Last week ATS: 7-5 (4-2 National, 3-3 B1G)
Season ATS: 47-38-1 (18-13 National, 29-25-1 B1G)
Another positive week is in the books for MC&J. Things were looking pretty ugly early, especially with Northwestern and Vanderbilt forgetting to show up on Saturday, but results improved as the day went on. Hopefully another strong week is on tap, so we can put even more distance on .500.
National games (All games Saturday unless otherwise noted):
No. 8 Washington State (-14) v. California - Friday 10/13 10:30 PM EST - ESPN
This could be the year Washington State does something special. The Cougars have been known for their offense in the past, but this year they have added some defense to the mix. Last week the Cougars held Oregon to just 10 points in Eugene, and they could have another strong outing against a Cal team that is really struggling to move the football.
Cal has lost three straight games, with the last of those being a 38-7 loss to Washington in Seattle on Saturday. The Golden Bears have scored just 51 points over the past three games. New head coach Justin Wilcox could mix things up a little on offense, but Washington State isn’t the team you want be experimenting against.
Luke Falk has thrown 19 touchdowns through six games, and he’ll likely add at least another three or four touchdowns to that total on Friday night. Cal has been better defensively than in years past, but their offense is too much of a mess to even trust them to cover a two touchdown spread at home.
Washington State 47, California 24
No. 6 TCU (-6) v. Kansas State - 12:00 PM EST - FS1
Last week TCU was tested in Fort Worth by West Virginia, but the Horned Frogs were able to remain undefeated, beating the Mountaineers 31-24. Now Gary Patterson’s team will have to navigate a trip to “The Little Apple”. Since joining the Big 12, TCU lost in Manhattan in 2012, and in 2014 earned a 52-45 win.
While Kenny Hill continues to power the TCU offense through the air, the running game got a boost last week with the return of Kyle Hicks. After missing the Oklahoma State game, the senior running back returned from injury to rush for a team-high 71 yards against West Virginia. The combination of Hicks and Darius Anderson could take some pressure off of Hill as the Horned Frogs look to stay undefeated.
Kansas State under Bill Snyder is always a strange team. The Wildcats don’t have anybody who is going to wow you with their stats, but they are always a tough team to beat, especially in Manhattan. Senior quarterback Jesse Ertz will give the Wildcats the leadership they need to spring the upset on TCU.
Kansas State 30, TCU 27
No. 12 Oklahoma (-8) v. Texas - 3:30 PM EST - ESPN
Remember that time Oklahoma lost in Norman to Iowa State? Well you should, because it happened less than a week ago. The Sooners will head into the Red River Showdown all sorts of pissed off after the embarrassing loss to the Cyclones.
Texas is coming off a 40-34 win in double overtime over Kansas State, and it is looking like Tom Herman has a least some pieces in place in Austin. The Longhorns aren’t going to be in the thick of the national title hunt this year, but at least they are entertaining. It looks like Texas has settled on Sam Ehlinger at quarterback, and the quarterback matchup with Baker Mayfield on Saturday afternoon could be all kinds of fun.
Even though both schools have new head coaches, both Tom Herman and Lincoln Riley are familiar with the Red River Showdown. The injection of the young head coaches should only add to a series that has seen each of the last three meetings decided by a touchdown or less. Oklahoma avoids a second straight loss, but Texas makes them earn the victory.
Oklahoma 38, Texas 35
No. 10 Auburn (-7) v. LSU - 3:30 PM EST - CBS
As weird as LSU-Florida was last weekend, I’m sure Auburn-LSU is trying to find ways to top it. Just a month ago Auburn barely held off Mercer, but since then the Tigers have been a finely tuned destruction machine, scoring at least 44 points in each of their last three games. Running back Kerryon Johnson has been a beast during that stretch, rushing for 368 yards and 11 touchdowns.
LSU was able to relieve a little bit of the scrutiny that surrounded head coach Ed Orgeron, but it only feels like a matter of time before the Tigers lay another egg and the heat is back on Coach O. After rushing for 100 yards in each of the first two games, injuries have slowed running back Derrius Guice since, and Saturday will be no different, as Guice is expected to be limited.
Auburn’s only loss this year was by just a touchdown to Clemson. Unlike that contest against the Tigers at Death Valley, Gene Chizik’s team won’t leave this Death Valley without a win against these Tigers. With a win over Missouri a few weeks ago, and now this win over LSU, Auburn proves they are the kings of the Tigers in the SEC.
Auburn 28, LSU 17
Georgia Tech v. No. 11 Miami (FL) (-6) - 3:30 PM EST - ABC
I’ll keep this one short: Miami is coming off a huge win against Florida State, snapping a seven-game losing streak to the Seminoles. The Hurricanes are in for a letdown, especially with the news running back Mark Walton will have season-ending ankle surgery. Now all Miami has to do to stay undefeated is slow a Georgia Tech option attack that is averaging nearly 400 yards per game on the ground. Good luck with that.
Georgia Tech 31, Miami (FL) 23
Utah v. No. 13 USC (-13) - 8:00 PM EST - ABC
The Utes did a tremendous job at holding Bryce Love in check last week, limiting the running back to just 69 yards on the ground. (Nice.) The defensive effort wasn’t enough though, as Utah’s dreams of an undefeated season were dashed by Stanford. Now the Utes head to Los Angeles, where they haven’t beaten USC since 1916.
After losing to Washington State two weeks ago, USC had an easy layup last week against Oregon State. The Trojans know they have to be perfect the rest of the way to have any shot at making the College Football Playoff. Quarterback Sam Darnold hasn’t helped his draft stock this year, but there is still plenty of time for the junior to impress. Last week Darnold passed for over 300 yards and three touchdowns against the Beavers, and he’ll be looking to build on that performance.
While USC has a clear-cut quarterback, Utah isn’t quite so lucky. Tyler Huntley is still dinged up from an injury he suffered against Arizona, and if he can’t play, Troy Williams will get another start. No matter who starts for the Utes, I don’t think it’ll matter much, as they won’t be able to keep up with Darnold and the USC offense.
USC 38, Utah 21