#6 Michigan (-4.5) at #8 Michigan State – October 30, 11:00 AM FOX
Will the real Big Brother please stand up? I love the pure College Football Hatred these fanbases have for each other. They’ve all been talking trash for weeks leading up to this, even as they’ve each been clearing the hurdles necessary to make this game the true Top-10 matchup with massive stakes. I really enjoy this MSU team and have to admit that I’ve looked at their season with a tinge of jealousy. Mark Dantonio
was put out to pasture retired in 2020 after a long tenure in East Lansing - bringing the program to some of its highest heights, but had clearly taken a step back. MSU made an excellent hire in Mel Tucker, who has brought energy, talent, and innovation to the on-field product and coaching staff. Now the Spartans are back in the National picture behind physical defense, a stud bell cow RB, dynamic breakout WRs, and a heady QB able to manage the offense. It’s the formula we all thought could happen in Fort Worth in 2021…maybe next year. I’ve said nothing about the Wolverines here, because feel they have had as ho-hum a 7-0 run as possible. Yes, they are undefeated, but their schedule has been trash and they’ve cruised under the radar. The Big Ten East will be decided in the final weeks as all the top teams face off, but this one will set that stage. I hope my cursed fandom doesn’t take them down, but I’m rolling with the Spartans in The Woodshed.
My pick: Michigan St. wins (+165); Michigan St. covers (+4.5); Total Over 50
#1 Georgia (-14) vs. Florida – October 30, 2:30 PM, CBS
Is this season going to actually be weird or are the Bulldogs going to just continue to roll through every obstacle on the way to their first National Championship since 1980? There has been so much talk over the last week about how unstoppable UGA is and how Florida should fire Dan Mullen. Not So Fast My Friends. This sets up to be a classic Mullenian “look better than expected vs. a great team” performance, and with a Charmin Soft remaining schedule, would be enough for the appearance of progress. Florida has an intriguing wrinkle to throw in this game if Mullen decides to finally play his best QB, Anthony Richardson. Perhaps AR15 is not quite ready for prime time and may make some poor decisions, but he’d present the best chance at any challenge to the insane Dawg D.
My pick: Georgia wins (-645); Florida covers (+14.5); Total Over 51
North Carolina (+150) at #11 Notre Dame (-3.5) – October 30, 6:30 PM, NBC
The Tar Heels have fully fallen off the National radar after sky-high expectations going into this season – losing to Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech and Florida State in 2021 will rightly erase you from public consciousness. On the other hand, the Irish are still very much in the Playoff picture, with its lone loss to the #2 team in the country and coming off a dominating win over USC. So why isn’t this line at least 6 points? Perhaps this is the showcase, on National TV with all eyes watching, where Sam Howell reminds everyone why he should still be a top QB prospect while really and truly eliminating Notre Dame from the Playoff.
My pick: UNC wins (+150); UNC covers (+3.5); Total Under 62.5
#19 SMU at Houston (-1) – October 30, 6:00 PM, ESPN2
This game may determine the race for 2nd in the American. Which team will get that extra chance to ruin the Cinci Playoff dream in the Conference Championship? Outside of needing a miracle Hail Mary against LA Tech, SMU has been very impressive taking down its cupcake schedule. For SMU, this is the start of the gauntlet of the 5 toughest AAC teams, which will be a tall challenge to survive unscathed. The Ponies have been dominating on offense and looks to be getting back a fully healthy Ulysses Bentley. It’s hard to see a scenario where the Cougars actually shut down the Mustang offense, so the question will be if the Clayton Tune Squad can score enough to keep up. The answer is no; SMU continues to slay the current and future Big 12 members that left it for dead.
My pick: SMU wins (-105); SMU covers (+1); Total Over 61.5
Others Receiving Votes
#10 Ole Miss at #18 Auburn (-2.5) – I don’t understand why Auburn is currently ranked or favored here. It must be their marquee wins over Alabama (State) and Georgia (State). I guess being an SEC team, we’re obligated to give them a shot, but no reason to think Bryan Harsin will take it.
#20 Penn State at #5 Ohio State (-18.5) – This one lost much of its luster with PSU dropping the game in 9OT vs. Illinois last week, while OSU seems to be hitting their groove. Despite the big spread, this is considered the first of the big 3 “losable” games for the Buckeyes, with the Spartans and Wolverines to close their season.
Fresno State at #21 San Diego State (-1) – A clash of styles for MWC West supremacy. The immovable object vs. the unstoppable force. Fresno is the highest scoring team in the conference; SDSU has given up the least points in the conference
Texas at #16 Baylor (-3) – Nothing sets off Texas fans more than losing to Baylor. I think they hate it even more than TCU fans do. The Bears have an opportunity to virtually eliminate the ‘Horns from the Big 12 race. If that does happen and Baylor keeps this rolling, how long until Dave Aranda is back in Baton Rouge and looking like Scrooge McDuck?