The comeback is on. After going 4-0 in Week 8, I followed it up with a 3-1 performance last week. Could a .500 mark be far away? Let’s pick these games and find out.
OKLAHOMA AT OKLAHOMA STATE (+6, O/U: 61)
Location: Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, Okla.
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 4, 3:30 p.m.., ABC
It might be our last official iteration of the Beldam Series as No. 9 Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) travels to Stillwater to take on a team they’ve dominated under that series monicker, 22-ranked Oklahoma State (6-2, 4-1 Big 12). The Sooners lead the all-time matchup 91-19-7, so it’s tough to call it a rivalry. Since Oklahoma is leaving for the Southeastern Conference next year, there’s a chance this is the last one of these we’ll see in some time. The Cowboys might not be sorry to see it end as the Sooners have won nine of the last 12 meetings. Oklahoma State did claim a victory two years ago, 37-33. The Sooners made up for it with a 28-13 beatdown last year.
Oklahoma is coming off its first loss of the season, 38-33 to Kansas last week. Dillon Gabriel had a pedestrian day at quarterback, going 14 of 19 passing for 171 yards, no touchdowns and a pick. He did rush 14 times for 64 yards and three touchdowns. Tawee Walker had 23 carries for 146 yards and a TD.
The Cowboys have racked up four consecutive wins since a shocking 34-27 loss to South Alabama back in September. One of those was a 39-32 triumph over Kansas, for what it’s worth. Last week they obliterated Cincinnati, 45-13. Alan Bowman was 17 of 34 passing for 286 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Ollie Gordan rushed 25 times for…checks notes… 271 yards and two touchdowns. Leon Johnson III caught five passes for 149 yards.
It doesn’t matter what stats the Cowboys put up last week or the fact that they beat Kansas and the Sooners didn’t, the books aren’t fooled and neither am I. Oklahoma 38, Oklahoma State 30
WASHINGTON AT USC (+3, O/U: 76.5)
Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, Calif.
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m., ABC
With both these teams exiting the Pac-12 next year, this is the last time they can vie for that particular title. It’s also one of the few final times we’ll get to see Caleb Williams play college football since the No. 20 Trojans (7-2, 5-1 Pac-12) don’t look to seriously be in the College Football Playoff picture. There’s no way he suits up for a meaningless bowl game.
The same can’t be said for No. 5 Washington (8-0. 5-0 Pac-12), as they’re hovering right outside the Top 4 with Ohio State (No. 3) and Michigan (No. 2) yet to play each other. The Huskies just beat Stanford 42-33 last week. The man with the most dangerous name in the college game, Michael Penix, was 21 of 37 passing for 369 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. Ja’Lyn Polk caught five passes for 148 yards and two scores.
USC dropped its second consecutive game, losing 34-32 to No. 14 Utah last Saturday. Williams was 23 of 34 passing for 256 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. He rushed 10 times for 27 yards and a TD. Tahj Washington caught five passes for 112 yards.
You know, the Trojans have hit a rough patch and there’s no question Williams is playing for Sundays, not Saturdays anymore, but that just might be the key here. This could possibly be his last good showcase, so I think he’ll ball out. USC 38, Washington 34
LSU AT ALABAMA (-3, O/U: 61.5)
Location: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala,
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 4, 7:45 p.m., CBS
The SEC West will likely be decided Saturday night as No. 14 LSU (6-2, 4-1 SEC) travels to Tuscaloosa to take on No. 8 Alabama (7-1, 5-0 SEC). While the Crimson Tide probably still have legitimate College Football Playoff hopes, the Tigers are likely ranked too low, barring catastrophes at the top.
LSU has won three straight since falling to Ole Miss a month ago. Last week they knocked off Army, 62-0. Our newest Heisman darling Jayden Daniels was 11 of 15 passing for 279 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for a TD. Brian Thomas, Jr. caught three passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Malik Nabers had four grabs for 121 yards and two scores.
The Tide had a bye week after knocking off Tennessee, 34-20, two weeks ago. Jalen Milroe got to smoke the cigar thanks to a 14 of 21 passing performance for 220 yards, two touchdowns and a pick. Jase McClellan rushed 27 times for 115 yards and a score.
I know the Tide are at home, but I like Daniels and he might just seal the Heisman Trophy with the upset Saturday night. LSU 27, Alabama 24
UCLA AT ARIZONA (+3, O/U: 51)
Location: Arizona Stadium, Tucson, Ariz.
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 4, 10:30 p.m., FS1
Arizona (5-3, 3-2 Pac-12) makes its second appearance in our Best Games picks thanks to a solid upset (that I picked correctly) over No. 11 Oregon State last week. Can they do the same to No. 19 UCLA (6-2. 3-2 Pac-12)?
The Bruins have won two straight since their loss to Oregon State. Last week they cruised past Colorado, 28-16. Ethan Garbers was 20 of 27 passing for 269 yards, two touchdowns and one pick in the win. Logan Loya caught seven passes for 111 yards.
The Wildcats capped last Saturday’s NCAA action in the best way, knocking off the Beavers, 27-24. Noah Fifita was 25 of 32 passing for 275 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in the win. Tetairoa McMillan caught eight balls for 80 yards and a TD.
You know what? I’m riding the hot hand at home. The Wildcats have looked fantastic the last two weeks and I think they keep it rolling. Arizona 30, UCLA 27
Straight up: 3-1
Against the spread: 3-1
Straight up: 12-16
Against the spread: 12-16
Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan.