ARKANSAS (+2) over Vanderbilt
I considered going five here, but Ke’Shawn Vaughn will be in the backfield for the Dores and he’s the biggest threat of the offense.
On the positive side for Arkansas, they’ll get Ty Storey back this week at QB. His numbers look pretty modest, but Storey was starting to get it going finally. The first few weeks were a game of hot potato at QB for the Hogs. Once Storey was given the job for good, the offense started to come alive.
After mediocre performances against a pair of Top 25 defenses away from home – Auburn and Texas A&M – Storey started to get things rolling at home. Arkansas put up 405 yards (5.7 YPP) and 31 points against Alabama. And no, it wasn’t all garbage time. According to S&P+, that performance was in the 88th percentile of what teams typically do against a defense of Alabama’s caliber.
Against Ole Miss – admittedly a bad defense – the Hogs drive chart looked like this under Storey:
- Field Goal, 11 plays, 50 yards
- Touchdown, 7 plays, 78 yards
- Touchdown, 3 plays, 80 yards
- Touchdown, 5 plays, 75 yards
- Field Goal, 9 plays, 52 yards
- Field Goal, 10 plays, 55 yards
- Field Goal, 11 plays, 57 yards
Pretty efficient, I’d say. After those seven drives, Storey was knocked out with a concussion and the Hogs went punt, punt, interception and ended up losing the game.
Storey missed last week, as well, and Arkansas could only muster 23 points against Tulsa. They’re a different team when he’s on the field. I think his impact is bigger than the line is giving him credit for.
Arkansas has also been playing better with the increased role of Rakeem Boyd (yes, the guy from Last Chance U). Boyd has 44 carries for 310 yards (7.05 YPC) the last three weeks.
OKLAHOMA STATE (+3) over Texas
I’m still of the opinion that Texas just really isn’t that good. By the wildly outdated AP/Coaches poll math, I understand why they’re #6, but they’re not close to that level in reality, in my opinion.
Oklahoma State is hard to get a read on because they’ve been a roller coaster this year, but I’m expecting their best performance of the season since Week 3 when they rolled Boise State.
The Pokes are coming off a bye – as is Texas – which was preceded by laying an ostrich-sized egg against Kansas State in Manhattan. It was a wretched performance, but I like that it happened heading into the bye week. It gives them double the time to sit in that sewage of a performance and to focus in on getting ready for this game.
And it’s a big one. Texas does have that shiny single digit next to its name and it’s a night kick on homecoming weekend
There’s one thing on the field that really sticks out to me when evaluating this game on the field: big plays. OSU makes a lot of them on offense. They’re the 8th most explosive offense in the country, according to S&P+, and they make them both on the ground and through the air.
The Texas defense ranks 99th in giving up those explosive plays and their offense doesn’t have the ability to match, coming in at 113th in the country. Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey are talented wide receivers, but not necessarily gamebreakers, and the Longhorn RBs seemingly count on their O-Line to get them every inch of their yard totals.
It should be a raucous atmosphere in Stillwater with a desperate team looking for victory against an opponent that generates more buzz than they can backup. If the Pokes can get some of those big plays, things could snowball for Texas.
And yes, I’m making this pick with the anticipation that Sam Ehlinger will play for the Horns, although I wouldn’t expect him to be 100% and he’ll be going against a front seven that gets to the QB a ton. Not sure that health holds up if he’s getting knocked down frequently.
CHARLOTTE (+8) over Southern Miss
Trying to get back some of that Charlotte home dog magic again after they came through big against WKU a couple of weeks ago.
The 49ers will be without starting QB Chris Reynolds for the second straight week, but senior Evan Shireffs was solid enough on the road last week, they weren’t a good passing team when Reynolds was healthy to begin with, and they have a run-first identity anyways.
The real reason to like the 49ers is the defense. They’ve been incredible since the bye week a couple of weeks ago, only giving up 400 total yards in the past two games. They’ll be going against a super young offense this week that has managed just 20 points in their two road games this year.
