The Michigan Wolverines pummeled Penn State last weekend and are now enjoying a bye week before a huge game against the Michigan State Spartans next weekend, but the rest of the college football scene is as hot and bothered as ever with some games with massive implications coming up today.
Here are the games we will be watching this weekend without the Wolverines in play.
No. 16 Syracuse Orange vs No. 5 Clemson Tigers
- TV: ABC
- Stream: Sling TV
- Time: Noon
- Location: Clemson, SC
- Weather: 61 degrees, sunny
- DraftKings Odds: CLEM -13.5, O/U: 49.5, ML: CUSE +400, CLEM -500
- Best Bet (9-9): CUSE +13.5
Three of the last five games in this series have been decided by less than three points. In that time frame, Syracuse is 4-1 against the spread. Last year, Clemson narrowly escaped New York with a three-point win.
The Orange also boast the No. 6 defense in the country allowing just 13.2 points per game. This was battle tested last week against No. 15 NC State, which gained just 255 yards of total offense in a 24-9 loss. For the first time since having divisions, Syracuse can take a stranglehold on the Atlantic crown if it can secure a win.
That won’t be an easy task at Memorial Stadium, where the Tigers have not lost since 2016 — that’s 37 home wins in a row. This team also has two wins against top-25 opponents already in the books.
A win on Saturday would only bolster Clemson’s College Football Playoff bid. A large reason for the success is the play of quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei, who has tossed for 1,665 yards and 17 touchdowns this year. Still, this Orange defense may be the best he has faced all season.
There are a lot of unknown’s in this game, which is why I lean towards the Cuse to cover that 13.5-point spread but lose outright as the Tigers continue their dominant run at home.
No. 9 UCLA Bruins vs No. 10 Oregon Ducks
- TV: FOX
- Stream: Sling TV
- Time: 3:30 p.m.
- Location: Eugene, OR
- Weather: 50 degrees, cloudy
- DraftKings Odds: DUCKS -6, O/U: 70, ML: UCLA +195, DUCKS -230
- Best Bet (9-9): O70
The PAC-12 has one hope for an undefeated champion, and that is the UCLA Bruins, who have jumped from unranked to No. 9 in the country over the course of the season.
Former Wolverine Zach Charbonnet has excelled and is on pace for more than 1,000 rushing yards this season, but the biggest difference-maker on offense this season has been quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. He is up to 19 touchdowns while completing 74.8% of his passes, pushing him into the Heisman conversation. Together, they have helped UCLA average more than 500 yards of offense per game while scoring more than 40 points in five of their six games.
Oregon’s year started rough with a 49-3 blowout loss at the hands of the Georgia Bulldogs. Since then, the Ducks have looked really good on offense. Bo Nix, the transfer from Auburn, has thrown 12 touchdowns to just one interception since that loss. Overall, the Ducks’ offense has scored more than 40 points in each game since then.
Defense is a myth in the PAC-12 and while the 70 points on the O/U seems preposterous, it also seems low at the same time. The over has hit in five out of six UCLA games this season and four of six Oregon games. With the way these two offenses are rolling right now, I expect some fireworks in Eugene in the PAC-12’s first top-10 matchup of the year.
Minnesota Golden Gophers vs No. 16 Penn State Nittany Lions
- TV: ABC
- Stream: Sling TV
- Time: 7:30 p.m.
- Location: University Park, PA
- Weather: 54 degrees, cloudy
- DraftKings Odds: PSU -4, O/U: 45, ML: MINN +160, PSU -190
- Best Bet (9-9): MINN +160
After the Wolverines wiped the floor with the Nittany Lions last week, many are questioning the legitimacy of their top-10 ranking a week ago. Meanwhile, the Golden Gophers, who were crowned by many as the Big Ten West Champs after Week 3, have lost two in a row.
A shocker for two Big Ten teams, but they both love to run the ball. Running back Mohamed Ibrahim has reached the century mark in each of his five games this season. Quarterback Tanner Morgan, who went down with a head injury last week, is expected to play.
This game is in Happy Valley and is Penn State’s annual White Out. The Nittany Lions will be looking to rebound and put on a far better showing than the 268 total yards they put up last week. The defense was destroyed by the Michigan offensive line, allowing more than 400 yards on the ground. They’ll need to perform better to avoid Ibrahim doing the same thing.
Over the last two seasons, the Nittany Lions’ losses have come in bunches. In 2020, they lost their first five games. Then last season, they lost six of their last eight, including a three-game losing streak at the midway point. Could the loss last week be the beginning of another Penn State downfall?
I’ll bet on it. Give me the Gophers as we start to see the collapse of the Nittany Lions in 2022.