By: Matt Doherty and Liam O’Brien
Matt: Georgia (-7) over LSU
Georgia has faced a cakewalk schedule so far this fall, but their season kicks off this week with a road matchup at Death Valley. Coach O had the Tigers off to a 5-0 start before losing at Florida last week. I expect another loss this week. This LSU squad is no different than the teams in the past who have possessed stout defensive units but struggle to find a quarterback that can complete a 10-yard out.
Joe Burrow (or Danny Etling 2.0) has the Tigers ranked 86th in passing yards per game which will not fly against a loaded Georgia defensive unit only allowing 170 passing yards per game. Meanwhile, the Dogs have an elite quarterback in Jake Fromm and an efficient offense averaging 42 points per game game. In their first test of 2018, Georgia should have no problem.
Liam: Louisiana-Monroe/Coastal Carolina Over 66
If you’re a fan of high-scoring affairs, you might want to consider subscribing to ESPN+ and tuning into this contest.
The Warhawks allow 41.7 points, 530.8 total yards and 336.2 passing yards per game. Last week, Ole Miss dropped a 70-spot on them as quarterback Jordan Ta’amu compiled a 99.7 QBR with 374 passing yards and three touchdowns on just 24 attempts. Coastal Carolina has the chance to put up big numbers in this one as they enter the game ranked 18th in the nation in offensive efficiency.
On the other side, the Chanticleers rank second to last in the country in defensive efficiency and are hosting a brilliant UL-Monroe passing game. Warhawks quarterback has already thrown for nearly 1400 yards over his teams first six games with a 119.4 passer rating. He can also burn teams on the ground with 301 rushing yards and three scores.
Matt: Washington (-3) over Oregon
The last time we saw Oregon in a big game, they imploded Grady Little style in an embarrassing home loss to Stanford on ABC. Now they host the Huskies on ABC and a similar result will occur. Washington is allowing under 13 points per game and the streaky Justin Herbert will struggle with the Huskies size and athleticism.
But Washington will shine on the offensive side of the ball, where senior quarterback Jake Browning should be able to take advantage of a pour Oregon secondary.
Here’s a nice stat: Washington has outscored Oregon 108-24 over the last two seasons with Browning at the helm. The Huskies have a 20% chance of winning out and they desperately need to win this game to make the College Football Playoff. Don’t be fooled, Mario Cristobal and the Ducks aren’t ready for a marquee win just yet.
Liam: Bowling Green (+14.5) over Western Michigan
The Broncos are 2-0 in the MAC, but those two wins came by a combined four points against teams with a combined record of 4-8.
Western Michigan ranks 111th in defensive efficiency, 112th in special teams efficiency and has an FPI of -3.3. The Broncos allow over 30 points per game and have covered the spread just twice in their six games this year.
Bowling Green has struggled this season and has the tendency to get clobbered on defense. But, sophomore quarterback Jarret Doege ranks 10th in the country with 15 touchdown passes and should be able to take advantage of a mediocre Broncos passing defense.
Matt: Notre Dame (-21) over Pittsburgh
Ian Book, Jeremy Lin, Yasiel Puig.
What do they all have in common? They became folklore sports heros out of nowhere.
Since Book became the starting quarterback in Week 4, Notre Dame has scored 56, 38, and 45 points in wins over Wake Forest, Stanford, and Virginia Tech. The average margin of victory in those wins is 24 points. And Pitt is by far the worst team Book has faced to date. In the Panthers toughest tests of the season (vs. Penn State, @UCF) they lost by an average of 38 points. Book and the Irish will put up points galore and roll to an easy victory as the new chapter continues to write itself.
Liam: Northern Illinois (-4) over Ohio
This matchup pits the best of the MAC East (Ohio) against the best of the MAC West (Northern Illinois).
The Huskies should be able to expose the Bobcats horrific defense. Ohio ranks 127th in defensive efficiency and allows 508.8 yards per game. Northern Illinois struggled to score in non conference losses to Iowa and Utah but has remedied this issue since the beginning of the MAC slate.
Offensively, Ohio features dynamic quarterback Nathan Rourke, who has thrown for 1022 yards and rushed for 391. But Rourke has yet to see the Huskies defense. Northern Illinois ranks 28th in the country in defensive efficiency and allows just 23.7 points per game compared with the Bobcats allowance of 35.8 per game.
Matt: Ole Miss/Arkansas over 67.5
Ole Miss is scoring over 42 points per game and allowing over 35 points per game. Arkansas is allowing nearly 40 points per game. Something has to give. There will be a lot of points scored Saturday night in this matchup between the two worst defensive teams in the SEC.
Liam: UAB (-16.5) over Rice
If Rice is to be considered the “Harvard of the South,” then they should downgrade their football team to the FCS ranks.
The Owls are a detriment to Division 1 football. They rank 129th in offensive efficiency, 123rd in defensive efficiency and have the third-worst FPI in the country (-24.2). Oh, and they are 2-4 against the spread.
Meanwhile, UAB is 4-1 both straight-up and against the spread. They have been effective on both sides of the ball, averaging over 32 points per game while giving up just 17 per outing. They should be able to pick apart a Rice defense that is allowing 38.7 points per appearance.
Leans: Boston College -13, Wisconsin +9, Virginia Tech -5.5, Texas A&M -2.5
Photo from: qbcountry.com