#9 Alabama (-12) at #11 Ole Miss Saturday, November 12th 2:30 pm CBS
The Crimson Tide travel to Oxford to try and avoid its second straight loss after dropping a heartbreaker in Death Valley to LSU last week. Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss bring one of the top rushing offenses in the country to this matchup with an excellent group of running backs including former Frog, Zach Evans. Evans has had a solid 2022 with 680 yards and 7 touchdowns on 108 carries. True freshman Quishon Judkins has been very good as well with 1036 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground on 180 attempts, good for 5.8 yards per carry. Both are also solid receiving threats out of the backfield as Judkins has 7 catches for 71 yards and a touchdown and Evans has 8 catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. The quarterback throwing them those passes is former USC Trojan, Jaxson Dart. The sophomore has 1,911 yards and 14 touchdowns through the air to 7 interceptions this season. Dart has a number of weapons at his disposal, beyond the two running backs, including wide receiver Jonathan Mingo. Mingo has had a great 2022 season so far, racking up 664 yards and 4 touchdowns on 30 receptions. The senior had a monster game against Vanderbilt earlier this season going for 247 yards and two touchdowns on 9 receptions. Mingo is excellent in the run after catch department with the strength to run through arm tackles and the vision to take short throws the distance. He should get a chance to showcase this on Saturday as the Rebels could look to get the ball out of Dart’s hands quickly against a stellar pass rush from Alabama. The pass rush for Ole Miss has been solid this season too led by defensive end Cedric Johnson with 4 sacks and another former Frog in Khari Coleman who has 3.5 sacks on the year. The Ole Miss defense sports a number of capable pass rushers with 13 players having recorded at least half of a sack this year. They will be rushing one of the most capable pocket navigators in the country in Bryce Young who flashed his mobility last week against LSU even in the loss. The projected top 3 pick in next years draft is having another great season with 2,234 yards and 19 touchdowns to 4 interceptions. Young is a very polished for a college quarterback with excellent pocket awareness and anticipation on throws making him a tough quarterback to play against. He has the benefit of a strong rushing attack led by Georgia Tech transfer Jahmyr Gibbs. Gibbs has been excellent rushing and receiving with 771 yards and 6 touchdowns on the ground to go with 365 yards and 3 touchdowns on 39 receptions through the air. He is a dynamic weapon that can line up at running back or wide receiver and have success at either spot. Ja’Corey Brooks has emerged as the top true wide receiver for the Crimson Tide, collecting 473 yards and 5 touchdowns on 28 receptions in 2022. Brooks had a solid game in the loss to LSU last week with 7 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. The defense for Alabama is filled with NFL talent at all 3 levels. Will Anderson headlines the defense and is projected to be a top 5 pick in the 2023 NFL draft. Linebacker Henry To’oTo’o has been very solid for the Tide this year with 66 total tackles and 2 sacks on the year. Safety Jordan Battle brings physical play to the secondary showing a willingness to help aggressively in run support. All will need to have good games on Saturday to slow down the rushing attack of Ole Miss. I think Alabama does win on Saturday, but I think Ole Miss will have enough success on the ground to cover.
My pick: Alabama wins (-440) Ole Miss covers (+12) Full game over (65)
#22 UCF at #17 Tulane (-1) Saturday, November 12th 2:30 pm ESPN2
Gus Malzahn and UCF travel to New Orleans for a top 25 matchup with the Green Wave this Saturday. Malzahn has led UCF to a 7-2 record so far in his second year in Orlando and has the Knights firmly in the race for the AAC championship. Who plays quarterback for the Knights is up in the air right now as Ole Miss transfer John Rhys Plumlee got knocked out with a concussion against Cincinnati though 2021 starter Mikey Keene played well in relief. Keene has thrown for 395 yards and 3 touchdowns with 1 interception this season with a 75.5% completion rate. Plumlee has thrown for 1,883 yards and 11 touchdowns to 6 interceptions this seasons and is the leading rusher yardage wise for the Knights on the year with 532 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground in 2022. Either quarterback will have a very capable group of weapons at their disposal with two solid running backs in RJ Harvey and Isaiah Bowser. Harvey has averaged over 7 yards per carry this season with 532 yards and 4 touchdowns on just 72 carries. Bowser has seen the heavier workload with 129 carries for 503 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. The UCF offense will be facing a very good defense for Tulane that held a good Kansas State offense to just 10 points earlier this year. Deuce Vaughn was held to just 80 yards on the ground on 20 attempts and Adrian Martinez only had 150 yards through the air. Linebacker Dorian Williams has been the leader of the defense with 4 sacks, an interception, and 71 total tackles this season. Michael Pratt has had a solid year under center for the Green Wave with 1,843 passing yards and 14 touchdowns through the air with 4 interceptions. Pratt is also a threat on the ground with 251 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground. Running back Tyjae Spears has been excellent for Tulane in 2022 with 745 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. I think that Tulane wins this one at home in a close game.
My pick: Tulane (-120) Tulane covers (-1) Full game under (54.5)
The Undercard part 2:
#25 Washington at #6 Oregon (-13.5) Saturday, November 12th 6:00 pm Fox
The Ducks host a top 25 Washington team coming off of a win over a very good Oregon State team. Washington has taken a step forward from last year thanks to the addition of former Indian Hoosier Michael Penix Jr. at quarterback. Penix has thrown for 3,232 yards and 23 touchdowns to 5 interceptions. The Washington offense is very fun to watch as they throw the ball a lot, as Penix is up to almost 400 passing attempts this year, leading to a lot of big plays and high scoring games. The top receiver for the Huskies this year has been Rome Odunze who has 57 receptions for 858 yards and 6 touchdowns this year. Jalen McMillan has been very good as well with 49 receptions for 670 yards and 6 touchdowns. They will be trying to keep up with a very creative Oregon offense that saw an offensive tackle catch a touchdown pass last week against Cal. Bo Nix has thrived for the Ducks after a tough week 1 against the number 1 team in the nation in Georgia. Nix has thrown for 2,495 yards and 22 touchdowns with 5 interceptions this season and has been excellent as a rushing threat as well, racking up 457 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. Troy Franklin has been the top target for Nix this season with 39 catches for 636 yards and 5 touchdowns. This game should be a fun one to watch with a bunch of points scored. I think Oregon wins at home but Washington covers the spread.
My pick: Oregon wins (-480) Washington covers (+13.5) Full game over (72.5)
Showdown in North Carolina:
#15 UNC at Wake Forest (-3.5) Saturday, November 12th 6:20 pm ESPN2
Drake Maye and the Tar Heels visit Sam Hartman and Wake Forest for a matchup of two of the top passing offenses in the country. Maye has been incredible this season and is in the Heisman conversation with 2,964 yards, 31 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. Maye is also the leading rusher for the Tar Heels with 513 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground. Josh Downs has been Maye’s top target with 63 catches for 693 yards and 8 touchdowns and has cemented himself as a very good NFL draft prospect. The Wake Forest they are facing has been very inconsistent this year, taking Clemson down to the wire in double overtime but has lost two straight to Louisville and NC State without Devin Leary. Sam Hartman has had a solid year overall but has had some costly turnovers, especially in the loss to Louisville. He has 2,423 yards and 24 touchdowns with 9 interceptions in 2022. I think the UNC wins this one on the road as Drake Maye continues his excellent season in Winston-Salem.
My pick: UNC wins (+158) UNC covers (+4) Full game under (78.5)