Week 6 is here and contenders are emerging! The College Football Playoff rankings are still a few weeks away but there are a handful of games worth circling on the calendar as the temperatures start to fall and conference schedules are in full swing!
NCAAF Week 7 Game Spread Best Bets
Last week, we got back on track! A few matchups covered by the skin of their teeth. Marshall just barely got by, Michigan took care of business, Kansas took its game outright, and Ohio’s offense continues to roll. The only miss was a Washington State pick that was the result of a blown fourth-quarter lead. Oh well, onto Week 7!
Overall: 21-13 (4-1 last week)
Ohio State (-17.5) at Purdue
Since 2000, Ohio State has been the cream of the crop in the Big Ten. Even then, they’ve dropped five games to Michigan, Penn State, and……..Purdue. All five of those losses occurred in Ross-Ade Stadium. Historically, this game has either been boom or bust but the Buckeyes own a 40-15-2 lead.
Ohio State comes into this game with a top-five matchup looming next week. They boast the top offense in the Big Ten despite not looking as fluid as fans are accustomed to. The difference, however, will be the defense. Jim Knowles might have finally gotten this Ohio State unit to play to its alleged talent. They’re third in the nation in scoring defense behind the other two CFP contenders in the Big Ten East.
In 2018, Purdue did not just beat Ohio State, it embarrassed them. At the time, Rondale Moore and David Bell went off. This year, they have guys like Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen and Deion Burks. Thus far, the Boilermakers have struggled and do not look like the team to take down Ohio State this year.
Crazier things have happened. However, the pieces are not exactly there. Ohio State is playing too well and it looking to iron out all of the wrinkles before a massive matchup with Penn State. They should get the win by three touchdowns.
Georgia Southern (+5.5) at James Madison
If you’re not tuning into Georgia Southern vs James Madison, are you really a college football fan? These two teams are a combined 9-1 and are looking good. Considering the two have only recently made the jump to FBS, they’ve met just once. Last year, the Eagles took home the 45-38 win.
Clay Helton’s squad is cooking. Davis Brin may be the best quarterback you’ve never heard of but he has a pair of running backs, Jalen White and OJ Arnold, who can scoot with the ball. Their lone loss was a close battle with Wisconsin, which is not a bad one to drop. James Madison will have to get through this GASO secondary that has allowed just three passing touchdowns this year.
#RankJamesMadisonYouCowards. This week’s Group of 5 bandwagon team has to be this James Madison team. On offense, the Dukes have plenty of talented playmakers but the area that will give the Eagles the biggest fits will be in the run defense. James Madison has the best run defense in the nation to the tune of just 38.6 yards allowed per game. They even held Troy to -12 yards on the ground off of 19 attempts!
This is going to be a great game. The Sun Belt continues to cement itself as a top-five conference in college football. JMU may end up taking the win to open up 6-0 but Georgia Southern should be able to keep it close. If your team is off this week or is playing later, this is one worth tuning into.
Oregon (+3.5) at Washington
The marquee matchup of the weekend is out west. Gone are the days of the Pac 12 laughingstock. Despite 2023 being the final year of the conference, it is going out with a nuclear BANG. Since 2004, Oregon is 15-3 against the Huskies but one of those three happened last year in a 37-34 classic.
This is a battle of legitimate Heisman Trophy candidates. For Oregon, Mr. BOdacious is off to a hot start. Bo Nix is already at 1,459 yards and 15 touchdowns while completing over 80% of his passes. The Ducks are coming off of back-to-back 42-6 dismantlings of Coach Prime’s Colorado Buffaloes and Stanford. Realistically, this will be the first time the team breaks a sweat within the conference.
Michael Penix, Jr. has been electric for the Huskies. He’s thrown for nearly 2,000 yards and 16 touchdowns already and has been making each and every play look effortless. Plain and simple, this is the best Washington team they’ve fielded in a long, long time.
As with the Georgia Southern and James Madison game, we are going with the underdog simply because we think it’ll be closer than Vegas believes. These two Pac 12 teams have legitimate CFP aspirations and neither team will pull any punches.
Wyoming at Air Force (-11.5)
Let’s stay out west with the Mountain West. In the battle of the first and last FBS team alphabetically, Wyoming travels to an Air Force team that is setting its eyes on not only an MWC title but a New Year’s Six bowl berth. Air Force owns a narrow 30-27-3 advantage but the Cowboys took last year’s contest.
When it comes to 5-1 teams, you could do worse than Wyoming. They’ve taken down Texas Tech, Appalachian State, and Fresno State thus far and actually presented a threat to Texas. This offense runs through stud running back, Harrison Waylee. He’s run the ball a whopping 75 times for 540 yards and three scores. The former Northern Illinois Huskie is likely going to eclipse 100 carries for the fourth time in four years.
Air Force is still Air Force. They run the
Air Raid triple option to perfection. Although, shouldn’t the Air Force run an Air Raid offense? Either way, it always seems like at least one of the service academies field a legitimate team. This year, just like last year, its the Falcons. Rightfully so, the attention will be on that triple option but not enough people are talking about this defense. Air Force is top ten in scoring defense while being top five in passing defense AND rushing defense.
Defense is going to win the day here. Giving Air Force 11.5 points is risky but there is one crucial aspect that should bode well for us: Wyoming has been known to give up some yardage on the ground. In a three-game stretch including Texas, Appalachian State, and New Mexico, the Cowboys allowed over 200 yards per game.
USC (+3.0) at Notre Dame
Finally, USC and Caleb Williams get a test against a good Notre Dame despite their recent skid. Despite dropping last year’s game, Notre Dame actually owns a 48-37-5 lead over USC all-time. Considering this rivalry and the fact the two programs are among the best in history, it makes sense this series is close.
What’s to say about USC that hasn’t already been said? Williams and this Trojan offense can and will score on anyone. At this point, I’d give them favorable odds of scoring against an NFL defense (well, that may be hyperbole, but the point stands). Freshman phenom Zachariah Branch may not suit up in this game but the Trojans should be okay regardless.
Sam Hartman transferred to South Bend to lead this Notre Dame team to greatness. After back-to-back losses, there are concerns. Even then, the Irish have serious talent, as usual. Audric Estime is among the elite in college football and this defense will be an actual test for USC.
Quite possibly the safest descriptor of this USC defense that would allow LWOSports to keep its advertising money is to say it’s poor. Notre Dame is looking to get back on track and its offense will certainly have opportunities to do so. However, this is essentially a pick-em, according to Vegas. The home team traditionally gets three points. No matter how poor that Trojan defense is, that offense is enough to overcome. USC needs to get its swagger back after nearly dropping games to the Arizona schools. They do so here.
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