Last week ATS: 7-5 (3-3 National, 4-2 B1G)
Season ATS: 57-51-3 (24-21-2 National, 33-30-1 B1G)
Last week started off well, but the late games brought the week’s record closer to .500. I missed badly on Temple and Boise State, while a Utah touchdown with less than six minutes left dashed any hopes I had of Arizona State covering. Even with the late losses, we still found a way to gain a couple games. Plenty of more action is on tap this week, as we look to closer out October with a bang.
No. 16 SMU (-14) v. Houston - Thursday 7:30 PM EST - ESPN
SMU certainly proved me wrong last week. I had Temple pulling the upset on the Mustangs, but SMU wasn’t quite ready to take their first loss of the season. The Mustangs routed the Owls behind 457 yards passing and six touchdowns from Texas transfer quarterback Shane Buechele. Reggie Roberson Jr. was Buechele’s favorite target on Saturday, hauling in eight passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns.
Dana Holgorsen has been at Houston less than a year and it seems like things are getting messier by the week. Quarterback D’Eriq King decided to redshirt last month and transfer, leaving Clayton Tune to take the snaps for the Cougars. If that wasn’t bad enough, last week Houston barely got by lowly UConn. Tune missed last week’s game against the Huskies, but should be able to play on Thursday. If he isn’t able to go, expect Logan Holgorsen, son of the head coach to get the start.
Normally I’d be leery of a team hitting the road on a short week, but Dallas to Houston isn’t a terribly long trip. I don’t think the short turnaround will be a problem for the Mustangs, since they are playing so well they probably would have played this game on Sunday if they could’ve. I’ll take the team that is coming together over the team that feels like it is falling apart.
SMU 45, Houston 21
No. 5 Oklahoma (-24) v. Kansas State - 12:00 PM EST - ABC
Oklahoma is cruising right now. Last week would’ve been a perfect spot for a letdown for the Sooners after an emotional win over Texas, but Oklahoma put West Virginia away early. jumping out to a 14-0 first quarter lead and never looking back. The hardest hit the Sooners took against the Mountaineers was when the “Sooner Schooner” tipped over. Jalen Hurts already has a billion touchdowns this year, as he leads an Oklahoma offense that is averaging over 600 yards per game.
Nothing that Kansas State does is all that pretty, but the Wildcats have a 4-2 record in head coach Chris Klieman’s first season in charge. Quarterback Skylar Thompson doesn’t make many mistakes, and he’ll need to continue that trend against an Oklahoma defense that is vastly improved from last year’s edition.
Manhattan is a place where weird things happen when you least expect it. The key for the Wildcats is to keep Hurts and the Oklahoma offense off the field. If Kansas State can’t put together drives, they have no chance at keeping pace with Oklahoma’s explosive offense. I don’t think we’ll get Oklahoma’s sharpest effort of the season, but I also don’t see the Wildcats upsetting the Sooners. 24 points just seems like a few too many for Oklahoma to be giving in this spot.
Oklahoma 38, Kansas State 20
No. 9 Auburn v. No. 2 LSU (-10.5) - 3:30 PM EST - CBS
Right now it feels like there isn’t a team in the country that could slow down Joe Burrow and the LSU offense. The Ohio State transfer quarterback has put himself at the top of the Heisman Trophy conversation, throwing for 29 touchdowns already this season. Even more impressive, of Burrow’s 218 passing attempts, he has thrown less than 50 incompletions this year.
I’m still not sure what to think about Auburn. The Tigers had an impressive comeback win against Oregon to open the season, but they suffered their first loss of the season a few weeks ago to Florida. Bo Nix has looked like a true freshman quarterback at times this year, and he won’t have running back JaTarvious Whitlow, who is out after knee surgery a couple weeks ago. What is the wildcard for Auburn is a defense that can create havoc.
This feels a lot like the Florida-LSU game from two weeks ago. A team with a suspect offense and a dominant defense coming into Death Valley to try and slow down Burrow and the Tigers. I think Auburn is a little better team than Florida, and the Tigers will want some revenge after LSU beat them by a point last year. The last three meetings between the schools have been decided by 10 total points, which makes taking the points here pretty attractive.
LSU 34, Auburn 24
No. 15 Texas (-1.5) v. TCU - 3:30 PM EST - FOX
Unlike Oklahoma, Texas had a lot of trouble last week. After losing the Sooners, the Longhorns didn’t play well at all against Kansas, barely beating the Jayhawks 50-48. If Texas has designs at getting another crack at Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game, the Longhorns are going to need their defense to step up, because quarterback Sam Ehlinger can only do everything himself for so long.
TCU deserves to lose on Saturday just for the uniforms that they’ll be wearing against the Longhorns. Woof. The Horned Frogs are averaging over 200 yards passing and 200 yards rushing per game to go along with a defense that has been good for most of the year. Quarterback Max Duggan hasn’t thrown an interception yet this season in 142 passing attempts.
After starting off the season with a couple wins, TCU has lost three of their last four games. Texas would be wise to look at what SMU and Iowa State did to the Horned Frogs, since both of those teams scored over 40 points against TCU. The Texas defense concerns me, but I think they get their act together a little bit after the scare they went through last week.
Texas 37, TCU 30
Oklahoma State v. No. 23 Iowa State (-10.5) - 3:30 PM EST - FS1
I pretty much break out in cold sweats whenever I even think about picking an Oklahoma State game. The Cowboys are my kryptonite. Whenever I pick Oklahoma State to cover, they fail to in spectacular fashion. When I pick against the Cowboys, they pull the upset. I’m sure that will continue this week, so it’s probably safe just to go the opposite of whatever I end up picking.
Oklahoma State is in a tailspin right now, having lost three of their last four games. The Cowboys have all the tools on offense with running back Chuba Hubbard and wide receiver Tylan Wallace, but quarterback Spencer Sanders has been wasteful lately, throwing eight interceptions over the last four games.
After a tough start to the year, when they scored less than 30 points in three of their first four games, the Iowa State offense has really put things together of late, scoring at least 30 points in their last three games. Quarterback Brock Purdy was great against Texas Tech last week, throwing for 378 yards and three touchdowns.
Laying this many points against an offense like Oklahoma State scares me, but if there is anyone who could shut the Cowboys down, it is Iowa State. The Cyclones haven’t given up more than 26 points all season. Hubbard will find some holes, but he won’t get much help as Purdy and the Cyclones pull away in the second half in Ames.
Iowa State 41, Oklahoma State 28
Washington State v. No. 11 Oregon (-14) - 10:30 PM EST - ESPN
Oregon certainly was tested last week against Washington. The Ducks found themselves down in the second half but rallied to win their second straight against the Huskies, and keep their slim College Football Playoff hopes alive. Justin Herbert has thrown 21 touchdown passes this year, despite having a receiving corps that has been decimated by injuries.
For as good as Herbert’s stats are, Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon’s are even better. The Washington State signal caller has thrown for nearly 3,000 yards already this year and 29 touchdowns. The problem for the Cougars is they have been dreadful on defense, giving up almost 440 yards per game to opponents.
Washington State did get a little of their confidence back last week with a 41-10 win over Colorado, which snapped a three-game losing streak. Not saying the Cougars are going to win, but they are catching Oregon at the right time. The Ducks are coming off a hard-fought, emotional victory over their rival, so they could come out a bit sluggish. Washington State has the firepower to at least keep things within a couple touchdowns in Eugene on Saturday night.
Oregon 42, Washington State 31