This is, rather unfortunately, a down week for exciting college football games. There are a few that look good, but by and large this will be a good excuse to get caught up on all those chores you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t had the time for. This week’s previews will be shorter than usual (blame too many games, most of them snoozers), but next week’s will be back to typical length.
USC (-9.5) @ Nebraska
In one of the most talked about games of the week, USC takes the show on the road and travels to Lincoln to take on a Nebraska team that is looking to recapture its former glory and claim the first huge win of the Callahan era.
Unfortunately for the home team, USC just has too much talent here. Their defense is fantastic, and their offense has a boatload of talent. Sam Keller is a talented QB, but he’s up and down, and against the pressure that the Trojans will be bringing, expect more down than up.
On the Other Hand:
This is a big home game for the Huskers, and Lincoln is a very tough place to play when the home team is good. Plus, Keller is a lot more experienced than he was the last time he saw the Trojans, and that could well be a big difference.
USC just has too much talent, especially on defense, to be stopped here. The Huskers will get in some licks, but they lack the weapons to keep up, and they lack to run defense to stop USC’s solid line and talented backs.
USC 28, @ Nebraska 14
Ohio St @ Washington (+3.5)
It seems like everyone loves the Huskies here, and the experts seem to be fairly split on the pick. Jake Locker has been a godsend for U-Dub, and has really become a leader of this team, which is shocking for a freshman QB coming right out of the gate. Just as importantly, the defense has really stepped up, which is a fantastic sign for this team.
And don’t forget that Ty Willingham has always made his name off of big upset wins, and this game would certainly qualify.
On the Other Hand:
Ohio State is still a really good team, their defense is a huge step up from anything the Huskies have seen for a while. Locker may be good, but is he good enough to do much against this extremely talented unit? It’s going to be a very stiff challenge for this team to replicate their success against Syracuse and Boise against a team that’s thinking national championship.
The Buckeyes have had issues on offense, and U-Dub has improved enough to make this a game, but there’s too much of a talent disparity, and the Huskies simply don’t have what it takes to do much against this caliber of a defense.
Ohio St 17, @ Washington 10
UCLA (-15) @ Utah
We saw in each of the first two weeks what Utah is like without quarterback Brian Johnson, and since he’ll be out again expect more of the same. This game won’t be close.
UCLA 31, @ Utah 10
Fresno St @ Oregon (-16)
This is a tough game to peg. On the one hand the Ducks looked great so far, and were fantastic last week, but on the other Fresno has a tremendous amount of success in these games and looked like they were back to their usual self last week against Texas A&M. UO should win this game, but those are just too many points to ignore.
@ Oregon 35, Fresno St 21
San Jose St @ Stanford (-7.5)
It’s really tough to figure out exactly where Stanford is, but it’s easy to figure out SJ State. They’re probably going to be without at least one and maybe both their QB and running back, and that’s not going to cut it. They’ll make a game of it, but they don’t have the quality depth to handle that sort of hit.
@ Stanford 31, San Jose St 24
New Mexico @ Arizona (-10)
Boy, this game feels like an upset waiting to happen. The Wildcats have really struggled this year, especially on offense, which makes this line really stick out as a weird one. The Lobos have struggled themselves, which makes U of A the pick, but expect this to be close to the end.
@ Arizona 17, New Mexico 13
Louisiana Tech @ Cal (-33.5)
Cal isn’t good enough to cover playing their second team, and with league play about to start, as well as with the mid-majors all but eliminated from BCS contention, and the Big Ten and ACC seriously struggling, it’s tough to see why Cal would bother to run it up. In the end, expect a margin somewhere in the 20’s.
@ Cal 42, LA Tech 13
San Diego St @ Arizona State (-28.5)
San Diego St has been terrible, and ASU has shown no hesitation in running it up so far, so expect this to be another ugly game.
@ ASU 45, SD St 7
Idaho @ Washington St (-24.5)
Wazzu just hung 28 on SD St, who’s probably better than the Vandals (ignore the “only” 28 point margin against USC, the Trojans were up by 35 after three quarters and let Idaho get a cosmetic TD late).
@ Washington State 38, Idaho 10
Idaho St @ Oregon St (NL)
@ Oregon State 48, @ Idaho St 3
National Games of the Week:
Tennessee @ Florida (-7.5)
Florida is getting all the hype and I can’t find a single expert who likes the Vols here, so why is the line so low? Be warned: it’s a trap line, as Vegas thinks that there’s very little if any difference between these two teams (extra points for home-field edge). And you know what? I think Vegas is right. The Vols have gotten better and better against real competition, while UF has scrimmaged against patsies. That extra experience will come in handy in a game that should go down to the wire.
Tennessee 28, @ Florida 24
Boston College @ Georgia Tech (-6.5)
For all of the success the Yellow Jackets have had, this is a surprisingly low line. Yes, BC has a chance, but they’re going to have a tough time on the road without getting as many turnovers as they’ve been getting (11 so far this year). They have a shot, but Tech just looks too good to be stopped.
@ Georgia Tech 27, Boston College 17
Iowa St +17.5
ISU has been terrible so far, but this is still a very big line for a rivalry game where the Cyclones generally overachieve and the Hawkeyes are almost certainly going to be looking ahead to next week’s game against Wisconsin.
Too many points for a decent team in Pitt and an up and down Spartan team.
I must be missing something here. Navy wasn’t terrible at Rutgers, and Ball St is 1-1 without having played anyone of note. And it’s Navy’s first home game.
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