If you missed this week’s national game picks, you can find them here.
Last week ATS: 6-9 (1-4 National, 5-5 B1G)
Season ATS: 15-18 (7-6 National, 8-12 B1G)
Temple v. Penn State (-9) - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Who can forget last year’s game between these two teams? I certainly can’t. Temple sacked Christian Hackenberg 10 times and ended a 31-game losing streak against the Nittany Lions. Sadly, I’m not expecting history to repeat itself this year. Temple lost their season opener to Army before shutting out Stony Brook 31-0 last week.
Even though Penn State wasn’t able to take down vaunted rival Pitt last week, it looks like they found themselves a quarterback. Trace McSorley passed for 332 yards and almost engineered a game-winning comeback. Saquon Barkley was also impressive, scoring five touchdowns in the game.
The Nittany Lions seem to be taking to their up-tempo offense so far this year, it’s just their defense they need to get in order. They could catch a break this weekend as Temple running back Jahad Thomas could miss his third straight game. Hard to see Temple keeping it within double-digits, especially with Penn State having revenge on their mind.
Penn State 27, Temple 14
Georgia State v. No. 9 Wisconsin (-35.5) - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Last week Georgia State gave up about a billion yards to Air Force and the Falcons had the football for 45:14. Wisconsin is leading the country in time of possession, averaging 38:54 per game where they have the football. Corey Clement is questionable for the game (pretty much the story of the last couple years for him) but it’s not like Wisconsin will need him to play here. The Badgers should win this one big.
Wisconsin 56, Georgia State 14
New Mexico v. Rutgers (-5.5) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPNews
This is the game you shouldn’t be watching this weekend, even if you are a degenerate like me. Nothing good can come from it. Just go against the team from out west that has to play at noon. Add in New Mexico’s top running back and linebacker are out since they are in concussion protocol. It won’t be pretty, but Rutgers wins by at least a touchdown.
Rutgers 38, New Mexico 28
Colorado v. No. 4 Michigan (-20.5) - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
What a trip down memory lane this game will be. The hail mary in 1994 by Colorado is still one of the best finishes in college football, and even more memorable since it happened to Michigan. This week won’t feature anything that suspenseful, but at least Colorado should give the Wolverines more of a challenge than Hawaii and UCF have been able to so far this year.
At least it should be a fun quarterback matchup between Colorado’s Sefo Liufau and Michigan’s Wilton Speight. Liufau has Colorado on the road back to respectability and the Buffaloes could be contenders to make a bowl game this year. Last week Speight was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week after passing for 312 yards and four touchdowns.
The Wolverines will likely win this one, but at least Colorado should keep it within the number. Michigan isn’t fully healthy yet either, so I’m not expecting a blowout like their first two games.
Michigan 37, Colorado 21
No. 22 Oregon v. Nebraska (-3) - 3:30 PM EST - ABC
Mike Riley will see a familiar foe on Saturday afternoon in Lincoln. The Nebraska head coach used to be a part of the “Civil War” when he was at Oregon State, and he didn’t find too much success against the Ducks. Before leaving for Nebraska, Riley had lost his last seven games against Oregon.
Riley will have a better shot at a win on Saturday, since he does have Tommy Armstrong Jr. as his quarterback. The senior threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns last week, setting the school record with 57 career touchdown passes. Credit Nebraska’s defense too with some strong play, as they are +7 in turnover margin.
Imagine what Oregon could be if their defense didn’t resemble a dumpster fire. Sure Oregon is winning, but they are 82nd in total defense. Against a team like Nebraska that isn’t gonna fly. Soon enough the efforts Royce Freeman and Dakota Prukop are giving them on offense isn’t gonna be enough, and I feel like this is that game.
Nebraska 44, Oregon 37
Western Michigan (-3.5) v. Illinois - 4:00 PM EST - ESPNews
Western Michigan will be looking to clinch their B1G West crown with a win over Illinois on Saturday in Champaign. The Broncos already took down Northwestern in the opening weekend of the season, and a win over the Fighting Illini would give them two wins over Big Ten teams in a season for the first time in school history.
Illinois looked bad on Saturday against North Carolina. Really bad. Sure, North Carolina is a good team, but Lovie Smith has some work to do. I don’t think a week is quite enough to fix all those problems. P.J. Fleck’s team is one of the better Group of Five teams, and wide receiver Corey Davis seems to always put up huge numbers. The Broncos win this by a touchdown.
Western Michigan 31, Illinois 24
Maryland (-9.5) v. Central Florida - 7:00 PM EST - CBS Sports Network
This whole D.J. Durkin thing is working out pretty well so far for the Terrapins. Now Durkin can try and see if he can get some insider tips from Jim Harbaugh after the Wolverines played Central Florida last week, but who knows how Harbaugh would respond to that.
Somehow Central Florida gained 275 yards on the ground against Michigan. If Maryland gives that much up it’ll be a lot closer than I think it will be. Maryland hasn’t turned the ball over so far this year, and that’s pretty huge after how bad they were with turnovers last year. I like what Maryland is doing so far under Durkin and I think they continue their hot start. On the other hand, Scott Frost has a lot of work to do in Orlando.
Maryland 34, Central Florida 21
No. 12 Michigan State v. No. 18 Notre Dame (-7.5) - 7:30 PM EST - NBC
Michigan State didn’t look all that impressive against Furman in their season opener but the Spartans had a bye week to try and fix some issues. It isn’t like Michigan State quarterback Tyler O’Connor doesn’t have experience hitting the road to take down a ranked team. Sorry for the sad trip down memory lane Buckeye fans.
At least Notre Dame has settled on DeShone Kizer as their quarterback. Nothing against Malik Zaire, but the Fighting Irish just look a lot better with Kizer at the helm. I don’t really think it would matter who Notre Dame has going tomorrow night though since they’ll have issues against the Michigan State defense. I think Notre Dame wins this one, but the Spartan defense keeps things tight.
Notre Dame 24, Michigan State 21
Duke v. Northwestern (-4) - 8:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Duke just lost to Wake Forest while Northwestern lost to Illinois State last week. Why on earth would you be watching this game when there are so many other good games going on at this time? I think Northwestern could end up fixing their issues sooner than Duke can. Take the Wildcats at home.
Northwestern 27, Duke 21
No. 3 Ohio State (-2) v. No. 14 Oklahoma - 7:30 PM EST - Fox
Through the rain drops last week, Ohio State didn’t show all that much against Tulsa and still wound up with a 48-3 victory. You can’t blame Urban Meyer for keeping the gameplan pretty vanilla with a trip to Norman on deck. The Buckeye defense has been outstanding so far this year, not allowing Bowling Green and Tulsa to score an offensive touchdown.
After a loss to Houston to start the season, Oklahoma had a little cupcake feast last week to restore some of their confidence. Oklahoma’s offense will be the most dynamic the young Ohio State defense has faced so far this year, with Baker Mayfield capable of breaking the game opening through the air, while Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon can do the same on the ground.
If Ohio State is going to win this game their are going to need the offense to be balanced. J.T. Barrett needs to be able to keep the Oklahoma defense on their toes with his unpredictability of whether he is going to pass or keep it on the ground. Some big runs from Mike Weber in his first true road game wouldn’t hurt either.
For me this game comes down to coaching. Urban Meyer hasn’t lost a true road game at Ohio State, while Bob Stoops’ Sooners have lost six games at home since 2011. Meyer gets a little extra help because of his friendship with his former offensive coordinator Tom Herman, who took down Oklahoma to start the year. This game will be back-and-forth, everything we expected it to be, but somehow the Buckeyes end up pulling out the victory late.
Ohio State 35, Oklahoma 31