Wow, can’t believe it’s already week 9 of the college football season. Time really does fly when you’re having fun and making money (ehh). Teams are now gearing up for the stretch run as many are still in the running for a spot in the College Football Playoff. This week’s slate involves a few matchups that can make or break certain team’s seasons and one top ten team I have on upset alert. Let’s dive in!
Weekly Indiana Hoosier Quest for Six:
Indiana Hoosiers @ Minnesota Golden Gophers +2.5
With Alabama on bye this week, I’ll start off with my weekly dissertation on how I cannot let this Indiana football team get me triggered. Last week’s loss vs. Penn State was as typical as it gets for the Hoosiers. They had their chances to pull of an upset win but a combination of bad play calling, costly turnovers, and questionable coaching did them in again. Now comes a huge showdown with Minnesota with the Hoosiers bowl chances hanging in the balance. You heard me right, this is a huge showdown! Get pumped people, Indiana-Minnesota, Friday night lights, if this isn’t getting you’re blooding pumping then see a doctor. Let’s look at some trends for this highly anticipated showdown in Minneapolis:
- Since 2016, Indiana is last in the Big Ten ATS in conference games at 7-15-1; Minnesota is second to last at 6-12-4
- Since 2015, Indiana is 9-1 SU as road favorites
- Minnesota is 14-5 SU its last 19 at home
That Indiana stat about them as road favorites shocked me, even if most of those games were vs. the likes of Florida International and Wake Forest. Do I see the Hoosiers improving on that record and coming out of Minnesota only needing one win in its last three to go bowling? Oooooh, ahhhh I don’t know Jiiiiiiim. This Hoosier team has let me down countless times over the years, but my blind loyalty has to pay off at some point. Minnesota’s QB Zack Annexstad’s status for this one is up in the air with an injury and the Gopher defense has been getting torched in Big Ten play. The Gophers are 13 of 14 in the Big Ten in total defense (503 yards) and scoring defense (43.3 points) in conference play. I expect the this to be a close one and the Hoosiers to pull away late vs this weak Minnesota defense. (Betting on Indiana has never not paid off before right? Hahaha)
Gamecast Game of the Week:
Tulane Green Wave @ Tulsa Golden Hurricane +2
As was discussed in the previous version of Gamecast Game of the Week, this is another electric matchup of team mascots.
It might be more interesting to see these two duel it out at midfield rather than watch this game between two teams with a combined record of 3-11. Now you may be thinking there isn’t a lot on the line between these two stinkers but oh that’s where you’re wrong. For Tulane, since being in the same conference as Tulsa they are 0-6 at Tulsa while losing by three touchdowns in five of those games. Tulane coach Willie Fritz knows of this and is changing his team’s travel schedule for this one. They are flying out earlier on Friday to conduct their walk through on Tulsa’s field. The Green Wave are playing for keeps this week.
Now for Tulsa’s head ball coach, Phillip Montgomery the seat for him is getting a bit warm. I did some digging and since back-to-back bowl appearances in his first two seasons at Tulsa, they are a measly 3-16. The pressure is on and Montgomery must be looking for answers on how to turn around this once above-average program. My advice? Make the team read The Outsiders, a great American novel that takes place in 1965 Tulsa. This could really bring together the team as they all try to fight off the tears when Johnny passes away after running into a burning church to save children. Its getting me emotional just thinking about it.
Now for who wins this game? I like the Golden Hurricane at home playing this one for coach Montgomery and doing it for Johnny! Furthermore, I think Tulsa’s mascot is now my favorite in the country. I will never bet against them as long as Captain ‘Cane is roaming the sidelines.
Late Night Desperation Game of the Week:
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors @ Fresno State Bulldogs -25.5; O/U 60
Last time we discussed Hawaii on this segment, it was their rivalry game with Wyoming. Now you may have thought that was Hawaii’s biggest rival since they played for the coveted Paniolo trophy, but this weeks matchup with Fresno State takes it to another level. Simply put, these two schools do not like each other. Let’s look back at some of the prior incidents:
- “One thing I don’t like about Fresno, and I’ll be honest with you, I don’t like the elbows on the bulldog,”- Hawaii Coach Nick Rolovich last season discussing the Fresno State mascot
- In 2002, a screwdriver was thrown towards June Jones after Hawaii’s win over Fresno State; this led to a “Golden Screwdriver” trophy being created
- According to this article, Hawaii fans are brutal to Fresno State fans
Man, who knew these two teams had such bad blood. I know I’ll be watching this one closely to see what shenanigans happen Saturday night. Now for the game, I like taking the points with Hawaii. The Warriors are 4-2 ATS/SU the last six matchups at Fresno. The Bulldogs defense is legit as they are ranked #1 in the country in scoring defense only allowing 12.6 PPG. However, in a rivalry game I think Hawaii can keep it close and hopefully no one gets a screwdriver thrown at their head.
