Heisman candidate.
OU now begins the conference schedule with a home game against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have shown little talent, losing by 2 to Arizona, their only Power 5 opponent.
Hurts adds more to his numbers in the Heisman chase while Oklahoma wins and COVERS the spread.
Mississippi State at No. 7 Auburn (-11)
Alright, I am now coming around to being a believer in Auburn. They are undefeated so far with an impressive win against Oregon, who is now the likely winner of the PAC 12 conference title.
Auburn has only one problem…..they play in the SEC and are only 1 of 5 SEC teams in the TOP 10. Two of the teams that remain on the schedule are Georgia and Bama.
Auburn will not be a playoff contender, so expect a two loss season. They win against Mississippi State and COVERS the spread.
Northwestern at No. 8 Wisconsin (-24)
Last week, I pondered whether this year’s version of Wisconsin was last year’s #5 ranked preseason team. After dismantling Michigan, I can definitely say yes, this is the team that was expected last year.
Wisconsin has a tremendous defense that shuts down opponents, while the offense scores points at will. Northwestern has nothing to stop the Badgers.
Wisconsin wins and COVERS the spread.
Towson at No. 9 Florida (-33.5)
Florida comes in ranked 9th and as the 5th SEC Team in the Top 10, showing the strength of the conference.
Kyle Trask started at quarterback, filling in for the injured Feleipe Franks. He showed promise, but had two interceptions and a fumble in the last game. Now, he and the Gators take on Towson, giving Trask a chance to get more comfortable as the starting quarterback.
Towson offers not only the chance for Trask to settle in, but also allows for the Gators to work on their running game, which needs much work. This will be their only chance to get their work done before SEC play resumes and games against Auburn, LSU, South Carolina and Georgia. Unfortunately, the Gators will lose at least two of those games, dropping them into the second Ten bracket.
Florida wins this game and COVERS the spread.
No. 18 Virginia at No. 10 Notre Dame (-11)
Notre Dame proved they are for real, playing Georgia tough for three quarters and keeping the game in doubt for so long. Ian Book had a solid game passing, but it was the Georgia defense limiting ND to 46 yards rushing that proved the difference.
Virginia is starting a climb back up the ranks of the Top 25. But this week they run into Notre Dame who are home favorites at 11 points.
Notre Dame wins, but they have difficulty. ND wins but DOES NOT COVER the spread.
No. 11 Texas – Off Week
Texas came out of the chute win the makings of what they believed would be a great season. LSU came to town and defeated them in a hard fought game. Last week, Texas gritted out another tough win against Oklahoma State, in a much closer game than expected.
Texas needs this bye week to recover and work on their game before meeting Oklahoma on October 12 in a game that will have both Conference Title and National Title implications.
No. 12 Penn State (-7) at Maryland
Penn State returns to the gridiron after a bye week where they face Maryland as 7 point road favorites.
Penn State is undefeated, but had a hard fought game against Pitt, winning by 7 points and which no team has scored more than 17 points against their defense. Now they face a Maryland team with an extremely explosive offense.
This game has the potential to be a shoot-out from the start. State QB Sean Clifford will have to bring his A game for the Nittany Lions to win the shoot-out.
Penn State will win and COVER the spread.
No. 13 Oregon – Off Week
Oregon gets a much needed bye week before hosting Cal next week. This will allow their defense to rest a bit, a hard working defense that has not given up a touchdown since their loss to Auburn.
With the play of both Washington and Washington State, Cal and Oregon may be the two best teams in the PAC 12 North, so each will be well prepared going into the October 5 match-up.
Middle Tennessee State at No. 14 Iowa (-24)
Iowa entertains Middle Tennessee State at home after being off last week. A powerful team, Iowa should have no issues with Middle Tennessee State.
This game will be a final tune-up for Iowa, before playing both Michigan and Penn State in successive weeks. These two games will decide whether Iowa competes for a conference title this year.
The spread for this game at 24 may be a bit too much for Iowa. Iowa wins, but DOES NOT COVER the spread.
Arizona State vs. No. 15 Cal (-5.5)
Here is a ranking that no one expected at the beginning of the year, Cal coming in at #15. This is the first time in 10 years that Cal has been a ranked team and beaten a team on the road when it defeated Ole Miss on the final play of the game last week.
