Now that the calendar has flipped to October, fall is in full effect. Pumpkin patches, apple picking, spice lattes, and Halloween are all the official signs summer is behind us. Received the first email today on what our office Halloween theme should be this year. I might be in the minority with this one but I’d say Halloween in college is juuuuust a bit more fun. It goes from a one day holiday to a weekend celebration, giving everyone a chance to wear a plethora of “tasteful” costumes. Ugh I miss college, but let’s regain focus on this week’s college football slate. Last week’s loaded slate did not disappoint and this week has another slew of intriguing match-ups. Let’s dive in!
“Am I getting enough points to fade Bama?” Game of the Week:
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide @ Arkansas Razorbacks +35
Last week’s 48.5 number for the Tide was hit by halftime in their game vs. Louisiana Lafayette. However, the backups weren’t able to hold up their end of the bargain and let the Ragin Cajuns storm back to only lose by 42. Was this the real reason Nick Saban was so crabby after the game? But as I told you last week, do you really want to be against Bama when they storm out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter? Alabama is absolutely destroying teams in the first quarter this season, outscoring opponents 103-14. You may be thinking but 35 on the road in conference, no way they hit that number. Well stop thinking and listen to me, Arkansas STINKS!! They have already lost games to a couple of non-Power 5 teams in Colorado State and at home to North Texas by 27. In their last 10 at home, Arkansas is 2-7-1 ATS . They also have a defense giving up 31.2 PPG good for 91st in the country. This is an easy call for me; lay the points with Bama. Nick Saban has never lost to Arkansas and whether it’s Tua or Jalen, Bama will be able to score at will. Plus, it’s always fun to scream “ROOOOLLLL TIDDEEE”!
Weekly Indiana Hoosier Quest for Six:
Indiana Hoosiers @ #3 Ohio State Buckeyes -26.5
Two more wins, two more wins and the Hoosiers go bowling baby!! It makes me sad this is the standard for the Hoosiers football team, but this would be a big accomplishment considering the guys they lost from last season. Plus IU basketball is right around the corner so it’s almost BANNER number six season.
After a mundane victory vs. Rutgers last week, Indiana improved to 4-1 and now moves into the grueling part of their schedule. Will they be able to catch the Buckeyes in a let down spot after storming back in the fourth to stun Penn State last week? They were certainly helped out by that “questionable” 4th down play call by Penn State. (James Franklin mad!) Indiana has been able to compete with Ohio State in recent years as they are 6-1 ATS in their last seven against the Buckeyes. However, Ohio State has been on a tear offensively at home. In their last nine at the Horseshoe, they’re averaging 52.3 PPG. I can see this game going as most Indiana games go against ranked teams. They play competitively through the first two quarters and then the wheels completely fall off in the second half. Indiana is banged up with Marcelino Ball, Whop Philyor, and Luke Timian all questionable to play Saturday. You may be thinking I made those names up but I swear to you they are real people and they’re all keys to the Hoosiers success. I expect the Hoosiers to fight early on in this one as the Buckeyes are a little sluggish to start but then Dwayne Haskins and the duo of J.K Dobbins and Mike Weber in the backfield overwhelm Indiana.
Gamecast Game of the Week:
North Texas Mean Green @ UTEP Miners +27
This North Texas team is no joke. That has to make you laugh a little reading this but it’s true. They won nine games last season and are off to a 4-1 start including a 27 point win at Arkansas as mentioned above. You may remember the awesome fake fair catch punt play they ran that resulted in a 90-yard touchdown. The Mean Green’s QB Mason Fine is a stud. He threw for 31 touchdowns last season and is off to a great start this year with a 13:1 TD-to-INT ratio. Now you may be wondering what school is UTEP. Well you might be more familiar by their old name of Texas Western College as depicted in one of the best basketball movies of all time, Glory Road. Now the football team hasn’t won a game since 2016 so morale must be low, but let’s look at some quotes from Glory Road to look for inspiration:
- “Now, they’ve been here before, so they’re not gonna give it to us! We gotta go out there and we gotta take it! Right? TAKE IT! I want you to go out there and TAKE IT”
- “Your dignity’s inside you. Nobody can take something away from you you don’t give them.”
- “You’ll play basketball my way. My way is hard.”
That last one doesn’t really apply to the football team but man that has to get you juiced up. I know I’m ready to run through a wall sitting here on my couch writing this. If UTEP coach Dana Dimel makes the team watch Glory Road before every game I don’t see how they ever lose a game. Will he? Probably not and that’s why they’ll drop their eighteenth straight game on Saturday.
