#10 NC State at #5 Clemson (-7.0) Saturday, October 1st 6:30 pm ABC
College gameday will be in Clemson, South Carolina for a matchup between two top 10 ACC teams. The Tigers are coming off a double-overtime win at Wake Forest last week where quarterback DJ Uiagalelei had his best game of the season throwing for 371 yards and 5 touchdowns. Clemson needs Uiagalelei to continue playing at a high level as the defense appears to have taken a step back with the departure of defensive coordinator Brent Venables to Oklahoma. Sam Hartman and Wake Forest put up over 400 yards of total offense and 45 points last week on the Tigers’ defense. Hartman is an excellent quarterback and Wake Forest is a good team but this game showed that the defense might not be able to carry an offense as bad as Clemson’s 2021 offense. The running game for Clemson has been strong so far to start the season with sophomore running back Will Shipley leading the way. Shipley has over 350 yards on the ground and is averaging 6.8 yards per carry. Uiagalelei is also a threat in the running game with over 160 yards on the ground and 1 rushing touchdown. Beaux Collins has been the top receiving threat for the Tigers with 218 yards and 4 touchdowns through 4 games. Joseph Ngata has been excellent through the first four games as well with 189 yards on 11 receptions. Uiagalelei has the weapons around him to succeed and will need to have a good game on Saturday to keep up with Devin Leary and the Wolfpack.
NC State has bounced back nicely after a scare in week 1 against East Carolina where they escaped with a 1-point win. The Wolfpack secured a 13-point victory over a solid Texas Tech team and took care of business against lesser opponents in UConn and Charleston Southern. The Wolfpack are led at quarterback by the previously mentioned Devin Leary who burst onto the national stage in 2021 with over 3,400 yards and 35 touchdowns through the air to just 5 interceptions. Leary is off to a decent start in 2022 with 890 yards and 9 touchdowns and two interceptions. Leary struggled against East Carolina throwing for a completion percentage of 51.5% and an interception. The next 3 games were much better for him and that will need to continue against the Clemson defense which is probably the best defense NC State has seen this season. Leary’s top target has been senior Thayer Thomas who has 217 yards and 2 touchdowns receiving through 4 games. The running game for NC State has been led by running back Demie Sumo-Karngbaye with 252 yards and 3 touchdowns. The sophomore is averaging 6.5 yards per carry. The Wolfpack defense has been stout to begin the season not letting up over 20 points against admittedly weaker competition. I think this will be a close game until Clemson pulls away a little bit in the 4th quarter for the win.
My pick: Clemson wins (-267) Clemson covers (-7) Full game over (44)
#9 Oklahoma State at #16 Baylor (-2.5) Saturday, October 1st 2:30 Fox
Two of the top Big 12 teams face off in Waco this Saturday in a rematch of the 2021 Big 12 Championship game. The Cowboys return Spencer Sanders at quarterback for his senior season and he is off to a very good start with 916 yards and 10 touchdowns. The most important thing for OSU is the fact that he has only thrown 1 interception so far this season. Sanders has always been able to move the ball down the field well but has struggled with turnovers in years past. In two games against Baylor last year, Sanders threw 7 interceptions including 4 in the Big 12 Championship game. Taking care of the ball will be top priority for Sanders as he looks to avenge the heartbreaking championship game loss a year ago. Former TCU commit Dominic Richardson starts at running back this season for OSU and is off to a solid 2022 averaging 5 yards a carry through 3 games. Richardson is a receiving threat out of the backfield as well with 8 receptions for 91 yards this season. Braydon Johnson has been the leading receiver for the Pokes after missing almost all of last season with an injury. Johnson has 300 yards and 3 touchdowns receiving so far this year. The offense has put up over thirty points in all three games so far this season but have not faced a defense near as good as Baylor’s yet. The departure of defensive coordinator Jim Knowles to Ohio State was a big loss this offseason as the defense might have taken a step back. They struggled week 1 against Central Michigan letting up 44 points and over 500 total yards and let up over 350 yards of offense to a very bad Arizona State team that lost to Eastern Michigan week 3. The talent is still there on the defensive side of the ball and they should get better as the years goes on as they get used to new defensive coordinator Derek Mason.
Baylor is 3-1 so far on the season with their only loss coming against a top 25 BYU team in one of the toughest places to play in the country in Provo, Utah. Quarterback Blake Shapen has had a decent start to the season with his best game coming last week against Iowa State. Shapen threw for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Cyclones in a 31-24 Baylor win. Shapen had a solid Big 12 championship game performance 3 touchdowns and 180 yards passing although he was not asked to push the ball down the field very much in that game. True freshman running back Richard Reese has received a lot of carries with the departure of Abram Smith and Trestan Ebner to the NFL. Reese has had a very strong couple of games with over 300 yards and 6 touchdowns on the ground. Siaki Ika is a star for the Bears at defensive tackle with great pass rushing and run stopping ability up the middle. Ika has led a defense that is off to a very good 2022 as Dave Aranda has restocked a defense that lost a solid amount of talent to the NFL and graduation this offseason. This game should be a great one and I think Oklahome State gets revenge for last year’s heartbreaker.
My pick: OSU wins (+115) OSU covers (+2.5) Full game under (55.5)
The Undercard part 2
#2 Alabama (-17) at #20 Arkansas Saturday, October 1st 2:30 CBS
Nick Saban and Alabama will travel to Fayetteville to face off against an Arkansas team coming off of a heartbreaking loss to Texas A&M last week in Arlington. Bryce Young has again been excellent this season for the Crimson Tide keeping the passing attack afloat despite a wide receiver group that is sorely lacking playmakers. Young has put up over 1000 yards through the air without a true weapon at wide receiver. The backfield is solid for the Tide with Jahmyr Gibbs and Jase McClellan both having strong starts to the season. Gibbs has been arguably Alabama’s best receiving threat as well with 17 receptions for almost 200 yards and 3 touchdowns to go along with 172 yards rushing. The defense has been strong as well with Will Anderson leading the way with 4.5 sacks despite demanding a lot of attention in pass protection from opposing teams. Anderson also has a pick six on the season as he has continued to be dominant in 2022. The Razorbacks offensive line has been very good so far this seasons and the matchup between them and Anderson should be very fun to watch. Arkansas also has a scary front 7 on defense with Alabama transfer Drew Sanders racking up 5.5 sacks already. The Razorbacks have 20 sacks as a team in 2022 and will go up against an Alabama offensive line that struggled against Texas earlier this season. I think Alabama pulls out a win in this one but the game will be much closer than people expect as I think this is a tough matchup for the Crimson Tide with the Razorback’s strength in the trenches.
My pick: Alabama wins (-800) Arkansas covers (+17) Full game under (61)
#7 Kentucky at #14 Ole Miss (-6.5) Saturday, October 1st 11:00 am ESPN
Mark Stoops and the Wildcats will travel to Oxford to face off against Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss. Will Levis has led Kentucky to a 4-0 start this season including a victory in the Swamp over Florida. Levis already has over 1100 yards passing and 10 touchdowns to 4 interceptions this season. Levis is projected to go very highly in the 2023 NFL draft and will need to have a strong performance to keep up with a very explosive Ole Miss offense. Kavosiey Smoke has been the lead back for Kenucky this season averaging over 5 yards per carry for over 260 yards rushing. Tayvion Robinson has been excellent at receiver this season with 349 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns averaging an explosive 17.5 yards per reception. This should be a high scoring game as Ole Miss sports a very strong running game with former Frog Zach Evans leading the way. Frog fans know that Evans has as much talent as any running back in the country and when he is on the field, he can win games almost on his own. His backfield mate Quinshon Judkins has been excellent as well with 429 yards on 6.1 yards a carry. Jaxson Dart has had an up and down start to the season with almost 700 yards and 5 touchdowns to 2 interceptions against a fairly easy schedule. He will face a good Kentucky defense on Saturday and will need to step up for Ole Miss to come out with a win. I think Dart makes a few mistakes and Will Levis takes advantage for a Kentucky win.
My pick: Kentucky wins (+210) Kentucky covers (+6.5) Full game over (54.5)