Anyone who picked Utah to beat Oregon by six touchdowns, please come claim your winnings.
Seriously, what the heck happened last Saturday? We know Oregon might have some chinks in its armor but the Utes came into Eugene and stole everything that wasn’t nailed down.
I bring this up because picking Oregon to win 38-24 was the wrongest I have ever been. Hopefully I don’t match it anytime soon.
MIAMI (-6.5) at CINCINNATI
The Bearcats’ unheralded backup quarterback Hayden Moore exploded onto the scene in last Thursday’s shootout loss to the Memphis Tigers, obliterating school records in a 31-of-53, 557-yard (!!!) performance. He also threw two interceptions, which doomed ultimately doomed the Bearcats . . . but I think he’ll find this Miami Hurricane defense more pliable. CINCINNATI 39, MIAMI 34
MINNESOTA (+4) at #16 NORTHWESTERN
Minnesota has demonstrated why dark horse picks often fail. They’ve played well defensively but rank 108th in FBS in total offense, and the Wildcats’ surprise defense will make them look silly. Northwestern hasn’t exactly lit up the box score themselves, but their special teams has been a huge boost to their struggling offense and they’ve figured out ways to steal points. Minnesota hasn’t, and even though Northwestern is wearing these atrocious things, they win anyway. NORTHWESTERN 20, MINNESOTA 7
IOWA (+7) at WISCONSIN
Iowa is pretty good on offense (!), which is the first time those words have been uttered in that order in over a decade. Quarterback C.J. Beathard meets his first true test on Saturday at Camp Randall, and we’ll get to see whether the 62 points they hung on North Texas were a fluke. This Wisconsin defense is no joke and has already faced one push-you-around offense in Alabama this year. They’ll be ready. Ultimately, it’s really hard to beat Wisconsin at their own game, and even with Corey Clement out with an injury I like the Badgers. WISCONSIN 27, IOWA 17 (Read NCB’s preview of this game here.)
#23 WEST VIRGINIA (+7) at #15 OKLAHOMA
West Virginia’s defense has been stellar through three games, but it meets its first test of the year against Baker Mayfield in Norman. Even though the Mountaineers are plenty capable on both sides of the ball, I think the Sooners’ bruising run defense makes the difference. OKLAHOMA 34, WEST VIRGINIA 27 (Read NCB’s preview of this game here.)
#13 ALABAMA (+2.5) at #8 GEORGIA
You guys may have heard that Alabama is an underdog for the first time since . . . they last visited Georgia (Alabama won 41-30). Georgia quarterback Greyson Lambert has been great but hasn’t faced an opponent like the Tide yet, and I don’t think the Bulldogs can ride Nick Chubb into the sunset this time. ALABAMA 24, GEORGIA 20
#5 BAYLOR (-17) vs. TEXAS TECH (Arlington, TX)
We saw last week that Texas Tech is capable of hanging in there in even the shootiest of shootouts, falling just short of TCU in a 55-52 barnburner. Makes me wonder if they’ve got the stamina for another one. Patrick Mahomes is great but hobbled, and Baylor is fresh from three walkthroughs against SMU, Lamar, and Rice. BAYLOR 56, TEXAS TECH 35 (Read NCB’s preview of this game here.)
KANSAS STATE (+7.5) at #20 OKLAHOMA STATE
I wanted to believe in Kansas State this year, that even on a roster devoid of any of that sneaky Bill Snyder talent, that the Olde Wizard would figure out how to coach a scrappy bunch to ten wins again . . . but it just doesn’t look likely. Joe Hubener has been an effective passer (8.7 yards per attempt and four touchdowns to zero picks) but the Wildcat offense has been average at best. Oklahoma State will attack them much of the same way Louisiana Tech did in a game the ‘Cats escaped in overtime, but the Cowboys won’t fall short. OKLAHOMA STATE 38, KANSAS STATE 28 (Read NCB’s preview of this game here.)
#3 OLE MISS (-7.5) at FLORIDA
The Gators hope last week’s come-from-behind victory over Tennessee can fuel another upset bid this week . . . but I don’t see it. Even with this Florida defense as stout as it is, Chad Kelly has been phenomenal for the Rebels and the Ole Miss defense will make short work of a Gator offense which at times looks like it couldn’t score on an empty field. OLE MISS 34, FLORIDA 14
#21 MISSISSIPPI STATE (+6.5) at #14 TEXAS A&M
Despite the vaunted Aggie offense looking a bit off-kilter at times, the Wrecking Crew has been top-notch through four games. A&M wideout Christian Kirk makes some game-breaking plays and the Aggie defense shuts down Dak Prescott. TEXAS A&M 28, MISSISSIPPI STATE 20
#6 NOTRE DAME (+1.5) at #12 CLEMSON
Loathe though I am to admit it given that I spent all offseason telling everybody they were too high on Notre Dame . . . the Irish look good, and not even injury to two major contributors has slowed them down. Clemson’s vulnerabilities shown against Louisville come to the forefront and the Tigers drop a game in Death Valley. NOTRE DAME 23, CLEMSON 14