College Football


The inaugural College Football Playoff rankings are out, and with them a whole slew of controversy as the season hits a fever pitch this week. LSU/Alabama! TCU/Oklahoma State! Clemson/Florida State!

#6 Baylor (-17.5) at Kansas State

Any other year, a freshman quarterback making his debut in Manhattan on a Thursday night would be major cause for alarm . . . but this is not your average Kansas State team. The Bears feast on a steady diet of Shock Linwood and all new QB Jarrett Stidham has to do is get the ball anywhere near Baylor’s unfair stable of wide receivers. Baylor 41, Kansas State 20

Duke (+8) at North Carolina

The Blue Devils were the unfortunate recipients of an officiating travesty last Saturday, but unlike most I don’t think they face a hangover. However, North Carolina’s big play offense and suffocating defense are still too much for David Cutcliffe‘s crew to handle. North Carolina 31, Duke 17

Penn State (+2.5) @ #21 Northwestern

Two flawed offenses face two pretty good defenses . While you never known which Penn State team will show up, the Nittany Lion offense has been trending upward ever so slightly since the week one debacle against Temple. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg is finally showing traces of the signal caller we assumed he’d be, and the defense will shut down the Wildcats. Penn State 27, Northwestern 14

#16 Florida State (+12) at #1 Clemson

The ‘Noles have won three straight against the Tigers, highlighted by a 51-14 blasting at Death Valley in 2013. If Dalvin Cook is healthy, expect to see a heavy dose of the nation’s most productive running back in an attempt to shorten the game and keep Deshaun Watson and that ludicrous Clemson offense off the field . . . but Watson and Co. don’t need to be on the field very much in order to make life miserable for opponents. Clemson 38, Florida State 17

#8 TCU (-5) at #14 Oklahoma State

POOOOIIINNNTTSSSSS probably. Trevone Boykin is doing Heisman-worthy things with regularity. While the Cowboys can score, they haven’t faced a legit defense yet, and the Frogs’ D is healing up and getting back to form. TCU 49, Oklahoma State 35 (To read NCB’s preview of this game, click here.)

Cincinnati (+8) at #25 Houston

Anyone that wasn’t paying attention to the Cougars before week nine sure are now, after their 34-0 defacing of Vanderbilt. Head coach Tom Herman has already made a name for himself as a brilliant offensive mind, but his defense is coming around, too. They’ll face a test this week against a Bearcat offense that can throw the ball. But Greg Ward and Co. will be difficult to outpace. Houston 41, Cincinnati 31

Navy (+7.5) at #13 Memphis

Possibly my favorite matchup of the weekend: the Mids’ flexbone-based option offense is the most dialed in it’s possibly ever been, with quarterback Keenan Reynolds poised to break the FBS career rushing touchdown record. He’ll duel Paxton Lynch, whose stat line (69.9% completions, 2,700 yards, 9.5 yards per attempt, 18 touchdowns, 1 pick) would keep any DC up nights. Reynolds and the Mids will turn some heads but they won’t outlast the Tigers. Memphis 41, Navy 28

#2 LSU (+6.5) at #4 Alabama

Duel of the Pain-Inflicting Running Backs, Leonard Fournette vs. Derrick Henry. Alabama’s offensive numbers are a bit inflated by defensive and special teams touchdowns, and the Tigers aren’t likely to commit those sorts of errors. But I like the Crimson Tide’s efficiency machine against a susceptible LSU defense. Alabama 21, LSU 17 (To read NCB’s preview of this game, click here.)

LAST WEEK, ATS: 3-4 (22-26 SEASON)

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