What an amazing day of action this week in college football! We saw last second miracles, Florida Gators I am looking at you, overtime thrillers, USC and Texas just can’t seem not to play great games, and epic upsets as multiple ranked teams dropped to unranked foes. I am going to run you through all the action and recap the bets you should have made and the ones you wished you wouldn’t have! Let’s get going!
Repeat National Champions?
In the highest-profile matchup of the week, the Clemson Tigers traveled to Louisville to take on last year’s Heisman trophy winner, Lamar Jackson, and his Cardinals. Many expected a repeat of last year’s epic battle that saw Clemson barely sneak out alive 42-36, on their way to the National Championship. The oddsmakers installed Clemson as small -3.5 road favorites. In one of the more shocking outcomes on the day, the Tigers absolutely blew the tires off Louisville in this one.
First-year Tiger starting QB, Kelly Bryant, looked a lot more like the returning Heisman Trophy winner than Lamar Jackson did on Saturday. Bryant threw for 316 yards and a score and rushed for 26 yards and two more scores in the blowout 47-21 win. Jackson struggled to find time all day long, and although his stats looked pretty good by the end of the day, 317 yards passing, three throwing TDs and another 64 yards on the ground, the game was never really in question as the Tigers had built up a 33-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter. It was a huge statement game for the Tigers and if anyone doubted the Tigers chances of repeating as National Champions, they won’t anymore after this one.
Favorites That Covered
This list is a little shorter than its going to be most weeks. The favorites struggled this week. Many lost outright, and others that did win didn’t cover the spread. And as bettors we know that if you don’t cover the spread, then you really didn’t win, right? Here we are going to quickly touch on which favorites in the top 25 were able to get the job done Saturday, both on the scoreboard and in the book.
Miracle in the Swamp
This one seems a little fluky to put in this section, but the Florida Gators closed out as four-point favorites and managed to cover the spread in a wild game. After a long, boring game, for most of the afternoon, both teams woke up in the fourth quarter. It looked like Florida was going to cruise to a hard-fought victory as they led 20-10 with just over five minutes left to play. Then all hell broke loose. The Vols scored twice in the games final minutes and looked poised to take the game into overtime when they tied it up with less than a minute on the clock. Somebody forgot to tell Gator quarterback Feleipe Franks that as he uncorked one of the better throws you are ever going to see as time expired. Franks unloaded a spectacular 63-yard bomb to Tyrie Cleveland that was right on the money, and the Gators took it 26-20 at the buzzer. A wild and crazy ending and a tough beat if you backed the Vols in this one.
South Florida was able to build a big lead early and hold on for a 47-23 victory against Illinois, covering the 17-point number. There is early talk of an undefeated run for the Bulls as the schedule lays out fairly nicely, check back with me in a month when South Florida hosts a tough Houston team on October 28th. If they manage to take that one, we could be looking at an undefeated campaign.
Oklahoma State’s explosive offense was in top form as they went into Pittsburg and smashed the Panthers 59-21, easily covering the 10.5 spread. OK State QB Mason Rudolph led the way for the Cowboys with 497 yards passing and five TDS. Things get tougher next week for Oklahoma State as the Cowboys host #20 TCU.
Virginia Tech rolled up 675 yards of total offense against an outmatched ECU team. The Hokies took the game 64-17 and covered the 27 points. It’s another soft matchup next week for V-Tech with a road game against Old Dominion before hosting defending National Champions, Clemson on September 30th.
The Wisconsin Badgers steamrolled BYU 40-6 on Saturday. The Badgers completely shut down the much-hyped Cougar QB Beau Hodge, Hodge finished just 11-20 with 111 yards and two picks. Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook was almost perfect on the afternoon, going 18-19 for 256 and four scores. The Badgers take on Northwestern next week.
The Oklahoma Sooners continue to impress this season. After stomping Ohio State last week, Boomer Sooner continued its hot streak, battering Tulane 54-14 and covering the 32.5-point line. The Sooners travel to Baylor next week in what should be a fun matchup, and the impending Red River Shootout with Texas looms on October 14th.
In the biggest point spread cover of the week, the Penn State Nittany Lions rolled to a 56-0 win over Georgia State. Trace McSorley threw for four TDs in the blowout. The Nittany Lions have a couple soft games coming up before playing Michigan and Ohio State back to back next month.
