Last week ATS: 7-5 (3-2 National, 4-3 B1G)
Season ATS: 39-33-2 (17-11-1 National, 22-22-1 B1G)
MC&J just keeps rolling along. Sure, we haven’t had a huge week yet, but we keep grinding along. Weeks like last week might not look all that sexy but they add up over time and with enough of those by the end of the year you are up a pretty good amount of coin. Hopefully we can stay on the plus side with our picks for this week’s matchups.
No. 18 UCF (-4.5) v. Cincinnati - Friday 10/4 8:00 PM EST - ESPN
Cincinnati would be ranked heading into this matchup if the Bearcats hadn’t been shutout by Ohio State in the second week of the season. Aside from the loss to the Buckeyes, Cincinnati has been dominant, not allowing more than 14 points in their three victories. Running back Michael Warren II has been a little slow out of the gates, rushing for just 65.5 yards per game so far this year.
After seeing their 25-game regular season winning streak halted a couple weeks ago against Pitt, UCF got back to their winning ways last week with a 56-21 win over UConn. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel has been phenomenal this season, throwing for 1,338 yards and 14 touchdowns. Wide receiver Gabriel Davis has been the main target, hauling in 25 passes for 499 yards and eight touchdowns.
Going against UCF with this small of a spread is always risky, but I think we could see a bit of a changing of the guard in the AAC. Even though Cincinnati has lost 12 straight games against ranked teams, Friday night’s game feels different. Not only are the Bearcats are good enough on both sides of the football to score the upset, but the atmosphere at Nippert Stadium will give Cincinnati an added boost.
Cincinnati 34, UCF 30
No. 21 Oklahoma State (-10.5) v. Texas Tech - 12:00 PM EST - FS1
This Texas Tech team is really, really weird. After years of watching the Red Raiders throw the football all over the field, Texas Tech ran the football 11 more times than they threw it last week. Some of that could have been because Oklahoma was blowing Texas Tech out and the Red Raiders just wanted to go home. Another reason could have been because Alan Bowman was out because of injury, leaving the quarterbacking duties to Jett Duffey.
Oklahoma State is Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace. Last week Hubbard rushed for 296 yards, while Wallace added 145 yards receiving in a 26-13 win over Kansas State. If the Cowboys can get more defensive performances like last week and less of what they showed against Texas, Oklahoma State will be a tough out in the Big 12 the rest of the way.
Strange things always seemed to happen in Lubbock when Mike Leach and Kliff Kingsbury were there, but I don’t get that vibe from Matt Wells. Texas Tech is better on defense this year, but they are a lot worse on offense without Bowman. I’m sure Oklahoma State will find a way to ruin this for me, since I can never seem to be on the winning side when I pick their games, but I just don’t see how Texas Tech keeps up.
Oklahoma State 38, Texas Tech 23
No. 7 Auburn (3.5) v. No. 10 Florida - 3:30 PM EST - CBS
If Auburn plays like they did against Mississippi State last week, there are very few teams in the country that can challenge the Tigers. Bo Nix passed for 335 yards and the running game added 217 yards and six rushing touchdowns. Auburn has completely shut down their opponents on the ground this season, not allowing more than 120 yards rushing in a game.
Kyle Trask has been solid in stepping in for an injured Feleipe Franks at quarterback, but he hasn’t had to face anyone like Auburn yet. I’m sure Dan Mullen won’t ask Trask to do too much against the Tigers, just take care of the football and let the Gator defense put the offense in some good situations. Florida’s defense will even stronger this week with Jabari Zuniga and CJ Henderson returning from injury.
I really want to take Florida here because this feels like one of those games that they’ll gut out, but I just can’t pull the trigger. Even though he is just a freshman, Nix already has experience of heading into a tough environment and earning a win, as Auburn beat Texas A&M in College Station a few weeks ago. Defense will dominate this game, but I just like Auburn’s ability to make a few plays right now. The Tigers win by a touchdown.
Auburn 24, Florida 17
No. 11 Texas (-11) v. West Virginia - 3:30 PM EST - ABC
Texas had a bye last week, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The week off allowed a banged up defense a chance to recover a bit before this trip to Morgantown, as well as next week’s rivalry game against Oklahoma. While the defense hasn’t been great, the Texas offense is rolling. Sam Ehlinger has thrown for 1,237 yards and 15 touchdowns in four games.
This feels like it is going to be a strange year for West Virginia. Neal Brown has taken over for a departed Dana Holgorsen, but it is going to take Brown some time to get the program where he wants. Even though the Mountaineers have Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall at quarterback, it feels like the offense is struggling to find an identity. Last week West Virginia barely squeaked out a win at Kansas.
West Virginia has gotten the better of Texas of late, winning three of four meetings with the Longhorns. While a trip to Morgantown is never easy, there is a substantial gap between the two teams right now. Tom Herman will demand a strong performance ahead of next week’s matchup with the Sooners. West Virginia may hang around a little early, but the Mountaineers just don’t have the offense to take advantage of some of the shortcomings of the Longhorn defense.
Texas 37, West Virginia 20
California v. No. 13 Oregon (-18) - 8:00 PM EST - FOX
Last week Cal looked to be in good shape against Arizona State. Then quarterback Chase Garbers went down with an injury. Things got ugly for the Golden Bears, as UCLA transfer Devin Modster came in and completed just five passes for 23 yards in the 24-17 loss to the Sun Devils. Garbers won’t play this week, which will put even more pressure on Evan Weaver and the Cal defense to slow down an electric Oregon offense.
What could have been for Oregon. The Ducks have been outstanding since their season-opening loss to Auburn, allowing just 15 points over the last three games. Cal has a tremendous defense but the Golden Bears haven’t faced anyone like Justin Herbert, who has thrown 14 touchdowns so far this season.
Even if Garbers had been able to play this week, I might have a hard time picking against the Ducks. Oregon has largely dominated this series, winning 9 of the last 10 meetings with the Golden Bears. Of those nine wins, only two were by less than 18 points. Herbert might get the headlines this year, but Oregon’s defense is the real story here.
Oregon 42, Cal 17
No. 15 Washington (-16.5) v. Stanford - 10:30 PM EST - ESPN
Washington continued their strong play this season with a 28-14 victory over USC last week. The Washington defense continued to dominate opponents, picking off three Matt Fink passes in the victory over the Trojans. Quarterback Jacob Eason was pretty average against USC, but Washington didn’t need him to be great, especially since running back Salvon Ahmed ran for 153 yards.
Washington will get another chance to feast on a backup quarterback this week, since it sounds like Davis Mills will again get the nod for Stanford over an injured K.J. Costello. The Cardinal were able to beat Oregon State last week, but Stanford did their best to try and let the Beavers win, blowing a 28-14 fourth quarter lead before Jet Toner hit a field goal with a second left.
It’s always scary to lay so many points on the road at Stanford, but this isn’t the Stanford team we have become used to. The Cardinal are bad on defense, don’t have much at running back, and there are issues at quarterback with Costello injured. Washington is just too good right now for Stanford. The Huskies already went out to Provo and beat down on BYU so they can show they can win big on the road. Washington makes it a long night for Mills and the Cardinal.
Washington 35, Stanford 13