We’re in the last two weeks of the regular season and it looks like this year has gone by really fast.
Competition week and conference championships are on deck, but there’s still plenty of quality college football games this weekend to enjoy and maybe invest some hard-earned bucks.
I had an 11 winner week and intend to finish the season strong after a few bumps in the road along the way.
last week: 4-3
No. 11 Penn State at Rutgers
Time: 3:30 p.m. | TV: BTN | Line: PSU-19 | Total: 45
Penn State has been beating out superior opponents over the past month. PSU beat Minnesota 45-17, Indiana 45-14 and Maryland 30-0. I fancy another blowout vs. Rutgers.
Penn State will be able to beat the Crimson Knights with freshmen running backs Nick Singleton and Caytron Allen, who have combined for 1,431 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. There is also a group of young stars emerging on the PSU defense who play fast and aggressively in Manny Diaz’s scheme. I find it hard to see the Scarlet Knights putting up much resistance, even at home.
Rutgers is 1-5 ATS as a double-digit home underdog since the return of Greg Schiano in 2020. In the final three, Rutgers has lost 39, 49 and 35 points. PSU has covered five of the final seven as a double-digit road favorite and I am not disappointed in this group.
Pick: Penn State -19
No. 24 NC State at Louisville
Time: 3:30 p.m. | Television: ESPN3 | Line: UL -4.5 | Total: 45.5
NC State is still ranked despite losing 21-20 at home to Boston College last week. Prior to this loss, NC State managed to beat both Virginia Tech and Wake Forest at home despite having to rely on true freshman QB MJ Morris, who started the year ranked third and was projected to redshirt.
I expect Morris to be a good player for the Wolfpack, but he struggled last week against a poor defense by BC. Now he has to hit the road for the first time and face a ferocious rush in the Louisville lane. I expect a very conservative approach on offense from NC State, who is always trying to prove the run even though they’re not very good at it.
And as much as Louisville’s defense has improved, the best unit on the field in this game is the NC State defense. Still, I expect a low-scoring game. This is particularly the case with potentially sidelined Louisville QB Malik Cunningham. He had a hard fall last week in UL’s loss to Clemson and backup Brock Domann is a pretty big drop.
Choose: Less than 45.5
Iowa in Minnesota
Time: 4 p.m. | TV: Fox | Line: Minnesota -3 | Total: 32.5
Iowa State was the winner for me last week and I’m once again supporting the Hockey family. In a game with an absurdly low total like this, getting a field goal is important – especially with the style of play on both sides.
Iowa is terrible on offense, but has the advantage defensively and on special teams. Iowa beat Wisconsin 24-10 last week despite having 146 yards of offense. Iowa’s scoring drives were of 17 and 18 yards. Created by Punt Banned and Punt Long Returns. The Hawkeyes also had a pick six and added a field goal after Wisconsin saw a turnover in touchdowns.
Minnesota relies heavily on the running game. Iowa would be able to field Mo Ibrahim and force Minnesota to punt. If the Gophers have to start as freshman QB Athan Kaliakmanis again, don’t be surprised when he gets impaled on an error or two. That’s just what Iowa does.
Oh, and Iowa has won seven straight in the series and covered the spread in the last six meetings. I have to take points.
Choose: Iowa +3
Texas Tech in Iowa
Time: 7 p.m. | TV: FS1 | Font: ISU -3.5 | Total: 47.5
After a four-of-five losing streak, Texas Tech beat Kansas at home last week to go 5-5. TTU could clinch a berth, but a trip to Ames to take on an Iowa State team that lost six of seven won’t be easy. Five of ISU’s losses have come by seven points or fewer, so this is a team that plays close games and is desperate for a win. Bowl eligibility is still a possibility for the Hurricanes as well, so there’s plenty of drive for both teams.
I don’t have the feeling of signing a team, but I like the overall. Iowa has a really strong defense but they struggle on offense. This is a night game at Jack Trice Stadium and it will be very cold and windy. This does not favor the spin-prone Texas Tech team, which throws the ball 56% of the time. But it’s part of a recipe for less.
In Iowa’s last seven home games as a touchdown favorite or fewer, the lowest is 5-1-1. Only two of ISU’s games this season have reached that total. Do not imagine a lot of points.
Choose: Less than 47.5
Boise State in Wyoming
Time: 7 p.m. | Television: CBSSN | Line: Boise State -14 | Total: 44.5
First place in the Mountain Division is at stake and Wyoming is an underdog at home? That sounds like a lot of points for a disciplined and physical team.
Boise State has a great defense and an emerging star quarterback in Tylenn Green. But the Broncos use a first offense without much tempo, a style that works well with Wyoming on both sides of the ball. The Cowboys will lean on running back Titus Swen for a game where it’ll be sweltering (teenage chills on kickoff), windy and keeping things low-scoring.
Wyoming has covered six of its last seven games versus Boise State and Laramie’s home field advantage is pretty big late in the year. During Craig Bohl’s tenure as head coach (dating back to 2014), Wyoming earned a 6-2 ATS with three outright wins as a seven-point underdog in home games played after October 1. Additionally, the under-18-9 finish in Wyoming home games after October 1 goes back to 2014.
Picks: Wyoming +14, under 44.5
No. 14 Ole Miss Arkansas
Time: 7:30 PM | Television: SECN | Font: Ole Miss -2.5 | Total: 64
Ole Miss had Alabama on the ropes last week and couldn’t get over an upset. Now the Rebels have to hit the road for a night game against Arkansas in an effort to clinch running eligibility. Arkansas had nearly an upset of its own last week, losing 13-10 to LSU even though quarterback KJ Jefferson was out with a shoulder injury.
Jefferson is expected to return this week and I think Arkansas is going to win this game. The Razorbacks are much better than their 5-5 record would indicate. They have played an incredibly tough schedule but should be able to feed the home crowd and find success with their speedy attack.
Ole Miss will have success speeding up the ball as well, but can Quinshon Judkins handle another heavy workload? There are also reasons to doubt the Jaxson Dart’s ability to consistently make throws in a difficult road environment.
Pick: Arkansas +2.5
No. 7 USC at No. 16 UCLA
Time: 8 p.m. | TV: Fox | Line: USC -2.5 | Total: 75.5
UCLA was caught eyeing this game last week and ended up losing to Arizona, who got an amazing effort from QB Jayden de Laura. UCLA faces a better quarterback this week, USC’s Caleb Williams, but I love where the Bruins are here against the rival Trojans.
USC’s defense is abysmal and UCLA will be able to easily manage it with Zach Charbonnet and Dorian Thompson-Robinson. On the other hand, USC would be without running back Travis Dye. Dye has always been a safety blanket for Williams all year long. It’s a big loss.
USC has been playing many bad teams since losing on the road to Utah. The Trojans have received a lot of hype since the arrival of Lincoln Riley. UCLA would like to put an end to this hype.
Choose: UCLA +2.5