NCAA College Football Weekend Preview

Ricky Rothstein | Updated Oct 04, 2017

A look at the biggest NCAA football games this weekend, with all relevant college football betting information. All sports betting lines are courtesy Sports Interaction.

No. 15 Iowa (9-1) at No. 10 Ohio State (8-2) Buckeyes -16.5, Over/Under 37.5

A week ago, it seemed implausible that Ohio State would be playing Iowa with a chance to go to the Rose Bowl. But then the unthinkable happened – the Hawkeyes not only lost to unheralded Northwestern 17-10, but also lost stud QB Ricky Stanzi to a high-ankle sprain. And that, folks, explains why the 9-1 Hawkeyes are such big underdogs this weekend against a two-loss Ohio State team. Iowa will start redshirt freshman QB James Vanderberg in arguably the toughest place to play in college football, against a team that smacked then-No. 11 Penn State 24-7 last weekend. Good luck with that, kid.

So yes, thanks to the muddled Pac-10 and Penn State now out of Big Ten title talks, the winner of this game can start booking flights to Pasadena.  Barring a miracle performance from Vanderberg, it’ll be Ohio State that’s on its way to California when this game is done, but don’t discount Iowa and its stellar defense from keeping it close.

No. 16 Utah (8-1) at No. 4 TCU (9-0) Horned Frogs -20.0, Over/Under 47.0

In what other year would a TCU-Utah football game have major bowl implications? Well, welcome to 2009.

The showdown for Mountain West supremacy goes this weekend at TCU, a place where the Horned Frogs have routed the opposition this year (56-21 over Texas State, 44-6 over Colorado State, 41-0 over UNLV) and look to build on their storybook season. And it’s a good book already – TCU’s No. 4 ranking is the highest ever for a team from a non-BCS conference – but the perfect ending would be an undefeated regular season and a shot at the big boys in a premier bowl game.

If Utah stands any chance of pulling an upset, it’ll need to score points, something that’s not especially easy against coach Gary Patterson’s defense. The Horned Frogs have allowed just 25 points over the last four games. All told, the TCU defense ranks third nationally, allowing 240.6 yards per game. The Utes will have to find a way to manufacture points, because the TCU offense is no slouch either – they’re eighth in the country with 458.6 yards per game.

No. 25 Stanford (6-3) at No. 11 USC (7-2) Trojans -10.5, Over/Under 57.0

What a mess this Pac-1o season is. Neither of the favourites coming into the year – USC and Oregon – have been able to distance themselves from the field. While all that was going on, it was Stanford – picked by many to finish sixth in the league this year – who slowly crept up and put themselves within striking distance. Now, this weekend, the Cardinal get a chance to stake claim to the conference crown.

Coming off a huge 51-42 win over Oregon, Stanford has to be brimming with confidence here. The memories of beating USC in 2007 are still fresh, and the Trojans looked average at best is a sluggish 14-9 win over Arizona State last weekend. In fact, the Trojan defense has been awful lately, a big reason why USC hasn’t been able to capture the Pac-1o title. The Trojans have allowed an average of 480 yards over their last three contests – yes, 480! – and now they face a Cardinal team that has put up an average of 520 yards over its last three.  So with the likelihood of big offensive outputs high, it’ll come down to which freshman QB – USC’s Matt Barkley or Stanford’s Andrew Luck – puts forth a better performance.