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Non-TCU Games of the Week

What has our attention outside of the Frogs’ upset bid in Norman?

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Tennessee
Hendon Hooker has been electric for the Vols. Can he take down the Rebels in The Return of Kiffin?
Knoxville News Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports

The Headliner

#12 Oklahoma State at #25 Texas (-5) - October 16, 11:00 AM, FOX

The Cowboys have very quietly stacked up the wins and crept up the rankings, but now get the spotlight to begin making their case as a national contender. Perhaps the hot start is due to avoiding any P5 opponents in the non-con (winning those three games by a total of 13 points) and opening Big 12 play with two games in Stillwater. Now coming off the Bye week, OK State will travel to Austin with a chance to really force the world to notice. Texas meanwhile is coming off another heartbreaking loss in a Red River thriller. If the ‘Horns are going to get a chance at revenge in the Big 12 Championship, they’ll need to take this game to keep pace in the conference. We’ll find out if Sark has brought some gumption to Austin for the Longhorns to bounce back from devastation or if they’ll wallow in defeat and let Oklahomans catch them again.

My pick: Texas wins (-200); Texas covers (-5); Total Under 60

The Undercard

#13 Ole Miss (-2.5) vs Tennessee – October 16, 6:30 PM ABC

Lane Kiffin gets welcomed back to Rocky Top to face what could be the best Vols team since he bolted for USC. Current UT Coach Josh Heupel finally woke up and realized Hendon Hooker was the best QB on the roster and the Virginia Tech transfer has delivered an offensive explosion over the last two weeks, albeit against two of the three worst SEC defenses. The QB on the other side, Matt Corral, is now generating #1 overall draft pick and Heisman discussion by putting up dazzling stats: 1,500 pass yards, 12 TDs, and 0 interceptions, paired with 255 rush yards and 8 rush TDs. This game should be highly entertaining, and the crowd should be wild, but I personally do not think that it “Feels Like ‘98” in Knoxville and Kiffin once again walks away with a grin on his face and a pile of rubble behind him.

My pick: Ole Miss wins (-140); Ole Miss covers (-2.5); Total Under 82.5

Upset Watch

#19 BYU (+195) at Baylor (-6.5) – October 16, 2:30 PM, ESPN

I mean, can they both lose? Last week I correctly had the Cougars on upset watch against Boise as the hype had grown a bit strong for BYU. I now think the pendulum was swung too far in the other direction and the shoe is on the other foot. Baylor is now the one getting some love, coming off a dominating win vs. West Virginia, Gerry Bohanon is the 2nd coming of RGIII, and Dave Aranda is showing true progress in Year 2. With Texas coming to Waco next week, perhaps Baylor is looking ahead a bit and falls victim to the rat poison of positive media this week.

My pick: BYU wins (+195); BYU covers (+6.5); Total Over 50.5

G5 Showcase

Fresno State (-3.5) at Wyoming – October 16, 2:30 PM, FS2

This game lost most of its luster when both teams took Ls last week, with Fresno failing the late-night Hawaii test and Wyoming respecting the troops at Air Force. Even with those conference losses, these two are still very much contenders to reach the Mountain West title game. Despite Fresno’s high-profile start, the West division is stacked with San Diego State and Nevada firmly at the top. If the Bulldogs want to get back in the race, this game is a must-win. In the Mountain division, Colorado State sits alone in first place despite being objectively bad, with non-conference losses to Vanderbilt and South Dakota St – so Wyoming might have an easier path to the pinnacle. Fresno has stars at the skill positions, with the trio of QB Jake Haener, RB Ronnie Rivers, and WR Jalen Cropper putting up dazzling stats, but look out for Wyoming RB Xavavian Valladay and underrated workhorse in his own right. If Haener is fully healthy, the Bulldogs likely run away with this, but even at something less than 100% I think Haener can get Fresno back on the right track.

My pick: Fresno State wins (-175); Fresno State covers (-3.5); Total Over 54

Others Receiving Votes

  • #11 Kentucky at #1 Georgia (-22) – Are the Bulldogs really more than three TDs better than the number 11 team in the country? Yes, probably.
  • #22 NC State (-3) at Boston College – The Clemson-slaying Wolfpack are shipping up to Boston to take on the pesky Eagles who have played surprisingly well without starting QB Phil Jurkovec.
  • #18 Arizona State at Utah (Even) – The Sun Devils are on a roll and gaining some national recognition – now for on-the-field performance rather than breaking NCAA Covid recruiting restrictions. This will be a tough game in a tough late night atmosphere that could quickly quiet the ASU party.