Last week ATS: 8-7 (1-4 National, 7-3 B1G)
Season ATS: 26-24-1 (7-8 National, 19-16-1 B1G)
UNLV v. No. 10 Ohio State (-40) - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Ohio State put some of the pieces together last week, but the puzzle isn’t complete yet. It’s hard to know if Ohio State’s defense is truly back to form yet, since Army doesn’t throw the football. UNLV isn’t Oklahoma when it comes to the passing game, but they’ll at least give Ohio State’s secondary some work.
UNLV lost to Howard to open the year. The Rebels became the biggest favorite in college football to lose outright. At least UNLV didn’t let the loss get to them too much, as they rebounded with a 44-16 win over Idaho the following week. Tony Sanchez has a couple of solid players on offense in wide receiver Devonte Boyd and running back Lexington Thomas. I could see both making a few plays against the Buckeyes.
Just give the football to J.K. Dobbins and let him work. That is what has been fun this year about Ohio State football. At least more of a commitment to using the run-pass-option looks to have given the Ohio State offense a bit of a spark. Hopefully Mike Weber will see more of a role in the offense this week, as he works his way back from injury.
There isn’t much reason for this game to be to close, but I’m not quite Nick Bosa in thinking the Buckeyes will get a shutout. UNLV will at least find the endzone a couple times to help the number. Ohio State is in control throughout, but 40 will be a little too much to cover.
Ohio State 54, UNLV 17
UCF v. Maryland (-3.5) - 3:00 PM EST - FS1
Remember yesterday when I talked about how long it has been since Florida State played? What’s that? You didn’t see it? Well you can find my national picks here. Anyway, UCF hasn’t played a game in September yet. The Golden Knights destroyed Florida International 61-17 on August 31st, where they showed a potent air attack. McKenzie Milton threw for 360 yards and four touchdowns in the victory.
Maryland was able to follow up their win over Texas in the season opener with a 63-17 victory over Towson two weeks ago. The bye week came at a great time for Maryland, as it allowed for Kasim Hill to get a little more comfortable running the offense after having to step in for Tyrrell Pigrome, who was lost for the season to a knee injury.
This could be one of the more entertaining games of the day, with both teams showing they can really move the football in their early season showings. Much like Florida State, there is a question of how much rust will affect the Golden Knights. Maryland continues their strong start to the season.
Maryland 38, UCF 28
Rutgers v. Nebraska (-11) - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Nebraska is burning right in front of our eyes. Not only did the Cornhuskers lose last week to Northern Illinois at home, but they just fired their athletic director. With the change at the top, and some pretty disappointing results during his time in Lincoln, the temperature of Mike Riley’s seat just got turned way up.
Both Rutgers and Nebraska will start transfer quarterbacks who have thrown more interceptions than touchdowns this year. Last week Tanner Lee was dreadful for the Cornhuskers, throwing three interceptions and no touchdowns. If you like turnovers, this might be the game for you.
I might be expecting a little too much, too soon from Rutgers here, but I think they at least frustrate Nebraska. Then again I’m probably wrong for expecting anything from Rutgers. I have a feeling this game will be a train wreck so I’ll take the points.
Nebraska 27, Rutgers 20
Georgia Southern v. Indiana (-24) - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Indiana is another school who had their early season schedule thrown for a loop by Hurricane Irma. Last week the Hoosiers were supposed to play Florida International, but that game got cancelled, and Indiana set a game with Charleston Southern later in the year. Last time out, the Hoosiers rebounded from their season opening loss to Ohio State with a 34-17 win at Virginia.
In the game with the Cavaliers, Indiana picked up a bit of a quarterback controversy. Richard Lagow was ineffective, and Peyton Ramsey came in and threw a couple touchdowns. Who knows how Tom Allen will decide to handle this, but at least they get what should be a relatively easy game against Georgia Southern to work on things.
The Eagles are a mess right now, having lost in their last game to New Hampshire. I don’t think they threaten Indiana much here, but they at least cover the number. The triple-option could bleed some clock, and I wouldn’t put it past Lagow to make a couple mistakes to help the number in Georgia Southern’s favor.
Indiana 41, Georgia Southern 20
No. 8 Michigan (-10) v. Purdue - 4:00 PM EST - FOX
Purdue football is our new overlord. Boilermaker football is fun again! Purdue kept rolling last week with a 35-3 win at Missouri, creating plenty of hype for Saturday afternoon’s game in West Lafayette against the Wolverines. Jeff Brohm has both sides of the football playing really well right now.
Michigan isn’t exactly playing all that well right now, but they also aren’t losing. Last week the Wolverines struggled with Air Force, but pulled out the win to stay undefeated on the year. To make matters worse, Michigan just lost wide receiver Tarik Black for the year.
I’m worried that Purdue might be flying a little too close to the sun too soon, but I can’t quite lay the points with Michigan here. The Boilermaker offense will come back down to the earth a little against the stout Michigan defense, but they’ll still find some success. I badly want to call for the Purdue outright upset here, but I think the experience of Wilton Speight at quarterback comes through when it counts to win it for Michigan in a close affair.
Michigan 28, Purdue 24
No. 4 Penn State (-13) v. Iowa - 7:30 PM EST - ABC
On one hand, this one feels like 2008 when a top-5 ranked Penn State team came to Iowa City and left with their only loss of the season. On the other hand, Penn State has looked tremendous this year. The Nittany Lions have shutout two of the first three opponents, and only allowed one touchdown on the year. We haven’t even mentioned Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley yet.
Last week Iowa just puttered along against North Texas and setup the primetime undefeated showdown with a 31-14 win. Nathan Stanley should has tossed 10 touchdowns on the year, and Akrum Wadley has been running hard. The Iowa offense did take a hit though, when backup running back James Butler, a graduate transfer from Nevada, was ruled out for about a month.
It’s no El Assico, but this game will be another one of the more entertaining ones on Saturday. It’ll have its Big Ten moments, but I can see this game being close throughout. I’m sure Penn State will go out there and run shop now to make me feel like an idiot for doubting them.
Penn State 31, Iowa 21
Notre Dame (-4) v. Michigan State - 8:00 PM EST - FOX
Brandon Wimbush is at least making Notre Dame football entertaining again. Last week against Boston College, Wimbush rushed for 207 yards and four touchdowns, breaking a Notre Dame record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a game. Had it not been for a 20-19 loss to Georgia a couple weeks ago, this could be a battle of unbeaten teams.
I’m still not completely sure what to think about Michigan State just yet. Both of Michigan State’s wins this year have been against MAC schools, and they weren’t really tested in either. Running back L.J. Scott hasn’t been able to get much traction this year, averaging just 3.8 yards per carry through two games.
Both teams are looking to rebound after very disappointing seasons in 2016. I just think Notre Dame is a little farther along right now. The combination of Wimbush and running back Josh Adams will wear down the Spartans and the Fighting Irish win by 10.
Notre Dame 27, Michigan State 17