Week 8. Big Ten football is back. Big 12 is in shambles. ACC is Clemson and then a bunch of question marks. No one knows who is good in the SEC anymore besides Alabama and Georgia. Mountain West is back but no one pays attention unless it is their school. (Eventually, these will just be on Barstool Bets so get used to checking over there when Friday rolls around) If you have the audacity to try to tell me that Notre Dame is good, you will catch these hands. No, I'm still not over the UNC loss. Let's talk some football.
Nebraska @ #5 Ohio State, 12pm, opened OSU -24.5, 64.5.
Questions to think about: Will Ohio State look ahead to Penn State next week, if so how much? How well will OSU restock? Can Nebraska catch OSU slipping?
Matchup: Ohio State has won the last 4 meetings in the last 4 years. With the exception of OSU’s 36-31 win in 2018, the average score has been 55.3-8. No fans.
Nebraska: Caught a lot of national attention this fall as they the battle to bring back Big Ten football, and threatening to secede from the B1G in order to play this fall. Scott Frost is in his third year at Nebraska, and has brought in the best recruiting class in the West for the third year. Adrian Martinez and all but one of the OL returns. Top 3 rushers return. A huge loss for the Huskers' offense is JD Spielman who transferred to TCU. He had 898 receiving yards, the next man up had 453. Their rushing offense finished 3rd in the B1G, and 30th nationally. Last year they went 5-7, and 3-6 in the B1G, with wins against Illinois, Northwestern, and Maryland. They did keep it within 7 in their losses to Indiana, Purdue, and Iowa. This year Frost's recruiting classes could start to shine and fill in holes between experienced returning starters. Nebraska did draw a ridiculously hard schedule this year for a team trying to take the next step forward. Some speculated it was the B1G getting revenge on the outspoken Frost. The Huskers will likely still be below .500 this year, but don't be surprised if some games are kept surprisingly close.
Spread: Last year went 2-7 ATS vs. Big Ten teams, 1-4 ATS as the away team, 1-3 ATS as the underdog, 1-2 ATS vs. ranked teams, 3-9 ATS in regular season games.
Total: Last year went 2-1 for the over vs. ranked teams, 0-1 for over as an away underdog. In 2018: 7-2 for over vs. Big Ten teams, and 4-1 for over as an away underdog.
SU: has lost the last 14 SU when underdog by 14+, dating back to 2005.
OSU: It is National Championship or bust for Ryan Day and Heisman hopeful Justin Fields. Ohio State has won the last 3 B1G titles and ended their 2019 season in the CFP semifinals with a loss to Clemson 29-23. They will likely be going on a scorched earth campaign to avenge their Clemson loss last year, and ensure that they're back in the playoffs. No one in the B1G came closer than 11 points to them last year. Luckily for the Buckeyes, CB Shaun Wade and OL Wyatt Davis decided to opt back in. They need to replace nearly the entire secondary and all but one WR. This sounds like a lot but Ohio State is used to having to reload, so it isn't a huge red flag. Kerry Coombs is back as a DC. They lost JK Dobbins, who rushed for 2,003 yards last year, and will look to Master Teague or Trey Sermon to potentially fill that role. With the revised schedule, Ohio State drew what looks like about as much of a cake walk as possible, with the exception of at Penn State in week 2.
Spread: Last year was 7-3 ATS vs. Big Ten teams, and 5-2 ATS as home favorite.
Total: Last year was 2-4-1 for the over as home favorite. When favored by 21+ points, 5 straight overs have hit.
SU: Has won the last 82 games when favored by 21+, dating back to 1998.The Buckeyes have won 40 of their last 43 season openers, including 34 consecutive season-opening games at Ohio Stadium. Prior to the start of the 2020 season, Ohio State had the nation’s best winning percentage at home (.947) over the last eight seasons and had compiled a 54-3 record inside Ohio Stadium since 2012.
