#11 Utah (-3.5) at #18 UCLA Saturday, October 8th 2:30 pm Fox
The Utes will travel to the Rose Bowl to face Dorian Thompson-Robinson and UCLA on Saturday. Chip Kelly has the Bruins off to a 5-0 start including an upset victory last week at home over Washington. The Bruins are led by a dominant running game with a very capable runner in DTR at quarterback as well as Zach Charbonnet at running back. Thompson-Robinson has already totaled over 200 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground this season. He has big play speed and is very hard to bring down in the open field with a deep bag of moves to work with. Charbonnet represents a different style of runner standing at 6’1” and weighing 220 lbs and running with tremendous power. That’s not to say Charbonnet can’t break off big runs, because he can, but that he creates different problems than DTR in that he can and often does run defenders over. Charbonnet has 417 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground this season, averaging 6.4 yards per carry. The passing attack has been strong to start the season as well with Thompson-Robinson eclipsing 1,200 passing yards and reaching 11 touchdowns to just 1 interception. Jake Bobo has been the leading receiving threat for the Bruins this season with 363 yards and 3 touchdowns on 21 receptions. The senior had a big game against Washington last week with 6 catches for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns. The defense for the Bruins has done an excellent job forcing turnovers so far this season with 10 through 5 games. The secondary has brought in 6 interceptions to start the season including 2 off of Michael Penix Jr. last week against Washington. To secure back-to-back home top 25 wins, the UCLA defense will need to force Cam Rising into some bad decisions and take advantage.
Utah has rebounded nicely after a week 1 loss at Florida as they have won 4 straight with relative ease. Former Texas Longhorn Cam Rising is off to a great start to the season with over 1,100 yards and 13 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions. The junior from Ventura, California is a threat to run as he has 189 yards and a touchdown on the ground in 2022. Rising likes to target his tight ends as two of the top three receivers for the Utes this season are tight ends Dalton Kincaid and Brant Kuithe. Kincaid has 257 yards and 5 touchdowns through 5 games while Kuithe has totaled 206 yards and 3 touchdowns. The leading receiver overall, however, has been sophomore Devaughn Vele. Vele has 269 yards and 3 touchdowns on 21 receptions including a two-touchdown performance against San Diego State. Tavion Thomas is the lead running back for Utah in 2022 with 295 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground. The offense has scored at least 34 points in 4 straight games and will need an efficient outing on Saturday to keep up with UCLA’s dominant running game. The defense that will be tasked with slowing down that rushing attack has been excellent against the run since a tough performance against Florida in week 1. The Utes let up 283 yards on the ground to the Gators but have not had an opposing player break 50 yards rushing in a game since. Utah will need to continue that streak to secure the win on the road this weekend.
My pick: Utah wins (-170) Utah covers (-3.5) Full game under (64.5)
#8 Tennessee (-2.5) at #25 LSU Saturday, October 8th 11:00 am ESPN
Hendon Hooker and the Vols travel to the real Death Valley to face Jayden Daniels and LSU coming off of a close win at Auburn. Tennessee sports one of the most explosive offenses in the country behind a very dangerous passing attack. Hendon Hooker has entered Heisman conversations with a fast start to 2022 totaling almost 1,200 yards and 8 touchdowns through just 4 games. Even with the injury to top target Cedric Tillman, Hooker was able to pick up 349 passing yards and 3 total touchdowns against Florida two weeks ago. Bru McCoy had a big game against Florida with over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown on 5 receptions. Jalin Hyatt has also been excellent for the Vols with 325 yards and 3 touchdowns receiving this season. The rushing attack has been solid as well for Tennessee when needed. Jaylen Wright and Jabari Small have been the two leading backs both averaging around 4 yards per carry. Both have 4 rushing touchdowns serving as strong compliments to the passing attack. They will be facing an LSU team that survived a scare in Jordan-Hare last week. Quarterback Jayden Daniels did not have a very good game against Auburn, finishing 8-20 for 80 yards and no touchdowns through the air. He did collect a touchdown on the ground as well as 59 yards rushing but will need a much better performance to keep up with Tennessee. Star receiver Kayshon Boutte has not had a fast start to 2022 with only 97 yards on 11 catches. Daniels and Boutte getting on the same page would be a tremendous boost to an offense that has struggled to score at times this season. I think the Tennessee offense is just too good for LSU to keep up with and the Vols pull away in this one.
My pick: Tennessee wins (-140) Tennessee covers (-2.5) Full game under (65)
#16 BYU vs. Notre Dame (-3.5) Saturday, October 8th 6:30 pm NBC
The Cougars and Fighting Irish face off in a neutral site game in Las Vegas at the home of the Raiders: Allegiant Stadium. After starting off 0-2, Notre Dame has rebounded nicely with wins over Cal at home and UNC on the road. Sophomore Drew Pyne took over as the starting quarterback after an injury to Tyler Buchner. Pyne has played well in the last two games with 439 yards and 6 touchdowns with no interceptions against Cal and UNC. Star tight end Michael Mayer has been excellent as expected with 233 yards and 3 touchdowns through the air on 22 catches. Receiver Lorenzo Styles is a weapon at receiver with 221 yards and a touchdown on 16 receptions through 4 games this year. The defense has been up and down after a very strong week 1 performance against Ohio State, holding Cal to 17 points then letting up 32 to a good UNC offense. The opposing quarterback, Jaren Hall, on the other hand has been consistently very good to start the season. Hall has a completion percentage over 70 percent so far this season totaling 1,438 yards and 12 touchdowns passing to just 1 interception. Hall has led the Cougars to a 4-1 start this season including a thrilling win over Baylor at home in double overtime. Their only loss this season was against Oregon in Autzen and BYU should come out victorious over a Notre Dame team that suffered a home loss to Marshall earlier this season.
My pick: BYU wins (+158) BYU covers (+4) Full game over (51)
Also Receiving Votes:
Arkansas at #23 Mississippi State (-9) Saturday, October 8th 11:00 am SECN:
The Razorbacks travel to Starkville to face Mike Leach and Mississippi State who are coming off of a big time win over Texas A&M. Will Rogers is playing at a very high level and faces an Arkansas secondary that had not been great this season.
Florida State at #14 NC State (-3.5) Saturday, October 8th 7:00 pm ACCN:
Jordan Travis and the Seminoles are set to play the Wolfpack on Saturday night as both teams are coming off of loses to top 25 teams in Wake Forest and Clemson respectively. Devin Leary could have a big game against a Florida State defense that got picked apart by Sam Hartman a week ago.
#20 Kansas State (-1) at Iowa State Saturday, October 8th 6:30 pm ESPNU:
Kansas State will make the always scary trip to Ames, Iowa to face the Cyclones coming off a loss at Kansas in which they had plenty of chances to win. The matchup between Matt Campbell’s 3-3-5 defense and Deuce Vaughn and the KState offense should be very fun to watch.