The weather is finally getting colder, and the days are getting shorter. You know what that means? We’re finally getting to the best part of the college football season. Teams are jostling for conference supremacy and a shot at the playoffs. Last week did not disappoint with quite a few high-profile matchups, and this week is no different. We might have an away game this weekend but grab your popcorn and bacon-wrapped hotdogs: It’s football prediction time.
|Day||Time||Home Team||Away Team||Spread|
|Wed||05:00 PM||Buffalo||Northern Illinois||-2|
|Wed||05:00 PM||Western Michigan||Bowling Green State||-0.5|
|Thu||04:30 PM||Georgia Tech||Virginia Tech||-10|
|Thu||04:30 PM||South Alabama||Louisiana-Lafayette||-6|
|Fri||06:00 PM||Colorado||Southern California||17|
|Sat||01:00 PM||Nevada||San Jose State||-18.5|
|Sat||01:00 PM||Texas State||Georgia State||10.5|
|Sat||02:00 PM||Idaho||Appalachian State||9|
|Sat||04:00 PM||Colorado State||Nevada-Las Vegas||-3.5|
|Sat||04:00 PM||South Florida||Temple||-4.5|
|Sat||04:15 PM||Louisiana State||Arkansas||-6|
|Sat||04:30 PM||Missouri||Brigham Young||6|
|Sat||07:15 PM||Boise State||New Mexico||-20.5|
|Sat||07:30 PM||California||Oregon State||-19|
|Sat||07:30 PM||San Diego State||Wyoming||-19.5|
|Sat||07:45 PM||UCLA||Washington State||-15.5|
|Sat||08:00 PM||Hawaii||Fresno State||-0.5|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Illinois||Ohio State||-9|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Miami (Ohio)||Akron||12.5|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Michigan State||Maryland||-19|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Old Dominion||Texas-El Paso||-8|
|Sat||09:00 AM||South Carolina||Florida||10|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Tennessee||North Texas||-20.5|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Texas Christian||Kansas||-20.5|
|Sat||09:00 AM||West Virginia||Texas||-12.5|
|Sat||09:30 AM||Florida State||North Carolina State||-15|
|Sat||11:00 AM||Air Force||Utah State||-9.5|
|Sat||11:00 AM||Arizona State||Washington||-12.5|
|Sat||11:00 AM||Charlotte||Texas-San Antonio||11.5|
|Sat||12:00 PM||Eastern Michigan||Massachusetts||12.5|
|Sat||12:00 PM||Louisiana-Monroe||Arkansas State||13|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Iowa State||Oklahoma State||6.5|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Marshall||Florida International||-14|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Mississippi State||Alabama||15.5|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Navy||Southern Methodist||-18|
|Sat||12:30 PM||North Carolina||Miami (Florida)||-13.5|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Notre Dame||Wake Forest||-20.5|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Rice||Southern Mississippi||-4|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Texas Tech||Kansas State||-17.5|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Troy||Georgia Southern||6|
|NA||05:00 PM||Central Michigan||Toledo||-7|
|NA||05:00 PM||Ohio||Kent State||-8.5|
No. 12 Oklahoma at No. 6 Baylor (Spread: -17.5)
At this point in the season, all of the Big 12 matchups for both Baylor and Oklahoma are win or go home. Oklahoma faces No. 6 Baylor, No. 15 TCU and No. 8 Oklahoma State. Meanwhile, Baylor faces No. 12 Oklahoma, No. 8 Oklahoma State, and No. 15 TCU. Both teams definitely have unenviable schedules to close out the season.
Despite their tough remaining games, fans should be comforted by Oklahoma’s impressive recent offensive performance. The Sooners have produced more than 300 passing and rushing yards in each of their last few games.
But, in case you haven’t been following along, having an impressive offense is practically a requirement for Big 12 teams. Last weekend, Baylor freshman quarterback Jarrett Stidham had a solid outing with three touchdowns and 419 yards against Kansas State. All in all, things are looking pretty good for Baylor. Baylor is 8-0 hosting ranked teams in the last three years and has blown out Oklahoma in the past two previous meetings. When you add the fact that Baylor is excellent at home — outscoring most teams by more than 20 points per game this season, it makes sense that ESPN and our model have Baylor as the winner this weekend.
No. 2 Alabama @ No. 17 Mississippi State (Spread: 15.5)
Oh boy, Alabama better get ready for the Mississippi State cowbells. While the fear of getting a cowbell-induced headache is very real for Alabama, Mississippi State has played a relatively easy schedule. Alabama showed its defensive dominance last weekend, holding Heisman front-runner, LSU running back Leonard Fournette, to just 31 yards on 19 carries. At this point, Alabama controls its destiny in the SEC after Ole Miss’s loss to Arkansas (The 4th and 25 miracle). For Mississippi State to have a chance at upsetting the Tide, the Bulldog’s quarterback Dak Prescott, who’s responsible for 2,351 yards and 18 touchdowns this season, needs to tear apart Alabama’s secondary.
Our model agrees with ESPN that Alabama is the favorite in this one. But even after their statement win last weekend against LSU, Alabama will need to bring that same stone-wall defense this weekend.
No. 21 Memphis vs No. 24 Houston (Spread: -17.5)
While this ACC showdown has lost a little of its shine with Memphis’ loss to Navy last weekend, this matchup is still going to a be shootout worth watching. This season, Memphis has been excellent through the air — Paxton Lynch has more than 3,000 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and only two interceptions. On the other hand, Houston is more balanced with more than 250 passing and rushing yards per game.
Houston fans should take solace in the fact that it has a better defense, especially versus the run. Houston has allowed less than 100 rushing yards per game and has allowed 10 less points per game compared to Memphis. So if Houston can disrupt Memphis’ pass-heavy offense, they should have a shot at pulling off the upset. While Memphis is the higher ranked team, both our model and ESPN have Houston as the favorite for this matchup.
USC at Colorado (Spread: 17)
Once again, USC is a big favorite to win, but as we’ve seen, that really doesn’t mean much. Last weekend, our offense was running on all cylinders and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had yet another monster game with eight receptions for 138 yards. The key for USC this weekend is consistency.
Meanwhile, Colorado has a productive offense that has amassed more than 400 offensive yards per game. But Colorado’s defense has also been allowing more than 400 yards per game, hence their less-than-ideal record. Considering the Buffaloes joined the Pac-12 in 2011, they have been improving year over year, which is a difficult feat in a tough conference like the Pac-12.
Short of a major offensive breakdown, this matchup looks like it will be an easy win for the Trojans.
Data provided by cfbstats.com
Team logos courtesy of sportslogos.net
Patrick Vossler is a senior majoring in economics. His column, “College Football Pick’em,” runs every week.