1-Penn St. at Iowa: As of early Friday, most books had Iowa (5-0 straight up, 4-1 against the spread) installed as a 1.5 or two-point home favorite with a total of 40.5 or 41. The ‘under’ is 4-1 for the Hawkeyes, who are seventh in the country in total defense, ninth at defending the run and second in scoring ‘D’ (11.6 points per game). Likewise, Penn St. (5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS) has seen the ‘under’ cash at a 4-1 clip. The Nittany Lions are ranked third in the nation in scoring ‘D,’ giving up merely 12.0 PPG. This is a 4:00 p.m. Eastern kickoff on FOX.
2-Georgia at Auburn: The South’s oldest rivalry will be renewed Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium, where the home team is going to need some of the venue’s magic (remember this in 2013?) as a 15.5-point underdog. One week after Bo Nix appeared to lose his starting QB gig when backup TJ Finley sparked a late comeback win over Georgia St., he produced a legendary performance and rallied the Tigers to a 24-19 win at LSU. Auburn hadn’t won in Redstick since 1999, but Nix somehow made a pair of incredible fourth-down plays by scrambling out of trouble to find open WRs. Meanwhile, UGA took care of previously-undefeated Arkansas in dominant fashion between the hedges. The Bulldogs bloodied up the Razorbacks early and often in a 37-0 win. JT Daniels’ status (lat muscle strain) remains up in the air, but backup Stetson Bennett has played great football so far this year. Auburn has won outright in 31 of its last 35 home games, and the Tigers are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games as home underdogs. CBS will have the telecast at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.
3-Oklahoma vs. Texas: Oklahoma has won all four of its games against FBS foes by margins of seven points or fewer. The Sooners are 0-4 ATS in those contests. They were listed as three or 3.5-point ‘chalk’ early Friday. Since getting blasted 40-21 at Arkansas in Week 2, Texas has won three games in a row both SU and ATS. RB Bijan Robinson has 652 rushing yards, seven TDs and a 6.2 yards-per-carry average, while QB Casey Thompson has completed 71.1 percent of his passes with a 9/3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. OU is looking for a fourth straight win in this rivalry after capturing a 53-45 win in quadruple overtime last season. Kickoff is scheduled for noon Eastern on ABC.
4-Alabama at Texas A&M: Back in August, many felt that this was The Game of the Year in college football. However, Jimbo Fisher’s team hasn’t lived up to its end of the bargain. First, the Aggies barely got out of Denver alive in a 10-7 win vs. Colorado, which turned around the next week and lost 30-0 at home to Minnesota (which lost at home to Bowling Green in Week 4). Then they lost 20-10 to Arkansas in Arlington before dropping a 26-22 decision to Mississippi St. in College Station this past Saturday. Now here comes the unbeaten and top-ranked Crimson Tide, which has won eight games in a row over A&M since Johnny Pigskin led the Aggies to a victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2012. ‘Bama, fresh off a dominant home win over Ole Miss, was listed as an 18-point road favorite early Friday. The ‘under’ is 4-1 for the Aggies, who are fifth in the country in scoring ‘D’ (12.6 PPG). Nevertheless, I’ll be making a bomb play on ‘Bama -10.5 points in the first half (see tweet below). CBS will provide television coverage at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
5-LSU at Kentucky: As of early Friday, most spots had Kentucky (5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS) installed as a three-point favorite.This game is interesting in all sorts of ways. First, UK remains unbeaten in October, which is a rare occurence. The Wildcats are in a letdown scenario, though, after fans rushed the field following their first home win over Florida since 1986. They will be without starting DT Marquan McCall, who has a leg injury that will keep him sidelines until late November. WR Josh Ali, who led UK with 54 catches for 473 yards and one TD last year, is also ‘out’ for the next two games with an undisclosed issue. Ali has 17 receptions for 248 yards and two TDs this year, in addition to 13 rushing yards and one TD on three attempts. LSU is in the midst of a brutal seven-game stretch that started with a 28-25 win at Mississippi St. The Tigers lost vs. Auburn last week, and now they face this gauntlet: at UK, vs. Florida, at Ole Miss, (then open date before…) at Alabama and vs. Arkansas. They’ll be without star CB Derek Stingley, who is probably out for the season. Ed Orgeron’s job security has been a hot topic all week and if LSU loses Saturday in Lexington, the noise on The Bayou will only get louder.
6-Arkansas at Ole Miss: Arkansas (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS) intercepted Matt Corral six times in a 33-21 home win over the Rebels last year. Grant Morgan’s 23-yard pick-six with 3:07 remaining put the game on ice. The Razorbacks, who were 5.5-point underdogs at most shops early Friday, are 4-2 ATS as road underdogs during Sam Pittman’s two-year tenure. Ole Miss RB Jerion Ealy is reportedly in concussion protocol and listed as ‘questionable.’ Ealy has 206 rushing yards, one TD and a 5.2 YPC average. He also has eight catches for 79 yards. WR Jonathan Mingo, who had 15 receptions for 290 yards and three TDs in the Rebels’ first three games, missed last week’s loss at ‘Bama with a foot injury that’s going to keep him sidelines until November. Ole Miss (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS) is 3-1 ATS in four games as a home favorite on Lane Kiffin’s watch. Kickoff is scheduled for noon Eastern on ESPN.
7-Stanford at Arizona St. (Friday): ASU (4-1 SU, 2-3 ATS) is off its best performance of the season in a 42-23 win at UCLA as a three-point road underdog. Likewise, Stanford (3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS) picked up a monster Pac-12 North victory by handing Oregon its first loss in a 31-24 overtime win as an 8.5-point home underdog. The Cardinal is a completely different team since second-year freshman Tanner McKee was named the starting QB in Week 2. McKee has completed 64.5 percent of his passes for 1,093 yards and 11 TDs without an interception. Stanford is 3-1 both SU and ATS with McKee starting, including a 42-28 win at USC as an 18-point road underdog. Herm Edwards’ team has won by at least 19 points in all four of its victories. The Sun Devils lost 27-17 at BYU in Week 2. They’ve lost six of the last seven head-to-head meetings against the Cardinal. Also, ASU is just 4-8 ATS in 12 games as a home ‘chalk’ during Edwards’ tenure. Tonight’s kickoff in Tempe is set for 10:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
8-Boise St. at BYU: As of early Friday, most books had BYU (5-0 SU, 3-2 ATS) listed as a six-point favorite with a total of 57.5. Along with Cincinnati, the Cougars have a legit shot at a College Football Playoff berth if they can stay undefeated. They went to the smurf turf last year and blasted the Broncos 51-17 as four-point road ‘chalk.’ It was the first time in program history that BYU scored 50-plus points against a ranked opponent. The Cougars have won all five of their games by eight points or more, including scalps of Arizona, Utah and Arizona St. Boise St. (2-3 SU, 3-2 ATS) allowed double-digit leads to get away in its first two losses (36-31 at UCF and 21-20 vs. Oklahoma St.), and the Broncos allowed a third-quarter lead to get away in last week’s 41-31 home loss to Nevada. They’re 7-3 ATS as road underdogs since 2011. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Eastern on ABC.
9-Michigan at Nebraska: Michigan (5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS) was listed as a three-point road favorite early Friday. The Wolverines are 9-12 ATS as road favorites during Jim Harbaugh’s seven-year tenure. Nebraska (3-3 SU, 4-1-1 ATS) has lost three one-possession games, including a 23-20 overtime loss at Michigan St. two weeks ago. The Cornhuskers bounced back to capture a 56-7 home win over Northwestern last Saturday. ABC will provide the television coverage at 7:30 p.m. Eastern from Lincoln.