College Football Pick’em: Week of 10/26

Well, friends, the college football machine rumbles on to Week 9. We’re quickly approaching that time of the year where the dust starts to settle and the playoff picture becomes clearer. It’s close, but we’re not there yet. We may be a little old to be trick-or-treating but at least we’ve still got plenty of time for surprising upsets and spooky matchups!

Day Time Home Team Away Team Spread
Thu 04:00 PM Pittsburgh North Carolina -10.5
Thu 04:30 PM Eastern Michigan Western Michigan 17
Thu 04:30 PM Georgia Southern Texas State -16.5
Thu 04:30 PM Miami (Ohio) Buffalo 11.5
Thu 04:30 PM Texas Christian West Virginia -11
Thu 07:30 PM Arizona State Oregon -9
Fri 04:00 PM Connecticut East Carolina -3
Fri 04:00 PM Wake Forest Louisville 14
Fri 05:00 PM Rice Louisiana Tech 11
Fri 07:15 PM Utah State Wyoming -20
Sat 01:00 PM Southern Methodist Tulsa -5.5
Sat 02:00 PM Louisiana-Lafayette Louisiana-Monroe -7
Sat 04:00 PM Arkansas State Georgia State -13.5
Sat 04:00 PM Duke Miami (Florida) -9.5
Sat 04:00 PM Houston Vanderbilt -15.5
Sat 04:00 PM Iowa State Texas 15
Sat 04:00 PM Memphis Tulane -19
Sat 04:00 PM Minnesota Michigan 4
Sat 04:00 PM North Texas Texas-San Antonio 10
Sat 04:00 PM Utah Oregon State -18.5
Sat 04:30 PM Kentucky Tennessee 5
Sat 05:00 PM New Mexico State Idaho -4.5
Sat 05:00 PM Temple Notre Dame 15
Sat 07:30 PM Hawaii Air Force 13.5
Sat 07:30 PM Washington State Stanford -1
Sat 08:00 PM Washington Arizona -5
Sat 09:00 AM Auburn Mississippi 3.5
Sat 09:00 AM Cincinnati Central Florida -20.5
Sat 09:00 AM Florida State Syracuse -20
Sat 09:00 AM Navy South Florida -10.5
Sat 09:00 AM Old Dominion Western Kentucky 12.5
Sat 09:00 AM Penn State Illinois -9.5
Sat 09:00 AM Purdue Nebraska 13
Sat 09:00 AM Texas A&M South Carolina -12
Sat 09:00 AM Wisconsin Rutgers -19.5
Sat 09:30 AM Boston College Virginia Tech -6
Sat 10:00 AM Ball State Massachusetts -13
Sat 11:00 AM Akron Central Michigan 2.5
Sat 11:30 AM Southern Mississippi Texas-El Paso -19.5
Sat 12:00 PM California Southern California -5.5
Sat 12:00 PM UCLA Colorado -19
Sat 12:00 PM Virginia Georgia Tech 10
Sat 12:30 PM Appalachian State Troy -20
Sat 12:30 PM Charlotte Marshall 9.5
Sat 12:30 PM Colorado State San Diego State 3
Sat 12:30 PM Florida Georgia -5
Sat 12:30 PM Iowa Maryland -19.5
Sat 12:30 PM Kansas Oklahoma 18.5
Sat 12:30 PM Nevada-Las Vegas Boise State 16
Sat 12:30 PM North Carolina State Clemson 12.5
Sat 12:30 PM Texas Tech Oklahoma State -9

Georgia at No. 11 Florida (Spread: -5)
Our model has Florida favored in this matchup though this game has lost a bit of luster with Georgia running back Nick Chubb’s knee injury and the season-ending suspension of Florida’s quarterback Will Grier. Regardless, it’ll be a rivalry matchup with SEC conference championship implications. Florida is coming off a bye after a tough loss to LSU two weeks ago. Meanwhile, Georgia is trying to forget last year’s embarrassing 38-20 loss where Florida scored its first touchdown on a fake field goal attempt. Facing a tough Florida defense, it will certainly take a massive effort from quarterback Greyson Lambert to propel the Bulldogs to victory.

No. 9 Notre Dame at No. 21 Temple (Spread: 15)
The consensus matchup of the weekend features a team that’s not usually associated with marquee matchups: the Temple Owls. As one of only 12 remaining unbeaten FBS teams, Temple faces Notre Dame in arguably their biggest and toughest game of the season.

That being said, Vegas and our model predict that Notre Dame will blow out Temple. It’s true — Temple has a tough defense and a great running back in Jahad Thomas, but it’s hard to overlook their soft schedule. However, Notre Dame is coming off of a bye week and their game is on Halloween so you never know what might happen. And besides, who doesn’t love a good underdog story?

Interesting note: This will be the first ranked matchup in Temple’s history and the 212th ranked matchup for Notre Dame.

No. 12 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech (Spread: -9)

Our model has Texas Tech as a nine-point favorite while Vegas odds have Oklahoma State as a one-point favorite, but it’ll depend on how much fight is left in Texas Tech after a tough loss to Oklahoma last week.

Texas Tech has proven they can score on anyone (see TCU game), but it’s their defense that may lose them the game. Texas Tech’s defense has given up 561.5 yards per game this season, which means that there is no question Oklahoma State will be able to at least get some points on the board. Aside from somehow managing to keep up with Texas Tech’s scoring, the other key for Oklahoma State’s defense is to force turnovers and give their offense the opportunity to attack the Red Raider’s porous defense. This could be possible considering Oklahoma’s defense has only allowed 18.9 points per game this season.

Maybe Texas Tech will score a ridiculous number of points, maybe Oklahoma State will take advantage of Tech’s porous defense and be on its undefeated way. Who knows. Tune in to find out.

USC at California (Spread: -5.5)
It’s that special weekend of the college football season for USC football fans, the Weekender. This year, though, fans should be in for a more exciting game than in previous years. Though Cal has lost two straight since a 5-0 start, don’t expect them to roll over and play dead. On the other hand, USC pulled off its biggest win of the year against Utah, looking every bit like the explosive, talented team everyone thought we were in the preseason.

So I know what you’re thinking, after such a great performance last weekend, why does our model have Cal as the 5.5 point favorite? One possible explanation is that the Trojans and the Bears have similar offensive stats with 38.9 points per game and 492.0 total offensive yards and 37.9 points per game and 504.6 total offensive yards, respectively. The same goes for yards allowed with the Trojans allowing 395.4 yards and Cal allowing 420.3 yards. The first factor likely skewing our model in favor of Cal is their slightly lower turnover margin of 0.67 versus the Trojans of 1. Second, the large home field advantage biased in our model could also help explain why our prediction is the opposite of Vegas and ESPN.

However, if the Trojan defense can continue to make plays like they did against Utah and the offensive line can give Kessler enough breathing room, we think the Trojans can come away from the Weekender victorious and remain in the hunt for the Pac-12 Championship.

Data provided by
Team logos courtesy of

Patrick Vossler is a senior majoring in economics. His column, “College Football Pick’em,” runs every week.