Editor’s Note: Brian made a couple of quick updates on Thursday morning at 10:06 a.m. Eastern.
All eyes will be on South Bend and Jacksonville on Saturday. Before we get there, though, gamblers have six MACtion games on tap for tonight! Here’s the lineup breakdown:
Eastern Michigan at Kent State (ESPN+, 6:00 p.m.)
Western Michigan at Akron (ESPN3, 6:00 p.m.)
Buffalo at Northern Illinois (ESPN2, 7:00 p.m.)
Ohio at Central Michigan (ESPN, 7:00 p.m.)
Ball State at Miami-Ohio (CBSSN, 7:00 p.m.)
Bowling Green at Toledo (ESPNU, 8:00 p.m.)
It’s only Wednesday morning, but let’s give you an early look at some injuries to monitor in Week 10, plenty of against-the-spread factoids, some links, a bunch of tweets and other quick-hit opinions.
–Eastern Michigan has been an ATS ATM machine in underdog roles in recent years. Since the tweet (below) was sent late Monday night or early Tuesday morning (whichever you prefer), Kent St. has moved down to a 4.5-point home favorite:
–EMU covered again Wednesday night in a 27-23 loss at Kent St. The number closed at 4.5 at most spots, so the Eagles are now 18-3 ATS in their last 21 games as road underdogs and 26-4-1 ATS in their past 31 outings as ‘dogs of any sort (home/away/neutral).
–Kansas St. was a 12.5-point underdog at a lot of books early Wednesday for Saturday’s home game vs. Oklahoma St. The Wildcats have produced a spectacular 16-4 spread record in their last 20 games as home ‘dogs since 2011. The Cowboys are 12-14-2 ATS as road favorites since 2012. Keep an eye on these injuries for this Big 12 showdown:
–Florida is 4-1-2 ATS with four outright wins in seven games as an underdog during Dan Mullen’s tenure that started in 2018. As of early Wednesday, most books had Georgia as a three or 3.5-point favorite with a total of 52.5 or 53.5 (at Circa). The Gators were +135 to +140 on the money line. I pounced on UF at +5 on Sunday night. UGA is trying to beat Florida four times in a row for the first time since the 1980s. As we let you know here at MajorWager on Sunday, the Bulldogs are going to be without Richard LeCounte, their defensive team leader who was a first-team All-SEC selection in 2019.
–Georgia is dealing with injuries galore. Starting WR George Pickens didn’t make the trip to Lexington for last week’s 14-3 non-covering win over Kentucky due to an upper-body injury. Pickens, who had team-highs in catches (49), receiving yards (727) and TD receptions (eight) for the Bulldogs as a true freshman in 2019, is listed as ‘questionable’ vs. UF. UGA starting safety Lewis Cine is ‘questionable’ after leaving the win over UK injured. Although Kirby Smart implied that starting junior NT Jordan Davis might be able to play with a brace on the fractured elbow he sustained at UK last week, the guess here is that’s a bunch of nonsense. Davis was a preseason third-team All-SEC pick in Phil Steele’s magazine, while LeCounte was a preseason second-team All-American. Julian Rochester, a starting DT, was lost for the season at UK to a torn ACL.
–Florida will be without starting DE Zachary Carter in the first half after he was suspended by the SEC for his role in a halftime altercation vs. Missouri. Carter has 15 tackles, two tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and four QB hurries through four games.
–Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence is ‘out’ for a second straight week. He and senior LB James Skalski will make the trip to South Bend, according to Dabo Swinney, but only to participate in leadership/coaching-type roles. Junior DE Xavier Thomas won’t be on the field in the first half after getting ejected for targeting in the second half of last week’s thrilling 34-28 comeback win over Boston College. As of early Wednesday, most spots had the Tigers as 5.5-point road favorites at Notre Dame. The number was anywhere from six to 7.5 at most spots on Sunday night, but most shops adjusted to -5.5 at some point Monday.
–MajorWager has learned from Kelly Gramlich, the co-host of the Out of Bounds Show in Clemson on 105.5 The Roar (where I’m a guest today and every Thursday at 1:25 p.m. Eastern talking pigskin picks) that two other Clemson starters on defense won’t make the trip to South Bend. Sophomore DT Tyler Davis, who was a first-team All-ACC selection in 2019 when he had 51 tackles, 5.5 sacks, six QB hurries and 3.5 tackles for loss, remains out injured. Likewise, starting LB Mike Jones is ‘out’ at Notre Dame.
