It didn’t take long for the upsets to start. Washington (3-1) beat #8 Stanford (3-1) 17-13 on Thursday night in a match few thought the Huskies had a chance in. With the game at CenturyLink Field – the site of Monday’s NFL upset/debacle – people probably should have thought a little harder.
The remaining Week 5 college football slate doesn’t look like it has too many upsets on it, but then again, how many times has that been said this week. Here’s a look at some of the key matchups.
As Big Ten conference play kicks off, #14 Ohio State (4-0, 0-0 road) visits #20 Michigan State (3-1, 3-0 home) as 3-point underdogs. The Spartans have been touted for their defense this season, but a loss to Notre Dame two weeks ago suggest it might not be up to scratch. Against Ohio State and the elusive Braxton Miller, the defense will get tested. With the way the Big Ten’s going this year, take Ohio State to win this one.
In the only other ranked game this weekend, #25 Baylor (3-0, 1-0 road) travels to #9 West Virginia (3-0, 3-0 home) to see what all the Geno Smith fuss is about. The Bears have been on the cusp of the AP rankings this season, but expect them to fall off the list again as the 11-point favorite Mountaineers win this one comfortably.
Top of the Polls
Let’s cut to the chase. The AP Poll’s top three all have it easy this week. #1 Alabama and #3 Oregon are 30+ point favorites against Ole Miss and Washington State respectively. #2 LSU takes on Towson of the FCS. Everything there should go to order.
#4 Florida State meanwhile pays a visit to South Florida in what some are picking to be a potential upset, but in reality is going to go the same way as the Seminoles’ last four.
So that brings us to this SEC East beauty. Tennessee (3-1, 0-0 road) visits #5 Georgia (4-0, 3-0 home) in the first of four consecutive games against ranked opposition. The Vols looked ordinary against Florida two weeks ago and the Bulldogs have looked like beasts. Freshman RB Todd Gurley has already ran for 406 yards and six touchdowns. Take favorites Georgia to win outright and to beat the 14-point spread.
#12 Texas (3-0, 1-0 road) heads to Oklahoma State (2-1, 2-0 home) on the back of an extra week to prepare for the Cowboys. This is a close one to call as highlighted by the 3-point spread in favor of the visitors. If Texas is to improve on two poor seasons, they’ll need to run and run early against the Cowboys defense. Ultimately, take the home team to win a close one and get the experts asking even more questions about the Longhorns.
#18 Oregon State (2-0, 1-0 road) visits Arizona (3-1, 3-0 home) as underdogs. It appears oddsmakers aren’t bowled over by two solid performances. The Wildcats have played well this season, bar last week’s 49-0 drubbing at the hands of Oregon. Take Arizona to beat the 3-point spread in a rebound performance.
#22 Nebraska (3-1, 3-0 home) hosts Big Ten rivals Wisconsin (3-1, 0-1 road) in a battle of underachievers. Badgers’ RB Montee Ball is having a tough time of it trying to run the football this season, so if the away team is to get anything out of this visit that will have to change. Meanwhile, the Cornhuskers have looked less than impressive this season, and suggestions that their place in the polls is down to last year’s performance may not be too far from the mark. In this one the Huskers will be 12-point favorites. Take Wisconsin to beat the spread but lose a close one in what will be a scrappy game.
Worth a Watch?
It’s a quieter week in college football than normal but here are a few games that might be worth a watch.
Louisiana Tech (3-0, 2-0 road) heads to Virginia (2-2, 2-0 home) and while most will switch channels this could be a doozy. The Bulldogs are running rampant in the WAC and have not scored less than 52 points in three games. With the spread at just three points, take the favored Bulldogs to win this one with the 60 point over/under being smashed in a shootout.
UTSA (4-0, 2-0 road) visits New Mexico State (1-3, 1-1 home) in the WAC’s first conference game. The Aggies opened as favorites but that line has quickly changed. The Roadrunners are now one-point favorites to beat a New Mexico team that has lost three straight. Take the Aggies to break the trend and beat the spread.
Finally, Rice (1-3, 1-1 road) and Houston (0-3, 0-1 road) meet in the Bayou Bowl at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. The Cougars could do with some of the Texans’ good play rubbing off on them. Take Houston as 7½-point underdogs to finally get off the mark.
AP Top 25 (Week 4 Fixtures)
Washington 17, #8 Stanford 13 (Thursday)
Ole Miss @ #1 Alabama
#2 Oregon @ Washington State
Towson @ #3 LSU
#4 Florida State @ South Florida
Tennessee @ #5 Georgia
#6 South Carolina @ Kentucky
#25 Baylor @ #9 West Virginia
#12 Texas @ Oklahoma State
#14 Ohio State @ #20 Michigan State
#15 TCU @ Southern Methodist
#17 Clemson @ Boston College
#18 Oregon State @ Arizona
#19 Louisville @ Southern Miss
Wisconsin @ #22 Nebraska
#24 Boise State @ New Mexico
BYE: #7 Kansas State, #10 Notre Dame, #11 Florida, #13 USC, #16 Oklahoma, #21 Mississippi State, #23 Rutgers