Opinion: I think Ohio State is about to launch a scorched earth campaign. They need to make up for lost playing time. There is no question that Ohio State will make the CFP if they win out. Their biggest threat (whether you believe they actually are a threat is another debate) comes the week after this game; Penn State. I strongly think that Ohio State will look ahead to next week, and not be focused on Nebraska. That said, I think that Ohio State can afford to do that vs. the Huskers. I do want to see Scott Frost do well, but playing the #5 team in the country for their first outing? Get the body bags. Yes, both teams will be rusty in the beginning of the game, since it is their first game this year, but the moment that Nebraska allows OSU to score, it'll be over. Fields and company will have seen what it takes to get into the end zone, and will know exactly how to do it again, and again, and again. This might be a boring game after the first quarter.
#23 NC State @ #14 UNC, 12pm, opened UNC -14.5, 64.5.
Questions to Think About: How big is losing QB Devon Leary going to set NC State back? How will UNC bounce back from the upset loss?
Matchup: Last year UNC won 41-10, ending a three year NC State win streak. For the last six years this game has been played around Thanksgiving, so these teams have normally had more time to find out their identity. The last 4 meetings have gone under. UNC has covered the last 3. These two teams HATE each other, fights always break out. ~3000 students in attendance. Teams have, on paper, evenly matched rushing defenses. Both teams are averaging just over 80 penalty ypg, so both undisciplined. Both OLs need to protect the QB better.
NC State (4-1) coming off of their 3rd straight win, beating Duke 31-20, and UVA 38-21 the week before. Their QB1 Devon Leary got carted off the field last week vs. Duke and is now out indefinitely. Bailey Hockman is the next man up, he started vs. Wake Forest, and had minutes vs. VT, and vs. Duke when Leary went down. Games are averaging 65 total points per game with NC State scoring 33.6 of them. Leads the nation in passes broken up at 26.
Spread: Have covered the last 3 games, are 4-1 ATS for the year. Since 2018, are 1-4 ATS vs. ranked teams, 2-4 ATS as an away underdog, 6-10 ATS after a win, and 8-13 ATS vs. ACC teams.
Total: Before the Duke game, had 4 straight overs. Since 2018, are 3-2 for the over vs. ranked teams, 9-4 for over as the away team, 7-4 for over as the underdog, but 3-3 for the over as an away underdog.
SU: Has lost the last 12 games when a road underdog by more than 14, and last 9 when just underdog by more than 14.
UNC (3-1) coming off of a huge upset loss to FSU, 31-28, which broke a 6 game win streak, and beat Virginia Tech 56-45 the week before. Were down 31-7 at the half, and came back to 31-28 with 48 seconds left in the game, but 3 dropped passes in a row stopped UNC’s comeback just shy. Allowed 241 rushing yards vs. FSU and 399 vs. Virginia Tech; they need to figure out how to stop the run game. Games have been averaging 61.3 total points per game, with UNC scoring 35.3 of them. Has allowed 76 points in the past two games. Has the #10 rushing offense at 229.75 ppg.
Spread: Since 2019, are 4-1 ATS as home favorite, 2-0 ATS vs. ranked teams, and 4-2 ATS after a loss. Has covered 5/L6 when favored at home by 14+.
Total: 5 of the last 7 games have gone under.
SU: has won the last 27 SU when favored at home by 14+.
Opinion: Can we take a second to remember how I said I was nervous about last week's UNC vs. FSU game? Yea I was right. I don't like this game either. JUST DON'T LIKE IT. Find me one place I say that I think UNC deserved to be ranked #5, you won't, because I don't believe it. Now we are properly ranked. The only thing that makes me not a full wreck is that Devon Leary is out, and they will be relying on Bailey Hockman to lead the offense. No I am not celebrating an injury, I am just recognizing that a top player is out. Additionally I know that Mack takes this game very seriously. Since day one at UNC he has placed a huge emphasis on getting the North Carolina recruits to UNC, and this game will help show that UNC is the best in the state. That said, this game is always interesting, and both teams come to play because they hate each other. Last year's score of 41-10 was an outlier. As a UNC fan it pains me to admit this, but our rival in football isn't Dook, it is State. Also the fact that both teams are ranked? Ah fuck. With the exception of Leary going down, State has all the momentum with their 3 wins in a row, two of which were upsets. UNC on the other hand just got slapped in the face. I think that for UNC the FSU game was a wakeup call for the defense, as well as the team as a whole, and we'll be better for it. UNC is still the more talented team player to player, they just haven't been playing like it. But I'm meandering. If a UNC fan says they aren't worried for this game they're either lying or delusional. I think UNC will still win, but either by 3 or by 30, no in between.
