NCAA College Football Weekend Preview

Charlie Boccanegra | Updated Oct 04, 2017

With opening week in the books, we can officially declare the college football season – and, perhaps more importantly, college football betting – alive and well. Some big results from last Saturday (most notably BYU’s stunner over Oklahoma) have the masses yearning for more. So without further ado, a look at some of the key matchups:

No. 3 USC (-7.0) at No. 8 Ohio State

The first glance at that line – the number eight team in the country getting seven points at home – has many asking: What the hell is going on? Well, there are two big reasons for that, and they both have to do with old scores. The first two:

USC 56, San Jose State 3 Ohio State 31, Navy 27

These traditional powers entered opening weekend with similar situations, but had polar opposite finishes. The Trojans absolutely throttled San Jose State with a punishing ground game – USC rumbled for 342 yards and six rushing touchdowns – meaning freshman QB Matt Barkley didn’t have to do much through the air (he didn’t complete a pass for more than 15 yards). Ohio State, meanwhile, had a far more difficult time running the ball vs. Navy. The Buckeyes could only manage 153 yards on the ground (and were actually outgained 186-153 by the Midshipmen) and barely put away a team that came into the contest as a whopping 21-point underdog.

The third score? 35-3 – the line from USC’s demolition of the Buckeyes a season ago. That result hung around Ohio State for almost a full calendar year, and the Buckeyes will be looking to exact some revenge this time around. How they’ll do it, though, remains to be seen. State’s defense looked downright ordinary against Navy and safety Anderson Russell was continually exposed by Midshipmen QB Ricky Dobbs. If the Buckeyes can pressure Barkley and force him into mistakes – the freshman signal-caller didn’t make any against San Jose State – it will definitely slow down the powerful Trojan offense. A good matchup to watch will be USC left tackle Charles Brown against Ohio State defensive end Thaddeus Gibson – Gibson is the Buckeyes’ most dominant pass-rusher and will be looking to make Barkley’s life living hell on Saturday.

Other games to watch…

There aren’t as many Top-25 matchups as there were on opening weekend, but still some great games to keep an eye on should you be perusing the Sports Interaction online sports book.

No. 18 Notre Dame (-3.0) at Michigan: ND shellacked Nevada 35-0 last week behind a great outing from QB Jimmy Clausen (15-of-18 passing, 315 yards, 4 TDs) but Michigan looked equally impressive in a 31-7 win over Western Michigan. The big story for the Wolverines was WR Junior Hemingway, who had five catches for 103 yards and two scores against the Broncos.

South Carolina at No. 21 Georgia (-7.0): Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks are coming off an ugly-but-effective 7-3 win over N.C. State, while the Bulldogs try to regroup from a disappointing 24-10 loss to Oklahoma State last weekend.

Vanderbilt at No. 11 LSU (-14.5): Vandy is coming off a 45-0 destruction of Western Carolina while the Tigers struggled to put away Pac-10 bottomfeeders Washington, squeaking out a 31-23 win over the Huskies. This weekend’s contest promises to be a more intriguing affair than expected; while not a traditional football power, Vandy has a tremendous one-two running duo in Warren Norman and Zac Stacy.