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)
If you missed this week’s Big Ten picks, they can be found here.
(All lines courtesy of Draftkings Sportsbook.)
No. 12 BYU v. No. 25 Oregon (-3.5) - 3:30 p.m. - FOX
After getting curb-stomped down in Atlanta by Georgia, Oregon rebounded last week with a 70-14 win over Eastern Washington. Going up against a defense nowhere near as fierce as what he saw against Georgia, Bo Nix threw five touchdown passes in the blowout. After two wildly different performances, it’ll be interesting to see what Nix shows up in this contest.
BYU has vaulted to the edge of the top 10 after winning on the road at South Florida, followed by a thrilling double overtime win last week against Baylor. The Cougars were without Gunner Romney and Puka Nacua in last week’s victory. BYU has been dominant on defense, allowing less than 300 yards per game to opponents.
It feels like we know more about BYU than Oregon at this point of the season, but I like the Ducks in this one. Nix is a veteran quarterback who will know how to attack the BYU defense. Even though BYU has a tough defense, Nix will be happy he isn’t going up against the defense he saw in Atlanta. In a back-and-forth game, the Ducks win late.
Oregon 38, BYU 31
Mississippi State (-2.5) v. LSU - 6:00 p.m. - ESPN
Spirits are high in Baton Rouge after LSU beat up on Southern last week. All the reporters were on time for Brian Kelly’s weekly press conference, living up to their promise that they’d be on time if the Tigers won. Still, I’m not convinced the Tigers are fixed just because they beat up on an FCS team. Arizona State transfer quarterback Jayden Daniels has been good with the football, throwing five touchdowns and no interceptions.
Daniels is gonna have his work cutout for him in this matchup trying to keep up with Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers. After tossing 36 touchdowns last year in Mike Leach’s air raid offense, Rogers already has nine touchdown passes and 763 yards passing through two games. The defense of the Bulldogs has been strong this year, giving up just over 305 yards per game in wins over Memphis and Arizona.
Even though Mike Leach is a huge jerk, I like Leach more than Brian Kelly. Mississippi State has looked a lot more together this year against better teams than what we have seen from LSU this year. The Bulldogs have a better offense and a better defense than the Tigers. Mississippi State wins for the second time in Baton Rouge in three years.
Mississippi State 34, LSU 24
Texas Tech v. No. 16 NC State (-10) - 7:00 p.m. - ESPN2
This game looks a little more daunting for NC State than it did prior to the season. Texas Tech’s new head coach Joey McGuire has hit the ground running, with the Red Raiders knocking off Houston in overtime last week. Donovan Smith is giving McGuire something to think about once quarterback Tyler Shough returns from injury. Smith has thrown for six touchdowns so far this year, leading a Texas Tech offense that is averaging 411 yards passing per game.
After sneaking by East Carolina in the season opener, the Wolfpack had no problem with Charleston Southern last week. Devin Leary has the NC State offense humming, throwing five touchdowns so far this year. The Wolfpack also have one of the best defenses in the country, but East Carolina showed there are holes that can be exploited.
I feel like this game will look a lot like the BYU-Oregon game earlier in the day. This has the possibility to be one of the better games of the weekend. Even though I think NC State is a sleeper contender for the CFP, this is the type of game the Wolfpack barely win, much like they did to open the season against East Carolina.
NC State 37, Texas Tech 34
UTSA v. No. 21 Texas (-12.5) - 8:00 p.m. - Longhorn Network
It’s a shame this game is on Longhorn Network, since it means that like 10 people will get to see it. UTSA has been one of the most entertaining teams in the country over the last two years. The Roadrunners have already played two overtime games this year, winning last week against Army after falling to Houston in the first game of the season. After throwing 27 touchdown passes last year, Frank Harris has already hit six scores through the air this season.
Somehow Texas moved up in the rankings this week after losing to Alabama last week. The Longhorns had the Crimson Tide on the ropes, but weren’t able to topple Nick Saban’s team, falling 20-19 in Austin. The game wasn’t the only thing Texas lost, as quarterback Quinn Ewers is out for at least a few weeks after suffering an injury against Alabama. Hudson Card will get the start while Ewers is on the shelf.
I’m tempted to take the Roadrunners to pull the upset here, but I’ll only take them to cover. I could see Texas coming out sluggish after the physical game against Alabama. Plus, while Card is experienced at quarterback, it might take the Longhorns a little bit to get going. As long as UTSA can keep Bijan Robinson somewhat in check, they have a chance to stay close. Who knows, maybe we can get a third-straight overtime game for the Roadrunners.
Texas 42, UTSA 38
No. 13 Miami (FL) v. No. 24 Texas A&M (-6) - 9:00 p.m. - ESPN
I’m still laughing at Texas A&M losing in College Station to Appalachian State. The loss is even funnier after video surfaced of those loser Aggie “Yell Leaders” talking a bunch of trash about the Mountaineers. The schadenfreude of meatheads from a school with Agriculture & Machinery in their school name calling other people hicks is quite rich.
The Hurricanes were a bit sleepy early on last week before eventually taking care of Southern Mississippi. This game will be Miami’s first true test under new head coach Mario Cristobal. While Tyler Van Dyke continues his growth at quarterback, the star of the Miami offense so far this year has been running back Henry Parrish Jr., who has four rushing touchdowns in the first two games.
I’m rooting for another week of sadness for Aggie fans. Haynes King was so bad at quarterback that the amazingly overrated Jimbo Fisher has decided to go with LSU transfer Max Johnson behind center in this game. Aside from a two-year stretch at Florida State with Jameis Winston as his quarterback, Fisher has been a remarkably average coach. I can’t wait to see how Fisher has to try and explain the loss that Texas A&M is going to suffer here.
Miami 31, Texas A&M 24
Fresno State v. No. 6 USC (-12.5) - 10:30 p.m. - FOX
If Caleb Williams keeps playing like this, he is going to find himself in early December as a Heisman Trophy finalist. In his first two games with the Trojans, Williams already has six touchdown passes. It certainly helps to have wide receivers like Jordan Addison and Mario Williams to work with. USC was firmly in control of last week’s win over Stanford, and the only reason the score was 41-28 was because the Trojans took their foot off the gas in the second half.
This is the second week in a row Fresno State will take on a Pac-12 team. Last week the Bulldogs fell just short of beating Oregon State, falling 35-32 to the Beavers. Jeff Tedford is back for his second stint at Fresno State. Playing Pac-12 schools isn’t anything new to Tedford, who spent a number of years at Cal. Jake Haener is running an offense that is averaging 520 yards per game.
Even though Fresno State is putting together a solid team, playing the Beavers at home is a lot different than playing the Trojans in Los Angeles. The Bulldogs have been competitive against Power Five schools recently, but I’m not sure they are quite ready for what Williams and USC is going to throw at them. The Trojans winning by at least two touchdowns feels right here.
USC 48, Fresno State 27
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See sportsbook.draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.