#17 Iowa State @ #6 OK State, opened OK State -3.5, 54.5.
Questions to think about: Will 21 days of not playing help or hurt OK state? How much will Spencer Sanders being back improve OK State?
Matchup: Oklahoma State has won 7 of the L8, with Iowa State’s lone win coming in 2018. The last 5 meetings have been decided by 7 or less points. These are 2 of the 3 teams that stand alone undefeated in conference play in the Big 12. So this game could give light to who will be in the Big 12 title game. About 25% fan capacity. Underdog is 5-0 ATS for the last 5. Iowa State’s rushing defense vs. Ok State’s rushing offense.
Iowa State (3-1) is coming off of a bye week, and beat Texas Tech 31-15 the week before. They took down #18 Oklahoma 37-30. Games have been averaging 57.3 total points per game with Iowa State scoring 29.8 of them. Can run and throw the ball but favor throwing it. Is averaging allowing 93.7 rushing yards per game. Has the #13 rushing defense allowing only 97.25 ypg.
Spread: are split 2-2 ATS this year. Since 2019, as an underdog are 3-1 ATS. Under Matt Campbell, Iowa State is 16-5-1 ATS when an underdog vs. Big 12 teams.
Total: When underdog by less than a TD, 11 straight unders have hit. Under is 8-2 in L10 games as road underdog. Under Campbell is 4-9-1 for the over as a road underdog.
SU: When an underdog by less than a TD are on a 2-7 SU, including losing the last 4 in a row. Are 5-2 SU after a win.
Oklahoma State (3-0) is coming off of a 21 day playing hiatus due to covid postponements from other teams. They last played on October 3rd vs. Kansas and won 47-7. Games are averaging 39 total points per game, with OK State scoring 30 of them. The pass and rushing yardage is fairly even, but rushing is a bit ahead. Is averaging allowing 97.3 rushing yards per game. Seems Spencer Sanders is back at QB, unsure if he is starting or splitting reps with Illingworth. Has the #2 scoring defense nationally with only allowing 9.0 ppg. Has the #16 rushing offense at 213.0 ypg.
Spread: Since 2019, 4-2 ATS as home favorite, 11-4-1 ATS for all games, 7-3-1 ATS vs. Big 12 teams. Has covered the last 2 games this season, and 7 of the last 9.
Total: Since 2019, are 4-7 for the over vs. Big 12 teams, 2-0 for over with a rest advantage, 2-4 for over as home favorite, 1-4 for over vs. ranked teams, and 1-4 for the over after a bye. Before the Kansas game, had 6 straight unders. Last 4 home games have gone under.
Opinion: Oklahoma State has flown under the radar and been counted out since they struggled vs. Tulsa in their season opener. I don't think that that game was representative of their talent. Yes some say the same of Iowa State since their loss to Louisiana Lafayette, but that win over Oklahoma got them back on people's radar. Also both teams haven't played recently, and this season is very much out of sight, out of mind. Since that game though, OK State hasn't really been challenged, and thus haven't really found their identity yet. Whereas Iowa State has been challenged with Oklahoma and TCU, and has come out on top. (Yes I know TCU isn't great, but they make you earn your wins.) They know what it is like to be under pressure, Oklahoma State has only done that once and that was over a month ago. But now also Spencer Sanders is back of OK State….if you haven't noticed by now I put my whole ass thought processes into these, so yea its rambling but you also get the full picture of what I'm thinking. Whatever, back to the write up… I just don't know, I just don't. I think this has the workings to be a really good game in the competition for the Big 12, but unlikely that anyone from the Big 12 makes into the playoffs anyways…..I think a lot will rely on if Sanders is back and ready to start slinging. But also Brock Purdy is hitting his stride. FUCK. I DON'T KNOW. Use my stats and make your own opinion. I have failed you, my apologies.
