Last week ATS: 5-6-1 (2-4 National, 3-2-1 B1G)
Season ATS: 52-44-2 (20-17 National, 32-27-2 B1G)
Last week could have been better, but it also could have been worse. After the first few games of the week I figured a terrible week was in order after losses from Washington State, Kansas State, Illinois, and a tie against the spread in the Michigan-Indiana game. Thankfully a stronger finish helped to keep MC&J from losing much of the early season progress.
No. 10 Oklahoma State (-7) v. Texas - 12:00 PM EST - ABC
Oklahoma State is hoping to continue working their way back into the College Football Playoff picture when they head to Austin for Saturday’s contest with the Longhorns. Last week the Cowboys put up 747 total yards of offense in a 59-16 win over Baylor. The offensive outburst moved Oklahoma State into the top spot offensively among FBS teams.
Heading into last week’s action the nation’s top offensive team was Oklahoma, who handed Texas a 29-24 win in the Red River Showdown. While the Longhorns have had success slowing opponents on the ground, they have had issues defending the pass. Sam Darnold threw for nearly 400 yards against Texas earlier in the year, while Baker Mayfield threw for 302 last week.
How much does Texas have in the tank for this game? Two weeks ago the Longhorns went to double overtime against Kansas State, and last week’s close loss in a rivalry game against the Sooners had to take a lot out of them. Mason Rudolph will put up big numbers as the Cowboys win their fifth straight in Austin.
Oklahoma State 38, Texas 28
Syracuse v. No. 8 Miami (FL) (-16) - 3:30 PM EST - ESPN
At some point Miami’s luck has to run out, right? RIGHT?? After scoring with six seconds to go two weeks ago to beat Florida State, last week the Hurricanes kicked a field goal with four seconds left to deny Georgia Tech’s upset attempt.
Malik Rosier looks like the real deal at quarterback for the Hurricanes, with the junior having thrown 12 touchdowns and only three interceptions through five games. Last week Travis Homer stepped in for an injured Mark Walton and rushed for 170 against the Yellow Jackets.
This isn’t the Syracuse team you have become accustomed to. Dino Babers has the Orange full of confidence right now. Junior quarterback Eric Dungey has lit up the stat sheet so far this year, accounting for 20 touchdowns.
For the way Syracuse is playing right now, I think Miami is laying too many points. Maybe the Hurricanes put everything together and blow the Orange out, but I don’t see that happening. The Orange played LSU and NC State tough on the road earlier this year. Dungey makes enough plays to keep this within double-digits.
Miami 34, Syracuse 27
No. 20 UCF (-7) v. Navy - 3:30 PM EST - CBS Sports Network
This very well could be the best game of the week that barely anybody will see. Central Florida is thriving under Scott Frost, who is in his second year as head coach. The Golden Knights have scored at least 38 points in every game this season, as they angle for the Group of Five spot in the New Year’s Six.
Five turnovers were too much for the Midshipmen to overcome last week, as Memphis was able to hand Navy their first loss of the season. Even with the loss, Navy is still averaging nearly 400 yards per game on the ground.
At least if Central Florida is going to slow down Navy’s option attack, they have Frost running scout team quarterback. Even with Frost’s expertise in game-planning on how to stop the option, Central Florida won’t win by more than a touchdown in Annapolis. The Midshipmen play a lot cleaner than they did a week ago, and give the Golden Knights their first true contest of the season.
UCF 31, Navy 27
No. 9 Oklahoma (-14) v. Kansas State - 4:00 PM EST - FOX
Last week I rode with Kansas State and it was a huge mistake. TCU came into “The Little Apple” and had little trouble with the Wildcats. Quarterback Jesse Ertz missed the game after getting injured the previous week against Texas, and backup Alex Delton found little success against the Horned Frogs.
Oklahoma was able to bounce back from a loss to Iowa State with a win last week in Dallas over Texas. Baker Mayfield remains one of the front runners for the Heisman Trophy, having thrown for 17 touchdowns and just one interception so far this year.
Kansas State is reeling right now, and I just have no confidence in the Wildcats in this spot. Ertz might be back, but even if he does play, he won’t be able to match with Mayfield. The Sooners have planted their flag in Manhattan since 2000, winning the last six times they’ve come to town; scoring at least 41 points in each of the last four contests against the Wildcats.
Oklahoma 44, Kansas State 21
No. 11 USC v. No. 13 Notre Dame (-4) - 7:30 PM EST - NBC
The USC-Notre Dame rivalry could actually be fun again. This year marks the first time since 2009 that both teams are ranked heading into the Battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh. Saturday night’s matchup in South Bend has plenty at stake, with the loser surely being out of the College Football Playoff picture.
Last week needed second half heroics from Sam Darnold and Ronald Jones II to erase a 21-7 halftime deficit to Utah. More often than not this year, USC hasn’t played all that well. If the Trojans are able to get by Notre Dame on Saturday night, they’ll have four very winnable games to close out the year, followed by the Pac-12 title game to state their case for the CFP.
After finishing the 2016 season with a 4-8 record, Notre Dame has put all the jokes to bed in 2017. Aside from the Georgia game (which they lost by a point), Notre Dame has had little trouble in their other five games. The Fighting Irish are fifth in the country at running the football, averaging over 300 yards per game on the ground. Junior running back Josh Adams is averaging nine yards per carry so far this year.
The Trojans have a lot of injuries on defense right now, and that spells trouble against a Notre Dame offense that has been rolling so far this year. I’m also getting tired of siding with USC only to have them fail to cover. USC has bit me in the Texas, Washington State, and Utah games so far this year, so I’m spitefully taking the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame 33, USC 24