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MC&J: Ohio State closes out non-conference play as a big favorite over Toledo

Aside from Ohio State hosting Toledo, there is plenty of action involving Big Ten teams on Saturday.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 10 Arkansas State at Ohio State Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last week ATS: 10-7-1 (6-4 B1G, 4-3-1 National)

Season ATS: 21-18-2 (10-9-1 B1G, 11-9-1 National)

On a Saturday that saw a lot of shenanigans, wrapping up the day with a winning record feels like a huge accomplishment. With a couple games under the belt of each team, we are getting a better idea of what teams are this year, which hopefully leads to MC&J stacking even more wins as the season moves along.

B1G games:

(All lines courtesy of Draftkings Sportsbook.)

No. 6 Oklahoma (-11) v. Nebraska - 12:00 p.m. - FOX

What is most hilarious about the Scott Frost firing is that Nebraska was so desperate to send Frost packing that they couldn’t wait till the beginning of October to can Frost, which would have saved the school $7.5 million dollars. You just have to wonder if Frost was doing everything he could to get fired before the start of October just so he would get his full buyout.

Now neither head coach from last year’s meeting in Norman will be on the sidelines for this year’s contest. Nebraska took Oklahoma to the limit last year, and honestly it wouldn’t surprise me if we saw the same this year. Even though the Cornhuskers just fired their coach, it seems like teams often play inspired football after a firing.

Oklahoma brought in Dillon Gabriel at quarterback, but we still don’t have a great idea on what the Sooners are after the departures of head coach Lincoln Riley and quarterback Caleb Williams, since Oklahoma has opened up the season with UTEP and Kent State. Nebraska stays within 10 points, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Cornhuskers pulled an upset here.

Oklahoma 31, Nebraska 27

UConn v. No. 4 Michigan (-47.5) - 12:00 p.m. - ABC

Michigan’s 2022 cupcake extravaganza continues on Saturday when they host UConn. Following a week where the Wolverines were 52-point favorites against Hawai’i, Michigan is only 47.5-point favorites this week against the Huskies. Maybe to add some intrigue to this boring game, it can be called the “Jimboree” since we have Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh squaring off against new UConn head coach Jim Mora Jr.

After Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy split the first two starts of the season, McCarthy with start this week for the Wolverines. It doesn’t really matter who lines up behind center for Michigan this week since UConn is dreadful. After falling just short of covering last week, the Wolverines get the job done this week to close out their ridiculously soft non-conference schedule.

Michigan 63, UConn 10

Purdue v. Syracuse (-1.5) - 12:00 p.m. - ESPN2

Heading into the season, not many people thought this game was going to be as interesting as it is looking like it’ll be. Purdue really should also be 2-0 heading into this game, but the Boilermakers weren’t able to hold off Penn State in the season opener. The Purdue rush defense has been stout so far this year, allowing just 74.5 yards per game on the ground.

We’ll find out if the run defense of the Boilermakers is for real, since they’ll be tasked with stopping Sean Tucker, who is one of the best running backs in the country. After rushing for nearly 1,500 yards last year, Tucker has 212 yards and two scores so far this year. Purdue will also have to keep tabs on quarterback Garrett Shrader, with the Mississippi State transfer already racking up 523 yards and five touchdowns through the first two games of the season.

Even though Syracuse is better than they have been recently, I’m still not convinced that they are ready to win a game like this one. The Boilermakers are a little bit better on both sides of the football. Aidan O’Connell and Charlie Jones build off their great start to the season.

Purdue 34, Syracuse 30

Western Kentucky v. Indiana (-6.5) - 12:00 p.m. - Big Ten Network

Indiana might be one of the worst 2-0 teams in the country. The Hoosiers barely snuck by Illinois to start the season, and last week trailed Idaho 10-0 at halftime before recovering for a 35-22 win. While the Hoosiers have already matched their win total from 2021, it’s hard to see them getting many more wins this season.

One of those two wins in 2021 came against Western Kentucky. The Hoosiers were able to squeak out a 33-31 win against the Hilltoppers at the end of September, which was their last win of 2021. This isn’t quite the same Western Kentucky team as last year, since quarterback Bailey Zappe has moved on, but I don’t think Indiana is as good as last year’s team, either. This year’s contest is also decided by less than a touchdown.

Indiana 38, Western Kentucky 35

Rutgers (-17.5) v. Temple - 2:00 p.m. - ESPN+

With this game being on ESPN+, this is the type of game that only the true sickos will watch. Rutgers has been solid this year, earning a win at Boston College before beating up on Wagner last week. We all know how Greg Schiano operates, using defense and some weirdness on offense to try and get the edge on his opponents.

After a 30-0 loss to Duke to open the season, new head coach Stan Drayton got his first win last week, as Temple beat Lafayette. Even with the win last week, there’s not much about the Owls that scares me. Rutgers has forced five turnovers on the season, and I could see them forcing five in this game alone. The Scarlet Knights head into Big Ten play with a 3-0 record after they easily handle Temple on Saturday.

Rutgers 34, Temple 13

No. 22 Penn State (-3) v. Auburn - 3:30 p.m. - CBS

Last year’s contest between Penn State and Auburn in State College was an entertaining non-conference game. Now Penn State makes the trip down to Alabama for the return fixture. After surviving Purdue, the Nittany Lions took care of business last week against Ohio, giving college football a glimpse of highly-touted quarterback Drew Allar.

Ohio v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Sean Clifford will still start the game for Penn State since James Franklin loves his geriatric quarterback. It will be interesting to see if Allar gets any snaps if Clifford is ineffective. Even though Allar is considered the future at quarterback for Penn State, Jordan-Hare Stadium will be a tough environment for a freshman to find success in.