#18 Michigan @ #21 Minnesota, 7:30pm, opened Michigan -3, 55.
Questions to think about: Can Minnesota reload? Was their 11-2 season a fluke, or the new standard? Will Harbaugh being on the hot seat light a fire under his ass or make him play safe? Will Joe Milton come out guns blazing or tread carefully on his first start?
Matchup: Have met twice under Harbaugh. In 2017, Michigan won 33-10. In 2015, Michigan 29-26. Both went over. No fans. Has the lesser College Gameday show.
Michigan: Finished 9-4 last year, with losses to Wisconsin, Penn State, Ohio State, and Alabama. QB Dylan McCaffrey has opted out so it is up to Joe Milton to lead this team. The junior QB played in 3 games last year, with 59 yards against Rutgers. He has shown he has a good arm, but still question marks about his run game. Four of the five offensive line starters have left. Last year the defense out-shined the offense; the defense ranked 10th-25th nationally in respective categories, whereas the offense was 44th-77th. Returns four of the five top rushers, as well as the top two receivers. Things could be interesting with Harbaugh coaching for his job, but expect them to just do what they're supposed to, they're a very solid team that has to be taken seriously when preparing for, but will not be great on their current trajectory. No WR Nico Collins, #2 in receiving yards. The hope here is if Joe Milton, in year two of Josh Gattis' offense finds a way to excel, but will likely still be stuck behind Ohio State and Penn State.
Spread: Under Harbaugh is 3-5 ATS on the road vs. ranked teams. Are 5-1 ATS in the last 6 games they were favored in. Since 2018, are 11-7 ATS vs. B1G teams, and 3-5 ATS as an away favorite.
Total: Under Harbaugh are 17-7 for the over vs. ranked teams, 30-14 for over vs. B1G teams, 34-20 for over as the favorite.
SU: Under Harbaugh is 1-7 SU on the road vs. ranked teams. Have won the last 8 games SU they were favored in.
Minnesota: Coming off on an impressive 11-2 season, 7-2 in the B1G, and finished second in the West after a tiebreaker to Wisconsin. This was their first 10+ win season since 1904. Had big wins over #5 Penn State and #9 Auburn. They are bringing in a new OC, but odds are that the system won't change too much since a lot of the offense is the same guys. This was quite an impressive season for the Gophers, now comes the question of if they can do it all again. Lost 1,163 yard rusher Rodney Smith and 1,318 yard receiver Tyler Johnson. Rashod Bateman, 1,219 receiving yards, opted back in. They return second B1G team QB, Tanner Morgan. The defense is not as lucky with only five returning starters, only one returning on the DL. They overachieved last year after the media picked them to finish sixth in the division and they actually landed at second. So now after finishing #10 nationally, and having hype surrounding the program, it will be interesting to see if they can have similar success.
Spread: Last year was 7-2 ATS vs. B1G teams, 7-3 ATS with equal rest, and 3-2 ATS as underdog.
Total: 6/L7 games have gone over. When underdog by less than 7 at home, has gone over the last 4 games.
SU: Under Fleck are 2-6 vs. ranked opponents, but those two wins came last year.
Opinion: I think that this is one of the biggest games this weekend that has national implications for both teams. Minnesota begins its hunt for the top of the West and Harbaugh is trying not to get fired. People are biiiiig horny for Michigan's QB Joe Milton, like everywhere I look its Milton this and Milton that. PJ Fleck called him "'once in a decade' type of talent". So are we looking at a future first round pick? Let's see how he does vs. a rebuilding offense this weekend. Also, think about this if he's all that, why hasn't he started before now? Tanner Morgan on the other hand has a lot of starting experience. He did lose his two best options from last year, but seems there are guys ready to step up. Also don't forget that Tanner Morgan was a lone player voice in backing Kevin Warren during the off season. Look to Joe Milton to be the deciding factor in this game, if he comes out and lives up to the hype, then it is going to be a long day for Minnesota. But if he struggles, or is just average in his first outing I think that Minnesota's offense will find itself on the field more often and eventually wear down the impressive Michigan defensive line. I think that the later option is more reasonable, and more likely, and Minnesota will come out on top on Saturday.
