We're getting close to the part of the season where everyone (especially ESPN) is going to make much ado about nothing.
In short, in a couple of short weeks the initial CFP rankings will be released, revealing once again that the entirety of the committee may not know much about football, but they understand how to troll. They also understand how to drive interest in what is, basically at this point, a meaningless exercise. With so much football left to play the interim CFP polls are ridiculous. Not as ridiculous as say...the AP poll (which is less ridiculous than the Coaches poll and so on) but ridiculous nevertheless.
Just ignore it all and pay attention here starting in week 8. I'll release my preliminary top 10 and that's all you really need to know.*
On to the games.... (reminder: All lines are current as per the Westgate Superbook at the time of publication. I cannot track moves up until game time, I leave that up to you.)
Tasty spread this week, with a few nothingburger games sprinkled in for good measure.
Nebraska (-5.5) @ Illinois. T: 46
The Cornhuskers are in a bit of a free-fall while Illinois has been looking marginally better this year. The Illini hold the "best" win between the two teams with a 20-7 win over Western KY, a fairly decent Go5 team. At the beginning of the season I said I would not be shocked if Illinois pulls off an upset or three in the B1G this year. Prediction: Nebraska 17 Illinois 24.
BYU (-3) @ Utah State T: 46
Call this "Holy War lite" as two teams that don't like each other all that much face off in a game that could be important for both team's bowl aspirations. At 1-3 the Cougars have been showing signs of fatigue the last few weeks, in large part due to the brutal schedule they are forced to play every year due to their independent status. The Aggies have lost to every good team they've played, but they've dominated the rest. Prediction: BYU 17 Utah State 20
University of Southern California (-3.5) @ Washington State T: 64
The game that every serious pundit in America must say, by contract, that they're "very interested" in watching. Sam Darnold has shown a tendency to throw the ball to the other team this year and Washington State is always interesting because of head coach Mike Leach. Pullman is a tough place to play. Take the over. Prediction: USC 42 WSU 41
Maryland @ Minnesota (-13) T: 43
Gopher's head coach PJ Fleck's boat has relocated and added a motor. The Gophers have looked solid against lesser competition. Maryland started off strong before folding like a fan against a pretty good UCF team. I think the boat rows, but the line here is wonky. That said I've got no faith in the Terrapins so this didn't make the FIVE. Prediction: Maryland 17 Minnesota 27
Central Michigan @ Boston College (-7.5) T: 50.5
Here is this week's "first game out" of the FIVE. Yes, Central Michigan has been crap the last two weeks, but they opened the season dominating Kansas who is not significantly worse than a Boston College team that's been pathetic all year, are just coming off a whupping from Clemson, and who have Virginia Tech next week. Cue the upset or at least a cover. Prediction: CMU 23 Boston College 24.
Georgia (-7.5) @ Tennessee T: 47
I don't think the Vols can hang with the Bulldogs, nor do I think they are as bad as last week showed. Yes, UMass is bad but you can forgive the Vols their peek ahead to Uga coming to town this week. The Bulldogs need to win big here to solidify their standing as the thin red line between Alabama and total conference dominance. Prediction: UGA 34 Tennessee 14
Arizona State @ Stanford (-17) T: 62.5
This game opened too big toward the Cardinal, and has been trending further their way since then. For the life of me I cannot figure out why? I think Stanford wins this, but I don't see them as being appreciably better than the Sun Devils. Playing at the Farm helps a lot. Prediction: ASU 17 Stanford 21.
Mississippi State @ Auburn (-9) T: 52.5
I'm going to say this again: Auburn is the most overrated team in college football. Prediction: MSU 17 Auburn 10.
Memphis @ University of Central Florida (-4) T: 68
This game is the playing of a game that should have happened 2 weeks prior but for that bitch Irma. Two of the top teams in the American going at it. I'm expecting a barn-burner. Give the nod to UCF due to them playing at home. Draw a line through Memphis game last week, clearly looking ahead. Prediction: Mem 38 UCF 41.
Oklahoma State (-9.5) @ Texas Tech T: 85.5
I'm not sure you could make this line high enough for me to feel comfortable taking the under. Although TCU gave Tech some good tape to stifle the Cowboy's offense, I don't think Tech has near the players on the staff to do it. Plus, I think the Pokies are Maaaad..... Prediction: OSU 52 Tech 42
California @ Oregon (-13.5) T: 68.5
Your #Pac12AfterDark special of the week. Cal is much better this year than everyone is used to, especially on the defensive side of the ball, and Oregon has improved, but they're not yet what people seem to want them to be. I know we all want the Ducks to return to glory, but they still have many holes to fill. Prediction: Cal 24 Oregon 31
Teams for whom I have a connection or rooting interest.....
Michigan: Improvement week. Need to get the offense on track before heading to Camp Randall to play Wisconsin next week. Go Blue!!
Houston (-14) @ Temple T: 46
Last year this was the game that put the nail into the coffin that was UH "best non-power 5 school in the country" narrative although I think they struggle to do it again. That said, UH offense has not looked even mediocre behind signal caller Kyle Allen, who I'm beginning to suspect is not a very good quarterback. If the Cougar's offense struggles early, I would be surprised to see Postma enter the game. Prediction: UH 27 Temple 10
San Jose State @ Desert Rug Rats (-13.5) T: 66.5
After a brutal start against Ohio State last week the DRR's bounced back against the Buckeye's 2nd and 3rd teams and actually covered. San Jose is not a good team so if the DRR's want to keep their slim hopes of making a bowl game alive a win here is a must. Prediction: SJSU 28 DRR's 45