#4 Penn State at #3 Iowa (1.5) - October 9, 3:00 PM, FOX
It’s rare to find a true top-5 B1G game that does not feature Ohio State, but here in Week 6 the Hawkeyes and Nittany Lions have earned the spotlight. PSU has not even yet begun its B1G East gauntlet, but already owns two conference wins and an SEC win over Auburn. Iowa was my pick on the upset watch last week at Maryland and I could not have been more wrong, as they romped to a 38 point victory – they are also 2-0 in conference and a marquee (at least it was at the time) win over Iowa State. Iowa certainly has a much easier road beyond this game, avoiding Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State from the East side of the division, and with the rest of the B1G West being mostly terrible. A win here puts Kirk Ferentz’s crew as almost a guarantee to be in the conference title game and a top-tier contender to be in the Playoff race to the end. I’ll keep saying it, but I’m a huge fan of the PSU pass catching trio of Jahan Dotson, Parker Washington, and Keandre Lambert-Smith, along with the new offense…and I guess I’ll continue to not buy-in to Iowa, which has worked out okay for the Hawkeyes thus far.
My pick: Penn State wins (+105); Penn State covers (+1.5); Total Over 40.5
#6 Oklahoma (-3.5) vs #21 Texas – October 9, 11:00 AM ABC
Yes, I suppose we have to include Red River here. Now that both the Sooners and Longhorns were able to escape their typical demons in purple, K-State and TCU respectively, this is very likely a Big 12 Championship preview. While Bijan Robinson devoured the TCU defense (#116 EPA/rush), he will have a much tougher task against Oklahoma (#6 EPA/rush). If Robinson is bottled up, Casey Thompson hasn’t yet shown anything to suggest he can do enough to pick up the slack and outscore the Sooners. Although Spencer Rattler hasn’t really filled the massive shoes of his predecessors, and the Lincoln Riley offense hasn’t gotten off the ground yet in 2021, I still believe the Sooners are the better team and come away with the win here.
My pick: Oklahoma wins (-160); Oklahoma covers (-3.5); Total Under 62
Boise State (+190) at #10 BYU (-6) – October 9, 2:30 PM, ABC
I don’t have much backing for this, except that a gut feeling and that I’m intrigued by the prospect of this game. BYU has been able to move on nicely in Life Without Zach Wilson, already reaching the top-10 with 3 wins over Pac-12 teams. Boise on the other hand has had a rough start to Life Without Bryan Harsin, already suffering 3 losses, including the MWC opener. There has been a groundswell of commentary that if both Cinci & BYU go undefeated, that the Cougars deserve the Playoff bid more than the Bearcats, given the much more difficult Independent schedule they have cultivated. While that is true, it would require an undefeated season, which could end this week in Provo.
My pick: Boise St. wins (+190); Boise St. covers (+6); Total Over 57
UTSA at Western Kentucky (-3.5) – October 9, 6:00 PM, Stadium
Ok, I don’t know how to watch Stadium – is it online-only is it an actual TV channel, is it free? Regardless, this is an intriguing matchup featuring a UTSA squad that has been very impressive in the non-conference slate with wins at Memphis and Illinois. On the other side WKU hasn’t piled up the wins but brings an exciting offense – QB Bailey Zappe just threw for 488 yards and 3 TDs at #11 Michigan State. This is a College Fantasy Football dream, as UTSA also features a killer 3-headed monster of QB Frank Harris, RB Sincere McCormick, and WR Zakhari Franklin. The Roadrunners likely need a win here to keep pace in a difficult C-USA West race with UAB, UTEP, and LA Tech, but think they take a fall in Bowling Green
My pick: Western Kentucky wins (-165); Western Kentucky covers (-3.5); Total Under 70
Others Receiving Votes
#2 Georgia (-15.5) at #18 Auburn – It’s likely the Bulldogs continue to outclass the competition to keep moving towards the inevitable SEC Championship date with Alabama…but maybe not?
Utah at USC (-3) – Two teams already with disappointing seasons looking to get back into the Pac 12 conference race.
LSU at #16 Kentucky (-3) – Kentucky is coming off a massive win vs. Florida while LSU suffered a loss to the Bo Nix-led Auburn Tigers. Can the Bayou Bengals bounce back or will Coach O get bounced from Baton Rouge?
#14 Notre Dame (-1) at Virginia Tech – All of Notre Dame’s flaws were on display last week vs. Cinci and they were unable to find the Luck of the Irish which had bailed them out so much this season. Do they get back into the picture or does Enter Sandman consume another visitor and keep Justin Fuente afloat?
#9 Michigan (-3.5) at Nebraska – Trap game for the Wolverines? Why is this line only 3.5…don’t be shocked if this one is more entertaining than it deserves to be.
Virginia at Louisville – Get the popcorn ready for an offensive explosion with UVA’s Brennan Armstrong vs. Louisville’s Malik Cunningham.