Washington State crushed Pac-12 rival Oregon State 52-23 and had no problems covering the 17.5 points. Cougar QB, Luke Falk did anything he wanted, throwing for six scores on the afternoon. The Cougs have a soft matchup against UNR next week before hosting a top five USC squad the following week. There hasn’t been a lot of talk about the Cougars yet this season, but this offense is truly elite and can score on any team in the country.
They Won But Didn’t Cover… They May as Well Have Lost!
In this group, we have the teams that won the game but lost us our bets. You see the team walking off the field looking like winners with big smiles on their face while you crumple up your betting ticket…
First up are John Harbough’s Michigan Wolverines. Michigan came into this matchup with Air Force as big 23-point favorites. The boys in maize and blue were lucky to escape with a win in this one as it took a 20-7 second half to eek out a 29-13 victory. I’m not ready to say Michigan is overrated as they are just two weeks removed from pounding a solid Florida team, but they will need a much better effort than they gave today if they are going to win at Penn State on October 21st. A couple of soft ones coming up in the meantime so I expect Michigan to head into Happy Valley undefeated for that matchup that could decide the Big 10 and possibly more.
TCU looked pretty good against a game SMU team this week but were unable to cover the 22-point spread, taking the game 56-36. They had the number covered, but a late 61-yard SMU TD spoiled the effort. TCU travels to Stillwater next week to face off against a top ten OK State team, we will know a lot more about how good this team is after that one. Stay tuned as the Cowboys will be on upset alert!
Ohio State suffered the toughest loss of the week as they failed to cover the 31.5-point line by just a half of a point. The Buckeyes cruised to an easy victory 38-7 but failed to cover a very accurate number. It was a strong bounce-back effort for Ohio State after they got shellacked last week by Oklahoma. Next up for the Bucks is a sweetheart matchup with a cupcake UNLV squad.
The number one team in the land, Alabama, jumped out to a 17-0 lead and seemed content to sit on it as the game finished out 41-23, nowhere near covering the borderline absurd -31 point number. Next up for the Tide is a home game against Ole Miss.
Georgia was another case where they got up big early and decided to just coast out the rest of the game. It is always a worry when you lay a big number, we want them to keep running up the score, but that doesn’t mean they always will. Could Georgia have covered the 33 points? Easily. Did they need to? No. The Bulldogs got up 21-0 early and took the game 42-14. The Bulldogs will take on a hot Mississippi State team next week.
In what was one of the best games of the week the USC Trojans won a hard-fought battle with the Texas Longhorns 27-24 in double OT. Many, including myself, saw this as a blowout Saturday night in the Coliseum. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This game was a hotly contested one throughout, and it took the Trojans two overtime periods to finally pull away for the win, and the boys from Troy didn’t come close to covering the 15.5-point spread.
The Favorites That Lost Outright
In this last section, we will highlight the teams that went in is as favorites and came out as losers. Nobody looked worse than 12th ranked LSU on Saturday. The Bayou Bengals went into Mississippi State as -7.5-point favorites and got their butts handed to them, losing in blowout fashion 37-7. The game started out competitive but LSU’s offense stalled, and the Bulldogs scored six times in a row unanswered to pull away for the huge win.
The UCLA Bruins knew this game was going to be a high-scoring affair with lots of points scored and came up just short 45-48, to a strong Memphis Tigers team. The Bruins were modest 2.5-point favorites on the road, and the game was back and forth all day long. UCLA star QB Josh Rosen had a strong game, throwing for 463 yards and four TDs, but he had a couple of costly turnovers that were the difference in this one. Things aren’t getting any easier for the Bruins next week as they travel to in-state rival Stanford.
Kansas State was yet another ranked team that found themselves as favorites on the road only to come up short. In a low-scoring affair, Vanderbilt QB Kyle Shurmur scored from two yards out with 8 minutes to play in the fourth quarter to put the Commodores up for good 14-7. Vandy is now 3-0 on the season heading into next weeks huge matchup with top-ranked Alabama.
The final team that lost as ranked favorites were the Stanford Cardinal. Many though Stanford was going to compete to win the Pac -12 title this season. Now they sit at 1-2 after getting wrecked by USC last week and now dropping this one to San Diego State 20-17. It’s not going to get any easier for Stanford as they have UCLA next week and still must play Washington and Washington State, what was once a season full of promise is starting to crumble in Silicon Valley.
It was another great weekend for college football action and next week looks to be a fun one as well. With matchups between TCU and OK State, Alabama vs. a very game Vanderbilt, and UCLA playing Stanford there are plenty of great games on deck. Good luck on your bets next week and be on the lookout for my game breakdowns and betting picks for week four coming out in the next couple of days.
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