#9 Cincinnati @ #16 SMU, 9pm, opened Cincinnati -1.5, 56.5.
Questions to think about: If it was a normal year would Cincinnati be a top 10 team? Is Shane Buechele over or underrated? Does Cincinnati have lingering covid cases? How much will a 21 day hiatus help or hurt Cincinnati?
Matchup: Last two meetings: 2018: Cincinnati won 26-20 at SMU, 2017: SMU won 31-28 at Cincinnati. Both games, including 2 earlier matchups, have gone under. This is the battle for the top G5 team spot. SMU offense vs. Cincinnati’s defense. Both teams are #T9 for 3rd down conversions at 53.33%.
Cincinnati (3-0): is coming off of a 21 day hiatus, and beat USF 28-7 on October 3rd. Their game on October 16th vs. Tulsa was postponed due to covid issues within Cincinnati. Games have been averaging 48 total points per game with Cincinnati scoring 35.7 of them. Run and throw the ball relatively equally, with the pass game being favored slightly. Has the #6 scoring defense at only allowing 12.3 ppg. Are #2 nationally in 2.33 interceptions/game.
Spread: Since 2019, are 4-1 ATS vs. ranked teams.
Total: Since 2018, have 8 straight unders as an underdog, 7 straight unders as an away underdog, 6 straight unders vs. ranked teams, 10-3 for under as the away team, 13-5 for under vs. AAC teams, and 20-10 for under in all games. When underdog on the road by less than 7, are on a 9-2 for the under streak.
SU: Have lost the last 5 SU when a road underdog.
SMU (5-0): is coming off of an OT 37-34 win on Friday over Tulane, and a 30-27 win over #25 Memphis on October 3rd. Games have been averaging 68 total points per game with SMU scoring 42.6 of them. Despite averaging 200+ rushing yards per game, they are still heavily favoring the passing game at 359.2 yards per game. Seems they are still trying to find who is next up after losing top receiver Reggie Roberson Jr. due to season ending injury. QB Shane Buechele starting to get Heisman talks. He is #5 nationally in yards per game at 342.0, has 12 TDS to 2 INTs. Has the #7 scoring offense in the nation with 42.6 ppg.
Spread: Since 2019 are 6-2 ATS as home favorites, 4-6 ATS vs. AAC games, 2-1 ATS vs. ranked teams. When favored by less than 7 at home, have covered the last 7.
Total: Since 2018, are 6-3 for over as home favorite, and 11-7 as favorite.
SU: After an OT game, have won the next 7. When favored by less than a TD at home have won the last 7.
Opinion: There's two big questions with this game; how much has Cincinnati recovered from their COVID issues, and has SMU filled in the gap that Reggie Roberson Jr. left? I'm going to guess that there are going to be some lingering COVID issues with Cincinnati for sure, keep an eye on an announcement coming out on game day or news getting leaked on who will be out on Saturday. I think the Tulane game, which was ugly for SMU, gave them a wakeup call with how big of a part Roberson was a part of the offense. Without him I think that SMU is going to struggle against Cincinnati's defense. Yes Cincinnati hasn't been challenged this year, whereas SMU was by Memphis. But look to last week, Memphis beat UCF 50-49, so no defense was to be found anywhere, so maybe Memphis is a bit overrated? Also Cincinnati has been very out of sight out of mind so people have forgotten about them. I also think that Cincinnati shouldn't be a top ten team, but then again half the teams in the top ten don't belong there. This will be close though, if Cincinnati has anyone major out due to COVID, this could get ugly for them.
As a reminder, I don't gamble on any of these. If you do chose to gamble, please do so responsibly.