We’ve reached the last two weeks of the regular season and it feels like this year has gone by really fast.
Rivalries week and conference championships are on the cards, but there are still plenty of high-quality college football games this weekend to enjoy and maybe invest some of your hard-earned dollars in.
I had a winning week 11 and I plan to finish the season strong after a few bumps along the way.
Last week: 4-3
No. 11 Penn State at Rutgers
Time: 3:30 pm | TV: BTN | Line: PSU -19| Total: 45
Penn State has been tearing up overmatched opponents for the past month. PSU beat Minnesota 45-17, Indiana 45-14 and Maryland 30-0. I imagine another blowout against Rutgers.
Penn State will be able to overpower the Scarlet Knights with freshmen Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen, who combined for 1,431 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. There are also a number of up and coming young stars on the PSU defense who have played fast and aggressive in Manny Diaz’ scheme. It’s hard for me to see the Scarlet Knights put up much resistance, even at home.
Rutgers is 1-5 ATS as a double-digit home underdog since Greg Schiano returned in 2020. In the last three, Rutgers lost by 39, 49 and 35 points. PSU has beaten five of its last seven as a double digit road favorite and I feel no letdown in this group.
Choose: Penn State -19
No. 24 NC State in Louisville
Time: 3:30 pm | TV: ESPN3| Line: UL -4.5 | Total: 45.5
NC State is somehow still ranked despite losing 21-20 at home to Boston College last week. Before that 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 as the third stringer and was expected to be redshirted.
I expect Morris to be a good player for the Wolfpack, but he struggled against a poor BC defense last week. Now he has to hit the road for the first time and faces a ferocious Louisville pass rush. I expect a very conservative approach to NC State’s attack, which always tries to establish the run, even if it’s not very good at it.
And as much as Louisville’s defense has improved, the best unit on the field in this game is NC State’s defense. That said, I expect a low-scoring game. That’s especially the case with Louisville QB Malik Cunningham potentially on the sidelines. He fell hard in UL’s loss to Clemson last week and backup Brock Domann is a pretty big drop off.
Choose: under 45.5
Iowa in Minnesota
Time: 4pm | TV: Fox | Line: Minnesota -3 | Total: 32.5
Iowa was a winner for me last week and I’m back with the Hawkeyes again. In a game with an absurdly low total like this, getting a field goal is a big deal, especially with the style of play on both sides.
Iowa is terrible on offense, but has an edge on defense and on special teams. Iowa defeated Wisconsin 24-10 last week despite 146 yards of offense. Iowa’s two scoring drives were 17 and 18 yards. They were set up by a blocked kick and a long kick return. The Hawkeyes also had a pick six and added a field goal after Wisconsin had a turnover on downs.
Minnesota is so dependent on the running game. Iowa will be able to key in Mo Ibrahim and force Minnesota to throw. If the Gophers have to restart freshman QB Athan Kaliakmanis, don’t be surprised if he gets lured into a few fouls. It’s exactly what Iowa does.
Oh, and Iowa has won the series seven times in a row and covered the spread in their last six encounters. I have to get the points.
Choice: Iowa +3
Texas Tech in the state of Iowa
Time: 7pm | TV: FS1 | Line: ISU -3.5 | Total: 47.5
After a period where it lost four of five, Texas Tech secured a home win over Kansas last week to go 5-5. TTU can secure a bowl berth, but a trip to Ames to face an Iowa State team that has lost six of seven won’t be easy. Five of ISU’s losses have been seven points or less, so this is a team playing close games and desperate for a win. Bowl eligibility is also still a possibility for the Cyclones, so there’s plenty of motivation for both teams.
I don’t really feel for one side, but I like the whole thing. Iowa State has a really solid defense but struggles on offense. This is a night game at Jack Trice Stadium and it’s going to be very cold and windy. That’s not in favor of a Texas Tech team that is prone to turnover and throws the ball 56% of the time. But it’s part of the recipe for an under.
In Iowa State’s last seven home games as a touchdown or less favorite, the under is 5-1-1. Only two of ISU’s games this season have reached this total. I don’t see many points.
Choose: under 47.5
Boise State in Wyoming
Time: 7pm | TV: CBSSN| Line: Boise State -14| Total: 44.5
First place in the Mountain Division is on the line and Wyoming is an underdog at home with two touchdowns? That just feels like way too many points for such a disciplined, physical team.
Boise State has a great defense and a rising star quarterback in Taylen Green. But the Broncos use a run-first offense without much pace, a style Wyoming adapts well on both sides of the ball. The Cowboys will lean on running back Titus Swen in a game where it will be extremely cold (teenage chills around kickoff) and windy and things will score low.
Wyoming has won six of its last seven vs. Boise State covered and the home field advantage in Laramie is pretty big this late in the year. During Craig Bohl’s tenure as head coach (dating back to 2014), Wyoming is 6-2 ATS with three outright wins as an underdog by at least seven points in home games played after October 1. Additionally, the underdog is 18-9-1 in home games in Wyoming after October 1 dating back to 2014.
Choices: Wyoming +14, under 44.5
No. 14 Ole Miss in Arkansas
Time: 7:30 pm | TV: SECN| Rule: Ole Miss -2.5 | Total: 64
Ole Miss had Alabama in trouble last week and couldn’t fix the upset. Now the Rebels must head out for a night game against an Arkansas team trying to qualify for bowl. Arkansas almost had an upset of its own last week, losing 13-10 to LSU despite quarterback KJ Jefferson being out with a shoulder injury.
Jefferson is expected to come back this week and I think Arkansas will win this game. The Razorbacks are much better than their 5-5 record would suggest. They have played an incredibly tough schedule but should be able to feed off the home crowd and find success with their rushing attack.
Ole Miss will also have success rushing the ball, but can Quinshon Judkins handle another heavy workload? There are also reasons to be skeptical about Jaxson Dart’s ability to make consistent throws in a tough road environment.
Choice: Arkansas +2.5
No. 7 USC at No. 16 UCLA
Time: 8pm | TV: Fox | Line: USC -2.5 | Total: 75.5
UCLA was caught looking ahead to this game last week and ended up losing to Arizona, who got an incredible try from QB Jayden de Laura. UCLA faces an even better quarterback this week, USC’s Caleb Williams, but I like the place here for the Bruins against the rival Trojans.
USC’s defense is pretty bad and UCLA will be able to run it with ease with Zach Charbonnet and Dorian Thompson-Robinson. On the other hand, USC Travis Dye will not back down. Dye has been a security blanket for Williams all year. It’s a big loss.
USC has played against so many bad teams since losing on the road to Utah. The Trojans have gotten so much hype since the arrival of Lincoln Riley. UCLA would like to put an end to that noise.
Choice: UCLA +2.5