Georgia Tech (+3) over VIRGINIA TECH
I promise there’s a lot more behind it, but sometimes it’s best to put it simply. Obviously, GT is an option team and relies on 77% of their offense to come from running the ball.
Here’s where their opponents have ranked in S&P+ rush defense, rush defense explosiveness, how many total yards the Jackets gained in those games, and how many points they scored.
|Opponent||Rush D Rank||Rush D Explosive Rank||GT Yards||GT Points|
VT had the bye week to prepare, but GT has won three of the last four in the series (all as underdogs) and a bye week doesn’t fix the Hokies’ problems defensively, which has stemmed from trying to replace a ton of personnel.
GT is also coming off a bye and they had things rolling for a few weeks before it was derailed by a backbreaking sequence against Duke where they fumbled on three straight possessions in the second half, Duke converted all three into TDs, and they suddenly found themselves in desperation mode. They should be hungry to get back on the field.
AIR FORCE (+10) over Boise State
Once again, we’ll keep it simple. Air Force runs the option and Boise ranks 123rd in giving up those explosive run plays. The obvious question mark for the Falcons is defending against Brett Rypien, who’s as experienced as you can get at QB and might be even better in road games.
However, I’m comforted by Air Force covering 5 of the last 6 against Boise and winning 3 of those games outright, all of them as underdogs of more than a touchdown.
Further support if you’re an ATS trend guy: Air Force is 7-1 ATS in their last 8 as a home dog and they’ve won 6 of those outright. They’ve covered the spread in those games by an average of 14.9 points per game.
SAN JOSE STATE (-1) over UNLV
UNLV is pretty garbage without Armani Rogers. He remains out. SJSU has been knocking on the door of victory for weeks now and this is the perfect opportunity to break through. The only reason this isn’t a five unit play is because you’re still putting faith in one of the worst teams in the FBS, who has won one of their last 18 football games. Go Spartans.
Wyoming (+2.5) over COLORADO STATE
Essentially, Colorado State does one thing decent and that’s throw the ball. Wyoming does one thing at a dare-I-say-elite level and that’s defend the pass.
The Cowboys have their issues, but they’re not your every day 2-6 Mountain West team. The pass defense is awesome, they’re respectable on both sides of the run, the only thing they can’t really do is throw, but almost anybody can against the Rams.
Wyoming is 2-6, but understand they’ve played the 28th most difficult schedule in the country. Five of their eight games have come against Top 30 teams. Not only do they win this game, but I’ll take it a step further and say they win out and go bowling.
UCLA (+10) over Utah
I’ll stick with UCLA, who I said a couple weeks ago was gonna go on a run. I didn’t really mention it in the Arkansas section because there were so many things to touch on, but they’re in similar spots. I liked both teams before the year, but figured they’d both struggle early and peak late in the season. That looks like it’s coming to fruition. Both have good coaches who are re-hauling the system. It takes time and now’s the time to ride with them.
Utah has looked unbeatable lately – which is good for my Pac-12 champ future – but this is also a play that there has to be some regression at some point for the Utes. I still think they win here, but it’s a short week for them and they’re going on the road after a huge win at home. Could come down to the wire.
WEST VIRGINIA (-13.5) over Baylor
In theory, West Virginia has a lot bigger games coming up to close out the season. They play Texas, Oklahoma, TCU, and Oklahoma State in November.
But this week feels big. They were terrible two weeks ago against Iowa State and were lucky they were playing Kansas the week before with the way Will Grier was tossing interceptions.
Now they’re coming off a bye, with an extra week to refocus the offense, and they play a team at home that they should roll. The Bears have a vulnerable defense and they’ve only found success as a team because of a weak schedule that’s been made even worse due to opponent injury.
ARIZONA (+10) over Oregon
Need to know the status of Khalil Tate. Rhett Rodriguez was alright last week against UCLA, but you’d still like to have Tate.
MINNESOTA (+2.5) over Indiana
If Annexstad plays, we’re firing all the way up until Minnesota -3.
North Carolina (+9) over VIRGINIA
I like the UNC side, but probably only if it gets to 10.
YTD: 38-35-2 (-3.2u)