Now, Cal entertains Arizona State at home as 5.5 point favorites.
Cal has relied upon its defense to maintain an undefeated season over the first three games. It is now the only undefeated PAC 12 team left.
Cal wins at home in a very close game, but DOES NOT COVER the spread.
#16 Boise State – Off Week
Boise State enjoys the week off, while having a 4-0 record against unranked teams. Freshman QB Hank Bachmeier is playing better than expected for a first year player.
The next 3 of 4 games will be on the road, but against weaker teams than the first four games offered. Boise State is the favorite Non-Power 5 team to win a New Year’s Day Bowl game asppearance now with the loss of UCF last week.
No. 21 USC at No. 17 Washington (-10)
Now here is an interesting game to watch. Washington felt that they had a great opportunity to win the PAC 12. Now, they are fearing an 0-2 PAC 12 start for the first time in more than a decade. And with 2 losses in conference play, they are likely out of contention.
USC has pressing concerns as well. They have lost 2 quarterbacks in their first three games. Now they need to protect the new starter, Matt Fink, from injury.
USC is going to ruin Washington’s road to the Roses. The Trojans win in an UPSET!
Washington State at No. 19 Utah (-7)
Washington State, the other Washington team, had similar hopes for a Conference Title as did their in state rivals. After a complete 4th quarter melt-down against UCLA last week, State is in the same position as their rivals also, one conference loss away from no Rose Bowl.
Utah is no better off after losing to USC last week. They also face a struggle for the PAC 12 South title. To avoid the fate of losing the Conference Title, they must patch up both the secondary and offensive line.
Give this game to Washington State as they win in an UPSET.
Rutgers at No. 20 Michigan (-27)
Michigan, what can one say after last week’s loss against Wisconsin. Michigan was outplayed in every phase of the game in a shockingly weak performance.
An offense that was expected to be of top quality is broken and cannot be fixed with what talent is available. The worst is yet to come because Michigan must still face Iowa, Michigan State, Penn State, Notre Dame and Ohio State.
Six losses for the year, unthinkable a week ago, is now a distinct possibility.
The saving grace for Michigan is that this week, they play Rutgers. But that is no longer a sure thing.
The major question facing Michigan is how long can Jim Harbaugh hold out from increasing calls to fire him.
Michigan wins this week and COVERS the spread.
UConn at No. 22 UCF (-43)
UCF suffered an unbelievable loss last week against Pitt. But throughout the game, one could see the possibility of a loss. Now, UCF must do two things, start a new winning streak and start rebuilding their underdog reputation.
UCF begins to rebuild their reputation with an overwhelming victory over UConn.
UCF COVERS the spread.
Arkansas vs. No. 23 Texas A&M (-23.5)
The Aggies was another team that began the year with dreams of a playoff berth. But alas, they were just dreams busted with losses to both Auburn and Clemson. And with Bama, Georgia and LSU yet to play, a 5 loss season is likely.
A&M meets Arkansas at the right time, and it provides them a chance to right the ship.
Texas A&M wins but DOES NOT COVER the spread.
No. 24 Kansas State at Oklahoma State (-4.5)
Kansas State has been an unexpected and pleasant surprise this year. With a new coach, Chris Klieman, the Wildcats have climbed into the Top 25 for the first time in a long time. Now they begin conference play with Oklahoma State, a team which is always competitive in their games together.
OSU features a highly explosive offense. They have to contend with a better than expected KSU defense, but they have the talent to overcome.
Oklahoma State wins and COVERS the spread.
Indiana at No. 25 Michigan State (-14.5)
Michigan State entertains Indiana at home following a brutal loss to Arizona State two weeks ago after a penalty call. Coming off that loss, they pounded Northwestern into the dirt the following week.
Now, Indiana gets Michigan State when they are preparing for a three game stretch against Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State. Since it is likely that State will lose those three games, they decide to take on Indiana and punish them badly.
Michigan State wins and COVERS the spread.
Okay, here are the week’s predictions from PU. Read em and weep, or bet and win. Just have fun watching the games.