On the surface, it looks like a really terrible slate of games this week, but when you take a deep dive into it…it’s a really, really terrible slate of games this week.
No. 20 California at UCLA
6:00 P.M., ESPN
A day late, sure, but I’m now 7-0 ATS on UCLA games this year.
UCLA 38, California 34
Auburn at Arkansas
9:00 A.M., SEC Network
This is just your weekly reminder that 4-2 Auburn (with one of those wins a close one over Jacksonville State) and 2-4 Arkansas were both trendy picks to make the College Football Playoff this year.
Arkansas 31, Auburn 21
No. 6 Clemson at Miami
9:00 A.M., ABC
Real talk: why does Al Golden dress like he’s auditioning for the next stage production of Glengarry Glen Ross? Miami has been really mediocre for his entire tenure there, with basically no big wins and some horrendous losses. Clemson, despite being coached by a man named Dabo, is on a path to the College Football Playoff, with one challenging game left — and this isn’t it.
Clemson 34, Miami 17
Tennessee at No. 8 Alabama
12:30 P.M., CBS
We might finally be achieving some clarity in the SEC: LSU, Alabama, and maybe Florida are pretty good, and everyone else is mediocre to bad. Tennessee, like Arkansas and Auburn, was a trendy pick to challenge in the SEC this year, but the Volunteers are bad and horribly coached, with no good wins and a really terrible home loss to Arkansas. The SEC East is a trash heap outside of Florida, and the SEC West isn’t much better outside of Alabama and LSU. Tide Rolls.
Alabama 37, Tennessee 20
Washington State at Arizona
1:00 P.M., Pac-12 Network
The over/under on this one should be set at 8 (this was supposed to be an infinity symbol, but our html sucks, and we'll just leave it here as a sign you shouldn't trust computers). Both defenses pretty much stink, and the strengths of both offenses seem to fit in nicely to the weaknesses of each defense. Arizona is still debating whether it’d be smarter to start a quarterback who can throw or a quarterback who can’t throw, which should tell you everything you need to know about Rich Rodriguez’s confidence in Anu Solomon. Washington State is hitting an offensive groove lately, and we don’t see it stopping against a pretty awful Arizona defense.
Arizona 45, Washington State 42
No. 9 Florida State at Georgia Tech
4:00 P.M., ESPN2
Florida State -6
If you can somehow muster the courage to watch another ACC game on Saturday, this might be worth a look just to see Georgia Tech’s bowl dreams go up in smoke. Many though Georgia Tech could compete for the ACC title this year, but instead the Yellow Jackets are 2-5, and it’s a bad 2-5, with the only wins over Alcorn State and Tulane. Jimbo Fisher is starting to look like a really terrific coach, as he has somehow turned Everett Golson, the dude who had to towel off Brian Kelly’s rage spit after every one of his many interceptions last season, into a pretty good quarterback (no interceptions at all this year!). It’s beginning to look like Florida State vs. Clemson in a couple of weeks is going to be for an ACC spot in the Playoff.
Florida State 31, Georgia Tech 21
No. 15 Texas A&M at No. 24 Ole Miss
4:00 P.M., ESPN
Ole Miss -5.5
Why…why is Ole Miss still ranked? The Rebels beat Alabama, and that’s great and all, but they’ve since a) barely beaten Vandy, b) gotten smoked by Florida, and c) lost to an American Athletic team. Anyway, as long as Kyle Allen remembers what color jersey his team wears, Texas A&M should be able to put up a load of points on Ole Miss, which really isn’t designed to stop spread passing attacks, as we saw last week against Memphis.
Texas A&M 35, Ole Miss 28
No. 3 Utah at USC
4:30 P.M., FOX
We’ve looked at this from as many angles as we can, and we still have no friggin’ idea why USC is favored by 3.5. Sure, the Trojans are talented, but the weaknesses of USC seem to play directly to Utah’s strengths. Is there any doubt that Devontae Booker is going to be able to run on USC’s porous run defense? Is there any real doubt that Utah will just load up the box, stop the run, pressure Cody Kessler, and force him to make good decisions under fire? And is there any confidence in Kessler’s ability to do that, considering his propensity for takings dump(off)s in pressure situations? Utah would have to play really poorly in this one, and that’s certainly possible, but USC, at 3-3, seems like a team that’s on the brink of packing it in for the season.
Utah 28, USC 20
Colorado at Oregon State
7:30 P.M., Pac-12 Network
Oregon State -2
Speaking of packing it in for the season, say hello to Oregon State. The Beavers might be moving on to a new quarterback this week, with Nick Mitchell apparently getting a ton of reps in practice, and as far as we’re concerned that means one thing: Oregon State is officially just going to use the final six games of the season as live practices for next year. The Buffaloes, on the other hand, actually looked frisky last week against Arizona, and Sefo Liufau finally woke up from his month-long nap. We say Colorado finally notches a conference win, the school’s first since, no joke, 2013.
Colorado 34, Oregon State 24
Washington at No. 10 Stanford
7:30 P.M., ESPN
Vegas finally gave in and posted a line, but we still have no idea whether Washington quarterback Jake Browning will play. Of course, it doesn’t matter, because Browning or no Browning, Stanford is going to absolutely rock the Huskies on Saturday. Washington can play a little defense, so that might stop Stanford for a drive or two, but Washington can’t play offense at all, and that means Stanford is going to grind the Huskies’ defense into a fine powder by midway through the second quarter (that situation may look familiar to UCLA fans!). Stanford isn’t going to be really challenged again until Notre Dame at the end of the season, and is probably a shoo-in for the Pac-12 Championship game — which, given that, we’d be fine with UCLA missing out on.
Stanford 38, Washington 10
Last week ATS: 4-8. Season ATS: 49-43. UCLA ATS: 7-0