I have once again perused the week’s NCAA Football schedule to hand select four games to feature for your potential betting entertainment.
It’s been a bad couple of weeks for your humble narrator. I thought adding another matchup to the picks would help me pull my record out of the basement. Instead, I just grabbed a shovel and put myself in a deeper hole.
But, with every week comes a new hope. Here’s the four games I’ve handpicked for you this week.
TEXAS A&M AT TENNESSEE (-3, O/U: 55)
Location: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn.
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 14, 3:30 p.m., CBS
Texas A&M (4-2, 2-1 SEC) has flirted with relevance all season, only to drop the ball, literally and figuratively when they have a shot to get back on the map. Last week they fell in a close one to Alabama, 26-20. Max Johnson had a solid day under center, going 14 of 25 passing for 239 yards, a touchdown and a pick. The defense held the Crimson Tide to 23 total yards on the ground and picked off Jalen Milroe once.
No. 19 ranked Tennessee (4-1, 1-1 SEC) had a bye last week after what was probably their best game of the season. The Volunteers blasted South Carolina, 41-20, Much-maligned quarterback Joe Milton was 21 of 32 passing for 239 yards, one touchdown and two picks. The Vols rushed for 238 yards, with Jaylen Wright leading the way with 16 carries for 123 yards and a score. The defense shut down Spencer Rattler, holding him to 169 passing yards, no TDs and an interception.
The only thing the Volunteers can do consistently is run and it’s bad news that the Aggies were able to shut down the Bama running game so thoroughly. I’m feeling an upset in Neyland here, Texas A&M 27, Tennessee 23
OREGON AT WASHINGTON (-3, O/U: 66.5)
Location: Husky Stadium, Seattle, Wash.
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 14, 3:30 p.m., ABC
No. 8-ranked Oregon (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) has answered the bell this season in a big way once the “difficult” part of their schedule hit. They’ve had one tight shootout win over Texas Tech in week 2 and no other game has even been close. Two weeks ago, they obliterated No. 19 Colorado, 42-6 and then put up that same score in a 42-6 victory over Stanford last week. Bo Nix was dealing, going 27 of 32 passing for 290 yards and four touchdowns. Two Ducks running backs went for 88 yards and a touchdown, Jordan James and Bucky Irving. The defense held the Cardinal to just 222 yards of total offense.
No. 7 Washington (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) took a week off after taking their turn knocking off Arizona. Michael Penix, Jr. was 30 of 40 passing for 363 yards, no touchdowns and no picks in the win. All the Huskies TDs came on the ground, with Dillon Johnson leading the way with 16 carries for 91 yards and two scores.
There’s a good chance this will be the best game of the day. The Ducks just look way too strong at this point and could be cruising into the College Football Playoff. This will definitely be their toughest test to date, but I think they’ll pass it. Oregon 45, Washington 27
USC AT NOTRE DAME (-3, O/U: 60.5)
Location: Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, Ind.
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 14, 7:30 p.m., NBC/Peacock
Caleb Williams and No. 10-ranked USC (6-0) have been on an offensive roll that’s kept its record perfect. The defense hasn’t been much help in that. While the Trojans have scored 42 or more in every single game this season, the defense has given up 41 in consecutive weeks to Colorado and Arizona. In last week’s 43-41 win over the Wildcats, Williams was 14 of 25 passing for 219 yards and a touchdown. He rushed 12 times for 43 yards and two scores. The defense surrendered 506 total yards of offense, including 203 on the ground.
Excessive offensive production has not been an issue for No. 21 Notre Dame (5-2) this season. They’ve not scored more than 21 points in a game in the past three weeks and gone 1-2 in that span. Last week they fell 33-20 to No. 25 Louisville. Sam Hartman was 22 of 38 passing for 254 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. The Fighting Irish rushed for just 44 yards as a unit while surrendering 185 yards on the ground to the Cardinals.
I have no idea why the Irish are still ranked, let alone favored in this game. Sure, the Trojans basically leave their defense on the bus every game, but Caleb Williams is putting up Steph Curry basketball numbers at QB. I don’t think this one will be close. USC 38, Notre Dame 23
MISSOURI AT KENTUCKY (-2.5, O/U: 50.5)
Location: Kroger Field, Lexington, Ky.
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 14, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network
Missouri’s stint in the Top 25 lasted all of a week. The Tigers (5-1, 1-1 SEC) played toe-to-toe with LSU for a while, losing 49-39. Brady Cook was 30 of 47 passing for 411 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in the loss. The defense surrendered 533 yards on offense.
No. 24 Kentucky (5-1, 2-1 SEC) ran into a brick wall last week, taking their first loss of the season, 51-13, to No. 1 Georgia. Devin Leary had a rough day at quarterback, going 10 of 26 passing for 128 yards and two touchdowns, but he did not throw an interception. The Wildcats rushed for just 55 yards and were held to a pitiful 188 total yards of offense.
There was a time in SEC play that this game would be all but forgettable. While neither Mizzou or the Wildcats could keep their record spotless before this one, somebody’s falling completely out of the final SEC East race after this contest. I think it’ll be the Tigers. Kentucky 31, Missouri 27
Straight up: 1-3
Against the spread: 1-3
Straight up: 5-11
Against the spread: 5-11
Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan.