Last week’s slate of college football brought us a lot of elite playoff contenders facing some really dreadful competition. This week will more than make up for it. Last week featured a ton of highly ranked FBS schools getting easy wins getting a lot of FCS schools.
This week has major playoff implications, especially for a non-conference week for most teams. This week 4 top 10 teams face a ranked opponent and 9 ranked teams are on the road today, all featuring tough match-ups. It’s very possible that 4 pre-season playoff contenders could have their playoff hopes dashed today.
Here are the best college football match-ups this week with my predicted winners:
*All times eastern*
#25 Miami(Florida) at Appalachian State(+3.5)- ASU nearly pulled off the upset at Tennessee in Week 1 and they did it by getting after the quarterback the majority of the time with just three rushers. The Mountaineers are the trendy pick today, but I like Miami for two reasons. One, their new head coach Mark Richt doesn’t have a long history losing to non-power conference teams. Two, Brad Kaaya is a legitimate NFL prospect at quarterback, unless Tennessee’s quarterback Josh Dobbs, and should light up this secondary if he has time.
#2 Florida State at #10 Louisville(+1)- Lamar Jackson has taken the college football world by storm so far this season, but he hasn’t been challenged by a defense that can match his offense’s speed. The Cardinals can’t just rely on their athletic talent in this one. I like Florida State a lot in this one, but if Louisville doesn’t get off to a slow start today, this one will be really interesting.
#1 Alabama at #19 Ole Miss(+10)- The last team to beat Nick Saban three consecutive times was Purdue in the late 90s back when Saban was just starting out at Michigan State. But this isn’t Michigan State of the late 90s. This is a loaded Alabama team with an elite front 7 and running game. They do have limited experience at quarterback, but I’ll take their two unknown quarterbacks over Ole Miss’s Chad Kelly. Kelly has a weaker arm and has proven to be a poor decision maker.
#22 Oregon at Nebraska(-3)- It’s surprising to see an unranked team favored at home against a ranked team, but a lot of people are putting stock in Nebraska head coach Mike Riley and his experience against Oregon back when he was the Oregon State head coach. His record during that time by the way, 5-11. Now this Nebraska team is better than most of those Beaver teams, but there won’t be the emotion of a rivalry in this game and I don’t think the Huskers defense will have an answer for Royce Freeman or that tempo.
#3 Ohio State at #14 Oklahoma(+1)- This is Oklahoma’s season, at least in terms of the playoffs are concerned. They already lost to Houston and losing another non-conference game before they face a weaker Big 12 schedule. A loss today means they already will have a down season, just three games in, and possibly Bob Stoops job becomes in jeopardy. Ohio State is still a proud program with an experienced quarterback, but they are playing with house money this season. This team is so young that they could finish 7-5 and nobody would bat an eye. I like Ohio State in this game because Urban Meyer rarely loses big games, the Buckeyes have more talent and Bob Stoops rarely wins big games.
#11 Texas at California(+7)- I skipped over the Notre Dame/Michigan State game because I believe this one will have more playoff implications. If Texas wins this game, they will probably be favored in every game the rest of the way, and could easily finish 12-0 with wins over Notre Dame and Oklahoma(if they won out) on neutral fields. This is a dangerous game for Texas because Cal with Davis Webb at quarterback can score a ton of points and keep this one close for four quarters. How Texas handles a close game against a unranked team will decide this game. This is still a young team who hasn’t accomplished anything yet under Charlie Strong. I like Texas in this game, but it’s not crazy to think that the Golden Bears can win this game.