323 North Texas +3.5
Both North Texas and Florida Atlantic are improving, and this ought to be a good football game. I favor the Mean Green on some fundamentals that continue to produce wins. They’re a good running team, averaging just a shade less than 200ypg, and that’s still an area the Owls have trouble defending. I’m also still convinced North Texas is a significantly underrated squad. The Mean Green are what I would call a very impressive 4-2. The loss at SMU was the one game where the running game got shut down and they got whacked in that one. But this team gave Iowa a real scare till the Hawkeyes finally took over in the later stages. They’ve since won three straight and QB Mason Fine is dealing a hot hand of late. FAU’s inability to stop the run is still a problem. They held an FCS team to 61 and injury riddled MTSU to 69. I won’t count the monster rushing yards allowed vs. Navy and Wisconsin against them, as those teams are out of their class. But the big numbers overland registered by Buffalo and Old Dominion are another story. If the Mean Green are able to spring Wilson and Smith for chunks here, then Fine could go off throwing as well. Good game on paper that is closely contested, but North Texas getting more than the FG is a definite play for me.
355 Michigan +10 -115 (bought the hook)
I can see Michigan and Penn State getting decided very early in terms of whether it’s a war or a wipeout. If the Lions get out quickly, Michigan might not be able to stay with them. I won’t pretend that’s not a concern as this is a monster revenge spot for Penn State and they’re a potential playoff team. But I really like this Michigan defense and if the Wolverines contain Barkley, I think they can force McSorley into mistakes. So unless Michigan comes out of the gate struggling they’re likely turning this into a smash mouth trench war that goes to the wire. It’s important to note that aside from that one late 2015 disaster vs. Ohio State, Michigan has never gotten blown out under Harbaugh. All the other losses during this regime have been close. Penn State nearly blew it at Iowa in their previous biggest game of the season, and all the pressure is on the Nittany Lions here. Michigan fits on my defensive dog rushing stats and I will bet the Wolverines with the points here.
383 Oregon +7 -125 (bought the hook)
Oregon is stil without its talented QB and I’m not gonna pretend that’s not a very big absence. But this is the perfect matchup for the Ducks to simply grind things out on the ground and that will give them a chance at winning this game. UCLA is absolutely pathetic up front on defense. They cannot stop anything on the ground. No question QB Rosen can be electric, but he also has thrown 17 picks and the Bruins are a woeful -10 net turnovers. I think they’re a bad team that is very poorly coached. Moreover, UCLA is lucky to be 3-3. The rally against A&M was a complete fluke. They barely got past a Colorado team that stinks on the road and they blew out Hawaii, which means nothing. The Ducks are getting healthier, and I think they’re now undervalued off the two ugly losses to Wazzu and Stanford. I see Oregon with a good shot here and getting around a TD is a take.