#22 West Virginia (+7.5) vs #11 Oklahoma St:
Surprisingly, the Mountaineers find themselves in a four-way tie for second place in the Big 12 as they get set to host Oklahoma State on Saturday. Dana Holgorsen is going to try to wreak havoc on his former team. The storyline of this game is the matchup between two prolific offenses. Each team’s top wide receivers — James Washington for the Cowboys and West Virginia’s David Sills V — rate among the country’s best playmakers and deep threats and lead the country in wide receiver efficiency. The Cowboys lead the country in total offense behind the lead by Quarterback Mason Rudolph. They are coming off a 13-10 OT overtime scare against Texas.
Texas’s scheme aligns very closely with the Mountaineers base 3-3-5 defense. The key to this game is getting off the field on third down. The Mountaineer defense ranks 26th in third down percentage, allowing offenses to convert only 36% of the time. Mountaineers are gonna need a huge game out of linebacker Ahead Benton and safety Dravon Henry. Will Grier has quietly had an exceptional first season as the Mountaineers starting Quarterback with over 300 yards passing in his last 7 games. He also leads the FBS with 26 touchdown passes. Expect the Mountaineers offense to role, and the defense will make the necessary stops to keep this game close.
Wake Forest (+3) vs Louisville:
Time for the “WakeyLeaks” revenge game. The Louisville Cardinals knew the Demon Deacons entire first half play script and the Demon Deacons still managed to lead 12-3 at halftime. The Cardinals team later pulled away in the second half, but look for the Demon Deacons to hang around with the Cardinals this time. This is the biggest game of the season for Wake Forest, and the Deacons are looking for a huge statement win.
The Cardinals have endured a very disappointing season 5-3 overall record with a 2-3 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Wake Forest is a lot better than people think. They have faced two mobile quarterbacks in their last two games and should be ready for Lamar Jackson. Wake Forest leads the country in tackles for loss and Duke Elijor will be able to put pressure on Jackson.
Deacons win in OT 24-23.
Virginia (+3)/+135 moneyline @ Pitt.
This may be a must-win for the Cavaliers in order to secure bowl eligibility with Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, and Virginia Tech looming ahead. The Virginia defense should recover after giving up 41 points to a Boston College offense that has been unstoppable as of late. The Virginia defense is a lot better than what they showed last week.
The Cavaliers have multiple future NFL draft picks on the defensive side of the ball lead by an elite secondary Quin Blanding, Bryce Hall, Justin Thornwell, and complemented by edge rusher Chris Evans. Virginia needs to commit to the ground game on offense and utilize Jordan Ellis. They will need to limit the explosive plays by Pitt running back Darrin Hall. Virginia does enough to control the Pitt ground game and Virginia forces timely turnovers from Pitt’s mediocre passing attack. The Cavaliers are not going to need the points. The Cavaliers win this one on the road 24-17.
#16 Michigan St (-2.5) @ Northwestern:
We are going to bet against Northwestern for as long as Clayton Thorson is their quarterback. The Iowa Hawkeyes let us down last week because they traditionally have the most incompetent quarterback in all of college football. I also think Vegas is undervaluing the Spartans here. Michigan St is 6-1 with their only loss coming against Notre Dame, and the Spartans have been flawless in conference play. The Spartans boast the top defense in the B1G allowing just 264 yards per contest.
The Northwestern offense is centered around star running back Justin Jackson, and the Michigan St defense has been very good against the run. The Spartans rank 8th nationally against the run holding opponents to just 93.4 yards per game and have done this while facing potent running offenses of Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, and Notre Dame. The Spartans are the only defense to hold the Irish rushing attack under 200 yards. This is the game where Brian Lewerke breaks out. The Wildcats have struggled defending the pass all year, allowing 11.69 yards per completion. Michigan St is trying to push themselves in the playoff conversation, and they make a huge statement win by blowing out the Wildcats. The Spartans are my lock of the week.
Final Score prediction Michigan St shuts out the Wildcats 27-0.
#8 Miami (-20.5) @ North Carolina:
The eighth ranked Canes will go into Chapel Hill to play the injury riddled Tar Heels. Larry Fedora’s squad has 17 players on their injured reserved list. The Tar Heels are coming off of a 59-7 beatdown against Virginia Tech. Vegas does not realize how bad UNC is this year. Being at home is not going to help them since the Tar Heels rank last attendance in the ACC, and North Carolina has not played well in front of their own crowd anyway.
North Carolina has not been able to move the ball on offense and has converted on just 26% of their third downs. The Tar Heels will be going up against a very good Miami defense. The Hurricanes have struggled with slow starts all year long. This is the perfect game for Mark Richt to get the offense going and instill confidence into his team prior to the team’s matchup against Virginia Tech. Hopefully a garbage time touchdown doesn’t kill this pick. Miami controls the game from start to finish and wins this one 31-7.
Under of the Week
Tennessee @ Kentucky (Under 46):
My favorite for under of the week is between two pitiful schools from the SEC. Tennessee’s best offensive player John Kelly is suspended for the game. Butch Jones is still the Tennessee head coach. Jarrett Guarantano has not looked anything like the program savior he was suppose to be. Kentucky is one dimensional on the offensive side of the ball, and the Volunteers do a decent job defending the run game. This is a huge game for Mike Stoops and the Kentucky Wildcats. Mike Stoops is going to tighten up and coach this game like the Natty. It is embarrassing for any SEC coach to lose to Butch Jones at this point. This should be an ugly game, and the under should hit fairly easily.
Over of the Week
UCLA @ #12 Washington (Over 58):
Washington is coming off a devastating loss and the Huskies have had a full week to prepare for Josh Rosen and UCLA. They just couldn’t move the ball against the Sun Devils. Look for Myles Gaskin and Lavar Coleman to gash the nation’s worst rush defense. Gaskin has rushed for 626 yards on just 104 carries. Washington QB Jake Browning has been very good this year throwing the ball as well. Washington’s secondary was exposed against ASU where Wilkins was able to continuously move the ball, passing for 245 yards with 74% completion rate. Washington will be facing a UCLA offense that leads the nation in third down conversion.
The Washington secondary has not been the same since top corner Bryon Murphy went on the IR. The Huskies are down two starting cornerbacks, and the secondary has been unreliable aside from Taylor Rapp. UCLA receivers Darren Andrews and Caleb Wilson are both top 10 in the country in receiver efficiency and they should be able to exploit the holes in the Washington secondary. Josh Rosen leads the Pac-12 in yards per attempt and has thrown for 19 touchdowns to just 8 interceptions. Rosen has an opportunity to prove he is the best team in the country against the best team in the conference. I expect UCLA to test the UW secondary frequently. The Over in this game is a relatively easy pick here.
Washington wins 42-31.