College football on Halloween. Things pretty much have to get weird, right? I'm counting on it as I enjoy the first of two consecutive much-needed Saturdays as neutral observer, with both Kansas State and Missouri gearing up for a Thursday night game next week. It's not a great group of games, but it'll have to do.
Gameday is headed to Philadelphia to catch Temple, so we will, too, and a few other matchups seem intriguing this weekend. Jon and I will give you some advice you would probably be well served to ignore, for entertainment purposes only, of course.
Last week, we assured you no undefeated teams would fall, so naturally Florida State and Utah fell flat on their faces. Toledo looked like it might do the same, but the Rockets deserve special credit for coming back from a 28-10 halftime deficit to not only win, but also cover a 14.5 point spread. That helped both of us as we went 5-5 together, pushing me to 42-37-1, still slightly ahead of Jon's 39-40-1.
|Saturday, 2 p.m. Memorial Stadium, Berkeley CA|
LT: There's a chance Jon will hate me for picking this game, since it's the Pac-12 and just about anything could happen. But I'm a believer in USC. The Trojans have figured it out and even though they probably won't play quite as well as they did last week, the Golden Bears are in trouble. They have a strong offense, and that's about it. Not enough. USC covers.
JM: I hate you with the fire of a thousand suns. Or I would, were I capable of feelings.
I mean, USC scored on Utah. So that's one thing. On the other hand, they didn't score on Washington, and they give up a ton of points. But the real reason I hate this game is because we just don't have enough data on "USC under Clay Helton". And ultimately, there's history. USC owns Cal. Trojans cover.
|Saturday, 2:30 p.m. EverBank Field, Jacksonville FL|
LT: It's in a neutral site, so it could be worse for Georgia. But come on, this team can't do anything against the Gators defense without Nick Chubb. At least Bulldogs fans can watch Todd Gurley destroy defenses on Sundays. Florida covers.
JM: The easy answer here is "Chomp, chomp." Florida is clearly a better team than Georgia at this juncture. But strange things happen at the Gator Bowl, and you really can't ever tell who's going to escape with the win. Still... that's no reason to waste perfectly good internet dollars on a pretend bet. Gators cover.
|Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock TX|
LT: I'm still not sold on Oklahoma State, and I think it's quite possible things go downhill in a hurry for the Cowboys in November. But we're not there yet, and Texas Tech has looked pretty terrible for two straight weeks. The Red Raiders can't stop any sort of competent offense, and Mike Gundy can make you pay for that. OSU covers.
JM: The question, though, is "Does Oklahoma State have a competent offense?" The running game is still a work in progress, after all. But Mason Rudolph has only really had one had game, and Tech's offense has coughed a bit of late as well. I have to go with the Cowboys on this one.
|Saturday, 6 p.m. TDECU Stadium, Houston TX|
LT: Believe it or not, this might well be the best defense Houston faces all season. Don't underestimate the Commodores, and if they catch a few breaks, they could win this one. I'm actually going to go out on a limb and say they do, giving us one fewer unbeaten.
JM: Nah, Houston's going to win. See, Vanderbilt is really bad, Luke. I hate having to tell you that when you're vulnerable, but it's true. However: Vanderbilt's defense is not awful, and Houston may face their lowest point output of the season. The problem for the Commodores: that will be true even if they hold Houston to 33 points. The good news: Vanderbilt should manage to cover, because Houston tends to give up 20 to offenses that aren't entirely deceased, and despite their issues scoring points Vandy does rack up almost 400 yards a game as is. Commodores cover.
|Saturday, 7 p.m. Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia PA|
LT: OK, Temple. This is your chance. Are the Owls capable of taking advantage of their rare moment in the college football spotlight? Temple just doesn't have enough offensive weapons to move the ball consistently on a team like Notre Dame, and eventually that stout defense will wear down and falter. Fighting Irish cover.
JM: I also believe this is the week Temple's train derails, but there's a caveat: much of Notre Dame's strength rests with C.J. Prosise's legs. Temple is allowing less than 100 yards per game on the ground, and they're scoring almost as much as the Irish. So while I expect Notre Dame to end Temple's unbeaten run, I think the Owls are going to keep this one close. Temple covers.
Fighting Holgos! Rutgers! Auburn! Tulane! Paul Rhoads! Bad football errywhere!