Auburn hasn’t exactly impressed so far this season, notching wins over Mercer and San Jose State in their first two games. These two teams almost feel like they are carbon copies of each other. The Tigers also have a young quarterback they are trying to work into the mix. Even though T.J. Finley is the starter, Robby Ashford saw some work last week.

In a game that is feeling like a toss-up to me, I’ll take the points as Auburn gets some revenge at home after losing at Beaver Stadium last year.

Auburn 27, Penn State 20

Colorado v. Minnesota (-27.5) - 3:30 p.m. - ESPN2

Nobody should take Colorado football seriously as long as they have Karl Dorrell as their head coach. The Buffaloes have lost their first two games of the season to TCU and Air Force by a combined score of 79-23. Colorado is allowing 377 rush yards per game so far this season. Some of that high total is because they played Air Force, but Minnesota has Mohamed Ibrahim and Trey Potts, which is going to make it another long day for the defense of the Buffaloes.

Last year the Golden Gophers beat Colorado 30-0 in Boulder. Even though Colorado will score this year, Minnesota is gonna win by about the same margin.

Minnesota 45, Colorado 14

New Mexico State v. Wisconsin (-37) - 3:30 p.m. - Big Ten Network

You would think by now that Jerry Kill would be sick of getting beat up by Big Ten teams. After a few years at Minnesota, Kill is now in his first season as New Mexico State head coach. A couple week ago the Golden Gophers shutout the Aggies 38-0, and now New Mexico State is back in Big Ten country to play Wisconsin.

There’s no reason this should be a game, and if it is Wisconsin has bigger problems than we thought. The Badgers will likely come out angry after losing to Washington State last week. All Wisconsin needs to do is give New Mexico State a heavy dose of Braelon Allen early on and then they can rest their starters in the second half ahead of next week’s trip to Columbus.

Wisconsin 54, New Mexico State 7

No. 11 Michigan State v. Washington (-3) - 7:30 p.m. - ABC

After heading into the season with questions about who would replace Kenneth Walker III at running back, Mel Tucker has struck gold in the transfer market again, finding success with Jalen Berger and Jarek Broussard in the backfield. The Spartans have had little trouble in their first two games of the year, finding their footing against MAC foes Western Michigan and Akron.

Western Michigan v Michigan State Photo by Jaime Crawford/Getty Images

The Spartans will face a serious jump in competition on Saturday when they travel to Seattle to take on a revamped Washington squad. New head coach Kalen DeBoer brought in Indiana transfer quarterback Michael Penix to add some juice to a pretty lifeless offense last year. The Huskies have scored 97 points in their first two games of 2022.

For a lot of people, they probably jumped on Michigan State when they saw this line. I like Washington here, since I am all too familiar with the struggles of the Spartans when they head out west. Husky Stadium is a really tough place to play, and I’m not sure Michigan State is going to be able to handle the atmosphere on Saturday night.

Washington 31, Michigan State 24

Nevada v. Iowa (-23) - 7:30 p.m. - Big Ten Network

Kudos to you if you have confidence that Iowa can score at least 24 points in a game. After what I have seen in the first two games out of the Iowa offense, I’m skeptical that Iowa can score 24 points this season. Nevada is pretty bad, but even just a few points out of the Wolfpack should allow them to safely cover the spread here.

Iowa 23, Nevada 10

SMU v. Maryland (-4) - 7:30 p.m. - FS1

If the Buckeye game turns into a blowout on Saturday night and you want some excitement, turn it over to FS1 for SMU-Maryland, which could end up being one of the most exciting games of the week. Former Oklahoma quarterback Tanner Mordecai and the Mustangs will travel to Maryland to take on Taulia Tagovailoa and the Terrapins.

Both of these teams are averaging over 500 yards per game so far this season. Both of these teams also haven’t really been challenged so far, with SMU playing North Texas and Lamar, while Maryland has beaten Buffalo and Charlotte. Even though the Terps have started the season strong, this feels like one of those games that they lose. SMU has some talent and can match Maryland on offense. I’m going to get wild and take the Mustangs to win straight-up here.

SMU 42, Maryland 38

Toledo v. No. 3 Ohio State (-32.5) - 7:00 p.m. - FOX

Ohio State might not have had their offense clicking against Notre Dame, but the Buckeyes certainly found some of their mojo last week against Arkansas State. Jaxon Smith-Njigba sitting out the game to rest his hamstring allowed for Marvin Harrison Jr. to explode with 184 yards and three touchdowns. Harrison is now the second Ohio State receiver to score three touchdowns in two separate games, joining Joey Galloway as the only Buckeye wideouts to achieve that feat.

Toledo has built a reputation is one of the hardest teams in the MAC to go up against. The Rockets took Ohio State to the limit in 2011 in the last meeting between the schools. Last year the Rockets nearly upset Notre Dame in South Bend. This isn’t quite as talented of a Toledo team as some of their past squads. The Rockets have played Long Island and UMass, so they are going to get a serious upgrade in competition, which I’m not sure they are ready for.

Last week Ohio State was a big favorite and couldn’t quite hit the number against Arkansas State. This is a totally different scenario, since this week’s game is at night against an in-state opponent, and the Buckeyes aren’t coming off a huge game against Notre Dame. Also, Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming should be able to play in this game, giving C.J. Stroud even more weapons to work with. Ohio State puts Wisconsin on notice with a blowout win on Saturday night.

Ohio State 58, Toledo 17

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.