Sounds the Sirens, Upset Alert:
#6 Texas Longhorns @ Oklahoma State Cowboys +3.5; O/U 62
I’m sounding the upset alert sirens on this one as Texas finds itself in a very dangerous Saturday night in Stillwater. The Longhorns are starting to see the path to which they can make the CFP and with a monster showdown looming next week vs. #13 West Virginia, this screams trap game. For Oklahoma State its been a struggle who are 1-3 since they moved up to #15 in the country. However, off a bye and against a rival you have to think they are licking their chops at the chance to dash Texas’s dream season.
The biggest question coming into this one for Texas is the status of Sam Ehlinger. He injured his throwing shoulder in their last game vs. Baylor but he is expected to play Saturday night. The bye week helped him get ready for this one but that will be something to monitor if he takes any big hits earlier. Now let’s look at some trends going into this one:
- Texas is 8-1 SU its last nine at Oklahoma State
- Oklahoma State is 2-3 ATS this season at home
- The over has hit in 6 of the last 7 matchups in Stillwater
Where am I leaning in this one? Will this be like Ohio State-Purdue last week where the Buckeyes got tripped up on the road vs. a conference team at night? I don’t think it’s as big of a blowout like that game but there is good value in Oklahoma State money line at +145. I also love the over in this one. This will be a classic Big 12 shootout and you’ll regret not taking it when it’s 14-14 ten minutes into this one.
Premier Games of the Week:
#18 Iowa Hawkeyes @ #17 Penn State Nittany Lions -6; O/U 52
Stat to keep an eye on: Iowa is 0-4 SU its last four against Penn State losing by an average of 15.75 ppg
It’ll be strength vs. strength in this one as Iowa’s fifth ranked scoring defense goes up against a Penn State team averaging 42.6 PPG good for ninth in the country. Now Penn State’s last two home games have certainly been gut wrenching losses including a last second loss vs. Michigan State last time out in Happy Valley. This season isn’t playing out for the Nittany Lions like they had hoped with their playoff chances all but done. They now come into a three-game stretch vs. ranked teams trying to get their season back on track. The key for Penn State will be trying to establish their run game vs. a Hawkeyes defense only allowing 79.6 yards per game. If Penn State cannot get the ground game going its certainly advantage Iowa.
Now on the other side of the ball, Iowa’s offense has been red-hot averaging 38 ppg over the last three. Nate Stanley has emerged into one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten, including a scathing six touchdown performance vs. the Hoosiers a couple weeks ago. Iowa has gone under the radar so far this season with no major wins on its resume but they still have an outside shot of making the CFP. For them to be taken seriously as contenders a win Saturday in State College is a must.
Looking for a play? Take the points with Iowa and if you’re really feeling rambunctious sprinkle a little capital on the money line at +195. Penn State is not the same team its been the last couple of seasons and Iowa is the hotter team coming into this one. The Hawkeyes are 10-5 ATS in the last 15 matchups with Penn State. As football people say, defense travels and I expect the Hawkeyes to give Trace Mcsorley and the Penn State offense fits all day. Along with a top five run defense, Iowa also has a top twenty pass defense and have sacked the quarterback 22 times their last three games. I love the value of Iowa here as I think they are the better coached team and frankly, the better all-around team.
#9 Florida Gators @ #7 Georgia Bulldogs -6.5; O/U 52
Stat to keep an eye on: Florida is 3-1 SU and ATS in its last four games vs Georgia
This is a classic loser leaves town, must win, can’t lose type of game for both of these teams on Saturday. Whoever emerges victorious will still be in the hunt to win the SEC East and have a shot at making the CFP. For the loser… it was a nice season have fun playing in the Outback Bowl! It’s hard to say either of these teams “need” this game more given the magnitude but Georgia is in desperate need of a big time win. Last time out they got thrashed by LSU and the best win on their schedule is currently a toss up between South Carolina or Missouri (*low whispering fart noise*). Expect Georgia to come in focused as they are 6-3 ATS following a loss since 2015.
Florida comes into this one red hot winning five straight including a win over the same LSU team that handled Georgia. What does that mean? Hmmm let me think back to my elementary school days. So according to the transitive property if LSU beat Georgia, Florida beat LSU, then Florida should beat Georgia on Saturday right? Ehhh, don’t think so in this one. Georgia had a bye week to hear all about how they aren’t the same team as last year, they haven’t beaten anybody good, yada yada yada. I expect them to come into this game with a sharp mindset knowing they still control their own destiny to get back to the CFP. 6.5 may be a big number to lay in what is expected to be a low-scoring game, love the under in this game as only one of these teams last seven matchups has gone over 50 points, but I think Georgia takes care of business at home.
P.S: I don’t hate the idea of teasing Georgia and the under in this game