NCAAF Week 4
Recap: It's been multiple days and I'm still on tilt over our Mississippi State loss, and I need to get it off my chest. It isn't a bad beat in the traditional sense of losing on a last second play, but if these teams met 100 times, MSU would've covered at least 80% of the time if not more.
1. They outgained Memphis 468 yards to 246.
2. A scoop and score (not bad in itself) coupled with the blown punt return touchdown call in favor of Memphis.
3. The onside kick clearly recovered by MSU, yet called as Memphis ball on the field, only then to throw a flag on MSU in the replay and force them to redo the kick.
Absolutely unbelievable. I typically don't get heated over bets but that one got to me. There, it's over and done and I'll attempt to not bring it up again (unlikely).
Phew, alright. It was a 5-3 week that could've just as easily been 6-2 or better, while the leans went 2-2-1. We now sit at 9-6 on the year which should be 10-5 if not for that Memphis game... Whatever, let's get another winning week.
#22 Fresno State -30.5 vs. UNLV
Realistically, if we were in Europe playing soccer, UNLV would've been relegated to playing pee-wee football teams by now, and even then they'd probably be sitting at a .500 record this season. They lost by an average of 21 in MWC play last season and haven't gotten an iota better since. They began the year losing to FCS school Eastern Washington before being thrashed by Arizona State and Iowa State in their latest two. For comparison, Fresno State has almost put up the Rebelsâ offensive otuput for the season in their last game alone. Additionally, the best way to attack the Bulldogs defense is via the air, because they've allowed an average of just 2.7 yards per rush on the season including against Pac 12 champion hopefuls Oregon and UCLA. Unfortunately for UNLV, they've produced 300 yards passing, 0 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions through three games this year. Your honor, I rest my case. Even if Jake Haener is still banged up, their line play will dominate the inferior Rebels. I'd almost play the first half line too, but I could see them coming out slow after an emotional, hard fought victory at UCLA. I was high on the Bulldogs coming into the season, and they haven't let me down yet. Fresno State -30.5.
#16 Arkansas vs. #7 Texas A&M* Under 47.5
* - Neutral Site in Arlington, TX
It's currently late Saturday, the 18th, and I'm already writing up a review for the under in Texas A&M and Arkansas, because there's not a total low enough to make me take the over here... Alright, so this total is honestly higher than I expected? This will be a bit of a revenge game for the Aggies as the only teams to score more on them last year than the Razorbacks were Bama and Florida. They'd escaped their toughest tests and were in the middle of the "lull" point of their all SEC schedule. Since that game, A&M haven't come particularly close to allowing another 400 yard game. Meanwhile, K.J. Jefferson and company have Arkansas' offense humming, averaging over 6 yards per rush and scoring over 40 points per game. All that said, the last time they saw a defense this good was 2020 Bama, where they put up 3 points and less than 200 yards of offense. I'm not saying A&M will shut them out because I wouldn't believe myself saying it, but this game will be fought in the trenches and I'm sensing many more punts/turnovers than points. The Arkansas defense, behind one of the best coordinators in the country, have been a stalwart, being a much more effective version of last yearâs team. I'm also still choosing to not believe in Zach Calzada whatsoever to this point. Meanwhile, if K.J. Jefferson is seriously as productive and efficient here as he has been to this point in the season I'd be shocked, so I think his numbers dip a bit after this game (he's also much worse against pressure this season and I believe he will be pressured a lot). I'd love to fully pick a side here, but I'd rather (hopefully) not sweat the under all game instead. Under 47.5.
Liberty -6 .0 @ Syracuse
There were almost 830 yards of offense in this game last year with the Flames winning 38-21. Liberty returns a ton of production from last year's bunch and their defense seems to be much improved in the run game. Meanwhile, Malik Willis is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation having averaged 225 passing and 95 yards rushing per game last year, on 9 yards per pass and 6.7 yards per rush, respectively (and his numbers have only looked better this season). Meanwhile, Syracuse possess a younger offensive line, as well as a younger defense outside of their linemen. Though many of these players saw decent playing time last year due to a ton of injuries, they did ultimately end up with a 1-10 record. Experience does not always mean the players will improve year to year (see Tennessee football). Realistically, since Eric Dungey left a few years back, this Syracuse team hasn't been able to compete in the tough matchups. Our only worry is if the Orange's D-line can overpower the injury-laden Liberty offensive line, but even then, Malik Willis is a winner and playmaker and I'm projecting his draft stock to the moon (see Lamar Jackson's junior year at Louisville. You know the one.). Hugh Freeze's team puts on a showcase here and we will look back in a few weeks wondering how Vegas gifted us with such a generous line. Liberty -6.
