Red River Rivalry Renewed; Florida Visits LSU
Other key contests send Stanford to Utah, Oregon to Washington, Northwestern to Wisconsin
A 51-game slate this week features 13 of the 17 unbeaten teams in action, and several key conference matchups.
The biggest game on a national level will take place at the state fair in Dallas when Oklahoma and Texas stage the 98th edition of the Red River Rivalry. The game doesn't carry the clout that it often has due to the Longhorns limping in at 3-2 after needing some questionable goal line calls to take a 31-30 victory at Iowa State. Oklahoma is ranked 3rd in my Congrove Computer Rankings, but is coming off an uninspiring 20-17 home win over TCU to improve to 5-0. The computer likes Oklahoma by 7.84 which is almost a touchdown less than the sportsbook lines. The Sooners have taken the last 3, including blowouts of 63-21 (last year) and 55-17 in the last two meetings.
Meanwhile, computer No. 1 Oregon is a 5.89-point pick at Washington and No. Stanford gets a 16.50-point nod at Utah.
4th-ranked and high scoring Baylor goes to Kansas State as a 9.09-point choice. The 4-0 Bears are averaging 70.5 points and 779.5 yards per game.
5th-ranked Ohio State is idle, along with No. 8 Florida State, 10th-ranked Miami (Fla.), 18th-rated Oklahoma State and 21st-ranked Fresno State.
In games involving the unbeaten teams, all but Missouri are picked to stay that way as the Tigers are a 10.52-point underdog at Georgia. The other unbeaten teams are Alabama, Baylor, Clemson, Florida State, Fresno State, Houston, Louisville, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Northern Illinois, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Stanford, Texas Tech and UCLA.
7 of the 9 winless teams will give it the old college try and a few have a chance at winning. Miami (Ohio) at Massachusetts is game that pits two winless teams against each other with the computer siding with the RedHawks by 4.49. Meanwhile, Hawaii, is only a 4.67-point underdog at UNLV (3-2), and UConn is a 9.60-point computer choice at home over USF (1-4). The other winless teams are Georgia State, New Mexico State, Temple, Southern Miss and Western Michigan.
Other key games on the map include LSU hosting Florida as a 10.49-point edge, Texas A&M as a 1.63-point selection at Ole Miss, Wisconsin as a 3.74-point projected winner at home over Northwestern, Alabama as a 20.54-point pick at Kentucky, and Michigan as a mere 0.28-point favorite at Penn State in the computer's tightest game of the week.
USC will take the field for the first time since firing Lane Kiffin. The Trojans host Arizona on Thursday night as a 1.45-point computer underdog.
Sadly, two of the best QB's in college football - Utah State's Chuckie Keeton and UL-Monroe's Kolton Browning - have been knocked out for the season by injuries. Both teams had great aspirations heading into the season, but both teams were already failing to live up to expectations. With their respective star QB going down with a torn MCL and ACL in the first quarter, Utah State went from a 5.23-point favorite to a 17-point loser vs. BYU. Browning suffered a quad injury vs. Tulane and missed last week's 21-point loss to Western Kentucky.
Northern Illinois kept its road warrior status intact last week with a 38-24 win at Kent State. The 5-0 Huskies also have wins at Iowa, Idaho and Purdue, along with a victory over FCS member Eastern Illinois in their only home game to date. NIU finally gets its first home game against a school from the FBS when it hosts Akron on Saturday as a 21.11-point computer favorite.
FBS vs. FCS:
Auburn hosts Western Carolina in the only FBS vs. FCS matchup this week.
FBS teams have lost 14 such matchups this season after losing just 10 all of last year. After this week's contest, 14 FBS-FCS games will still remain to be played.
The FBS is 81-14 (.853) this season vs. the FCS, and 817-79 (.912) in such matchups since 2003.
106 FBS schools scheduled a total of 110 games against FCS foes this year. Clemson and Georgia Tech each scheduled two such schools. FBS newcomer Georgia State scheduled 3 FCS teams and lost to each of them.
Here are the results of the FBS losses to FCS schools this season:
8/29: Towson 33, Connecticut 18
8/29: Southern Utah 22, South Alabama 21
8/30: Samford 31, Georgia State 21
8/30: North Dakota State 24, Kansas State 21
8/31: Northern Iowa 28, Iowa State 20
8/31: Eastern Washington 49, Oregon State 46
8/31: Eastern Illinois 40, San Diego State 18
8/31: McNeese State 53, USF 21
9/7: UT-Chattanooga 42, Georgia State 14
9/7: Maine 24, Massachusetts 14
9/7: Nicholls State 27, Western Michigan 23.
9/14: Fordham 30, Temple 29
9/14: Bethune-Cookman 34, FIU 13
9/21: Jacksonville State 32, Georgia State 26 (OT)
Eastern Washington, McNeese State and North Dakota State also had wins vs. FBS teams last year.
Ohio State - Won 18 straight overall. Idle.
Northern Illinois - Won 22 straight at home and 18 straight vs. conference foes. Hosts Akron on Saturday.
LSU - Won 44 straight regular season nonconference games. Hosts Florida on Saturday.
Michigan - Won 18 straight home games. Visits Penn State on Saturday.
Oregon - Won 17 straight road games. Visits Washington on Saturday.
Southern Miss - Lost 17 straight overall. Idle.
New Mexico State - Lost 17 straight overall. Idle.
Akron - Lost 29 straight road games, 27 straight FBS games and 18 straight conference games (MAC). Visits Northern Illinois on Saturday.
Kansas - Lost 22 straight conference games and 20 straight road games. Visits TCU on Saturday.