We have reached the final two weeks of the regular season and it feels like this year has gone by very quickly.
Rivalry week and conference championships are on deck, but there are still plenty of quality college football games this weekend to enjoy and perhaps invest some of your hard-earned dollars into.
I had a win in Week 11 and I intend to finish the season strong after a few bumps in the road along the way.
Last week: 4-3
Through and through: 42-40
No. 11 Penn State at Rutgers
Time: 3:30pm | Television: BTN | Line: PSU -19 | Total: 45
Penn State has been pushing its overmatched opponents for the past month. PSU defeated Minnesota 45-17, Indiana 45-14 and Maryland 30-0. I’m expecting another blowout vs. Rutgers.
Penn State will be able to power the Scarlet Knights with freshman running backs Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen, who have combined for 1,431 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. PSU’s defense that has been playing fast and aggressive in Manny Diaz’s scheme also has some emerging young stars. I struggle to see the Scarlet Knights putting up much opposition, even at home.
Rutgers is 1-5 ATS as a double-digit home underdog since Greg Schiano’s return in 2020. In the last three, Rutgers has lost by 39, 49 and 35 points. PSU has covered five of its last seven as a double-digit road favorite and I don’t feel let down in this group.
Pick: Penn State -19
No. 24 NC State at Louisville
Time: 3:30pm | Television: ESPN3 | Line: UL -4.5 | Total: 45.5
NC State is still somehow ranked despite losing 21-20 at home to Boston College last week. Before that loss, NC State managed to beat both Virginia Tech and Wake Forest at home despite having to rely on true QB MJ Morris, who started the year as the third string and was expected to it would make it red.
I expect Morris to be a good player for the Wolfpack, but he struggled last week against a bad BC defense. Now he must go on the road for the first time and face Louisville’s ferocious pass rush. I expect a very conservative approach on offense from NC State, which always tries to establish the run even though it’s not very good at it.
And as much as Louisville’s defense has improved, the best unit on the field in this game is NC State’s defense. With that said, I expect a low scoring game. That’s especially the case with potentially sidelined Louisville QB Malik Cunningham. He took a big fall last week when UL lost to Clemson and linebacker Brock Domann is a big drop.
Pick: Under 45.5
Iowa in Minnesota
Time: 4 pm | Television: Fox | Line: Minnesota -3 | Total: 32.5
Iowa was a winner for me last week and I’m rooting for the Hawkeyes again. In a game with an absurdly low total like this, getting a field goal is a big deal – especially with the style of play on both sides.
Iowa is awful, but has the upper hand defensively and on special teams. Iowa beat Wisconsin 24-10 last week despite having 146 yards of offense. Iowa’s two scoring drives were 17 and 18 yards. They were set up with a blocked punt and a long punt return. The Hawkeyes also had a pick-six and added a field goal after Wisconsin committed a turnover on downs.
Minnesota relies heavily on the running game. Iowa will be able to impress Mo Ibrahim and force Minnesota to deal with him. If the Gophers have to start freshman QB Athan Kaliakmanis again, don’t be surprised when he makes a mistake or two. That’s just what Iowa does.
Oh, and Iowa has won seven straight in the series and covered the spread in their last six meetings. I have to take the points.
Choice: Iowa +3
Texas Tech at Iowa State
Time: 7 pm | Television: FS1 | Line: ISU -3.5 | Total: 47.5
After a stretch where it lost four of five, Texas Tech got a home win over Kansas last week to go 5-5. TTU can clinch a bowl berth, but a trip to Ames to face an Iowa State team that has lost six of seven won’t be easy. Five of ISU’s losses have come by seven points or fewer, so this is a team that plays in close games and is desperate for a win. Bowl eligibility remains a possibility for the Cyclones as well, so there is plenty of motivation for both teams.
I don’t really have a side feeling, but I like the whole thing. Iowa State has a solid defense but struggles on offense. This is a night game at Jack Trice Stadium and it will be very cold and very windy. That’s not the same as a turnover-prone Texas Tech team that throws the ball 56% of the time. But it is part of the foot on under.
In Iowa State’s last seven home games as a touchdown favorite or less, the under is 5-1-1. Only two of ISU’s games this season have reached this total. I do not imagine many points.
Pick: Under 47.5
Boise State at Wyoming
Time: 7 pm | Television: CBSSN | Line: Boise State -14 | Total: 44.5
First place in the Mountain Division is on the line and Wyoming is a two touchdown underdog at home? That just feels like too many points for such a disciplined team.
Boise State has a great defense and an emerging star at quarterback in Taylen Green. But the Broncos use a slow first offense, a style that suits Wyoming well on both sides of the ball. The Cowboys will continue running back Titus Swen in a game where it will be very cold (wind chill in the teens around the kickoff) and windy and will keep the scoring low.
Wyoming has covered six of its last seven against Boise State and the home field advantage in Laramie is pretty significant this late in the year. During Craig Bohl’s tenure as head coach (dating back to 2014), Wyoming is 6-2 ATS with three straight wins as an underdog of at least seven points in home games played after Oct. 1. Additionally, the underdog is 18-9- 1 in Wyoming home games after Oct. 1 dating back to 2014.
Options: Wyoming +14, Under 44.5
No. 14 Ole Miss at Arkansas
Time: 7:30pm | Television: SECN | Line: Ole Miss -2.5 | Total: 64
Alabama was on the ropes at Ole Miss last week and couldn’t pull off the upset. Now the Rebels must hit the road for a night game against an Arkansas team looking to gain bowl eligibility. Arkansas almost had a win last week, losing 13-10 to LSU despite quarterback KJ Jefferson being out with a shoulder injury.
Jefferson is expected to be back this week and I think Arkansas will win this game. The Razorbacks are much better than their 5-5 record might indicate. They have played an extremely difficult schedule but should be able to entertain the home crowd and find success in their quarterly attack.
Ole Miss will also have success rushing the ball, but can Quinshon Judkins handle another heavy workload? There are also reasons to be skeptical about the Jaxson Dart’s ability to perform consistently in a tough road environment.
Pick: Arkansas +2.5
7 USC at No. 16 UCLA
Time: 8 pm | Television: Fox | Line: USC -2.5 | Total: 75.5
UCLA was caught looking ahead in this game last week and lost in Arizona, which got an incredible effort from QB Jayden de Laura. UCLA faces an even better quarterback this week, USC’s Caleb Williams, but I like the spot here for the Bruins against the rival Trojans.
USC’s defense is pretty bad and UCLA will be able to run it with ease with Zach Charbonnet and Dorian Thompson-Robinson. On the other side, USC will be without running back Travis Dye. Dye has been a security blanket for Williams all year. It is a great loss.
USC has been playing so many bad teams since losing on the road to Utah. The Trojans have gotten so much hype ever since Lincoln Riley arrived. UCLA would love to end that noise.
Pick: UCLA +2.5