Close but no cigar. With Texas' late punt blunder, as well as the annual collapse from BERT and Arkansas against Texas A&M, two of last week's games ended in pushes. At least starting this week in the Big Ten, most of the out-of-conference games are done, so instead of 13-14 games each week, I'll be able to concentrate on just six or seven games each week.
Last week ATS: 7-10-2 (1-2-2 National, 6-8 B1G)
Season ATS: 29-35-3 (9-8-2 National, 20-27-1 B1G)
#23 West Virginia v. #15 Oklahoma (-7) - 12:00 p.m. - Fox Sports 1
West Virginia hits the road for the first time this season when they head down to Norman to take on the Sooners. This game is the first of four straight games for the Mountaineers against teams that are currently ranked. West Virginia really hasn't been tested yet this year, winning their first three games by a combined score of 130-23. Quarterback Skyler Howard has had a sensational start to the season for West Virginia, throwing for at least 260 yards in each of the first three games.
As impressive as Howard has been this year at quarterback, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield has been even better. The Texas Tech transfer is third in the nation in total offense, racking up 400 yards per game for the Sooners. Samaje Perine started the season slow, but did rush for 152 yards the last time out against Tulsa. Last year Perine went for 242 yards against the Mountaineers, but he will have a little more help on Saturday. There's always the fear the a Bob Stoops team might lay an egg (the first three quarters of the game against Tennessee earlier this year are a perfect example) but I don't think that happens against West Virginia. The Mountaineers start of their very tough stretch with a double-digit loss.
Oklahoma 38 West Virginia 28
#13 Alabama v. #8 Georgia (-2) - 3:30 p.m. - CBS
PAWWWWWWWLLLL, Saban has got to go since the Crimson Tide aren't favorites anymore. After 72 games in a row of being favored, Alabama is heading into Athens as the underdog. The last time the Crimson Tide wasn't favored in a game was the 2009 SEC Championship Game against Florida. Between the loss earlier in the year to Ole Miss, as well as inconsistency at quarterback, some are already throwing the dirt on Alabama's grave this year. The Crimson Tide still have Derrick Henry at running back, plus a defense that just posted a shutout last week against Louisiana-Monroe.
While Alabama has Derrick Henry, Georgia can counter with Nick Chubb, whose start to the season is one of the few that can compete with Leonard Fournette's down at LSU. I'm not completely sold on quarterback Greyson Lambert for Georgia yet, though. I could see Chubb having a hard time finding success against the Alabama run defense, putting more pressure on Lambert to produce. The Virginia transfer has found success early in the season, but not against anyone up to the caliber of the Crimson Tide defense. This will be a close game throughout, but I have this feeling that Saban squeaks past Mark Richt.
Alabama 24 Georgia 21
Texas Tech v. #5 Baylor (-17) - 3:30 p.m. - ABC/ESPN2
Last week Texas Tech and TCU scored 107 points. This week might see more points than that when the Red Raiders and Bears head to the Jerry Dome. Texas Tech is averaging 53.8 points per game this season, while Baylor is offering a ridiculous 64 points per game. Quarterback Pat Mahomes suffered a knee injury against TCU, but seeing that he is day-to-day it would be a surprise if he didn't play on Saturday. The Red Raiders are averaging nearly 400 yards per game through the air, and even if Mahomes for some reason couldn't go, Kliff Kingsbury still has Davis Webb to lean on.
Texas Tech may be averaging nearly 400 yards per game through the air, Baylor is averaging nearly that in both the passing game AND the running game this year. Not that the Baylor schedule of opponents so far this year will set the world on fire, with their first three games coming against SMU, Lamar, and Rice. Even with the lack of strength early in their schedule, Seth Russell and Corey Coleman has been quite the combo early this year. Coleman has caught 17 passes for 460 yards and 10 touchdowns in three games. I don't think I'm brave enough to lay this many points in what will likely be one of those classic Big 12 shootouts. Last year's 48-46 Baylor win was the lowest combined total between the schools since 2010, but this year they again pass the 100-point mark.
Baylor 63 Texas Tech 51
#3 Ole Miss (-7) v. #25 Florida - 7:00 p.m. - ESPN
Before Ole Miss can move on to out-of-conference games against New Mexico State and Memphis, the Rebels have to clear the hurdle of having to travel to Gainesville to top the Gators. Ole Miss had a little bit of a hangover last week against Vanderbilt after beating Alabama, but were still able to secure an 11-point victory against the Commodores. One bright spot for Ole Miss last week was the performance of Laquon Treadwell, who recorded a career-high 135 receiving yards against Vanderbilt.
Lucky for Florida that Tennessee has made blowing fourth quarter leads their job recently. The Gators were down by two scores late against the Volunteers, but somehow were able to pull out a late win to continue their recent domination of Tennessee. Will Grier will get another start at quarterback for Florida, but he'll have his hands full in trying to avoid the pressure from Robert Nkemdiche. We know Ole Miss can go into a real tough environment and win after beating Alabama at Bryant-Denny a couple weeks ago. Hugh Freeze won't let his team let a double-digit lead evaporate against the Gators like Butch Jones did.
Ole Miss 34 Florida 23
#6 Notre Dame v. #12 Clemson (Pick) - 8:00 p.m. - ABC
Losing quarterback Malik Zaire for the season during the Virginia game at the time looked to be a huge loss that could have derailed the season of the Fighting Irish, but DeShone Kizer has done quite a job in stepping in. The Notre Dame hasn't missed much of a beat with Kizer, mostly thanks to C.J. Prosise's 600 rushing yards so far, which are the most through four games in Notre Dame history. If the Fighting Irish win on Saturday night, they would put themselves in a favorable position to be one of the playoff teams, with their only big tests left being USC and Stanford.
Clemson has had 16 days off since going up to Louisville and squeezing by the Cardinals 20-17. The Tigers haven't exactly looked fluid since offensive coordinator Chad Morris moved on to take then head coaching job at SMU, but with a quarterback like Deshaun Watson, the offense is capable of turning things on at any time. I'm a little wary of taking Clemson in a big game, but I think the extra prep time for the Tigers will be the difference. I think this plays out a little like when Notre Dame went down to Tallahassee last year (minus the controversy near the end) with the game being tight but Clemson taking the game late.
Clemson 27 Notre Dame 24