Late Night Desperation Game of the Week:
Wyoming Cowboys @ Hawaii Rainbow Warriors -3; O/U 55.5
My pick for this game last week, the over in Toledo-Fresno State, was as easy as they come as the over hit in the 3rd quarter. For all the people (me) who were sleeping off a hangover from a sick day of day drinking with the bros, waking up to see the over hit was a pleasant sight to quell any sort of ill effects from said drinking. Now my game this week doesn’t kick off until 10:59 ET so this game may be starting when you’re at the pregame and wrapping up when you return from the bars. Anyone not familiar with this match-up, Wyoming-Hawaii is actually a pretty big rivalry. The winner of this game gets the Paniolo Trophy. Paniolo is a Hawaiian word meaning “cowboy”, and the trophy features a bronze cowboy on horseback, twirling a lariat. If that doesn’t get you amped up for this game, I don’t know what will. Now if you’re looking for a pick in this late night special, I love the Rainbow Warriors in this one. Wyoming has to change their whole travel schedule for this one having to make the trip to Honolulu. Since 2015, Wyoming is a measly 5-14 SU on the road. Now add on having to go change its travel schedule to fly to Hawaii? Plus add in the extra motivation Hawaii will have to win back the Paniolo Trophy after dropping last year’s contest. Everything is coming up Rainbow Warriors in this one as I think their explosive offense (4-1 against the over this season) will prove too much for the Cowboys.
Premier Games of the Week:
#19 Texas Longhorns @ #7 Oklahoma Sooners -7; O/U 60.5
Stat to keep an eye on: Tom Herman is 11-1 ATS with eight outright wins as an underdog in his head coaching career
Is Texas back?? The proverbial question always asked whenever Texas starts to get a little momentum going but this year things do look different. After an embarrassing showing vs. Maryland to open the season, Texas has reeled off four straight wins including two top 25 wins against USC and TCU. That Longhorn swagger is starting to come back as Matthew Mcconaughey is on the sidelines of games proudly displaying the ‘Hook ‘Em Horns’ sign. Even though Texas has struggled in recent years, they always do come to play in this game having gone 5-0 ATS the last five match-ups. If Texas wants to be all the way back, this weekend’s Red River Rivalry would be the spot to put the whole country on notice.
For being ranked #7 in the nation, I feel like Oklahoma has gone pretty under-the-radar. They haven’t played any top 25 teams yet and their biggest scare came against Army in a game they needed overtime to get the win. QB Kyler Murray is one of the most exciting players in the country to watch and this will be his first prime time game where the entire country can see how electric he is. He is a combo of Johnny Manziel/Baker Mayfield with his escape ability and knack to make positive plays out of nothing. Looking for a play here? Alright, alright, alright I’d take the points with Texas. A touchdown in a rivalry game like this is a big number and as I said earlier Oklahoma hasn’t been tested yet. Tom Herman thrives in these underdog spots so take the Longhorns.
(Bonus pick, Texas is +240 ML which is great value IMO)
#5 LSU Tigers @ #22 Florida Gators +2.5; O/U 44.5
Stat to keep an eye on: Since 2017, LSU is 8-2 ATS in conference play
No one coming into the year could have predicted the start LSU has gotten off to. With two top 10 wins already, LSU has quickly quieted the Coach O haters. Like many LSU teams in the past, the defense is the strength only allowing 15 PPG. However, unlike past Tigers teams though, the offense has been carrying its weight. QB Joe Burrow, a transfer from Ohio State, has showed he’s capable of making big plays when they count, like leading a game winning drive at Auburn,
Florida’s defense is no joke either only giving up 14 PPG. They come off a big road win last week winning at Mississippi State. Sophomore QB Feleipe Franks has shown flashes this season but this will be his toughest test yet. With two defensive teams, the under seems like the play but 44.5 is quite low for a college football game. However, I do like this to be a drag em out, defensive struggle type of game. The team who makes the one game breaking play on offense will come away with the victory. Having said all of that, GEAUX Tigers! LSU has already won at Auburn and will be confident going into this game that they can win on the road. I like Joe Burrow to make one more big play then Feleipe Franks and the Tigers to move to 6-0.
#6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ #24 Virginia Tech Hokies +7; O/U 55
State to keep an eye on: Virginia Tech is 13-4-1 ATS in its past 18 games as a home underdog
Man was I wrong about Notre Dame last week. I thought it was the typical ND let down game and Stanford would go into South Bend and dash the Irish’s playoff hopes. However, Ian Book played great again throwing four touchdowns further proving Brian Kelly made the right call inserting him as the starting QB. This game should set up well for the Irish as Virginia Tech is 123rd in the country in passing defense allowing 304 passing yards per game.
Virginia Tech looked like they would be a serious contender to Clemson for the ACC crown after they dominated Florida State week one. Since then we’ve discovered FSU is a dumpster fire and the Hokies lost to Old Dominion. They did rebound nicely last week with a big win at Duke and Blacksburg is not an easy place to play. Regardless of that stat above about Virginia Tech playing well as a home dog, I like the Irish in this spot. They burned me last week and I won’t make that mistake again. Ian Book has taken the offense to another level and the defense is legit. The Irish’s schedule opens up quite nicely after this game and if they are able to escape Blacksburg with a win, they have a serious shot at getting into the College Football Playoff.