Last week was a step in the right direction as MC&J tries to navigate back towards the .500 mark. The only losses of the week came from the scares that Clemson and Ohio State suffered, along with the complete miss on Texas Tech. Hopefully the momentum from last week can carry over to this week.
Last week ATS: 8-3 (3-2 National, 5-1 B1G)
Season ATS: 45-48-3 (18-21-1 National, 27-27-2 B1G)
National games (All games Saturday unless otherwise noted):
BYU v. No. 14 Boise State (-7) - Thursday 10:15 PM EST - ESPN
BYU has been one of the most entertaining teams in college football this year. Last week the Cougars took down Mississippi State 28-21 in double overtime in Provo. The win was the third of the season for BYU by seven points or less. Even BYU’s losses have been close, with those three losses coming by a combined seven points.
While Taysom Hill has been great in his 74th season as quarterback for BYU, running back Jamaal Williams has been the star. Not only is the senior second in the country with 942 yards rushing this season, but last week he passed Harvey Unga to become BYU’s all-time leading rusher.
Boise State has designs on being the Group of Five team to earn a bid to the Cotton Bowl, and a win against the Cougars would go a long way to bettering their chances. The Broncos also have revenge on their minds after last year’s 35-24 comeback win by BYU in Provo. Last week, running back Jeremy McNichols carried the football 40 times for a career-high 217 yards rushing.
The Broncos didn’t look all that great last week in their 28-23 win over Colorado State, so there might be a little cause for concern heading into this game. The senior leadership of Hill and Williams will be able to keep the Cougars in this game. Much like many of BYU’s games this year, tonight’s game comes down to the wire.
Boise State 31, BYU 28
No. 6 Texas A&M v. No. 1 Alabama (-18) - 3:30 PM EST - CBS
Alabama will be looking for their 20th consecutive win when they host Texas A&M on Saturday, and with the way the Crimson Tide are playing, it’s hard to imagine them not getting it. Nick Saban’s team just demolished Tennessee and now are 18-point favorites against the sixth-ranked team in the country. EIGHT. TEEN. POINTS.
Hey look, Trevor Knight gets to go up against Alabama. The rest of the college football world is hoping Knight can channel some of the magic that we saw from him when he played for Oklahoma and the Sooners took on Alabama in the Sugar Bowl a few years ago. The Aggies are leading the SEC in rushing but they’ll have their hands full trying to figure out how to crack Alabama’s top-ranked rush defense.
I have no doubts that Alabama is going to win this game, but the spread just seems a bit high. The Aggies had last week off to prepare for the trip to Tuscaloosa, so they’ll be ready to go here. The Crimson Tide isn’t really challenged in this one, but a late touchdown or two give Texas A&M the cover.
Alabama 44, Texas A&M 30
TCU v. No. 12 West Virginia (-6.5) - 3:30 PM EST - ABC/ESPN2
Last week I was way off on West Virginia. I thought they would go down to Lubbock and fall to Texas Tech, but that wasn’t the case at all. The Mountaineers had little problem taking down the Red Raiders, staying undefeated with a 48-17 rout. The most impressive thing about West Virginia is their defense. Not many teams can go into Lubbock and hold the Texas Tech offense to just 17 points.
TCU had a bye week last week to prepare for this game, and they certainly needed it after not only losing to Oklahoma, but following that up by narrowly beating Kansas. If the Horned Frogs had a little bit of defense this might be a battle of undefeated teams. On the offensive side of the football, the Horned Frogs could get KaVontae Turpin back, which would be huge after Turpin has missed the last three games.
Prior to last year’s 40-10 win by TCU in Fort Worth, the yearly meeting between the Horned Frogs and Mountaineers routinely came down to the wire. Sure, they only have met as conference foes three times before last year, but those games were fun. The three games prior to last year’s meeting were decided by a combined five points. I think this one also comes down to the wire, with West Virginia staying undefeated.
West Virginia 38, TCU 35
No. 17 Arkansas v. No. 21 Auburn (-9) - 6:00 PM EST - ESPN
What exactly has Auburn done to be favored by this much? After starting the season 1-2, Auburn has picked up wins over Louisiana-Monroe, LSU, and Mississippi State. I mean that’s nice and all, but I don’t think I would make them nearly double-digit favorites against a good Arkansas team.
Last week the Razorbacks picked up a solid win over Ole Miss, and a win against the Tigers would push Bret Bielema’s team to 6-2 heading into a bye week before they have to play Florida. While Arkansas’ defense has struggled at times, they have the SEC’s leading rusher in Rawleigh Williams III, as well as Austin Allen, who is the SEC’s leading passer.
Arkansas is coming off tough, physical games against Alabama and Ole Miss, so it’s possible they could have trouble against an Auburn team coming off a bye week. I’m not betting on it though. I just think Arkansas is too good to be this big of an underdog, while I’m also not convinced Auburn is good enough to be laying this many points. It’ll be a fun game to watch that gets decided by less than a touchdown.
Auburn 34, Arkansas 31
No. 16 Oklahoma (-14) v. Texas Tech - 8:00 PM EST - FOX
After losses to Houston and Ohio State early in the year, Oklahoma keeps rolling up the wins as they have their eyes set on the Big 12 title. Last week the Sooners had little trouble with Kansas State, mostly due to the performance of Dede Westbrook. Over the past three games Westbrook has racked up 574 yards receiving and eight touchdowns. The area of concern for Oklahoma is they’ll be without running back Samaje Perine for this game, but at least they do have Joe Mixon to lean on.
Maybe I was a week ahead of myself in picking Texas Tech. Last week the Red Raiders failed to show up against West Virginia, but I have a hard time believing they’ll fall flat at home two weeks in a row. Even during their recent win streak, Oklahoma’s defense still has had plenty of problems. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes should be able to exploit some of those issues Oklahoma has going on, especially with the injuries they’ve dealt with of late.
I just can’t lay two touchdowns in Lubbock here. Sure Oklahoma is obviously the better team, but their defense frightens me against this Texas Tech offense. Even if the Sooners do get up by a few scores against an even worse Red Raider defense, I still think Texas Tech will be able to find their way back to within two touchdowns with the way they can move the football.
Oklahoma 55, Texas Tech 45