–Vanderbilt RB Ja’Veon Marlow is going to miss his third straight game Saturday at Mississippi St., although head coach Derek Mason did tell the media that Marlow is expected to be back at some point this season. In Vandy’s first two games, Marlow had 148 rushing yards on 33 carries for a 4.5 yards-per-carry average. As of Wednesday morning, the Commodores were 18.5 or 19-point underdogs Saturday at Mississippi St. Since easily covering as a 31-point road underdog in a 17-12 loss at Texas A&M, Mason’s team has been beaten by a combined score of 136-35 in three consecutive home losses to LSU, South Carolina and Ole Miss.
–Mississippi St. hasn’t been much better since its 44-34 season-opening win at LSU as a 14.5-point ‘dog. Since then, the Bulldogs have lost four in a row vs. Arkansas (21-14), at Kentucky (24-2), vs. Texas A&M (28-14) and at Alabama (41-0). However, this game is certainly Mississippi St. or pass. As I’ve said hundreds of times, I love me some Derek Mason — great guy, great enthusiasm, etc. But this is an atrocious Vandy squad, one that should be near the top of your fade list until one of its results isn’t what we’ve seen the last three times the ‘Dores have been on the field.
–Temple QB Anthony Russo is ‘out’ again this week. The Mustangs went from 10-point road favorites to -17.5 at Circa once Russo’s absence was confirmed.
–UNLV head coach Marcus Arroyo announced some key personnel losses on Tuesday, including the suspension of star WR Randal Grimes:
–Great stat on Notre Dame from Brad Powers that applies to Saturday’s showdown vs. Clemson:
—Pitt will be without star safety Paris Ford for the rest of the season. The Panthers play Saturday at FSU.
–Wisconsin has had its second game in many weeks (at Nebraska last week and against Purdue this Saturday) cancelled due to a COVID outbreak. The Badgers are hoping to be able to play next week because the Big Ten stated before the abbreviated eight-game campaign that teams had to play at least six games to qualify for the Big Ten Championship Game.
–Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt has announced that senior QB Jarrett Guarantano will remain the starter Saturday night at Arkansas.
–The UTEP-FIU game for Week 10 has been postponed due to the COVID situation for the Panthers.
–If you missed it last Saturday, like Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz, Illinois starting QB Brandon Peters is out 21 days after testing positive for COVID.
–As you can see in the tweet below, Stanford has plenty of bad personnel news. David Shaw’s team was a 10-point underdog at Oregon on Wednesday morning. Gabe Reid is a starting LB who recorded 43 tackles, seven TFL’s, five QB hurries, two sacks and two passes broken up in 2019. Kyu Blu Kelly is a projected starting CB who had 35 tackles, five PBU and one interception last season:
–I’ll be a guest today talking college football with JVT on VSIN’s ‘The Edge’ on SiriusXM channel 204 at 1:45 p.m. Eastern.
–Clip of my Wednesday interview on VSIN explaining why I like South Carolina as a double-digit home underdog vs. Texas A&M:
–Since losing vs. Clemson and at North Carolina St., Wake Forest has quietly ripped off four consecutive wins both SU and ATS, with three of those victories coming by 17 points or more.
–Colorado, a 6.5-point underdog Saturday vs. UCLA, won’t have starting RB Alex Fontenot, who went down with an undisclosed injury at a recent practice. Fontenot ran for a team-high 874 yards and five TDs in 2019, averaging 4.7 YPC.
–Nevada star WR Elijah Cooks is likely facing season-ending shoulder surgery. Cooks, a preseason second-team All-MWC selection in Steele’s magazine, had 76 receptions for 926 yards and eight TDs last year.
–Houston will be without its star WR Marquez Stevenson for Saturday’s game at Cincinnati. Stevenson, a two-time first-team All-AAC selection, had 52 catches for 907 yards and nine TDs in 2019. In four games this year, he has caught 16 balls for 278 yards and three TDs. Stevenson also had a 97-yard kickoff return for a TD in a season-opening home win vs. Tulane.
–North Carolina will be without two key players Saturday at Duke. Senior WR Beau Corrales and CB Storm Duck are ‘out’ with lower-body and undisclosed injuries, respectively. Corrales has already missed two of UNC’s six games, but he still has 13 receptions for 238 yards and one TD. He had 40 grabs for 575 yards and six TDs last season. Duck had 37 tackles, five PBU, two interceptions, two TFL’s and one QB hurry in 2019. Duck, who had four tackles and two PBU in the Tar Heels’ first two games, will miss his fifth consecutive contest.
—My Week 10 Power Rankings (based on who would be favored over whom if I’m the book/house).