#9 Clemson @ NC State Under 47.0
NC State's offense is built to bully lesser teams. As we know, Clemson's defense is not lesser by any means. Collevctively, these teams have played 4 FBS teams, with the totals of those games being 28.5 points. Clemson has yet to allow an offensive touchdown, while their QB D.J. Uiagalelei has been an unmitigated disaster averaging just 5.5 (!!!!!) yards per attempt and only accumulating 3 total touchdowns on the year. In limited action last year he seemed to be the guy to replace Trevor Lawrence, but this year so far one of the kids who lives in the apartment above mine could've done better than him (especially at running and stomping, those kids are future olympians at this rate). Essentially, I feel like the Clemson offense has been sleepwalking through the season, completely lethargic. Regardless, the Tigers' defense is full of future NFL players and NC State's is deep and seems improved from last year to now (notably allowing just 17.8 PPG to their last 7 FBS opponents). Essentially, Clemson will likely need to move the ball on the ground, which they haven't been able to do, whereas NC State will have a difficult time finding the end zone (barring any ridiculous plays, such as what we saw last week in the MSU-Memphis game. Sigh...).
LSU @ Mississippi State Over 56.0
This game last year saw 78 points and over 1,000 yards of offense in Mike Leach's debut with MSU. Since that game, LSU's defense never really improved (even with a Defensive Coordinator change), but their offense surprisingly put up more yards per game on average than they did against the Bulldogs. With all the athletes the Tigers possess, they're still not capable of putting together a complete game, and are particularly susceptible through the air (even with probably the best CB in the nation, Derek Stingley Jr.). Realistically, neither team will have much success on the ground, but Will Rodgers and Max Johnson are two of the better QBs in college football and are more than happy to be throwing around as much as possible. But here's what I don't understand: suddenly the Jim McElwain led Central Michigan team only puts up 21 on LSU and we are supposed to start believing in this LSU defense to for sure limit MSU to less than 28 while putting up less than 28 themselves? I think not. And while I don't see this game being as much of a shootout as last year, I absolutely see these defenses relatively struggling to stop the opposing offenses, particularly if the Bulldogs get up early.
Louisiana Tech -11.5 vs. North Texas
LA Tech is averaging north of 430 yards per game this year while North Texas has given up north of 450 yards per game this year (including against FCS school Northwestern State). They can't stop the run and they can't stop the pass (even going back to last year), so I'm very confident that the Skip Holtz led (pretty sure he's been there since before I was conceived) Bulldogs will put up points fairly easily. Meanwhile, North Texas converts just 25% of their 3rd down conversions this year (ranked 119th out of 130 FBS teams). Against LA Tech's middle of the road 3rd down defense, there's not much of an edge to be gained there either. Further, the Bulldogs have forced 7 turnovers in 3 games while the Mean Green have thrown 5 picks through their 3 contests on just 6 yards per attempt under the direction of North Carolina transfer Jace Ruder. Further, they've still only posted a lamentable 9 points per game in FBS play. I don't foresee the barely taped together line play of North Texas to be able to compete with the stronger LA Tech interior. This is a get right game for the Bulldogs squad. Louisiana Tech -11.5.
#12 Notre Dame @ #18 Wisconsin Under 46.0
Wisconsin is off a bye and are better in every facet except for quarterback play. Graham Mertz is too unpredictable to bet their spread. In a perfect world, ND wins this game so we can get a great line next weekend vs. Cincinnati and bet the house against them.
#25 Kansas State @ Oklahoma State Under 46.0
No Skylar Thompson for Kansas State here, or taking them plus the points would be my favorite play. As it is I don't see either team getting much going here.
SMU @ TCU Over 65.5
SMU gave up 420 yards of offense last year and TCU allowed 350. Each team is averaging north of 470 yards per game this year. The only pause for this play is TCU coming off a bye week.
Arkansas State @ Tulsa Over 63.0
Deneric Prince might run for 200+ on Arkansas State by himself. But Tulsa's defense has been inconsistent against superior competition thus far. Also, Butch Jones for the Red Wolves. You just never know what Butch Jones is capable of doing or not doing.
#24 UCLA -5.0 @ Stanford & Over 58.5
I'm not sure UCLA losing to an extremely talented, top-25 Fresno State team and Stanford beating the decaying bones of a Clay Helton led USC team warrants a rather low 5 point line for UCLA. Also, Stanford has allowed 630 yards on the ground through just 3 games this year.
UT San Antonio +3.0 at Memphis
Memphis' defense is not particularly good in the passing game. It remains to be seen, though, how effective they are at stopping a balanced offense. UTSA is one of the most experienced teams in college football, but this game will be at Memphis, and we all know how that went last week. This game for me though will be about answering our questions. Can't pull the trigger on the Roadrunners to win outright just yet.
Buffalo -13.5 @ Old Dominion & Over 51.5
Buffaloâs running back Kevin Marks and other skill position players are great talents, but with unproven coaching staff. ODU has a dual-threat quarterback, which Buffalo mightily struggled against at Nebraska.
Written by Alex Hill
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